2 minute noodles…a recipe for divorce

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so goes an old saying. After the first flush of love…nay, after the first lust of love is over, what remains is how a couple look after their roost. While the man is expected to master the intricacies of shopping and help about at home, he expects his wife to look after their children as well as the child in him. Cooking delicious meals for the family is a part of the essential skills which a woman should possess. Of course, nowadays she is also expected to add to the family coffers by going out to work. That’s why women are the goddesses of multitasking.  But that is subject for another writeup.

A man married a suitable girl. She was a complete package, pleasant looks and good education. But what clinched the deal for him was the added information shared by his would-be father-in-law that she was a fast cook; that she could conjure up tasty meals within 2 minutes. Since he was a busy person he was impressed, now that he wouldn’t have to wait for the meals to be prepared.

On their first day together, after a night of frolicking under the sheets, she prepared the first meal, a breakfast in literally 2 minutes. A bowl of noodles! Being totally satiated in the night the man indulged his wife, thinking that she must be tired due to their antics. Then the fun began. A bowl of noodles followed for lunch and rounded off with yet another bowl of noodles for dinner.  And then the cycle continued every day.

Once the passion of early married life evaporated, the man was finally struck by realization. His wife was a one-trick pony. The secret of 2 minute meals was noodles and that’s all that she could prepare  to feed him.

Since she could no longer find a way to his heart through his stomach, he made his decision. He filed for a divorce. To his surprise and relief, the judge too believed in 2 minutes justice and the divorce was granted in a jiffy.

Last heard, the man is looking for a new wife and his only condition is for her to be a great cook serving a variety to the satisfaction of his culinary tastes.

Yatindra Tawde

 

They came, they saw…they burped

They arrived at the boundary.

This was the same area where their forefathers had frolicked through the wild foliage.

Now they saw nothing but a tall structure with small openings which the current dwellers referred to as windows and galleries. The couple was used to seeing the current dwellers, though similar in appearance but having colourful skins, in the pond premises nearby. The current dwellers were curious about them and fed them random food. And the couple and their friends welcomed these colourful dwellers due to easy availability of food.

However the couple was most curious about the tall structures and dreamed of raiding them.

Thus today they were at the boundary where they faced their first hurdle. Upon reaching the boundary 3-4 ferociously barking dogs welcomed them with a cacophonic chorus. But the couple wasn’t afraid for they had full confidence in their own gymnastic abilities. For, in no time, they had crossed their first hurdle, though it was hurtful to their ears.

The next hurdle was some tall dweller in drab skin, carrying a long stick. They teased him by flicking the cap over his head and then showing him their behind. As he ran behind them, the pipes on the tall structure came to their rescue and soon they had climbed to the fifth floor. For a brief while, they let their legs and tail dangle over the parapet and enjoyed the view of the pond, from that height. They had reached so high for the first time in their lives and one of them started having a vertigo induced swoon. He tried to grab hold of something and in his haste, managed to push a window open. That made his partner curious about the inside of the dwelling and he jumped up to look into the window.

He gestured his partner to come and have a look and both of them were itching to enter inside. This went on for a few moments when they looked inside and glanced at each other and then again looked inside.

When, for a longest time they saw no movement, one of them jumped inside with the other quickly following behind.

Their sharp nose and eager eyes darting across the room, quickly espied…FOOD!

MANGOES!

For the next few moments all hell broke loose as a lot of mangoes were consumed in a wild frenzy, the skin ripped off violently.

Soon they got tired of the dark, stuffy surrounding inside and made their way out of the same window, feeling the air flowing through their fur. They occupied their favourite space on the parapet and…burped.

Friends, that’s what happens when you live close to a wood. You never know which one of your wilderness friends would pay you an unwanted visit. It can be your tree dwelling cousins like the ones in the above story, sometimes it’s the turn of slithering serpents and rarely the graceful cats come looking for street dogs.

The human species experiences such hair-rasing events all across the world with the boundaries getting blurred on an increasing basis.

Yatindra Tawde

A cultured job

The quartet reached the planned destination for the night. While they were fully prepared with all the paraphernalia required for the job, they had also readied the other equally important kit.

Two of them stood on the road, facing in opposite directions. They were the lookouts, whose job was to warn of any upcoming dangers, while the other two took out the lock cutter. With a mighty heave the lock was broken and no one had seen them do it. Taking that as a sign of good luck, they thanked themselves on thinking about the Almighty before embarking on a new task. Surely, He was the one who had manipulated the stars in their favour.

The shutter was opened and with a quick glance in all directions, all four rushed inside, pulling the shutter down behind them. Sitting down with their heads bowed, they uttered a quick prayer. One of them reached into the rucksack they had brought and out came a photograph of a deity which was placed on a desk, with great reverence. Then, out came a spear, a lock cutter, keys, and assortment of other equipment. These were placed before the deity’s photo. Then another reached into his pockets and out came agarbatti, matchsticks, etc. The agarbatti was tucked into the holder, the dhoop was lighted and they started praying in unison. After applying tikka on each other’s forehead, they prostrated themselves in front of the deity.

