Saturday, July 4, 2009

A cock and hen story.

I read an article which prophesy the end of the male sex with the depletion of genes from the Y chromosomes (the one that corresponds to the male of a species) from about 1400 a some million years ago to around 45 now (And you thought guys were just bad at hanging on to car keys. It’s all genetic. We just can’t help it). I wish there was an instrument to which you can just insert your finger and it would tell you the number of genes that you have in your Y chromosome. So when little Johny would come back after play time his mom would ask him to insert a finger into the machine and she’d go, “Not again Johny, how many times have I told you to take care of your genes”.

It just leaves you wondering, now what in the world did we as men do to have our gene count reduced from 1400 to 45 while women still have around 1100 left with them. You know what there’s some conspiracy involved somewhere. I don’t believe in coincidences but then it’s too much of a coincidence to be coincidental. I think it’s got something to do with all the roughing around that we do at home and work. While the missus sat at home Caveman Joe had to fight a bear with his club. And what about the sports that we men play? Look at rugby for instance. I’m pretty sure that if you go through with a fine comb you’re sure to find a couple of hundred genes from Y chromosomes lying scattered in the field after every match. And I truly believe if you do a thorough check on mallu men you’d find the gene count even lower. Generations of climbing coconut trees by hugging on to the stout trunk can’t have helped the gene cause any bit. Women I believe noticed this trend of dropping genes eons ago (I think they must have spotted it first while going through with a broom in those old cave houses. If only our caveman Joe had helped his wife with the housework then) and having realized this phenomenon, then on passed on all those gene losing chores to the men. They even cultivated something called a male ego (it’s all their creation I tell you, and if it was left to us we men wouldn’t even know what ego meant) and convinced generations of men that beating up bears and climbing up coconut trees wearing just their lungis (dhoti) would make them more of a man. And if their conspiracy wasn’t enough, nature decided to play a little trick on us (Well what else can you expect from ‘mother’ nature?), it’s just us men who have to do all that shaking after every visit to the loo (oops, sorry restroom) which itself must have over centuries caused a couple of hundred genes to drop off.

On behalf of men all over let me announce that “Women, your game is up”. We have woken up to the greatest conspiracy in human (even animal) history(I bet you would have changed the word to “herstory” in just about another million years when all men would have disappeared once and for all). The murkiness of the plot gets even deeper when you realize that the tool to replace men - the cloning machine, was invented by a man. Well we do have unparalleled skills in digging our own graves. So I say, men, let’s start a slow revolution to change things around. The next time your lady shrieks at you to hunt down that dirty black cockroach in the kitchen, let’s just let the lady scream off a few genes before we interfere or the next time she asks you to catch a chicken for the guests at dinner, let’s just make sure that it’s not a male chicken that she culls…hmm

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two teens on a train.

