Memory Lane’s ‘Pash’

(Drafted: 23rd July 2012)

‘Pash’ Khosla  never got herself threaded, or in her words ‘made’. Nor did she ‘destroy’ her body the way women do today.

Pash Khosla (née Sohni) by Tanisha Sharma
Pash Khosla

”Does she ever let me say a few words, or complete a sentence?” her daughter in law quibbles from the kitchen, as Pash talks to me. The kitchen is not a place where her daughter in law has been constrained to, but one she feels obliged to function in. And so she unloads her pent up frustrations from there ; about how her mother in law must see, hear and have her say in anything that takes place within the walls of her house.  “She even instructs me on how I should make my hair”. However, one glance at the venerable lady, with permanent smile lines and bright eyes tucked behind paper thin, crinkly lids and this complaint loses its fire. If it had any at all. Mothers rarely grow out of their ‘instructing’ ways and I bet in Pash’s eyes she was merely fulfilling her duty.

The Other Mrs Khosla by Tanisha Sharma
The Other Mrs Khosla (Daughter in Law)

Prakash Sohni is her birth name.

Writing ‘Ram’ in the countless squares of her gridded notebook, she finds solace.  With silver hair flowing from her temples to the nape of her neck, she recites mantras from a timeworn book, through creased lips that inflate and deflate with every word.

Her and her daughter in law are more in sync than they realise. Whenever they have something to say, they express their statements simultaneously. Whoever has the chance of being in their company is subjected to stereo-sound banter. I have often felt their words squeezing into my ears, sparking and melting with one another.

Prakash  wanted to go to the temple yesterday, and she was taken last night. Today she wants to eat chaat, so perhaps she will be treated to some this evening. “She always gets her way and then acts as if we do nothing for her”, her daughter in law mumbles as she sweeps her shopping plans to the side.

Pash needs to look forward to something everyday so that she doesn’t have to dwell on her memories,  good and bad.

She’s the only person I know who has lived in the thick of Delhi’s blood soaked streets during the partition. When I asked her about that period in her life,  her face changed to one tinged with melancholy. At first she refused to relay what she witnessed, “Please child, don’t make me remember.” I retracted, and then she slowly told me about  the bloodied bodies she saw on staircases in the neighbourhood, and her brother ducking on the floor of a Muslim commissioner’s jeep in order to escape from a village outside of Lahore.

He escaped with his two friends and a 14 year old girl who had lost her parents. They were driven to Amritsar and took shelter in the Golden Temple, like many others. Prakash’s brother survived, but was haunted by the image of the young girl whose only words were    “Mujhe ghar jaana hai” ( I want to go home) which she whispered repeatedly throughout the ordeal. She would take a tiny helping of food and retreat to her spot; a small space close to the roof , until one day she was found dead there and no one could hear her pitiful voice again.

Hands of Wisdom by Tanisha Sharma

Pash has more than a dozen grandchildren and at the age of 88 (which is a rough estimate since she doesn’t know when she was born) she is ready to pack her bags and catch 20 hour flights to meet them.  I’m glad I got to know such a fiery woman and look forward to meeting her again.

I’m not fun enough to think of a title.

Today was a strange one. A girl I’ve never talked to /knew ever existed was forced to share her grammar exercise book (yes, grammar bo-stop laughing) with me today (is her name Esther-I’m not too sure) even though she made a face at first (she grimaced actually). At the end of it all , I could tell that she was surprised at how great my company was.

Let me tell you what she looks like:
She has bland lemon shaped eyes.
A spotless oval face.
She wears her blue black boring hair in a long plait (or does everyone call it a ‘braid’ now?)
Usually, she wraps herself up in a nylon-synthetic salwar kameez (that has aunty prints, you know, the green leafy stuff).
She loves a plain dupatta (or for non-understanders, a scarf) across her neck…Like a throat band.

This is what I aim to be

She hated the fact that she was asked by the Prof to remove herself from her row of viking-pixie friends and sit next to the loudest mouth in town (c’est moi).What was worse for her, was that her personal belonging-the grammar book, was going to be ‘touched’ by me and therefore soiled forever, bringing down the standards of every item that it came in contact with. The book was shifted away every time I tried to reach for it. Damn.

She grimaced.

What  a ‘cartoon’, as they say in the capital. They also say “thappar maaroongi” out of affection. That sounds like a threat as it translates into something like “Ima slap you!”. Oh and “maar hi daalogey” is another one. It’s a compliment. In english, it means “you’re just going to kill me” (with what? Your good looks? Your amazing cooking? The mind boggles). The capital drips with violent love. If we slap you it means we love you, and to kill you-well you’ll just have to be amazing at something.

C'est Moi.

Soon after this person (whom I’m secretly jealous of, because she’s 10 times more behenji than I am) sits next to me, with her legs hanging over one side of her chair. In my world, you either sit like that when you’re at the table when the food’s a drag, or you’re ready to leave at any given moment.

Now, within seconds after I had apologized and thanked her a million times (the best way to annoy someone), I then concentrated on getting my hands on her book (that’s all I really want). She miraculously realizes that I’m a wonderful person (heh) that she is now friends with (mmm) and decides to make ‘hanging out plans’ with me ( what’s with my english).

Sports' Girls are really out there with college outings. They're also really awkward to stand and bend around.

What’s the plan?

To join her and her pals (or pal-only the viking one was interested) for an organized picnic for everyone in Arts. Did you just fall off your chair when you read the word ‘picnic’?
If you didn’t, then you’re a convent educated dearie who has ‘sweet sweet’ memories of school outings, where you’d be allowed to share a field with boys from your ‘brother school’. Well, in this case, it’s actually different, okay. There are no males in the scene at all. “If boys are there, then problems are there.”  And it’s a little iffy , because the venue is called ‘Worlds of Wonder’. Hey at least it’s not ‘Wet n Wild resort’ (Gurgaon). That would have been horrible. What a horrible name. Shame on those people.

