Jul 26, 2009

Kachroo - Part 2

(contd. from previous post)

.. rani is the most awaited and celebrated train of our station. It is always on time and it's entry is always grand. The policemen and Saheb are always on-guard when she comes.

She starts decelerating from hundreds of meters away. The 1 minute odd time which it takes to finally come at halt is scintillating, a treat to eye & ear. The timing is so perfect that she puts on brakes precisely when the Maghrib prayer starts at the nearby mosque. She rides a smooth curve on the tracks and makes noise in harmony with Maghrib. The beautiful sunset reflects from it's black window panes.

I and my friends start running like pigs when we hear the high pitched Maghrib. "She's coming, she is ..", shouts Salim everyday. I told you a few of my friends got the thanda for no money. One of them was Salim. He's the one who starts the 'yelling welcome' everyday. We follow and so the gamble begins; the game is tough. The probability is 1/12. One has to be at the lucky bogey out of the 12 bogeys or it's gone .. the FOOD!. The well suited waiters of rani give away the extra/leftover food at our platform. The food is very delicious. What we love the most is that the food is packed. We save the aluminium foil to make wedding rings for our late night games. The food is predominantly white bread fast food. The bread is soft, although sometimes half-eaten. What we look out for is the thanda. What i look out for is Youngistan in particular.

It was dusk and Salim started the oinking. All the rag pigers assembled quickly. One of the bogey is the kitchen. Oinks include: "second last!!" .. "no no 3rd from front!!" .. "just behind the engine" .. "in front of the toilet gate" etc. Everyone tries to disguise others by yelling what they felt wouldn't be the kitchen bogey today. Rani slowed down enough so we can jump on it's gates. Saheb started yelling too, asking us to behave. Now he was also among the oinkers !!

(taken from http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/rag_pickers/)

I jumped on 5th bogey from engine, still unaware of the result. A beautiful girl was looking at me from inside the bogey. She had put both her hands against the black window pane and had put her face inside them to increase the vision. She was looking all the more gorgeous in that pose. It takes about 15 seconds for rani to stop after we jump on it. I stared at her for that short & sweet period and for a moment forgot about my Youngistaan. It halts, everyone shouts. Policemen hurled his stick at us and so the gate opens.

I missed it. Missed it again. It was 3rd from the front. Salim got the food again. I am happy only because the one who yelled "3rd from the front" went to the 6th, what a loser!. I jumped back on the platform, took off my shirt and tore off the pocket; it's anyways of no use. I abused my luck and sat down. The sun is almost set. It's teasing me from the window pane, all happy and red. Smiling behind my back and making me see him through the pane; bastard !

Rani waits for about 10 minutes on our platform. I stared at the sun for 10 minutes continuosly. It set and my eyes quivered. I rubbed them and when i looked up at the same pane, i saw her. Sweet mother of all gods. I forgot her as i was busy with my disgust. I winked at her like Shah Rukh Khan and smiled like Aamir. She smiled back. She liked me.

Then i gave a head nod. She smiled again and came at the gate. It was stint time for me. I lied down and got up like Shaun Michaels from WWE. Then i took a curve sharply and jumped to the heaven's own gate no. 5. She laughed mysteriously and Saheb hurled his green signal; dreams shattered. That dog hates me, badly. He couldn't wait for a minute. I had no choice but to jump down. I waved at her and gave her a flying kiss. She went inside, came back again and threw a thanda bottle towards me. I opened it and took a huge gulp.

"Youngistaan" .. the name is perfect.

Jul 14, 2009

Kachroo - The Rag Picker

This is an attempt to write a small story on blog. For the title of the blog, my tributes to the director of "Daag-The fire"; the movie which started this rather stupid trend in Bollywood. Like all such titles, this one is also not a crowd puller. But, now that you are pulled, go through it:


I, I am ashmed at times when I say I. I don't have a name. I don't have a father. My friends started calling me Kachroo when i started working at the age of 8. My mother also calls me Kachroo now. She says she used to call me Aye and Oye before. Brutally, my name reflects what I do. I am a rag picker. I work and live at a railway station in India.

You should know that i am smart. I am the only rag picker who knows why our most sought after train, which we call Rani, is actually named "Rajdhani". No one told me; i just got the logic that it must come from Dilli and then I confirmed it with Saheb. He also told me that it connects the state capitals to our national capital, New Delhi.

'Yeh hai youngistaan meri jaan', i like this song on TV. I run towards Saheb's office when i hear these lines. Saheb is the most educated man on out platform. He likes to watch TV at loud noise. But, the black coat beast turns it down when he sees me jumping up his window. I do this exercise to catch a glimpse of my favorite thanda song on TV. I also like TV a lot. "Funny it is", my mother grins. She says i should not dream.

