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The Evil Eye

In India, people blindly believe in the so-called bad effects of the evil eye.

So a truck driver will write, “Buri nazar wale tera muh kaala”; literally meaning, “If you look at my beautiful truck with an evil eye, may your face be blackened”

Or grandmothers will deliberately put a small black mark with an eye liner (Kajal), on a newborn child’s cheek, again to protect it from the evil eye, saying “nazar lag jayegi”

But Indians do have a propensity to take things too far. But I had not expected to hear something like this…

Apparao is a farmer in one of the Indian states in South India. He is one of the few Indian farmers, who are fortunate enough to own his own farm, however small it might be.

His farm is located very near to the road, where there are many people either walking alongside or traveling in their various modes of transport.

For the past 2-3 years Apparao is flummoxed…his farm thrives for some days at the start of the farming cycle, but as the days go by, the crop deteriorates, and the final yield is minuscule, just enough to feed his family but never allowing him to make decent profits.

He has tried all tricks in an agriculturist’s bag to maximise the yield but to no avail.

He has spoken to the best professors from the local agricultural college, who have given him sound advice, but at the end there is minimal improvement.

His friends too have pitched in and given their advice on steps to increase the yield but all their efforts have come a cropper.

One day Apparao is sitting with his friend, Bhaskarrao, enjoying the local toddy. He tells his problem to Bhaskarrao.

“I tell you Appa, you must see this awesome movie. The heroine is so sexy” coos an inebriated Bhaskarrao.

But Apparao is in his senses. He sticks to his point, “Bhaskar, my crops are failing once again. I don’t know what to do. Please give me some idea, my friend”

But Bhaskarrao is lost in his film world, “Appa, let me take you to the movie. Ok, it’s on me…ooohh, that heroine…”

In spite of so many pegs, Apparao is still standing firmly on his legs, “Bhaskar, please, please tell me, how can I protect my crops”

Finally Bhaskarrao loses his cool demeanour, “You and your crops. Do you really want to know what you should do? Ok, I will tell you”

“You put up big banners of this heroine near your farm. And mind you, she should be in a bikini in those banners. I will come to your farm instead of going to the movies”, so saying Bhaskarrao storms out of the toddy shop.

Someone else would ignore this advice as a drunkard’s foolish talk. But it actually sets Apparao thinking.

And lo! And behold! In the next few days the banners are up, the passerby no longer stare at the farm since their buri nazar or evil eye has got something else to ogle at.

Apparao is happy and a national newspaper deems this story fit for publication.

If only a cute actress not winked her way into the internet record books, Apparao and his sexy scarecrow, if you can call it that, would certainly have broken the internet.

And I am not at all trying to prove that a drunkard’s advice will always pay such bountiful dividends.

Yatindra Tawde

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Common ancestor of humans and …sponges

Itsmylife

It’s been proposed by some scientists that many millions of years back, humans and sponges shared a common ancestor! I was shocked on reading this but then I reflected on this surprising theory, and finally I was convinced.

The sponges do not have a digestive, circulatory or nervous system. Instead they depend on water constantly flowing through their body for obtaining food and oxygen and removing wastes. They don’t have tissues and organs and lack body symmetry.

Considering all this I was surprised to read that humans and sponges shared a common ancestor. But then there are many specimen of humans who do share some of the characteristics of sponges.

Let’s see what they are…

Some humans are spineless characters just like the sponges. They lack courage or strength and try to escape any sort of confrontation, especially with their wives. They agree to whatever is decided by their wives…

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A crawly Gift

A humorous take on Valentine’s Day

Itsmylife

February 14th is approaching. For knowing couples,I don’t have to elaborate on what is this day known for. A saint named Valentinus made this day his own. Actually it was a Christian feast day in the good old days. And one day, some extra smart businessman saw great business opportunity on this day. This day, first became associated with romantic love since the 14th century and by the 18th century, lovers were expressing their love for each other by exchanging flowers, chocolates, et al. And so it went on for many more years, the festival of the European continent slowly making its presence felt in the Americas and Asia. And then the madness started. The Retail revolution, helped by massive advertising and mouth watering sales pitching, made this day, a favourite for all romantic couples across continents. Now there are all signs of this day degenerating into comic chaos.

Sometime…

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Delicacies without borders

Itsmylife

Bengal has been granted the GI (Geographical Indication) for Rasgulla, by the Indian Government and the mercurial Chief Minister is ecstatic. Bengal’s gain is Orissa’s loss.

It all started in 2015 when Orissa celebrated the “Rasgulla divas” with huge fanfare but all hell broke lose in Bengal. It was as if a calamity had fallen on Bengali Bhadralok. After all it was their culinary symbol.

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And like it happens for all things Indian, a committee was appointed to look into each state’s claim. And contrary to any other such committee, a decision was arrived at, within a short span of 2 years.

What about its equally mouth watering cousin, the Gulab Jamun. If Rasgulla is the fair and demure bride, then the Gulab Jamun is the dusky seductress. You eat one, you feel like eating all. Which state, you ask? Whichever it is, eat first, debate later.

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And where Indian…

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humour

Ig Nobel

As you all must be knowing, in agricultural fields across India, cattle manure is used as a fertiliser.

Till recently, the cost of one truck manure was about Rs. 1500/-, which today costs about Rs. 7000/-. Why did this happen? What caused this steep increase? Is the cattle population going down? Or the reason is something else?

The Chief Minister of one state of India has decided to get to the root of the problem. He has instructed all his babus in his state to feed him data. And what is the data?

Conduct census of all the cattle population in the state.

Though a difficult task, the babus got down to business. They made all the plans to visit each village household, each Tabela, et al to get the number of cattle and update their boss.

But the next instruction of their boss, made them sweat. And smell!! Why? They were expected to not only count the cattle but also to measure their valued dung, discharged by the Cattle!

The reason, allegedly, was that the boss, wanted to know whether the supply has gone dry or whether the middle men were hoarding the dung.

Though I fail to understand, in which smelly room, was the dung being hoarded. The babus were really stumped with this quixotic requirement.

Let me try to help the babus in achieving their aim, which is to measure the valuable discharge. Here goes…

1) Give data sheets to owners of cattle to do the dirty measurement, which should be submitted in government offices, every week. And as a motivation to the owners, dole out free gloves and weighing scales…
2) Entrepreneurs to manufacture intelligently designed diapers for the cattle. The diapers to be very spacious to hold the valuable contents, which can then be weighed easily. Won’t be surprised if the entrepreneurs turn out to be part of the family of the babus.
3) But if anyone  doesn’t want to touch the discharge, here’s another solution- weigh the cattle before and after their discharge. The difference in weight, is the weight of the discharge.

So there, I have finished with my contribution to a noble cause. I am sure, the Indian agriculturist will be greatly benefited by my contribution and I am nominated for the next Ig Nobel prize.

With tongue firmly in cheek.

Yatindra Tawde

memories

The Post Office

Have any of you been to a local post office recently…well , I had been to one yesterday.

Nowadays, with emails and especially, WhatsApp, you really don’t find any major reason for visiting the post office .

But yesterday was another day…and I had to visit the local post office. Like any other government office, I had to perform the most common tradition…stand in a serpentine queue.

There were 4 windows having their own queues. In the good old days the post offices used to be very dark places…as if the light was banned.

Well this is no longer the case, with the office being well lighted. But many other things continue as before. …for eg. You still cannot see which master is sitting on the other side of the window unless you reach right at the window…and here too you have to move your head up and down…to see his entire face.

But really , why bother seeing the masters face, when actually it is his pen which is going to write your destiny.!

Anyways I stood in the serpentine queue and started observing the surroundings to pass the time.

The first person to catch my attention was this wig wearing fellow standing just ahead of me…what a funny wig it was…if you have seen the old Ramayana or Mahabharata on DD…remember the flowing curving wigs that all the men folk in these serials used to flaunt…well it was just the same….and was this man sweating profusely!!..

Maybe  it was due to the combination of a hardly there fan which was rotating overhead, plus the wig…and he had this ugly habit of wiping the sweat away from his brow with the crook of his fingers and in a single shake of his hands, depositing the sweat on the floor.

When he did this the first time , he managed to deposit some of it on me too…so I became very alert to this movement of his and whenever he tried it again, I used to jump to the side…

I then noticed a small girl who had come with her grandmother. Now this small 4 year old was the epitome of patience…every 5 minutes she was asking her grandmother, “aaji, when will we go home?”.

Her grandmother belonged to that group of denizens called the agents …agents for the various schemes offered by the post office.

And the grandmother had that aggressive demeanour which comes naturally to those working in this field …but there were 6 other ladies belonging to the same family of agents…and here’s where everything went out of hand.

Since all of these agents wanted their own work to be done first , the decibel level went through the roof !

And I developed a new found respect for the man behind the counter….he had a zen master like calm on his face…or whatever face was visible through the window.

He was facing this scenario almost every day of the week.

Finally through all this chaos and noise I finally reached the window…only to be told that for the transaction to be concluded, xerox of the PAN Card is required.

That I had the Aadhar card copy cut no ice with him…really it’s very frustrating that the card for which you took a hard earned leave from office, and took this leave coordinating with my wife’s leave as well as my daughter’s leave, stood in line for 3 hours, sat in front of a camera which clicks the most obnoxious selfies, arranged so many different types of documents for verification, is not really the most demanded verification document….well the frustration levels are bound to be stretched to breaking point.

I tried all possible ways to persuade the person sitting behind the window to accept the lone document I was carrying …but to no effect.

At this point I could well imagine myself to be a lowly village worker at the mercy of a rich zamindar who holds all the strings of his fate…

Finally I had no other option but to go back home to fetch the PAN card copy after wasting a better part of the day standing in the wretched serpentine queue…
Have you ever had such an experience friends.

Yatindra Tawde