Category Archives: chamak challo

Magic, Madness and Marriage

I have always hated stereotypes from the first ones in school (the foreign return, the english punter, the math guru) to the ones in college (the mallu gang, the football player),from the ones at work (the go to guy, the party animal, the player) to the everyday variety (Malabari, Saala Madrasi, etc etc..) While on hindsight some were pretty accurate (was a football guy all thru school and college in a cricket crazy nation, still can do math in my mind) I hated them coz they limited me. Being born to a passionate communist father helped in creating a belief system that everything can be challenged and the divisions are all crappy. Later realising that the same person also had kind of stopped fighting about it was disheartening. Now, residing in the Middle East, the divisions are stark. The country is divided on the basis of skin color, religion and nationality. The locals obviously are the kings of all creation, with hardly any offenses being punished, the English are accepted as a necessary evil, responsible for creating a fake image of a country that is embracing everything western, the Indians most populous of the expats are considered nothing more than cheap labour and rarely appreciated, the nepalis are completely ignored and the srilankans dont stay long enough to create any issues. The filipinos are used mostly to fill up the malls as sales people and all other arab expats use islam and their neighbourly status to pass off as locals.

The magic of it all is that it seems to be working, everybody seems satisfied in his place. add to that the fact that education is being recognized, talented people get better pay and on the whole language barriers are breaking down – Arabs speak Hindi, Nepalis talk English and the English speaking are learning a smattering of Arabic words. Me, I am waiting in the wings, looking for my next opportunity to pack my bags and move to Bangalore.

The madness of it all is the way people react to it. They dont. They silently sit by earning their two pence, sending it home, building an empty house back in India for no one in particular, educating their children, getting them married and then retiring to a country they left 40 years ago to live out their days with more empty houses for neighbors. I cant think of such a life, such a waste. All the promises of a life ended behind a desk in a foreign country, earning and saving more than Indian standards with no opportunity to spend it, making friends with people who you wouldnt give a second thought about in India because you have no choice and then complaining together about how India is going down the drain.

The marriages are the funniest here, everyone looks at a potential bride / groom based on their employable skills, anything more than that is a bonus. The women who work here as nurses are luckier than most, becoming rich overnight and being courted by hundreds of prospects just because it means a bigger package to send back to India. Which works fine for me, coz i just told my parents i am never marrying a nurse 😀  Leaves me with even more of a single life than is acceptable back in India, much lesser pressure from parents and family, and a lot more free time than is healthy.

Chammak Challo – III

Our lady CC has not stopped her antics and still finds a way to remind us all of the small things that make life so interesting..

A few years ago, in the famous Anand theatre in Hyderabad, our very own CC joined me and the gang for a movie (Tashan on the irst show on Saturday).. True to her gender tradition she was late by a nice half hour, walking in she found a seat next to Vermaji, a true delhiite. Vermaji never guessed when he woke up that he was gonna end up in a movie hall with CC. Late as she was, Tashan being the movie it is nothing was lost. But CC is not one to let a story go by, so she started asking Vermaji very innocently her typical questions. ” Yeh Kaun hai ?” ( Who is this ?) ” Yeh kya ho raha hai ? ( Wats happening now ? ) ” Aise kaise ho sakta hai ? ” ( How can that happen ?). Kindly note that the movie was well beyond any understanding for all of us and there was nothing to be figured out based on what she missed.  But Vermaji dutifully answered all questions from a random stranger for the rest of the movie, walked out with a very happy CC and then vowed to never watch a movie with her again.

Then a few months later, CC got to know that Varmaji has vowed eternal distance from any movie theatre she is in. Non believer that she is, she walks up to Vermaji and he denies any such thing ever happening. Another movie is planned together and on the promised day both of them show up on time very much the best of friends. For the gang just watching Vermaji try to not squirm when her voice sounded was enough of a treat and the movie “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye” turned out to be more fun than anyone else in the world.

CC still is trying to figure out why we all laugh so hard when Vermaji is near her. Vermaji still tries to figure out how can he can tell her shes very irritating in a movie hall without breaking her heart.

While the two of them are miles apart now, heres hoping we all get together to see another movie someday, somewhere.

Chamak Challo -2

Alrite here’s the second installment to the tales..

 Our lady, CC used t ostay in a room with a couple of her friends somewhere in the urban jungle that is north india.. one day she had a whim to have soemthing different to eat.. So she set off to Mc.Donald’s with a friend in an auto ” Bhaiyya , take me to McD’s” says our lady and the autowallah dutifully takes her there not charging the exhorbitant amounts they usually do.. But our heroine not finding anything to match her tastes decides she needs Indian after all.. Walks out with her firend , hails the first auto she sees , gets in and says ” Bhaiyya take me to Bhollu Bhaiyya Chats please”.. now for the unitiated the abovesaid Bhollu Bhaiyya chats is not something like universal bakers in hyd or sweet chariot in blore.. it is a small pushcart that stands below her apartment everyday at around 6.. The plight of the autowalla was even more awful once our lady realised her mistake because she could then not stop laughing at herself long enough to tell him the actual location of her adobe.. How she finally reached home is another story.. saved for later

Chamak Challo -1 (Part of a Series)

There is this girl i know, lets call her Chamak challo for protecting her identity. These are original stories from her very extraordinary existence.

The one about Dust in the Eye

Our herione, CC for short, was riding a bike with her mother on the pillion along the very empty roads of her hometown in India.. Since the traffic was low and because she never actually rides slowly the speedometer was also at the higher end… A sudden burst of wind and the dust that seems the curse of our roads was up swirling around her, a little went to her eyes.. (Now, the logical thing would be to stop the bike and wait for the wind to pass but our lady defies and denies the existence of any such thing).. She just closed her eyes and rode on, after all with noone on the road how bad could it be?  her question was answered shortly by the pavement she found herself on beside her mother.. Thankfully her mother is yet to find out the reason for the fall yet..

How do i know this? the lady in question doesnt think twice about spilling her rather humorous accidents to anyone who is willing to listen..