Sunday, December 13, 2009

Indraprastha College Hostel Crazies

IP Hostel Girls with Warden Behenji and Other Staff 
Indraprastha College in New Delhi, India is one of those all women colleges supposedly to keep girls and women safe. It did to a great degree and somehow that translated into it being known as a 'behenji' college by other snooty colleges with no historical significance. Ha! Nonetheless, it has a rich history of being steeped in India's Independence Movement prior to its getting free from the British in 1947. Despite all its associations with independence, the hostel itself was run like an army camp complete with roll call and keeping close scrutiny on girls-in-hostel-campus! 

Recently there was a discussion about a swimming pool. I was there for 3 years but have no memory of a pool ever existing till a lone photograph shattered this misconception. This was also a time when near or in a pool, one had to be fully clothed! Instead of New Delhi, this could have been one of those Middle Eastern countries. Surely there was not much to hide, we all had similar stuff! Other than being the butt of each other's jokes, our virginities and modesties remained dry of all contamination. Nonetheless the glee on some of the faces near the pool reflected contentment and joy in the fanta (orange pop) and chips we all shared. 
IP Pool where being fully clothed was acceptable!

Behenji remained the quintessential warden with a puny little dog and a few chamchas. She probably wished all the boarders would have been of the canine species, so that she could have made pets out of us. But of course that was not to be and she remained the most mimicked human in the hostel. Other than that the entire place was a mad house with girls yelling and shrieking to sort out matters of which there were plenty. If we had the right to carry arms it would have been a bloody battle ground.

I happened to play basketball under the auspices of a complete clown masquerading as a coach. Now this coach was no coach, all he did was yell till he turned blue in the face. We were ready to drag him across the field to Behenji's office if he collapsed. Needless to say not one player ever listened to him. I think we came to practices with cotton stuck in our ears and went the same way for the games as well. The poor man must have cried with exasperation a million times. He must have also been tempted to plead with the opposing team to please let him coach them instead of IP rogues. We happened to get beat by St. Stephens College often. Maybe the male crowd helped those miserable Stephen girls to win or maybe it was our coach himself who may have wished defeat for us rascals. Thanks to this coach, not much came out of these, besides a few of us reaching pre-national championships, primarily a selection process for Team India, minus this coach. 

Vishal, Joyce, Shoma, Chhabi
Regarding the food in the hostel, I thought it was dog food that Behenji fed us but there are others who still drool over what was served. The hostel kitchen and pantry had an all-male staff for a girls' hostel, imagine that and within the strange atmosphere of Indian castes, these men happened to be very cool looking each with his unique swagger, good for mimicking by us girls. But the most popular man on the hostel campus was Premji! He was the man in constant demand by Behenji and us girls for all kinds of troubles mainly electrical troubles and our culprit heaters. There were girls who disappeared in the night and others who said Yes Behenji when the missing girls' names were called. We trained well to be criminals and accomplices. All in all it was a good time, an innocent time, a time of no worries and best of all, a time of no cooking and relishing aloo chaat and gorging on chow mien. 

Poem for Bapi then my friend now my husband.

(Written in November of 1988)
(Young Abi with Bapi's helmet)

leading the bidis
helmet with its head down
not jesus' but yours
donating tapes
sharing music

skin on the palms
rough but kind
to the souls around
two ears
with three minus one piercings
third one yet to come
huge head
big eyes
unkept hair
wild wild

a free bee
hanging loose
straps flying
keeping the leather on
in silence
and darkness
listening to the sounds.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Unnecessary America Bashing.

Why is America bashing the new sport of the world?

Could it be that some Americans themselves are the arbitrators of this trend. In India there is a saying 'aa bael mujhe maar' - which is an unnecessary invitation to cause harm to oneself. America is hardly an empire like Britain was and hasn't colonized anything per se but does believe in keeping its foreign footprint alive and kicking. It is unnecessarily apologetic about its actions but is also the first to reach with help in innumerable disasters around the world. 

Its people can speak and write about anything they want. In fact it has an overdose of freedom which allows its ill wishers to preach and celebrate as they wish. It is also one of those countries where illegals run rampant in organized groups and demand rights which should never be there to begin with. Its haters give speeches and expect full immunity from any harm. It is perhaps the only nation which allows vile criticism of its existence, its policies, its ways - and yet goes on. It has redeemed itself many times over - something that is rare to see in other nations which couldn't care a hoot about world opinion. Yet we have seen it abandoning policies which since its birth have been mimicked by countless nations around the world to bring in progress and pursue happiness.

Despite all its good, it continues to face the dilemma of being the only super power remaining - if it helps it's blamed for interfering and if it doesn't help it is condemned for being arrogant and aloof. Damn if it does and damn if it doesn't. America I guess remains an enigma for most.

Gadihokee and her Cats

This is about a friend of mine Gadihokee whose cats run absolutely wild; whoops the cats don't run at all, they are like statues or deep in thought perhaps planning coups and all. Now I hear another one has been added to the brood - meaow, ciow, and pow; the latter one not given to any sort of planning but merely to napping like the other two. The last time that my friend decided to go to another city, one of the cats hopped off a step and the other one slowly sauntered towards a car and hid under it. Word was sent to Gadihokee that her cats fell off the 4th floor and the other one was stuck under a neighbor's car. Needless to say a falling cat is not a cat at all but a fluff.

Anyway, Gadihokee took the next flight home, went cat crazy (with a flashlight) making all sorts of cooing sounds while going around the neighborhood wrapped in her blanket, waking up neighbors and generally behaving like a wild woman. Now if I were one of Gadihokee's neighbor I would have made sure that I shot from the hip at least one of the three - cat, Gadi, or flashlight. The latest in this story was that all three were discovered and in good health. Homeopathic medicines were administered to all three for trauma; psychiatric help was not needed. The flashlight was put away, cats were given milk, cookies, and razais;  Gadihokee took on a headache defending those insufferable cats.

Have a good cat nap everybody.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lateral thinking.

Thoughts by Joyce

Da Fish by Joyce

Just re-read Edward Bono's Lateral Thinking. A good way to start thinking creatively or differently about problems. Not something that conventional thought or education allows one to do. There is of course no one way to do things nor should it be that way. The same can be said for expecting different results from the same actions. 

Just small minor changes should do the trick. Many times people get bogged down just by the thought of making a change; that is why a bit of tweaking should produce results. When you throw a pebble in the water, it will create ripples unless you are trying to slide it in water. The idea is to create a ripple in your thinking just enough to see a shift. In short, get yourself a new thought and have fun with it.

Change your routine as some say. New things will be seen, new smells will come alive, new thoughts will surprise you. Boldness lies in thinking afresh and having the courage to start again despite all the hard work. Taking a different approach will be invigorating. I did my Master's in Films and Photography but gradually found myself drawn to writing and hence this first post in this Blog. 

Love of listening and finding cures lead me to Homeopathy which is a gentle but remarkable science classified under alternative treatment. I no longer pine for missed opportunities in conventional medicine although the money would have been good.  Nonetheless, Homeopathy is not so alternative in the East and Europe. Hopefully, it will find a way to come back in America as well.