Be Careful of Cats, Particularly Black Cats

My grandmother had no affection for my lovely feline friends. She had a particular and a serious dislike for one such friend of mine that had a dark complexion. This jolly good friend had often found a way to enter my house in search of food and, if I may say so, love. I liked it immensely and named it Darkie. For giving such a name, I could have been accused of being a racist, I could have been tried in a court of law as well, but it was a cat and I knew cats could file no law suit; all they can do is say ‘meow!’ So every time I called Darkie by its name, it meowed!

The dark complexion of the cat, said my grandmother, was a sign of pure evil. To get some attention when Darkie came to me and purred and rubbed its body against my legs, my grandmother would say that the cat was cursing me in its language, that it was spreading its nefarious power over me, and that something bad would now befall me. She used to scold me whenever I had walked past a path that the cat had crossed before me. She used to say that I must call the names of all the gods and goddesses before I dare to take a step ahead. “But, granny,” I had objected, “the cat is going its way, and I, mine.”

She did not like the way I gave my time and attention to Darkie and she made faces and said that I had no respect for her, that I was arrogant for not heeding the words of a wise old woman. I knew, like any other cat, Darkie had a heart as well, and I could vouch for the fact that Darkie had a heart of gold. But my grandma said that if Darkie had a heart at all, it would be darker than its complexion!

My grandmother was unreformable. Her beliefs and opinions, though superstitious, were strongly held and she had lived with her opinions for over 80 years, so any newfangled idea hardly mattered to her. Before my grandmother bid adieu to the world, her last piece of advice for me was: “Be careful of cats, particularly black cats.”

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Big Brother Is Watching You!

Do you have an elder brother? What is he like? Conservative and dominating or friendly and humble? If you have an elder brother who is conservative and dominating, I feel pity for you as much as I feel pity for myself. If your brother, on the other hand, is friendly and humble, I will congratulate you, for you have a gem of a brother.

In India, as in the other parts of the world I assume, elder brothers are given great importance. Well, they may not be given as much importance as we give to our father and mother, however in the absence of our parents, the elder brothers (or sisters) play the role of one.

Now, from time to time – that is, on special occasions (which, I must submit, are rare in my case) – I like to indulge in a little drinking. Many people find it difficult to spend their time without imbibing a little on the night of 31st December (the night of the nights). A few days prior to 31st December, friends and neighbours start asking what your plans are for the 31st. When a neighbour asked me the same question, I replied to him saying that I was not doing anything much; I would just sit quietly in my room and have a glass or two of wine and have something to eat with it. My neighbour wanted to say something but he was holding back. At last, when he could hold back no longer, he wished his desire to have a drink with me in my room. That was the 31st of December and I wanted to say goodbye to the year in a high spirit and welcome the coming year with even more enthusiasm. I could have denied my neighbour to have a drink with me by giving some excuses, but then I thought what’s the harm in having a company who will only make the environment livelier while I drink? So, I said that he was welcome. He asked me whether I would mind if he brought in a friend of his. I said I would not. He seemed delighted to hear that. He informed me that he would join me in a few minutes.

After a while, he came to my room. Along with him came his friend and (well, yes, one more person) his brother. I looked at them, they looked at me. I was just about to say, “come, feel at home and make yourself comfortable,” but they did it voluntarily and I saved my words. The neighbour had something in his hand that was wrapped in plastic. When I asked him what it was, he placed it on the table and started unwrapping the plastic and said: “See for yourself, homie.” It was a bottle of Whiskey.

I sat on my chair. The neighbour and his friend sat on two chairs near me, while the neighbour’s brother lay down on the sofa (he didn’t join us). I had prepared salad and made omelette to eat while drinking. The neighbour suddenly had an idea and asked us to wait a few seconds till he returned. The sudden idea of the neighbour was a mystery to me. After about five minutes the neighbour returned and with him he brought a few pieces of fried chicken. “Excellent stuff!” he exclaimed. His friend gave a half smile and his brother seemed sad and occupied with some thoughts.

I had my wine with me. The neighbour and his friend drank Whisky (which I found too strong due to its high alcohol content) and chew on the chicken pieces. The neighbour’s brother looked at us all the while and I thought he wanted to join us. “Come, join us,” I said. But he did not come. I did not know what was stopping him from doing so.

I asked the neighbour: “Doesn’t your brother drink?”

“He does or he does not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

“Oh,” I said, “he is a good guy unlike us.”

