SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-‘welcome’

SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-‘welcome’

I had gone to the Municipal Office to sell books . The staff there did not know English- ‘give us Hindi books’ , they said. Still I was able to sell some ten books.

To return home , I went to the nearest Metro Station which is named WELCOME. There, the passengers told me to go to Kashmiri Gate and then come down to the ‘yellow line’ The station there is a four storeyed bulding . The ground floor is underground where I must board the train. Seeing my confusion a young man held my hand and took me along the escalators . He sat beside me , up to ‘Rajive Chauk’ I thanked him and gave him a book. “You can contact me ; my phone number is given on the back side.”

Thus we departed as friends.

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STORY-JUDAS

JUDAS
We three were fast friends. Damu and Ravi were hard core Communists . The Party was banned at that time and our activities were top secret, because Police was on the look out for members of the party.
I could not understand all that was going on ; I joined them because we were friends. They stopped studies after tenth standard, while I continued and joined the College. There I formed the Students Federation and we used to discuss politics , without mentioning the word Communism.
In 1942 the Party decided to support the Government war efforts against Japan and ban on the party was lifted . I graduated and married my class mate. I got a job as clerk in a Bank and studied for passing the qualifying examination for promotion to Officers grade Needless to say that I became Bank Manager in due course. In this capacity, I wielded considerable power, as sanctioning loans was a leaver to mint money. I forgot politics and my friends R and D called me Judas. “you have become a capitalist ,”D said.
I kept mum. They needed money and I gave them this nectar of life, which all needed. My wife had many friends . One was a havala agent , I learned later. I never bothered to enquire her bank balance. Wherever I was working, she bought or constructed a house. We had separate cars.
In 1942, the Party decided to help the war efforts of Britain , when Hitler attacked the USSR and Japan joined Hitler. General public hailed the INA of Subhash Bose, but Communists exposed him. The ban on the Party was lifted . After India became free, the Party reversed its policy in 1948, when the Randive thesis was accepted and called for armed struggle to overthrow Capitalist Nehru regime. I opposed this line and the rupture with my friends became complete . At Pariyaram, a Police station was attacked , some Policemen killed and guns were carried away. Later, D confessed that he took part in the attack. Police repression became terrible . Some CIDs in plain cloths watched my house too.
I managed a transfer to Delhi. When this policy was abandoned and the Party decided to take part in elections, I came back.
However, my wife’s involvement in havala was discovered and I was asked to take voluntary retirement.
In our old age, we three used to review our life. I had helped in the marriage and studies of their children and D had to agree:”It was good that you became a Judas. We gained nothing from politics . Now the Comrades do not even recognize us.”
I said:” Judas was not an enemy. His uncle befooled him, saying that hey want to save Jesus from the public by keeping him in jail. Poor Judas committed suicide”

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Until I became very old, I used to speak, without knowing where to keep silent, thinking that one has to speak, as otherwise, your friends will take you for dullard.
It took a life time, to learn the value of silence!
When enjoying the company of close friends, with a peg or two, to keep conversation going, our friend Nair, used to keep mum. It is when you watch others talking, that you really appreciate their company. Some of them may be really knowledgeable, and you can learn a thing or two.
Some gifted people keep you spellbound by their rhetoric.

OUR HOUSE

The green hills and rice fields, water gushing forth through streams, foaming and frothing,

Bright sunshine, cool breeze tickling the bamboo that swings and sings,

In a language known only to Him, what else do I need?

The cuckoo calling its mate, vines weighed down with grapes, swaying gracefully,

With plenty of friends, what else do I need?

The original poem composed by poet G.Sankarakurup, was in our Malaylam text book for second standard and I liked it very much. I have taken some liberty in clothing it in English language which I hope, has not totally disfigured it.

Well, our house under construction is situated in the idyllic setting described by the poet. It is a modest house, even by our Indian standard, with just two bed rooms. As it is the land’s end, with rice fields which become a lake in rainy season, it is the quietest place you can ever come across.

There is a Sastha temple just a minute’s walk towards the West and a large pond where people come to take bath.The rail line from Shoranur to Kochi, runs through the middle of the fields in the East.

We hope to shift to the new house in September.

MY INFERIORITY COMPLEX

My height is slightly less than 5 feet 3 inch.

My legs are too short to ride a bicycle.   Children’s cycle is comfortable.

My friends assured me that I cannot impress girls.

To cap it all, my poverty. For a middle class man poverty is a matter of great shame.

I was extremely shy to speak, even if all are well known. The sound will not come out. I cannot even sign because of a nasty tremor wich agonised me, because, in those days there were no ball point pens and I have to sign in the salary bill,with ink pen, in the presence of people. I feared the first day of the month, when salary is disbursed !

Inferiority complex can have a damaging effect on one’s career. I could never make an impression during an interview. I was happy that I did not have to face the girl whom I was to marry.

Two things lightened my days. Books were always my friends. In the school, I was always a hero, because teachers and students always like a bright pupil.

A HUSBAND IS A PITIABLE CREATURE

Many men are afraid of marriage. As Bernard Shaw said, if you marry, you will repent immediately.

But they will not allow you to enjoy your freedom indefinitely. Mother needs an assistant when she gets old. A number of fathers will try to get you entangled for their daughters. In India, an unmarried girl is a curse on her parents. If nothing else, your friends come forward to help you. I think such things are unknown in the West.

Once married, there is no going back. You are tied for seven lives, one after another.

Every day you have to bring vegetables, milk and such things in addition to taking her for shopping, cinema and visiting friends. As soon as you come back from your work place, tired and angry, on account of the bickerings and fights with your colleagues and the irrational Boss, she will be waiting, fully dressed, to go out. Not her fault, as she is kept inside the house, bored to death. Well get fresh, change your dress and go out.

When children are born, at least two, there is no end to your worries. Worries are multiplied, with the children fighting each other, then school, tuition, home work and all that.

Wife falling ill, in-laws coming and all sorts of complications.

If she is beautiful (who will marry an ugly girl?), you are suspicious of that idle fellow, who is always so sweet and glib tongued.

And, when you want to do it, she is not in the mood.

Before you realised it, your daughter has grown too big. Now it is your turn, to hunt for a husband for her.

W-I-F-E means, Worry Invited For Ever !.

KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND ENJOY

We all want to talk; it is a weakness.

Some practice silence, especially on selected days. I like to remain so, except when I get the company of a few friends who like to hear me. After a few pegs the silence melts away and I too become tongue loose!

In Railway Audit, we had a colleague, P.S.Nair who never talked. Even after several pegs of hard drink, he will listen to all our conversation, smiling all the while. I used to say something foolish, thinking that it is unbecoming to say nothing among friends. It took a long time to understand Nair, who left this world very early in his life.

While sitting in the back seat of a bus, it is funny to watch the back side of the heads of fellow passengers. There is great variety, as the faces have. No two heads are alike. Hair style and even baldness do not resemble one another.

Or listen to what people say or fight about. Now, inevitably, the mobile phone has changed everything. Young and old are alike bonded through this mysterious force.

Some have no respite from talk; either calling or answering, all the while.It costs money.

Or is it free?