Thursday, May 15, 2008

The father who could

When I was 14, there was one thought in my mind:- the '99 cricket World Cup and how conducting it in England was a travesty. Yes, fourteen though I was, I was already a shallow human being with few things of depth to occupy my mind. Conducting a major cricket tournament anywhere other than the sub-continent or Australia was a horrible thing to do, for me, because it meant less runs, more polite clapping when someone struck a four or a six and rain. Rain which was like a very tall man had suddenly decided to stop over England in his world-wide walk and take a piss.

But certain physiological matters intervened and I was left wondering at this strange, new, but not altogether unwelcome or disagreeable, sensation that would present itself and demand attention every time I saw scantily clad women on screen. It started off innocently enough, when I began enjoying watching these women engaged in selfless social service. Badly choreographed, dimly lit, or horribly set-designed songs in low-end movies produced by high-end production houses contained these women. I felt inexplicably happy while watching this (I now realise)bad television series called 'Central Park West' that used to air on the then Zee English. There was this fine lady who seemed to enjoy nothing more than taking her clothes off in front of people at the slightest pretext. A typical conversation on that show, with her involved, would be something like this:-

Lawyer:- Ms. Fairchild, this is going to be a very difficult problem.
Carrie Fairchild(Fine Lady):- What do I do? I've been dragged into this...quagmire.
Lawyer:- Hmm, I'm going to have to say it'll be a tough thing to get you out of this.
Carrie Fairchild:- Well, in that case, let's get me out of these clothes. (takes off clothes)

Things like this would thrill me to bits and I would follow that show with rapt attention. It was one of the worst things on television and I loved it. I was, as you've rightly guessed, late to catch the puberty express and was trying my best to keep up with the rest of humanity by running after the train and waving my hands frantically; but the train ignored me and busied itself discovering sex and girls. I was left out of these important discoveries of the late '90s(along with the mapping of the human genome code) and had to make do with a job as a porter, carrying other people's emotional baggage around.

Railway industry metaphors aside, I realised a growing need inside me to learn, to know, to be aware. I turned to the only man who, in my opinion, had all the knowledge in the world, about everything. The one man who had guided me in times of crisis. Had single-handedly led me through my difficult periods and whispered words of wisdom in my ears when I found myself in times of trouble.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

No, I'm talking of my father, of course, not Mr. Vajpayee, that geriatric, venerable, yet gutsy and statesmanly old man who was a bachelor. My father, my hero, the only man I respected more than former Olympian Sergei Bubka, the only man against whose name I would brook no insult. I would tear up anyone who dared talk ill about him. Atleast, I would weep angrily and tear my hair. No, anyway, I turned to this giver-of-life for help. Having watched some bad sitcoms by then, and heard the stupid phrase "the birds and the bees"(now, has anyone seen bees mate, I want to know. How did this silly turn of phrase originate?). I had hoped he would notice that I was 14 and would spin the yarn, impart the wisdom, talk the talk, lecture the lecture, discourse the discourse.

So one day, we were travelling to Rajajinagar on his bike and he began 'Today, I'm going to tell you something very important.' This is it, thought I. This is where he's going to tell me....everything. I'm going to be an adult now, right now. I could barely hide my glee. And my sense of smug superiority because I knew what he was going to say.

"You must never overtake a lorry from the left side."

Three entire seconds passed with not a word said as I took this in. Three more seconds passed and shot me slightly inquisitive looks. I couldn't reply and waved them by. A full ten seconds after his sentence, I reacted. What, I began. Oh, I continued. Er, I submitted by way of conclusion.

"You must always make way for huge vehicles. You must indicate like this when you want to make a left. Autos never signal when they're about to turn, so you must be wary, careful, when you're behind them."

This went on for about half an hour and I was totally depressed. I had accompanied him hoping to know more about clitorises and vulvas and came away knowing more about carburettors and valves(he delved into the mysteries of the motor-vehicle body, instead of the female body) instead. My respect for him had not diminished(it still has not), but I was seriously beginning to doubt his capabilities of raising an adolescent boy. I turned to other, less credible sources for answers to my less-than-holy questions. Like high school biology textbooks and the then extant Zee Movies.