My new best friend (Esther?…Pallavi?….Jane?)  told me that I should go and have fun in life, instead of just sitting around and doing nothing……Holy smokes she knows me too well, and how!

People who apparently know how to have fun. I've just seen pictures of them oozing with sweaty drippy make up and tight bulgy looking clothes.

If I don’t go, I’m not a ‘fun’ person and definitely repudiate the title and position I have achieved in my life. That of a ‘Behenji’. If I do go, the people who have been forced to be my friends will have a great excuse to run away. That too, with speed.

Anyway, I caught this music video of some band of boys in Iran. It makes me laugh and lets me jive. Please tell me what you think about it, and which of the 4 is the hottest according to you. My pick is the camel.
Oh but it is funny. Good job. Note how the woman’s hand is covered in a glove…Sigh.

I Survived a Fest!

Barely a week to put up an entire photography exhibition from scratch in front of a crowd of 17000 (that’s right..Crazy ain’t it?), me and 16 other girls (plus their friends who got no credit for the amount of hardwork they put in) banded together with grudges and inhibitions to gather photo submissions from people who weren’t keen on coming to our annual college festival , and seeking numerous  permissions for various little changes from teachers and staff who didn’t really care! We managed to get it done, and here are a few pictures of what the results were like:

So that was that…And amidst the other drama we had regarding a certain company that kept on badgering us with their weird demands, I managed to get backstage for the Choreo Competition. Here are a few shots from our college team’s performance, see if you can follow the steps!

The Suraj Kund Mela 2012. My First Mela Experience!

Entering the Gateway of The Suraj Kund Mela 2012, Faridabad, Delhi

They had fascinating crafts and clothing from every state around the country
When you walk in, you get the feeling of being in some village that has been stuck in time. Don't let the arid look fool you, because the mela was huge and endless. There were umpteen stalls that took over acres and acres (literally) of this land.
This year's theme is 'Assam' an eastern state famous for its 'Bihu'. They have a really long Assam stall-cafe serving you decent sized thalis and other snacks which I had never even heard of
States as far as Tamil Nadu had stalls show casing their famous fabrics. I was surprised to see better quality prints and cottons here than what I found when I was actually down South! And the prices are not ridiculous, considering the kind of material they had
It's good to go to a place where you can still catch people working behind the scenes. This is a man from one of the Assam stalls putting together flower ornaments
At the Lucknow stall a very personable 'Nawab' looking guy sat in the throws of running Chanderi Cotton. It was quite obvious that the stall owners/workers were accustomed to people with cameras
Click on the Image to Get a Larger Experience!
It was a beautiful day , with the sun out and the colourful umbrellas, lanterns and carpets from Gujarat and Rajasthan. What was better about the Suraj Kund Mela was the fact that there was an abundance of space, which allowed grand displays of crafts. You won't ever find such sights in any other crafts market
What I loved, was the sudden burst of 'Mela-ness' you got to see. While bending down to inspect the pottery, I was suddenly mesmerized by the old fashion ferris wheel up in the sky
I have never seen woolly shoes with woolly laces before! From the Himachal Pradesh Stall
Well they had put up a make-shift temple for the Mela.......
...With make-shift priests too?...Hmm.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term ‘Mela’  it means ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ or a fair.

The overall experience of the Suraj Kund Mela was an outstanding one. Set up in the folds of the Delhi-Gurgaon-FaridabadIt took me back to a time where people from nearby villages would collect for such an event. Stalls were put up showcasing such talents from every nook and corner of the nation. It really makes you feel proud…And you will definitely enter gaining the happiness of a child!

[Remember to click on the images to get a larger experience]

A ‘Howdy’ From Hindu College, New Delhi

‘Mecca’ The Hindu College Annual Fest

We read that it was the ‘Baap of all fests’ every where on every poster, but ended up spotting real interesting Baapus on the campus.

I presumed he was a gardener..But then again he could have been any other bloke chilling with the flowers and bushes.
There were quite a few of these extremely Hindu looking men, adding to the aura of 'Hindutva'
And if you stared at them long enough, they turned out to be quite creepy. Like Hannibal Lecture creepy. Mum said they're always high on drugs. I think I might have nightmares tonight.
The surroundings were spaced out and quite quaint
In some corner or the other, people did recreational activities, like balancing off each other with stern faces

What I loved about my visit to Hindu College, was the fact that I got to hang out a typical North Campus area with (boys) good maggi, street stalls, the sight of people everywhere practicing something or the other, loads of colleges all around, and the fact that it made me miss my own college even more. I walked out of Hindu almost whacking myself for taking things granted about the place I study in; its grounds, crowd and general homeliness to it, really bedazzles anyone who waltzes in.

India’s ‘Crime Patrol’ Succeeds to Stupefy

Last night I bothered to stay awake and watch this:

Crime Patrol Episode 60

It’s Sony channel’s much sought after show, usually dealing with re-enactments of real life cases which have taken place in every nook and corner of this nation. This particular episode took place in Gurgaon- a so called new urban cosmopolitan township off the Southern tip of Delhi, in the state of Haryana.Now this is no rumour or folklore, but patriarchal Haryana scores pretty high in female foeticide and Khap Panchayat ‘death’ rulings. The episode tells us the story of Ankita Sharma, Continue reading “India’s ‘Crime Patrol’ Succeeds to Stupefy”