“He is or he is not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

As we were drinking, suddenly, once again, the neighbour got an idea and he excused himself and said he will come back soon. Right after he moved out of my room, the neighbour’s friend locked the room in a hurry and then what had to happen, did happen. The neighbour’s brother jumped from the sofa and sat right in the chair where his brother was. He poured a glass full of Whiskey and offered his thanks to some god, dipped his little finger in the glass of Whiskey, sprinkled a few droplets and, without even mixing water, he emptied the glass at one gulp. “The chicken,” he said and he had one piece, thereafter he had many more. His elder brother never came back and, after a while, after thanking me a thousand times, the neighbour’s brother and his friend went tipsy topsy out of my room.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Hello Folks!

It’s been a while since I wrote something here (the longest gap so far). But writing something here has had always been at the back of my mind. For not writing a new blog post, for not reading something from the blogs I follow and like, I rebuffed myself every day. Alas, my excitement level of doing something new, something different, has subsided to a considerable extent.

With time I thought I would be a better writer. But then better writing demands constant writing. Again constant writing does not mean writing the same thing, or writing, time and again, what is incorrect without knowing that it is incorrect.

I write for my livelihood. So, to please the people I write for and to keep the auditors from marking me down, I end up writing what my fellow bloggers would call the mediocre kind of writing. That kind of writing does not come from my heart and I derive no joy by doing that. My organization and its small minded people have killed the creative spirit in me. I can’t give up my job either unless I get a better job at a better organization. However, times are hard. The market is down. Every organization is trying to cut down cost.

Now I am trying to recuperate my losses. From time to time I look back at what I had written earlier (two-three years ago), and I think to myself I was a better writer then than I am now. I once again want to be an active blogger and connect to my ole folks.

I earnestly hope that the next post I write does not say the same thing I said in this post.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Thank you, 2015!

You have been hard on me, you have been soft on me, you were sometimes neutral, you discouraged me, you encouraged me, you were kind, you were cruel, you gave me things I asked for, you gave me that which I never wanted – you, in short, were a year of contradictions, but most of all, you have made me mature, you have sharpened my senses; you have made me a stronger, better… for all this and more I will ever be grateful to you.

P.S.: I am happy!

When You Are In Love

True love is hard to find. Once found, there is nothing like it – it is complete bliss! Love makes the world go round, don’t you know.

To a lover, in the beginning, – yes, I will be talking only about the beginning stage of love, for, you see, gracious reader, I am a beginner myself – no one in the world seems as important as his/her lover. When you find your special one, friends’ friendship does not remain as strong as it were before; brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, relatives seem, all of sudden, secondary. Lovers’ love becomes the top-notch objective; lovers’ interest comes before anybody else’s.

It may seem strange to others, as it once seemed to me, how lovers often confine their worlds around each other; how upon the slightest utterance of one lover’s name the other brightens up, becomes somewhat restless, blushes. The way one lover takes care of the other, it seems to a lover, no other can do. The loverly love is divine (or so, a lover finds).

Everything to a third person may seem ridiculous, but only a lover knows love’s power. You must fall in love to know this, this peculiarity of lovers; what feelings/thoughts one lover evokes in the other.

Newly in love – my love, I ought to say, is true to the core – I feel elated and excited. I could not have gotten any other person as good as the person I have found. I love her for what she is, and she reciprocates. The woman I am in love with is the woman I am going to marry. I am not married yet, you see, neither is she married (you may verify this bit of information if you like, ha-ha!), so I believe we were destined to know each other; now I have come too far and I cannot think of not marrying her, and, of course, I cannot allow my mind, not even remotely, to think she would not be mine. Love is ours, and our solid emotional investment must bear fruit (veterans, don’t discourage me by some stupid funny quotes like this one: “A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.”). Our relationship is going great. In most of my waking hours I think of her, and, she tells me, she does the same. I feel lucky to be in love with her. She is, in more ways than one, better than me. But we don’t really make any comparisons. Our love is unconditional. Love makes a person humble. We stop being headstrong and learn to compromise wherever necessary. We crack silly jokes and laugh at them too. In short, I am happy with the way things are going; I am happy with my love life. I have learnt to be selfless, and now I am more concerned about her happiness than mine. I know if she is happy I will be happy.

More often than not, lovers are possessive about each other. My roommate often quarrels with his girlfriend (lover). They have a long-distance relationship; he stays in west side of the country and she in the northeast. They call up each other every day and speak for hours and hours. With them every petty issue slowly turns in to a major problem, and, when helpless, my roommate comes to me for advice and suggestions as though I am a love guru or something of that sort. Just the other day he had a long argument with his girlfriend. In the morning, he sent her some messages on WhatsApp and although she saw his messages but he got no reply from her. He saw her online and yet she did not respond to his messages. He was enraged at this. He called her up, her phone was busy; she was talking with someone, but who? At this thought he was further enraged. Every now and then when he comes to me with his complaints I try to console him as much as possible. Earlier, when I was not in love, I used to find this outburst of emotions unreasonable and superfluous. Now that I am in love I know this outburst of emotions is reasonable and genuine.

If you are not in love you would not know what feelings lovers have, why they are possessive about each other, why they act and react the way they do. You would know this and more when you are in love!

I like this song and I dedicate this song to my love, my dear Moon (by the way, Moon is her name), and to all other lovers like me:

Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS

The Old Man’s Spectacles

Today, just like any other day, while I was travelling, I witnessed a furious commotion in the bus. A guy of about 23 years or thereabouts was standing (for there were no empty seats) in the bus and lost his balance when all of sudden the bus jerked. He did not know where his hands or legs were going; his right hand grabbed an iron bar while his left hand clutched one arm of an old man’s spectacles and the spectacles came undone from the old man and fell where the bus driver sat.

Though the driver’s eyes were on the road ahead but somehow he saw where the old man’s spectacles fell, and while his right hand steered the bus, with his left hand he picked up the spectacles and cried, “Hey, hey! Take this!” The old man, possibly in his mid-sixties, with great effort reached the driver and the driver handed the spectacles to its rightful owner.

While the old man was doing a thorough examination of his spectacles, the young man (the guy of 23 or thereabouts) said sorry to the old man. “Sorry,” repeated the old man, “is that a medicine!”

“Old man,” the young man said, “do not grumble. Said sorry, na.”

“Hutt,” said the old man, “what a world! Throw my spectacles and say sorry!”

“You old man!” the young man shouted, “shut your ugly mouth, or do you want me to help shut it for you.”

The old man’s pride was hurt, but he was scared (perhaps his age was keeping him from fighting back). For a few seconds he did not say anything, but after a few more seconds the old man muttered something under his breath. No one heard what the old man said. Then, dissatisfied, he sighed. “But if it were broken,” the old man began, a little louder so that others could hear; “if it were broken, I would have gotten him to buy me a new one as compensation.”

“Buy you a new one, my foot!” said the rowdy young man. “Keep your spectacles at home if you are so concerned about it,” he added. It seemed the old man used the conditional statement keeping no one in mind in particular and keeping everyone in mind in general. But the young man felt, and was certain, that the old man was challenging him, and only him. “No,” continued the young man, “even if it had been broken, you would not have received any compensation, at least not from me, though I do not know about all the other cowards here.”

In his excitement and bravado, the young man had made a big mistake. He called everyone coward. It was a golden opportunity for the old man to get his lost pride back. “Brothers and sisters, sons and daughters,” the old man raised his voice, “are you all cowards? Is that so?”

“Hey you!” said a well-built man, pointing finger at the young man, “I am not a coward.” Then many voices were heard. Unanimously everyone claimed that they were not cowards. Everyone attacked the old man to prove they were not cowards.

Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS

No More Procrastination!

H-h-he-he-he-lo-lo-hello! I‘m a-a-al-l-l-li-v-e-aliveee! Excuse my stutter I’m begging you; it is extremely cold out here, you have to understand.

Well, I am not sure if anyone wants to know whether I am alive or not, but I surely want to tell everyone that I am. But, wait, what’s that I hear…

Hmm, dear reader, you say that you care for me, that you are happy to see me back, and what’s more, you say you have never been happier in your life than you are today because you are reading this. Fantastic! I never thought you hold me in such high esteem. You have made my day.  Dear reader, I love you.

There comes a time in a person’s life when he cannot do anything but procrastinate. I, too, am a person (and you have to believe it), so all this while I have procrastinated, and I was informed by many people (near and dear ones, mostly) that I have successfully qualified in becoming a master procrastinator. I want to pursue this activity of procrastination a little longer, as I came to like it very much, but I am not allowed to do that, because if I further procrastinate I will upset some members of my family, and infuriate the rest.

From now on then, I say, if I have to do something, by all means, I will do it. I will do it, that’s it!  But if by any chance I am unable to keep my words, I shall forgive myself.

Copyright © 2014 RAMU DAS