Once the blessings were taken, they finally got down to do the job at hand.

The next morning, the owner of the financial institution bent down to open the shutters, he got the shock of his life. For, the locks outside were broken. Upon going inside he found the lockers open and gold and cash was gone. In front of the lockers a moustachioed deity smiled back at him from a photo. A spear kept on a desk pointed at him menacingly. A paper lay on the desk. “Don’t try to find me. It won’t be good”, it said. With shaking, sweating palms,  the owner reached for the telephone. “Hello, Police”.

Friends, this isn’t my imagination working on overdrive. It happens only in India, where before commencing any work, we bow before the Almighty. It seems, the robbers were very culturally informed, if not anything else. Last known, they are yet to be traced.

Yatindra Tawde

Valuable Coins

I come from an era when 5 paisa coins used to fetch a few candies in my childhood. Coins ranging from 1 paisa to Rs. 1 were always lying in a small purse in the Godrej cupboard. Come the 90’s and coins upto 25 paise started disappearing from circulation. 50 paise coins met the same fate in 2000’s. Come 2022 and there are all indications that the time is up for 1 rupee coins. How wrong I was.

State of Tamil Nadu. City Salem.

A van drives into the compound of a high end bike showroom. A man gets off the van and enters the showroom. He meets the salesman and selects his dream bike. A bank agent stationed in the showroom approaches our man, offering a loan. Our man brushes him off, saying that he would buy the bike with his hard earned cash in one go. The happy salesman guides our man to the cash counter. Our man makes his offer. The cashier’s jaw drops to the floor. So does the salesman’s.
No way, they say.
It’s my way or the highway says our man.
The Manager has a word with our man. Then he relents. For the first time since he came into the showroom, our man smiles. He shouts for his friends. The friends get down from the van; one opens the van door. A wheelbarrow comes out. Two other friends start loading it. With 1 rupee coins. There are thousands, nay, lacs of coins and they are unending. Finally the van is emptied.
The store Manager is sweating. He deputes one cashier…then another. Then he requests our man and his friends to help. They oblige. That way, our man is quite considerate.
Thus, our man made news with his unique purchase and made a viral YouTube video as an added bonus.

Yatindra Tawde
 

Tilottama at a glance – a book review

Book Title – Tilottama at a glance

Author – Sreeparna Sen

Publisher – Ukiyoto Publishing

No. Of pages – 68

Contrary to whatever you might expect when you read the book title, ‘Tilottama at a glance’ takes you on a journey through one of the metros of India, Kolkata. Those who have stayed in this once laid-back city, are bound to feel nostalgic reading about all the cultural icons and landmarks which are interspersed throughout this delightful book. Those who have had the opportunity to visit the city on work related or leisure trips, like yours truly, would have a feeling of deja vu. The book is short and sweet but the author manages to give dollops of information on many cultural aspects of a much loved city in the most charming language.

I am sure, once you have read ‘Tilottama at a glance’, you would be itching to visit Kolkata to experience its hospitality first hand.

Yatindra Tawde

Mee Vasantrao – a movie review

Mee Vasantrao’ is an amazing Marathi language movie. It’s a biopic of legendary Marathi singer, Vasantrao Deshpande who created a place for himself in the minds and hearts of Marathi music aficionados quite late in his life, when he was in 40’s.

Rahul Deshpande, grandson of Vasantrao Deshpande plays his grandfather’s role with aplomb. An excellent classical singer in his own right, Rahul doesn’t disappoint when it comes to acting. I had always thought that he had taken to acting as a hobby, taking acting roles which gave full scope to his unparalleled singing talent. How wrong I was! He has lived the role of his grandfather; I would go so far as to say that this is his career defining role. While he has acted well throughout, two moments in the movie really stood out for me; his heated exchange with traditional music purists in Pune and his take on the art of Baithakichi lavani.

If Rahul Deshpande impresses, Anita Date, who has played the role of Vasantrao’s mother, deserves awards galore for playing the role of a feisty, strong willed woman raising a child singlehandedly, with grace and confidence. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that she is the soul of this movie.

Pushkaraj Chirputkar, who plays the role of Vasantrao’s best friend, P. L. Deshpande or Pula, for short, is a surprise package. Playing the role of an extremely loved and respected personality in all Maharastrian households is no mean feat. Pula was known for his perfect comic timing and Pushkaraj has captured this nuance perfectly.

Amey Wagh, playing the brief role of Shri Dinanath Mangeshkar and Alok Rajwade, playing the role of Mama (maternal uncle) of Vasantrao, convince you that the future of Marathi cinema is in good hands.

I don’t remember the name of the actress who plays a veteran lavani singer, but she too manages to grab attention of the viewers in the briefest of roles.

The Direction of Nipun Dharmadhikari is top-notch. Whether it is perfect casting (note Durga Jasraj playing the role of Begum Akhtar) or the apt locales and wada’s/neighbourhoods, he captures the old world charm beautifully. Also note the frames, the play of light and dark, throughout the film and especially during the lavani scene. Mark my words, if one goes by this movie, Nipun Dharmadhikari is destined for future glory as a Director.