Most people wouldn’t remember the first step they took in life (Infact I don’t know of even a single person who does, except for my roomie AB who also claims that his first love was the little girl who took the adjacent cradle in the hospital he was born). I once overheard a conversation in a train between two moms about the age at which their child started walking. Well apparently it’s a big deal. It should be too I guess; bipedalism is not a feat achieved by too many mammals. And moreover people find correlations between the age at which that feat (pun intended) is achieved to everything ranging from intelligence to physique and everything in between. Well I was someone who learnt to do that pretty late. But once I did I was in a real hurry to compensate for all the lost time that I think I spent half my preteen years running around. And post teens I kept running around in a different way – working, studying and roaming around throughout this vast country.
So me, unlike my roomie AB don’t remember my first steps but I remember certain steps in life that were just as important in the context of my runnings. The first visit to the movie hall by myself without letting dad and mom know, the first time I ran away from home (that’s another post) and so on. This happened on my first train journey without adult supervision.
It was sometime in my teens when me and my cousin D decided to make use of our long summer break to visit another cousin in Bangalore. D was a year younger to me and you know how these youngsters are; brash, raw, and impatient hmm. So being the elder one I was entrusted the responsibility of taking care of my younger bro through the journey and back.
D was quite the ladies man even at that time. He was quite handsome, tall for his age and easily looked elder to me. Me, on the other hand was brought up with ‘sound principles’ taught by my peers in school that it’s an utter taboo to talk to a girl even to look at one, other than behind closed curtains and squinted eyes. To touch a girl accidently would lead to banishing even ostracizing by the male peers in school. The only cure to the fated girl-touch was to stealthily pass the touch onto another male peer upon which you would be accepted back into the herd and the victim is left to find another less fortunate to whom he can pass the baneful touch on to.
The first thing D did on reaching the train at Trivandrum Central was check out the reservation chart to check the obvious. I saw a familiar smile spread across his face. I knew that look. The one that I saw on Tommy’s face the day before three hens disappeared from my granddad’s place. I glanced at the chart and it was obvious what the smile was all about. Asha, Soumya and Fatima right below our names in the same compartment. D took out his pocket comb (there were days when he forgot to brush his teeth but nobody had ever heard of a day when he got out of his house without that trusted comb) and a blur above his head of two hands and a comb; voila, the slick black well oiled hair became slicker, blacker oilier. D jumped onto the train. I followed suit dragging the two heavy bags and yelling him to stop and help with the bags. Too late he had disappeared down the aisle. But when I reached our assigned seats D was as tense as a school girl on her exam day. The three girls weren’t there. It was almost past the scheduled departure time and the girls weren’t there yet. I had never seen D so tense. Not even the day when the tenth results were to be announced. But then that was just a matter of eleventh or Pre Degree. This was a matter of life and death, for sure.
His heart sank when the train jerked and started moving and the girls were still not there. He started cursing the gods. He had heard of stories from our elder cousin in Bangalore about nursing students who traveled on trains to Bangalore. Why god why.
But then suddenly his eyes turned a perfect circle and his cheeks flushed with delight as he saw three PYTs walking down the aisle. He started speculating and muttered under his breath to me. “I bet the first one is Fatima. Only muslim girls can be so fair”. Well I couldn’t say for sure. When somebody sang “Kahin pe nigahein kahin pe nishana”, it was all about me. Now don’t get me wrong, there was only so much that I could see with me face turned away at ninety degrees and the eye balls at the extreme end trying to make out how Fatima looked like. D was right, the girls came over to our coupe and took their seats and were chatting away incessantly when D interfered with a casual, “Oh thank god you girls got in, I thought you might have missed the train and was about to ask the TT to pull the chain”. The girls stopped their conversation mid way and gave him a look normally reserved for crazy people on the road, and one of them replied “Well we were down there with some of our friends, you didn’t have to worry”.
Hook line and well almost sinker.
D worked his squeezed into the conversation in his imitable style and conversation moved on the fast line. All this time I had my head turned away and gazed out of the window as if the most thrilling of Mohanlal’s movies were going on out there. Not bothering (daring would be the right word actually) to turn my head towards the conversation but my ears sharply focused on it all the time. I listened to every word of the conversation, never uttering a word and pretending to be busy in my thoughts, which went from their place of births to the mughal era and about the aalmaram (peepal tree) in kesavadasapuram junction.
Then suddenly one of the girls asked, “Hey D, by the way how old are you?”.
D had seen the girls’ age as part of the due diligence he did at the reservation charts and had found that the girls were all a year elder to him. Not even waiting to blink, he replied but increasing his age by a year and making a mental note to tear up the reservation chart outside the compartment as soon as possible.
Oh that’s cool, that’s exactly the same as ours and the cackle turned a notch up in all the excitement at the apparent coincidence.
But that’s exactly when I decided to open my hallowed mouth.
“Eda D, athenganeya ninte prayam athrem aakunnathu?”. (Hey D, how the hell is that your age?) Silence all around.
The girls all turned to look at D.
D was stunned. Caught like a cat with milk in his whiskers, he didn’t have anything to say. But try he did, “Alla Vinu, ninakku thettiyatha..” (No Vinu, you got it wrong).
But I continued, “Athayathu nee janichathu 1983il. Appam aa samayathu ninakku zero alle vayassu. Allaathe janikkumbam athine one aayittu koottan pattathillallo”. (See, you were born in 1983. So that means you were zero in 1983. Now you can’t be one when you are born can you).
Those words didn’t have an ounce of malice. It probably was the most innocent words that I have ever uttered in my life.
D somehow pulled of the greatest escape act in history (I mean his-story. Right from age zero to the day) and somehow managed to divert attention and conversation moved to different topics. The glare of his eyes had told me that I had committed some blunder and I didn’t dare open my mouth again. Embarrassed more than he was I just walked up and took off in the direction of where I thought the pantry car was.
By next day early in the morning when the train was pulling into Bangalore cantonment station D had the phone numbers of all the three girls. Proud as he was about his achievement especially after the unexpected disaster in between D was all a proud red when he saw off the girls at the door of the train (We were getting down at the Bangalore city station). The train started moving and D was still at the door waving goodbye when the three girls smiled and said in unison,
“Bye bye Aniya1…”
Aniya – is mallu for little brother.
PS: D didn’t speak a word about the incident for more than a decade but half a bottle of whiskey did make him open his heart about that most heart breaking of incidents of his life.
PPS: D did keep in touch with all of them for another three years and he wishes to inform them that he lost their numbers and would love to get back in touch.