Actually, I don't like the thanda name. "Youngistaan", my smart brain doesn't accept this name. I think it doesn't go with the bottle. It should be something like "Ganga" or "Yamuna". Then they can say 'Yeh hai Ganga meri maa' .. he he .. I know I have a good sense of humor. "Funny it is", my mother thinks. She says i should not use my big cauliflower brains.

I said the name Youngistaan doesn't suit the bottle. It's not a strong argument. The argument should actually be for what's inside the bottle. I will give a strong argument one day, when i will taste it. Then i can surely tell you whether they should change the name or not. It's my dream to taste it.

(taken from http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/rag_pickers/)

Enough about my smartness. Let me tell you how i work.

You should first know that i like discipline in life. We have a big watch on our platform. Saheb taught me how to see time. To be honest, he taught me how to see a seven. He said when the small hand points to the toilet gate and the big hand points to God, its seven. As i told you, i like discipline in life, so, that's when i start and stop my work. 7am to 7 pm. Oh! the work..

..so in total, i collect around 50 bottles a day; around 20 of them from the toilet gate. Wonder how? .. it's pretty easy. Have you ever enjoyed drinks inside the toilet? No, right? Passengers finish and throw the bottles before going in and that's my 50 paisa!! My foolish friends still don't know this trick. My god, how smart am i? .. definitely more than a cauliflower. I hate my mother.

My favorite rag is the Youngistaan bottle. Out of the 50 bottles i collect, 3-4 are those, sadly all empty. I don't sell them. I hide them in the tank of the toilet. I have hundreds of them stored in all the tanks of the station. I earn just above 20 Rs a day and my mother takes away everything. I am trying to save from the last few weeks but I've got nothing. How can i taste it without the money then?

There are a few lucky friends of mine who got a chance to taste it without money. I hate all of them. All of them got it from rani .. the beautiful and fast, rani ..

.. to be continued

Jul 8, 2009

Hinglish - from rags to riches

Hinglish is where most of the Indians start their journey of being a dude or a dudette. They are not the culprits. The culprits are those who use it to show-off or desperately try to match someone or something.

Hinglish is the result of a Ramchandar trying to enter a suave city mall; a stranger trying to strike a conversation with you in a 3A train compartment; an over-age uncle of yours trying to convince you to go for higher education; a small town Linkin Park and Shakira fan; a Parkaas scrapping the Brazilian hotties on Orkut; a rich and dumb trying to hoodwink the police .. and so on ...

There is one particular innocent incident which left me in splits recently. I hope you guys know about the 'Pepsi first ball ka captain' contest held in the recent World cup Cricket T-20. The Pepsi guys only managed to get some of the hardcore Desi winners at England. The first winner was Ravinder. Here's what happened:

The smooching Parrot Gautam Bhimani (ESPN-Star fame) stands at Lord's, at the center of the stadium. He has Jonty Rhodes with him. Our Ravinder was the Pepsi first ball ka captain. He was supposed to bowl to Rhodes before the match.

Gautam, sensing the Hinglish loaded Ravinder, started talking in Hindi suddenly. He spoke 4-5 lines in Hindi about Ravinder to make him feel comfortable. But then with his L-guard on, he dared to ask Ravinder to speak a few words about himself. Our Desi tycoon started with "I am Dilli from Ravinder". Right on the money!! .. Gautam's balls must have jumped inside, proving the L-guard useless.

Ravinder was unaware of his stomach churning blunder. He went on to speak more but Gautam pulled the mic back. Unfortunately, Gautam had to ask one more question about his bowling style against Rhodes. With a deep breath, he asked "bataiye Ravinder". There was still some gas left in the tank. Ravinder had prepared the answers, all in English. He said "Not the spin. Medium, I will medium, medium, medium" .. and the mic was pulled back before the fifth medium. "Thank you", said parrot. I am sure he meant 'Thank you lord'.

But why to blame Ravinder? Many Asian cricket captains and players haven't been that good with English either. Munaf Patel is barred from public speaking. Inzamam always praised his 'ladke'. Urdish, is it? Younis Khan confuses miles per hour with kilometers per hour. The list goes on and on here too.

But i believe that Cricketers should be given the license to be who they are. After all, English is not what you expect from them; neither from Ravinder, Ramchandar and Parkaas.

"Ek Jamfal". In Hindi it means 'One Guava'. In English it means nothing. In Hinglish it means 'Example'. Now this was said by the steel king Laxmi Mittal in an interview with Vir Sanghvi. He also used "who" instead of "which" to address about his company. Now that's where you have a problem !! .. come on billionaire, take some accent and grammar classes ..