Don’t miss this movie if you love meaningful cinema.

Yatindra Tawde

Glossary :

Lavani– lavani sung and enacted before a larger audience in a theatrical atmosphere is phadachi lavani

Baithakichi lavani- a lavani sung a private and select audience is baithakichi lavani

Photo credits – Jio Studios, Viacom18 Studios

Book review – In the Footsteps of Rama

Book Title – In the footsteps of Rama, Travels with the Ramayana

Author – Vikrant Pande, Neelesh Kulkarni

Publisher – HarperCollins Publishers, India

No. Of pages – 255

Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two Indian Itihasa’s, are the most loved epics across continents. Ramayana is considered to be older of the two.

Elders narrate these two epics to Indian children, in the most simple language. The same has been the case with me. In addition to hearing the stories from elders, I loved reading these stories in Amar Chitra Katha, an almanac of ancient and pre-independence Indian stories. I have an obsession with these two epics and still enjoy reading different versions by different authors, with equal involvement and fervour.

With that introduction, when I heard about this book, ‘In the Footsteps of Rama, Travels with the Ramayana’, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. And by the end of it I was satisfied that I had made the right decision.

The authors, Vikrant and Neelesh,  embark on a journey which starts at Ayodhya and ends at Ayodhya, traversing the entire route followed by  Rama and Sita, accompanied by his loyal and protective brother, Laxmana.

What makes this a memorable read is the inclusion of local folklore associated with The Ramayana, at each of the places they visit, showing how well Ramayana is ingrained into the common people’s consciousness across such a large geography, in India as well as Sri Lanka. While doing this, The Ramayana comes alive as a living legacy.

I am sure that this travelogue would motivate even those readers who might be unaware about the epic, to explore The Ramayana through the written word.

This enriching journey is highly recommended.

Yatindra Tawde

Book Review – The People Tree

Book Title – The People Tree


Author – Beetashok Chatterjee

Publisher – Readomania


I have read stories by Beetashok Chatterjee in the past so I was looking forward to his new offering, ‘The People Tree’. And I am happy to say that this new anthology is as good as his debut one, ‘Driftwood – Stories washed Ashore’. While ‘Driftwood’ dealt with seamen and their experiences, both good and bad, ‘The People Tree’ deals with the common man and his ordinary and some times, extraordinary life.


The stories take you all over the world and across time spans in their quest to peep into their lives and take you along on an unforgettable journey. While doing all this, the author etches some remarkable characters.


While the 14 stories offer something to ponder over, there are a few which stand out. For me, these were, ‘Ground Zero’, ‘A day at the races’, ‘The Holy Trinity’, ‘The Vintage Car Rally’ and ‘Two Close for comfort’.


So what are you waiting for? Rest and resuscitate yourself under ‘The People Tree’.


YatindraTawde

Book review – Memories – A Novella

 

Book Title – Memories – a Novella The hilarious nightmare of growing up.

Author – Soumya Mukherjee Publisher – Notion Press

No. Of pages – 142

Oh Boy!

What an amazing journey from childhood, through many adventures of youth and culminating with the realizations of old age narrated with dollops of humour.

Once you pick up the book, it’s very difficult to put it down, for, not only is it entertaining but also takes you on a nostalgic journey to your own childhood and youth. And if the reader has stayed in a hostel, he/she will find many parallels with their own life in college.

The author, Soumya Mukherjee has the God given gift of effortless humour which he uses to weave an unforgettable story.

And why did I start the review with ‘Oh Boy!’?

Well, read this Novella to find out.

Yatindra Tawde

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Book review – Born a Crime

Book Title – Born a crime

Author – Trevor Noah
Publisher – Spiegel & Grau

No. Of pages – 282

Without any doubt, I would say that I have made the best possible start to my reading journey in 2022. In fact, ‘Born a crime’ by Trevor Noah is one of the top-most books I have ever read. (And happy that it was recommended to me by my daughter)

An undercurrent of respect and love for his feisty mother runs through the entire book and culminates in the hard-hitting final chapter. He knows and he appreciates the fact that it was his mother who actually moulded him right from his childhood to his adult life and made him what he is today. This is what takes the book to another level and sets it apart from other autobiographies.

Trevor Noah grabs the readers attention right from the beginning.

While he tells his own story, he manages to paint a stark picture of Apartheid of those times even though it was on its last legs. The machinations of the white man where he created enmity between the different linguistic tribes of Africa so that they remained subdued to foreign rule,  rings a bell near home. Also the fact that most black people were kept deliberately uneducated for the longest time and made to think that their indigenous culture was something to be ashamed of, you realize that same formula was used elsewhere as well, to promote forced colonization of huge populations across continents.

Reading this book was an exhilarating journey of understanding other cultures and the realization that though other cultures may appear strange or exotic from afar but the basic human emotions and characteristics are similar.

Yatindra Tawde