Apr 25, 2010

Pretty Littima’s Profession

There lived a prostitute in front of our school, where I studied from fifth to tenth standards. Her name was Littima, and she was referred to by the people as ‘Pretty Littima’, (well, of course the name given here is false in order to protect the concerned person’s privacy). I don’t know exactly, whether she was a prostitute, except the fact that her name itself was enough to create a funny vulgar sense among the students. Perhaps, as I think, she could be a prostitute in her earlier days, and perhaps she might have left that profession due to the compulsion from the religious people around.
Pretty Littima had cows and we used to see her taking the cows for grazing during our class times. She lived in a small house in a perished condition with her children. Well, about her children! She had at least three children, of which the younger one was a boy, who was one year elder to me, with whom all the boys including us were in good friendship. Elder to him was a girl, a pretty fair one with a beauty spot (a mole) on the right part of her jaw (or left?), where it adjoins with the cheek. I remember, once or twice, this girl attended the Sunday Schools (religious classes for Christian children held on every Sunday) in my class, (though she was elder to me by many years) perhaps motivated by the compulsion from the church authorities and religious people around. On such occasions, she used to sit in the class silent without talking to anyone and even looking at anyone. One day, our teacher asked her a question from the text book and she was not able to answer it. I don’t need to mention that these children were also studying in our school for their regular classes and were getting proper education.
I already have said that I was not sure about Pretty Littima’s profession. One day at my house, I happened to hear my mother mentioning her name in an offensive tone.  It was something regarding Pretty Littima’s attempt to assume the leadership of some local problem. I could not suppress my curiosity regarding Littima’s profession and I asked my mother, “mother, what is Pretty Littima’s profession?”
Mother neglected my question without giving me a proper answer. With a hilarious tone, she replied with another question, “who knows?’
When I was in my seventh standard, we have got a new class mate. He was a brilliant and smart one, let us call him X. Since I was his best friend, he asked me one day, “I happened to hear about the woman residing close to our school. Do you know anything about the profession of Pretty Littima?”
Acting smart, I shared my knowledge with him, “I think she is a prostitute!”
“Is that so?” he became more curious.
One day during lunch time, after doing usual naughty as well as smart things, X went to the front side of Pretty Littima’s house. Standing at the door step, he asked loudly,
“Pretty Littima…what about fixing a deal? Can I do ‘it’ with you?” A question from a seventh standard student!
I was not present there at that time. Someone informed me (yeah, the one who appeared in the end portion of ‘Problems of Having a Fictional name’) about the mischief played by X and that how an infuriated Pretty Littima treated him by calling all the names she knew and by chasing him with a broom stick in her hand. After that, Littima’s son came to our class to find X. We said him that we didn’t know where X was. He searched everywhere, but X was not to be seen anywhere for that day.
Hearing my account of Pretty Littima, what do you think was her profession?
(Mrs. Warren’s Profession is a drama written by George Bernard Pshaw, in which the protagonist is a prostitute. The similarity between both titles is purely a coincidental one – Tomz)

Apr 10, 2010

Encounter with Policemen

(Reminiscences of North India trip)
I had told you a few of my experiences of my North India trip conducted two years ago and I think you are already familiar with my experiences with cycle-rickshaws and a quite lengthy account of meeting a cute girl in the Kalka-New Delhi train (of which the latter had received and still is receiving with some humiliating criticisms). In this post, I want to tell you my three experiences with Delhi police in which I had direct contact with them only once. In other occasions, either my fellow traveler or a harmless passerby was having an encounter with them.

During my shooting trip on a car with my fellow traveler and driver, we quite occasionally happened to be amidst traffic blocks, especially at the junctions and at the junctures were the roads having a U-turn. This time, it was pretty good traffic block, which evidently had created by the hurrying cars and other private vehicles. Two policemen with some queer looking batons in hand were trying to manage the traffic in vain. Suddenly, there came a poor rickshaw driver with his rickshaw, who accidentally had rushed to the front of the traffic hullabaloo. The next moment, an angered policeman jumped to his front side and without wasting the opportunity lashed him at his back using his thick baton. We saw the poor rickshaw driver fleeing with his cycle to rescue himself from a second possible attack from the policeman by powerfully pedaling the cycle.

While traveling through the hearts of the cities in North India, our driver friend kept on telling us about the importance of wearing seat belts to escape from the penalties charged by traffic police. But, one time, the driver himself had forgotten to wear the seat belt and consequently a policeman stopped our vehicle by waving his hand. However, with tactics of our driver somehow we escaped without paying any fine.

Third time! ah...it was a quite funny one and it was me who was in the incident. Among many places that we were assigned to shoot from my office was a particular open place in Delhi city. I don’t remember the name of the place now, I believe it was some Bagh (Karol Bagh...eh?...no?). There was a small office to which we entered and saw a girl there, to whom we asked about the formalities of shooting the places. It was a dark, tall and fat man who answered our queries. I admit that I don’t know much Hindi and so I could not understand his reply fully. But, from his answer, I could grab that some kind of permission is required if I would want to shoot the places.

I asked him again in my broken Hindi, ‘kiska permission chahiye? (Whose permission is that you want?)

He looked all of us one by one and replied what he told earlier. But this time also, I could understood the same thing only, ‘some kind of permission is required’

I became irritated and repeated my same query, this time with a raised voice, “Kiska Permission Chahiye?”

He was irritated and replied the same thing, but this time also what I understood was the same thing.

An infuriated me raised my voice again and with that emphasized voice I asked him, “KISKA PERMISSION CHAHIYE AAPNE?” (I am not sure whether that ‘ne’ in the end was necessary!)

He was really irritated and looked all of us one by one and with a much…much…much louder voice he replied,

“HM KA PERMISSION CHAHIYE.., HM..HM…HM…” Now I remembered, all the time he was telling me that he wanted the permission from the HM.

Our driver friend understood what he really meant. He whispered in my ears, “please don’t ask him more. He is a POLICE MAN without uniform. What he required is the permission from HM, which means the HOME MINISTER!”

With an expression of disbelief, I looked at my driver friend and I changed my look to see the infuriated eyes of the police man. Then without saying any words, I escaped from the office to the outside with a stooped face.

After coming outside, all of us three could not control our laughter. We just walked towards our car parked at the opposite side of the road.
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