He's answered some important questions("Where do dogs come from?" "From that green basket." "Will you tell me a story?" "Once, there was this gun. It went around and shot everybody. Now go to sleep.") with elan. But this critical aspect of my development was so critically ignored by him and that led to a severe crippling of my social development.

That, and Vijaya High School.

14 comments:

karthikd said...

Ha ha ha! Brilliant!

Olle build up kotri, neevu. Shri driving advices ge.

CHEEKU said...

Aiyaa Arjun Sharma.. Neen Level Maga.. super kano.. I finished reading all your posts.. very very witty.. Keep writing..
How I wish I could write like u maga.. Training centre open maadthiya???

Parisarapremi said...

ಸ್ಪೀಕ್ ಟು ನೇಚರ್‍ನಲ್ಲಿ ಅಪ್ಪನ ಕಥೆ ಭಾಗ ೪ ರಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಕಥೆ ಹಾಕಬೋದು ನೋಡಿ..

tangled said...

fewer, my love.
fewer.

But hilarious, as usual. :)

a million different people said...

Haha, nice. The one time my father tried, he tried the Straight Up And Almost Dirty approach, while I could but only look at him warily. After a short while though, he couldn't help but ask me with that super incredulous look "Have you done it all?" Then I said "Of course not." and we spoke (bitched) about the neighbours. Thankfully.

being purple... said...

They tried to impart this knowledge to us in Health Ed class in school.

It was a hilarious class to sit through - for wise-asses like yours truly who found the question-answer round the MOST entertaining half hour during the school-day.

Here's an example - If a boy kisses you on *those* days, will you have a baby?!

Harish said...

Neenu bari sensationalize maaDode aagoytu. Aa post alli nee vote haakiddanne ondu doDDa suddi maaDide. Eega idu. Ninge journalistic principles-a illa. Alla illi adu bekilla. Aadroove. Neenu heege hogta iddre, nin blog TOI aagi hogutte. Aamele TOI much biDtaare. As a result Deccan Herald, which we subscribe to, readership increase aagutte.

Anonymous said...

get off the drugs??? what are you talking about???????
cheeku

Parisarapremi said...

[ಹರೀಶ್] ನೀನ್ ಬರ್ದಿರೋದನ್ನ ಜಿ.ಎಸ್.ಎಸ್. ಸ್ಟೈಲಲ್ಲೇ ಓದ್‍ಬೇಕು ಅನ್ಸುತ್ತೆ!!

wabbster said...

I've seen flies mate...

Oh wait, that was golf on tv.

Oh well...

Arjun Sharma said...

[Harish] Eno unrelated hypothesis-na formulate maadbittu, emphatic conclusions bere draw maadbidu. Beestini.

[Cheeku] Whatever's making you get all hyper and use multiple exclamation and question marks. :)

[Parisarapremi] Idu nimmibbarige bittiddu.

[wabbster] Heh, yes, I've watched live telecasts of cadavers just lying there that had more action than golf.

a million different people said...

Yes, ignorance isn't bliss.

When I didn't want to go to school because I hadn't done my homework, (college biDi, HW maaDdru onde, maaDde idru onde) I should've told my mother I thought I had herpes. adella biTTu, tale nOvante. Bloody. That too, in vain. Amma would mostly tell me to "STFU and get to school, I don't care a damn". (Some words like the F and damn, my mother thought, were better left unsaid, but since we anyway read between the lines, goodness gracious only.)

Anonymous said...

I used to get confused about the "stay-free" ads. They would come in between all these kannada serials(i didn't watch much of zee english). Sad girls would sud-suddenly become happy, jump around and all that.
Mom used to say.. go ask ur teacher!
anyway it took sometime and finally my classmate explained it to me!

Arjun Sharma said...

[a million different people] Thankfully, I attended schools that never assigned us any homework, because they knew we would never do it, and didn't care how we were punished either.

[Anonymous] He he, yeah, those girls would suddenly start playing badminton and stuff. I wonder, does it really make the bearer that happy? I've been asked to change my dressing style. Maybe I should try this. "For that upbeat feeling."

Advertisers have no fucking clue, do they?