Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Many many moons ago, when i was young, the only days we were aware off were of two types; school days and holidays. Till say about 20 years ago, when my son was in kindergaarten, the only days they celebrated were Childrens day (Nov 14th-Chacha Nehru's birthday), and Teachers Day (September 5, Dr S. Radhakrishnan's birthday). Nehru's empathy with children was wellknown, and it rose above the executuve and judiciary and legislative aspects of his life. There was no StarPlus with its sans's and bahus, no ESPN with guys continuously running between wickets in some country trying to beat some other country, no nothing. Only Doordarshan. So the younger ones saw cartoons, documentaries on Nehru , punctuated with " Amchi Mati Amchi Mansa" the program with the highest farmer TRP's. The kids would draw a card at home, attentively colour it till the pencil pierced through the paper; never mind.... ; it was given and accepted with much grace and appreciation . If you had a garden, you plucked a flower, and clutching it as if it was gold, took it to school, to present it to your class teacher. Paanch rupaiyya, ek phool was blasphemy.
Once folks got a whiff of theimpending globalization, we were suddenly subject to an onslaught of Mothers, Fathers and Valentines Day. Not to speak of Friendship Day. Shopkeepers , whose limit of ambition had reached upto selling Maggie Noodles, suddenly started stocking, satin ribbons to be sold by the metre, for Friendship day. Nine shining inches of a silky ribbon , when tied on the hands of someone , you probably met only when you wanted some classnotes, signified eternal friendship ! Just in case your interest waned, or you appeared to be responding to your parents suggestion of not wasting money on such things, the TV channels ensured that you did the stuff , lest you be branded a kaku type...(unfortunate name, that).
I thought time had come to define certain indegenious days , more in keeping with our desi ethos.
1) BNBC (Be Nice to the Bus Conductor) Day. My eternal tribute to the BEST bus service of Mumbai. the buses may creak, rock, rattle, the driver may do the same, but the bus takes you from A to B, while the conductor exhibits an uncanny ability to slither through a packed bus from back to front, without outraging anyone (or anyones modesty). (Suggested activities : carry exact change, share a chocolate/chikki with the conductor, get up when he tells you to vacate a ladies' seat (without an argument or frown). Say Thank you to the driver and conductor when you get off. Ram-Ram is even better. See how he goes into first gear with new vigour on the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Rd.
2) HRD (Hamara Rasta Day). Please note that HRD has no connection AT ALL with a ministry of the same name. On this one day, folks should desist from saying "Kya ye aap ke baap ka rasta hai ?". (Suggested activities : take a detour around the bhajiwalla, instead of leaping close to the tomatoes; shake your head instead of mouthing something bad; exchange high-fives with the vadawallah after you politely move aside to let a truck pass a foot away from the stall.)
3) Hornless Day (HD) : There are a variety of ways ine can observe this. Keep your vehicle at home and walk. Be creative in communication through your vehicle window, if you are forced to use the vehicle at all. Glaring at a taxi driver and saying "dikhta nahi kya ?" does NOT earn you any points.... Drive at a sedate pace, so others are forced to drive the same way. Enjoy the scenery, the trafficjams, the dug up roads, the wandering bovine population looking for a relic of the past - a blade of green grass....
4) L+ Security day (Short Form unusable :-)): This will be ONE day on which the X, Y, and Z security types are left to themselves. The several jeeps, constables, inspectors, lights on vehicles and sirens can be put to much better use. And L+ will be a day dedicated to the Ladies Security . Remember Chivalry ? Well, Let the ladies get into the bus ahead of you. If you see someone pretending to be thinner than he is, and trying to squeeze through to the front of the bus through a congregation of ladies, make him remember his "nani", a super L+ lady. If you are travelling at night in the suburban train, travel after 7:30pm in the ladies dabba, not because its allowed, but beacuse the few ladies who travel late may feel they have someone to help them. If you see guys whizzing past on cycles and motorcycles dangerously close to ladies with glistening long mangalsutras, take a diving leap to stop the thieves, in a manner that Moammed Kaif would approve ....
5) BhajiwaliBai Day (BBD) : Avoid the Bhajiwalla Bhaiyyas (BB) on this day. Buy your vegetables only from the bahji ladies on this day. Notice how you get more of bhaji, suddenly. Say Mavshibai, and ask her where her hometown is. Comment on how smart her son is (who is arranging the lemons artistically), and pretend NOT to notice as she adds ONE more sheaf of Kothmeer in your bag.....
6)Immobile Day (ID) : Leave your mobile at home, along with the hands free kit. All those who think you are mad when they see you talking and laughing with yourself on the road, will be reassured. Music in the cacophony of buses is sometimes OK; but have you heard a Sonata in 392 Major, where "Saare jahan se achcha", 'just Chill Chill' and "kajra Re" continuosly play while you are trying to shout the name of the bus stop to the conductor ? And sometimes everyone speaks so loudly on the phone, that you wonder why the require a phone at all; just holler. All Talk time is permanently free.
7)Class 7 day (C7D): The immediate consequence of everyone getting hyper about classes 10 and 12 is that once the children go to class 8, parents get into PUSH Mode. Free time from 5 am to 8 am ? No Problem. Join a class. Last years highest was 99.9. Its always "WE mange More" (and I am not talking about the selection committee for cricket). Study, Study, beat your buddy, you must get 99.9999. On the occassion of C7D, take the children on an excursion somewhere. Honor the sportskids in your school. Applaud the artists and admire their art work and performances. Have some non-engineers, non-doctors, and some such , come and chat with the kids on what they do. Get your kids to visit an institute for differently-enabled special kids. Play cricket with them . Life consists of SO many things other than Engineers, doctors, computerscientists, and managers....
8) Local Train Day (LTD): They are the Lifeline. While we cling in doorways, squeeze into compartments, specailise in saying "zara sarkoon ghya " (just push that side a bit...), so one more can lay claim to 36 square inches of plywood , day after day, month after month, the motorman simply follows the Bhagwad Gita ; he continues to do his work, without expectation of any reward. Instead, whenever there is a train strike, and some senseless people take their anger out on trains, these guys get beaten up. NO one, and i repeat , no one, ever, waves , smiles, and says thank you to them, when they stand taking a breather at the terminus , in the doorway of their train cabin, waiting for the next signal to fall. So, on an LTD, meet your motorman, wish him well, introduce your children to him, and tell him you admire his difficult job. If he has an off period, have an impromptu chai with him along with the people in the railway dabba.
Any more Days you can think of ?