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The Crow and The Pitcher

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I was 8. The second language at school, Hindi, had begun its journey away from my cerebrum, down towards my Achilles heel. I remember going home after struggling through a particularly stressful Hindi exam with my tormentor – the question paper – safely clipped to the exam pad. I also remember explaining, very nonchalantly, to my mother that I had answered only one question from the entire question paper. And then we parted ways – she to the kitchen, and I to my room. In silence. I may have heard a sigh of relief emanating from the kitchen a little later, but I don’t recall clearly. Even if I did, a little information on my preparations for the said Hindi exam is essential before you can conclude on the (seemingly) high coolness quotient of my mother.

I had spent the greater part of the night before the exam, in stentorian memorization of a single question-and-answer pair which I had carefully dissected from the entire syllabus. The pair was from an Aesop fable called ‘The Crow and The Pitcher’. I found the story inexplicably intriguing, and only one answer from the question-and-answer assignment on this story, worth mastering. The exact reason behind this choice remains a mystery to me to this day. It was probably the negligible level of difficulty involved in learning that one answer by rote, or probably the rhythmic sounds I made as I chanted it over and over again in the wee hours of the night. Reasoning swept aside, I firmly ignored all the other question-and-answer pairs which ominously stared at me from my ‘Class Work’ book and decided to stick to just the one which had caught my fancy. By the next morning, my entire family (of 5) was privy to my focus point for the exam :

Q : Kauva kya chahtha tha ? (What did the crow want ?)

A : Kauva paani peena chahtha tha. (The crow wanted to drink water.)

I left for school that morning, pushed out of the house by unseen pairs of hands, some of which had expectantly left their place on the owners’ ears, and the others which had plastered pillows on their owners’ heads to get them through the night. I was a picture of confidence in the exam hall. Until I was handed the question paper. It was panic time. 6 out of 11, and I thought I could get away with 1? Suddenly, all my physiological functions seemed fully autonomous – I was drenched in sweat, tears, whatnot. Gathering the last bit of strength that I had not imagined to find, I scoured the paper. I found my hero nestled somewhere in the middle of the eleven villains and I nervously serenaded him.

‘Kauva paani peena chahtha tha’

The only predictable aspect of the whole episode, of course, was the result of the exam. And for the torture I had inflicted on my khandaan, I spent many years suffering musical renditions of ’Kauva kya chahtha tha?’ in various ragaas. Uggh.


Written by Kanchana

November 15, 2011 at 2:15 am

How to recognize a rock fan

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The past weekend in Bangalore brought out a lot of ants from their holes. Ummm, I here refer to the many “rock” fans heading for the Metallica concert which was, luckily for them or otherwise, not cancelled in Bangalore. The entomological reference, though cliched, has been used because nothing captures more exactly, a picture of these human beings, so scattered in distribution but with such remarkable uniformity of personality, as they stood soaking at different parts of the dampened city, not much unlike an army of ants out to get to a recently-discovered meal.

As the heavy rain threatened to ruthlessly exploit our vulnerable positions within a speeding auto, we devised a little game to keep up our spirits. And we called it how-to-spot-the-next-rock-fan contest. Here is a ready reckoner, because I am not good at anything that goes beyond making lists.

– A rock fan is always male, mostly below 30 years of age. I gather the adherence to gender arises because females do not care to understand all this fuss about head-banging. Of this particular kind.

– A rock fan is as stuck to the look of rebellion on his face, as a Sumo wrestler is to his belt. It is a weapon that works two ways –

1. to intimidate and keep out the “regular” guys

2. to haul and assess their own kind, as the intensity of the rebel look that a rock fan sports on his visage is almost always directly proportional to the faith in the holy metal grail – that highly amplified distortion and exaggerated machismo can restore intelligence in a hopeless world.

– A rock fan never flouts the rule of black. The color of the collar-less t-shirt (nothing else will do) he flaunts on his torso is sacrosanct – it always is black. And certainly, it has to have the name of the band he currently endorses emblazoned unintelligibly across it, the font showing signs of being sucked into a blazing fire.

– A rock fan never smiles. Or he perhaps doesn’t think the regular, dumb world needs that kind of loving.

– When all the above are true, a rock fan rarely walks alone. His brothers-in-arms are always by his side, walking along with such a focused intensity on their faces that would put Donald Trump in a tremble.

The list is far from being complete and I hope to add to it when I have mustered enough courage to actually meet up with one of the species being described. If he agrees first, that is.

Written by Kanchana

November 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

Posted in General Nonsense

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When somebody says “Oh, I don’t know…”, what it really means is that they clearly know, but you are the last person they would ever prefer to reveal it to.

So just grow up and move on.

Written by Kanchana

October 17, 2011 at 3:41 am

Posted in General Nonsense

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