All your base are belong to us

The Other Side

with 23 comments

Buried deep beneath the deep crevices of self centered euphoria, agony and emotions lie the few fleeting moments one is able to extend his vision beyond the mundane realms of everyday life to the flipside, what appears to us as the dark side. Call it what you may, history is too partial with odes to the triumphant and shadows of death to the vanquished.

It had all the markings of a quintessential rickshaw journey. Starting off with the usual bargaining, we finally settled on the amicable amount of Rs.50 (More on my legendary bargaining skills later). I should have noticed the signs when he tried to make small talk enquiring about my health. Generally I avoid any sort of conversation with the rickshaw-wallahs so as to simply not expose my exemplary hindi skills. Initially I managed to fend off some questions with the customary smiles and “theek hai” ’s and then the conversation took a turn. For the worse.

Note: Bhaiyya’s conversations were all in Hindi. It is imperative here to mention that I really didn’t get half of what he said. The other half which I supposedly got, again I’m guessing as to what he said. My understanding of hindi is primarily based on my logical skills, limited vocabulary and use of arbit English words here and there which let me pick up the context.

What ensued was total chaos. Read on….

Bhaiyya: Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi……. Twice a day, right. What do you say?

Me: Errrr…. <long pause> Haan Ji. Dhin Mein Dho Bar. Zaroori Hai.
What in the name of Christ are we talking about? Food? Medicine? Tutorials?? God…..

B: It is very important to study no? What do you think?

Me: Haan Ji. Bahut Zaroori Hai. Errr… <pause>… Meh Kya Bhola Tha…. Duniya Aise Hi……
Now what? I wanted to tell him so many things. Getting a good job, earning money and respect in the society. I didn’t know how to translate all this.

B (Proudly): You know what? I failed thrice in my class 8. Can you believe it? 3 Bloody Times.

Me: Nods head… Oh!!!!
What am I supposed to say now? Acha? Theek Hai? Koi Bath Nahi..

It was then that Agony uncle took over and I wanted to tell him that it was okay even if he had not studied much, he could always make his kids study and watch them become big shots though I was not sure how I was going to put all this into words.

Me: Aapki Beta ya Beti hai?

B: Kya……..

Me: Aapki Shaadi ho gaya kya?

B (Astounded at the question): No.

Wrong question. Bhaiyya became senti and entered rant mode. What made things worse for me was the fact he spoke in some sort of local dialect and I ended up understanding next to nothing. A few snippets.

B: Its been days since I’ve had my food… Days.. Do you know? Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi

And you talk of marriage? Ha! God save me.

(All this while turning at me and asking if he was right)

Me: A sympathetic nod… Sayi Bath hai bhaiyya.
What am I supposed to say?

B: You are getting married.

Me: Kya!?
Who’s the bride?

B: Suppose so. Then what will happen? The bride will come to your house. And then you will lose everything… Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi Arbit Hindi
And then you will be removed (What?) and then you will be alone.

Me: ……..
Why me? Why!!!

B: Yes I know it. I am not going to get married. What’s the point? Am I Right?

Me: Bilkul.
RJB, Where are you?

B: I am not going to get married. It’s a waste of money. I am unable to take care of myself with the paltry sum I earn, why should I get married? It’s totally useless, I tell you. You must listen to me.

And for a second, he cried… he actually cried. I did not understand his language. Yet, there was some kind of bond between which had transcended all sorts of trivial barriers. I could feel his words. Despite having no where in life come close to starvation, I kind of understood it was hunger which made him speak from his heart and not from the mind. (What I usually criticize people for doing!)

Atlast we entered the hallowed portals of our institute and for once I was overjoyed. As RJB came closer and closer Bhaiyya started singing a melancholy song asking for my approval every now and then. And as we entered RJB, he proclaimed loudly as if he wanted every single IIT’ian to hear.

B: Meh Pandit Hoon!

I have a very weird habit of assuming things and charting out a path for me in the future however unlikely that may seem. I could see it in my mind. Bhaiyya getting senti and refusing to accept money. Me, out of sheer kindness and good heart forcing him to accept money and going back with a good Samaritan feeling. Sadly, he showed his true colours by asking me for ten extra rupees. Terribly pissed at the failure of my premonition, I totally refused and walked away nonchalantly putting the note in his hand.

Despite the ironical ending, the usually unforgiving minute forgave me for I was able to see beyond myself. I saw the other side of the coin. However clichéd this may sound, I was pained that while everyday we crib about the routine aloo subzi and spend hundreds in the canteen, people just around us live a life that we can’t even imagine. And then I returned back to normal. Is life so cruel? Or is it the winner takes all policy that we all have no choice but to accept and move on.

Even as I finish typing this, Wordsworth’s immortal lines ring clearly inside me

“The Music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more”


Written by Chronoz

April 14, 2009 at 4:26 am

Posted in All about Me

23 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. hillarious, seemingly senti, what ever what ever… i think its high time the two of us picked up our spoken Hindi skills 🙂
    and on ur exemplary bargaining skills- i must confess u got looted. I went to the very same doc and came back last week paying 35 bucks 😉
    probably u ended up paying for being kept entertained during your ride 😛


    April 14, 2009 at 4:46 am

  2. Maddus alike!
    I didn’t read through the whole of it. The end became quite predictable.


    April 14, 2009 at 6:24 am

  3. Hee hee hee. First year lamb slaughtered. Within Rk, no distance is worth more than 30 bucks. Also, try keeping quiet once in a while. I’m sure you take after Murty, but I’ve told him the same thing. It pays. Thirdly, happy tamil(zzhhrruu) new year. Now you know why that phone call came in that early.


