Monday, August 09, 2004

Honey.... hold my bag.

Guys that are involved, or worse, married, would surely be conversant with the heading of this blog. Oft repeated in shops, supermarkets, this is one sentence that the lady uses to show who's the boss. Ur course of action upon hearing this, gives a clear picture of the type of relationship that the two of you enjoy. (Enjoy??)

I have always been the type who hated carrying even a shoulderbag, it was too much of a burden I felt, and always went with free hands and back. Nothing to carry around, a free man, no bondage or responsibility. And now, I need to carry a feminine purse, inside a crowded shop, exposed to the speculation of the entire population there . The girls, are like, "oh, cho chweet , he is cho nice...", full of ambitions and plans for their own mate, poor bugger. The senior ones amongst them, if married, "hmmm, control main rakha hai, good", if not, "lucky *****".

And the guys.... well I should know, they do exactly as I used to do when I saw such a thing happening in my hey-days. It ranges from a nudge to a friend, to a well rehearsed "poor chap" smile.

But is there an alternative, I mean can i say, "Hold ur bag urself, I am not going to hold "that""??? Maybe I can...

Maybe I can fantasise, that is. The analysis of a man's course of action when confronted with such brutality can reveal a lot about his own personality.

In case u are in the beginning of a relationship, I guess that is the first hint she is giving you about the "future". So some guys usually grab it with both hands and proudly carry it for the rest of the trip. To married men, the scene appears like a goat proudly walking with a garland around its neck towards imminent slaughter. The smart ones, look slightly uneasy and take it reluctantly, only to return it as soon as she is done with whatever she was doing in the first place. The smartest ones, I guess take the bag and some money from it as well...

The guys in the first category are the ones that graduate to being called "joru ka gulaam".

Monday, August 02, 2004


One of my earlier posts had been about the Sardar mess run by the Sikh gentleman Rangeela Singh. Equally popular in Mysore at those times was the mess run by the legendary Lobo. The place was a mess(sic) and a lodge combined in one. Though I would not rate the food served there as particularly high, it was the ambience and the personality of the owner that keeps reminding me of the days that we used to spend there. Anybody who has eaten there would surely have fond memories of "Lobo's Mess" , as it was called.

All of us remember the size and gait of the legendary actor, Amjad Khan, who played the "Gabbar Singh" character in the movie "Sholay". Lobo was built exactly like that, in other words " Huge ". The mess used to cater primarily to the student community staying in nearby areas, and his frame and personality made him a perfect candidate for the job , since students have a perennial penchant for mishief and amnesia while paying bills. The sight of Lobo Uncle getting up and rolling his sleeves was enough to make anybody remember even the most trivial amount that he owed towards the mess. However I dont know of any instance when he had to raise his voice to settle any dispute.

We students were the usual customers at his place, some of us had a monthly arrangement that entitled us to some discounts and some others were on a daily "pay and eat" regimen. I was one of his regular customers and was regularly invited to the bashes at his place on christmas, new year (more on those later). He used to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at his place, 6 days a week. Saturday was his off day, and on Sunday at breakfast his eyes were invariably red. As I mentioned earlier, he had a TV placed in the hall and the TV programmes or the cricket matches used to be the primary topics around which conversations used to hover during meal times. Since it was mostly guys who used to visit the mess, a lot of raunchy jokes were also enjoyed and he used to whole heartedly join in.

He ran the mess inside his house. The drawing room had been converted into a makeshift dining room with two tables and chairs. His own place in the room, was at another small table placed next to the TV in the room. The dining room of his house was also used for the purpose of serving food and was bang next to the kitchen. All in all we never felt that we going to a commercial establishment, it was just like going and having food at the next door neighbour's place. As for helpers he had two of them initially, Manja and Siddesha. They were just kids and we used to wonder if the 8 bucks we paid for the meal were at the cost of child labour . A distinct memory is Lobo screaming "Manjaaaaa , table clean maadu". These two were mostly involved in peripheral kitchen activities, cutting, cleaning, serving. The bulk of the work used to be done by his wife, who we rarely used to see since most of the time she was occupied in the kitchen. We really used to wonder about her life, or the lack of it. A house cum mess, only the bedroom to call her own room, cooking thru out the day?? But whenever we used to see her on rare occassions, she was always smiling.

Lobo was no bully, but he was a very shrewd businessman. I remember that while cricket matches were being aired all of us showed great reluctance to get up from the table and tried to extend the meal for as long as possible. Other guys would meanwhile wait outside for their turn at the table. Lobo used to immediately switch the channel to some arbitrary channel and demonstrate new-found interest in that, until we left the table. But he was a good person at heart is what me thinks. I remember that my roommate Sumit had once broken down at the mess after one of his exams had gone pretty bad. Lobo was greatly touched by this display of emotion and promptly invited Sumit for a beer session, all on the house. His methods were a bit crude but effective. In order to maintain good relations with us students and to maintain the clientele we used to be regularly invited to his parties and bday bashes. Booze and food used to flow during these occassions and having had partaken his hospitality we indebted ourselves to his mess and food and did find it difficult to leave the mess and join another one.

But his christmas parties were the no-holds-barred types. Booze and food were the best in town. And all of us used to ensure that we had skipped breakfast and had an empty stomach while we made it to the lunch. A distinct memory is Lobo asking the postman who had come to deliver letters also to have a couple of swigs. The postman , veteran that he was, immediately downed two shots neat to the cheers of all others. I am sure that on that day a lot of people missed their post.