Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Republic,and the Fog

The first month of the new year is almost over and the year is now longer new ! I realize that my phone's inbox is still full of "Happy New Year" messages sent during Christmas and New Years' eve, and it's time I deleted them to make some space.I also got a few during the Republic Day, wishing me a "Happy Republic Day". I of course thank the sender for thinking about me and having selected me from his phonebook before pressing the "send" button.

The "Republic" that we live in is of course 60 years old of being a republic, and that is no mean a feat. Not sure how "happy" we are allowed to be while celebrating this day,but frightened and gullible we surely seem to be getting. There are increased warning of "don't go to a mall some loony might blow himself and all of you alongside". Crossing state borders is increasingly difficult because the cops put up amazingly complicated barricades which of course slows you down considerably, but I have my doubts as to how many terrorists have they really nabbed this way ! Some trains were late by as much as 30 hours- they were advised not to travel during the night as someone feared that some other loonies might blow up the tracks. I am not being cynical about these efforts- human life is indeed precious and anything that can help lives to be saved , however ancient, however imperfect, however inefficient, is definitely worth the effort ! So that we can all live and wish each other "Happy Republic Day" and "Happy Independence Day " the next time too.

The other topic which took some prominence in the month of January is the dreaded Delhi fog.Conversations would always veer towards how intense the fog has been this time ! Many maintained that this was the Worst ever; it so happens that this train of thought is usually repeated every year by the proponents of these thoughts. Animated discussions happened over whether you could see ahead of an arm or ahead of the nose ! Airlines go bonkers and the blasted CAT III never works - it was never meant to , anyway ! There is always a sense of excitement and impending calamity - this particular feeling espoused by many a office goers who secretly hope that the dark fog may engulf the office building in such a blanket of impenetrability that no mortal can enter the premises for a good one month, at least . This feeling is usually the strongest between 7 to 8 am,every day, after which resignation to fate sets in .

Let's see what February has in store.May the cellphone operaters beat their last years sales from messages spreading " Happy Valentines' Day ".We don't seem to be having a "Pink Chaddi Campaign" this year- perhaps more exciting events are in store !!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Few Good Heads

"Papa, why are you bald?" my 8 year old son asked with innocent curiosity .

I was left groping for an appropriate reply which could satisfy his curiosity.Various thoughts flashed across my mind- androgenic alopecia,alopecia areata,alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis,etc,etc The grey cells effortlessly churned out various technical terms, symptoms, cause effects, etc, etc.I was on familiar grounds on these technicalities and I was about to rattle out the information when it struck me that probably none of these would really answer the "why" part of the question rendered earlier.

Baldness,after all, is something that the best minds in science have not been able to conquer,yet ! Many a fine heads went completely bald trying to figure out a solution to this eternal question; a mystery which hasn't been solved yet.

The onset of baldness is always accompanied by a sense of abject and complete denial.The phenomenon initially manifests itself in the form of some stray hair found in pillows and combs.The subject ( a term which we will use to describe the person who is afflicted) tends to initially ignore the phenomenon altogether and on increase of severity, usually maintains that the he is not the owner of the said hair and sometimes tends to attribute the presence to subnormal and paranormal happenings.

Some "subjects" maintain this demeanour silently while others are more vocal about this. They reject the notion outright and any other person suggesting that indeed the hair loss could be attributable to the "subject" can sometimes be subjected to violent outbursts of denials . "It just can't happen to me", maintains the "subject".

The above stage may last a couple of years, after which comes the stage of grim realization. This is when the "subject" starts realizing that his combs are running rather easily through his head, and dimly lit rooms get somewhat lighter when they enter such rooms, the natural laws of reflection having started to take effect by now.This stage is further characterized by mood swings, mournful sighs and bland looks at nothingness. The search engines start cranking , and the Internet ,the library and all other information sources are searched meticulously for a panacea.

The subsequent stage is one of hope. This is where the "subject" believes whole-heartedly that there "must" be a cure for this.Even if it hasn't worked for the whole humanity, the subject firmly believes that "he" is different and all medicines which did not work for anyone will surely work for him. That is when the medical economy gets a hearty boost, and any pill or potion which promises any sort of hair revival get their sales numbers met.Some subjects go through this stage surreptitiously while others are more forthcoming and their attempts visible.No medicine is spared, no oil is left untouched, and no advertisements from " Miracle Hair Growth Center" is unread .

The branded and advertised pills and potions are used interchangeably with "home remedies" suggested by various good Samaritans. These can get pretty elaborate and I shall spare you the details. Suffice to say that common ingredients includes eggs,onions, lemons, cucumber,ginger,chillies, etc. The "subject" is by this time best left unmonitored and uncontrolled , as failure to do so results in unpredictable repercussions.

All this while, the dimly lit rooms which I mentioned earlier now get considerably brighter when the subject enters the same. The combs are rarely needed now,although the subject still possesses and uses one.

The following stage is akin to that of salvation, or "moksha" . By now, the "subject" throws away the pills and potions. Various theories espousing the fashion worthiness of male baldness does the rounds including one which maintains that some bald males are attractive to women, a theory which has many hopeful takers amongst the males but has not been proven yet.Flattering similarities with Yul Brynner and others of his ilk are discussed and disseminated.This is a stage of acceptance for some of the subjects ,and passive resignations for the others.

And then to a very few souls, enlightenment strikes, and the answer to the greatest mystery of mankind emerges. Yes, to a very few,select subjects.

I turn to me son and reply "You see, God made a few good heads, and the rest-he covered them with hair ".

My son gave me an incredulous look, nodded his head, and walked away.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Grand Scheme of Things..

Perchance I happened to flip through albums of old photographs kept tucked away in some remote corners of cupboards not opened very frequently.The act was probably prompted by a sudden desire to go back to the past.Inexplicable and irrational, but these thoughts do appear now and then.

The photographs date way back to my childhood. Digital cameras were not in vogue those days and the photographs had the old world charm of film photographs aging gracefully with time . Aging ??

Yes, the photos are aging ! Some of them have curled up at the corners,while some have got stuck to each other in facing pages of the album.There are some black and white photographs taken while I was probably a toddler. Some of them are now turning Sepia .All of them hold stories of ages gone by, of sunny days and rainy nights, of happy contentment and abject miseries. Stories of days bygone, some distant and almost a blur in the memory, while some still fresh and crisp.

In today's fast paced life, rarely do we get time to get nostalgic. Demands of staying alive today and securing a future often obliterates the past. For some, the past is something best forgotten and done with, while for some it holds many a fond memories .

Faced with the various predicaments of life now, suddenly the past showed me the answer. After all, I did survive yesterday, so there is every probability that I will survive tomorrow as well . I lived through so many years, seen so many smiles, seen so much sadness, so there is every probability that I will continue to do so in the years to come. Our lives are a minuscule event in the grand scheme of things, and if you care to step out of "yourself" just for a while, you will realize that it really does not matter ! To anyone ! Yes, all our sorrows, all our happiness , all our pains, all our bliss- they are just small specks in the endlessness of time and space.

And so, if these things really do not matter,then why worry about them ?

Don't worry.. Be happy !