    April 14, 2009 at 9:38 am


    Oh dear Lord.

    And you tell me that YOU don’t know how to write?

    This was probably the funniest thing, I’ve read in a long, long time. Apart from my horoscope, that is.

    😀 😀


    April 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

  5. Bad at Hindi and trying to improve by talking to people with distinct other dialects? Not thinking with the mind, anyone? 🙂

    Btw, for you and Rapu, if anything I’ve only become less talkative after coming to R. I’m only my usual self with people I know and am at a certain comfort level with.


    April 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

  6. Christ, your Hindi is bad. Mine is too, but this is, for want of a better simile, almost as bad as Gunda. (If you haven’t seen the movie, do)


    April 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

  7. :D….And on a senti post. Nice…
    P. S. : 50 bucks???? To where, the city border??
    P. P. S. : And don’t you dare improve your hindi… It’ll be fun reading posts like these once in a while


    April 15, 2009 at 1:21 pm

  8. I’m a master of Hindi…
    Believe, Believe!

    And btw, why did you even bother replying?
    “I didn’t hear a word! Did you say something? Eh..Sry mate. Here’s the money. Now buzz off…”


    April 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm

  9. Nice One…hilarious for most of the part…
    Trying keeping your trap shut at times though!

    I had a similar experience ONCE with a Rickshaw wallah enquiring me about how much the education in an IIT cost…he had a daughter who was studying in Muzzaffarnagar!( I am not sure about the spelling…), felt bad for whole of my journey to home!
    And I handed him 20 bucks extra, not out of my free will, couldn’t deny…
    You were cleverer here!


    April 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  10. And Feminism Reloaded?!

    I keep telling people I am no feminist!
    Why don’t you believe that?!


    April 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  11. I once had a rikshaw-wala who liked to learn English. He was from my home state, naturally and had failed to get a job in ‘Laloo-sarkar’. However, he was doing more than well when it came to conversing in English. Almost as good as you are with Hindi I would say.


    April 16, 2009 at 9:57 am

  12. Macha, chanceless da.. There’s always a difference between on the phone narration and blog being read.. And this thing jus rocks.. Main pandit hoon was awesome on the phone though.. 😀


    April 16, 2009 at 10:54 am

  13. @Raghav: Your hindi skills are still a notch above mine, I can admit. As my favourite dialogue goes, “I only samjing not bathing” 🙂

    @RapGeek: It was to and fro though still I realize it was zyada. Happy TAMIZH new year to you too. 🙂

    @Shru: Aaaah…ahhhh..suryaaaaaa.. Thanks.


    April 16, 2009 at 11:05 am

  14. @Prachi and Rapu: Yeah, I should learn to shut up. 😦

    @Chaps: Thanks da. Meh Bhi Pundit hoon!

    @Lefty: Considering that Mulayam singh yadav is considering banning english from schools, laloo ji might follow soon and the rickshaw wallah will lose his fetish.

    @Mr.George.W.Mush: Wait and watch… I’ll soon master hindi. or atleast that was my new year resolution.


    April 16, 2009 at 11:13 am

  15. @Karthik: Master of hindi? Look I saw your hindi that day in Berchwal. And it gives me a superiority complex.

    @Dila: Subtitles hai kya?

    @HHH: 😀


    April 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

  16. @Prachi: You are not a feminist? I so believe you. Would godmother 3.14 be fine?


    April 16, 2009 at 11:20 am

  17. There are some people, who talk a loooooot, but tend to be really pure at heart, while there are some others, who hardly open their mouth, yet speak volumes through their silence. The beauty of life lies in distinguishing between the two 🙂 *smiles sheepishly*


    April 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm

  18. I see that the National Language has been a source of constant headache for my Maddu fellows. Don’t you worry guys; our former presidents Dr. Abdul Kalam and K.R. Narayanan have both been guilty of the same crime.
    Mastering hindi is really easy, easier than learning even your mother tongue. Till then, as Rajnikanth says- ‘Naan oru sollu solliyaal, nooru sollu sollamaattu’… speak a selected few words, or better still, don’t speak at all!

    P.S.- Don’t mess with the rikshaw-walas. Those basters can have their way even with seasoned pros like me, so you guys are pretty soft targets.


    April 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  19. Hmm…… 50 rs!! Nice !!!!
    And ur hindi!!! Nicer still !!!! But then, if u knew hindi, ur blogs wudnt be half as interesting (:P) !!


    April 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm

  20. 50 frikkin’ bucks! This is what happens when to rick your way to Haridwar! Anyway, ur hindi is abysmal… You need good tutoring. Fortunately for u, I do just that… charging a nominal fee.

    And when Bhaiyya said ‘3 bloody times’, what was the word he used for ‘bloody’?


    April 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  21. @nairji: Out of the ashes, I shall rise. And all you critics, will look at a pundit by this time next year.

    @neo-ed: Its not like your hindi is all high and mighty. Just a local maxima compared to the other southies and that’s not much to be proud of. And Hah! I’d rather buy a “Hindi for Dummies” book than learn from a maddu.


    May 1, 2009 at 5:23 am

  22. 50 bucks?
    Looks like I ve finally found a guy who’d be a great company for a sip of iced tea at nesci.
    Hilarious btw..esp with all those strong ’emosanal attaychments’


    May 2, 2009 at 11:30 am

  23. oye! i dont believe you actually understood even as much as u claimed u did… are u sure u were not romantisizing the whole situations.. after all, the last time i met you , you were obsessed with making tamil movies with dramatic story lines and “kuch kuch hota hai” was all the hindi u knew


    May 4, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: