I just occasioned to fly past on a search for Hum Log characters and their presence in the art scene today. My curiosity got the better of me when my Best Half told me that Manoj Pahwa (Sharman Joshi’s Doctor neighbour in Life in a Metro) was Badki’s boyfriend and half his current size.
The written word has never been my forte, but I have time and again spoken about “the DD Era” with friends, family etc. complete with voice over and musical mimicry. Each time the scent of Déjà vu is exceptional.
That was an Era when even Krishi Darshan used to be seen by all and sundry. I was in Punjab where a vernacular version of the above was titled “Mera Pind MeraKhet” literally translated as My Village My Farm. I still have to figure out what benefit could a seven year old derive from the knowledge of what to feed buffaloes in the mating season.
In those days the idiot box was wooden primarily and was encased in a wooden console-to protect it from the elements (Eeks!). It had two or more Antennas on its head giving it a look of a Giant Praying Mantis with its prolonged feelers. If that was not enough, another antenna was perched on the roof top and used to provide us with kites which would have been cut during competitions in the rainy season around August. In far-flung areas a booster device was also used to increase the signal and get the image from worse to at least so bad to be able to differentiate your Dharmendras from Hema Malinis.
There were a host of programs and serials but what I remember as most annoying is the programs bites like Gumshuda Ki Talaash. It used to be broadcast so many times a day that a friend had crammed up the complete address and phone number-verbatim…Don’t ask me the reason. I for one used to find every second person I was introduced to resembling some character displayed but held my horses for fear of social ostracization.
Another sore point was the quintessential “Rukavat Ke Liye Khed Hai” i.e. Sorry for Interruption. It was like the zero of the Roulette Table which would turn up just about when the suspense was building up. And No Sir, the movie did not start at the same point it had been interrupted. That gave food for some thought to budding playwrights.
Chitrahaar was an all time favourite with people of all ages. The name of the movie was printed on it so as to impart valuable cine-information to us lesser beings. It was best enjoyed with Dinner at 8 PM and soon after all good kids used to hit the bed.
The epitome of entertainment was the venerable Feature Film every Sunday. It was also sadly divided into many parts, all but due to news headlines: There was no change in the news at each interruption but the face of the viewers did get slightly more crumpled as it progressed. Remember: “Feature Film Ka Shesh Bhag Hindi Samacharon Ke Baad”
The TV broadcast was only on one Channel and it was numbered Four (Whatever happened to counting?). That too was only for two hours starting on 6 pm with a DD logo and music followed by the familiar VIBGYOR screen to adjust the brightness and contrast- Colour was still on the way!
Progress came with Channel 7 on just one blessed day a week. Then came cable TV. And many channels were lodged. The ability of the programmes to entertain was in their nascent stage. At this juncture, advertisements were considered the best source of fun-we were having a laugh at someone else’s expense (pun intended).
TV will never be the same now, but the Golden Age of television will always be associated with the remote black and white wooden box which quenched the thirst of the complete neighbourhood with endless pots of tea and pakodas to top it up.
Now why I call him so? Its because he seems to completely emulate the image of the animal we generally see on Indian roads: You first sight the tail, trying its best to wade away the flies around its generous behind. The only other moving part is the jaw, chewing cud. The rest of the body has lost all shape and is trying its best to submerge with the road. Sitting comfortably in the middle of an imaginary island, which would have formed oblivious of the traffic swishing past. It seems as if a small roundabout has taken form in the middle of the busy street. No one has the guts to break this domain, due to the sacred status of the cow in India (Holy Cow!).
Our Cow, the one in question has similar attributes. The complete economy is in a state of flux- a lot of changes in the already vibrant market. And what does he do: Chew cud. I regert that I am not in a position to comment on the behind for the sake of basic decency.So eventually our division is in the hands of the old Hyena who does not like to yield and is going into the hands of the Cow who cannot. The plight is taken in with utmost complacence by all and sundry, until of course their monetary gains and other paraphernalia are static.
It’s amazing to see The Dilbert Principle open up in front of your eyes everyday: The useless are systematically promoted to a place where they can do least (damage): Management. I did not know that I would travel 2181 kms to enter yet another Jungle form the previous Zoo I ran away from: Ahem, the place that gives me my daily Kubus (Arabic Bread). Butter is on the way. My office has a few pet animals and other creatures from the wild.My office for one has the following animals:The HyenaThe CowThe HippoThe CaterpillarThe GoatThe MonkeyThe OxThe HorseThe SnakeThe JackalThe OwlThe AntThe Ratand ME!I prefer to think myself human, obviously, but its up to the reader to decide… Just don’t ask my best half (I call her best coz, with my mug, I couldn’t have done better-Yes, my sympathy is always there for her though.)I don’t hide the names for fear any of them reading my blog. For one, they are so prehistoric that it has to be told to them “Sir, I mailed you. Please check your mail.” And they would load the mail, open the inbox and take a print. That’s when it is communicated. And for the other, I don’t give a damn.I name them so, out of some morbid curiosity of finding out the truth in a so called science my father propagated called ”Mukh-akriti Vigyan” where each face could be analysed as to its construction and resemblance to an animal. Yes, you guessed it right- the characteristics of the resembling animal could be found in the personality. Whatever!As to why they have been named so will be evident over the anecdotes that will take their place in the blog over time. But before that, in this post, let me just fix the Status Quo and how I ended up here:The Hyena, The Manager who had been the main figure in our division for the last 28(Eekss!!!!) years is power hungry. He wants nobody but him. Even at the mandatory retirement age of 60, he doesn’t stop. When asked to name a successor, he just dilly-dallies. The mother company sends him a lot of candidates to fill the position but he does not buy them.They take out an Ad in the papers for his position twice but are unable to recruit. Another animal (not in the above group) is sent to India to recruit someone with the help of an India-based insurance expert.Cut 2: I get a call for an interview, fly to Cal and come out with flying colours. I am called to Sharjah where the Hyena has nothing much to talk about. His sly remarks make me wonder the purpose of my visit.When I get the call, it is a mixture of surprise, relief and tension of relocating. The timing couldn’t have been better. My in-laws are in Dubai, the industry and especially my company and is in doldrums and we are pregnant: I have always maintained that I have been with ideas but this time there is actually a little of my half propagating in my better.So I, along with the Cow, Manager Replacement (as I would come to know later) am the unwanted pregnancy of the division. As any bastard would be sad to tell you- I did not know it and definitely it is not my mistake.