My Musician of the month!

My bestie Beatle George Harrison aside, Ringo Starr is my Musician-of-the-month.. The way he played the drums throughout Tomorrow Never Knows (from the album Revolver) is just amazing! This is my crayon drawing of the Beatles' legend..

The best thing about Ringo is his casual and cool persona in the Beatles.. While George was the quiet one, John the thinking one, Paul the good-looking one, Ringo will then be the goofy one.. Although he always has supported the popular 60s' catchphrase 'Love and Peace' Ringo himself was never much deep as compared to Lennon's acrid wit!

Ringo was the funny one. The man brought a down-to-Earth appeal to the band and it definitely helped a lot to the public acceptance of the band.. the friendly one, whom all the grandmas and the children love..

Ringo was a musician before he became a Beatle. He was a drummer before the Fab Four and is still a drummer in his latest incarnation as the All Starr Band. Apart from being a drummer, Ringo has sung a couple of songs for Beatles too, like With A Little Help From My Friends and the Yellow Submarine.. There is no denying that its a common mistake people make, when they fail to register Ringo as one of the last Beatles. Sir Paul may have been more associated with the Fabs, but the contribution of Ringo is definitely unquestionable..

And what more do you have to say for a man who has a Bond Girl for a wife? Ringo Starr, the ex-Beatles' drummer is my Musician of the Month..

Not a child's play..

'Egg or Idli?'

Mess food. Even if I had not been informed of the menu, I'd have guessed it's redundant contents for breakfast.. However, the way the word 'Idli' was pronounced, made me look up. It was different, the way I couldn't exactly place it anywhere. I placed the egg carefully on my plate beside the bread and asked the guy to give some butter. He stared at me momentarily.. or my iPod, I think.

I look back at the kid standing behind the barred window with a bucket full of jam. He could hardly be 10 years old.

He seemed tall for his age and stuck out like a black smudge on a white shirt. I couldn't help but notice how awkward he looked. For one, his clothes were too big. It looked like he was swimming in them rather than wearing them. And his eyes were too wide, his mouth too small, his nose just a little bit crooked, as if his face didn't quite match his head. I smiled, rather to him than at him, but that probably raised the chances of mistaking me for a child-molester. He quickly shifted his focus singularly on the plate in front of him.

I left him to his worries as I went to have my breakfast alone. My room mates are a bunch of sleepy-heads who'll still be in their beds at 8am in the morning, but only halfway through their dreams.

I was nearly finished, sipping on my coffee as the boy again came to clean the table, throwing quick glances across the table towards me. Yeah I'm pretty sure he was looking at my iPod. So I called for him.

'Enna peyar, tambi?' I asked in my broken Tamil, what's your name.
'Tamil teriyaade anna' he replied shyly.
He doesn't understand the language.
'Tera ghar kidhar hai, chhotu?'
'Balasore.' Orissa.

I offered him to listen in the iPod.

There was a mild, exciting smile coming and going at the corners of his lips, his eyes closed, his full structure taut with excitement as he listened away to one Brad Paisley, he understood nothing about.

I never found out his name though.

That kid was so lively, waving to me from behind the window whenever I entered the mess, looking for a moment to clean the table I'll be sitting at. Indulging in his casual 'Hello anna' everyday, I felt very sad after a few days about the way his childhood is being wasted. He was growing up among people much older to him, he left his family to work along with his brother in the kitchen. But he was just 10 years old!!

Finding it a complete and obvious case of child-care violation, under child-labor, I decided to write a letter to the authority about this. And it was while writing it, that I really thought about it.

What will really happen after this letter? The authorities will obviously do something about it. No one wants a bad publicity, especially when one's running a University on private funding, which is no different than a competitive business. And businesses incur huge losses through bad publicity. The kid will probably be sent home, with the brother and the manager arrested.

But was this really the solution? This is India. Not the USA, that child-services will take him away to put him in foster-care.. Maybe he'll be sent home, where soon he'll end up looking for another job anyway. He could go to school? School! If his parents had the money, he'd be at home now. What about free-school? I don't think the parents indulge in similar fantasies.. Is there no hope then? I was in a fix.. to come to think of it now, there are more problems, than solution to this!

There is a law, yes.. But the solution isn't about putting the elder men to jail or pay a penalty. What about the child?


There was Biriyani in the mess today, kind of a shocker in the routine!! The kid was happily pouring mutton on everyone's plate, while enjoying amusingly, all the hushing and pushing among the seniors for the good food. The mess manager had actually combed his hair today.. It was a weirdly amusing dinner, and it did manage to uplift my moods.

Sometimes one just needs to go high.

Without wasting another moment, I finished the dinner, came back quick, turned on my laptop and emailed a complaint to the authority, 'Sub: Complaint on Probable Child Labor in the mess...'

Competitive Mothers of the Metro

'How many tuitions does your son attend?' asked a mother of my classmate-to-be while I was inside giving an admission test to get into one of the venerable schools in the city, that all the other institutions apparently bowed down to. The question was aimed at my mom who, with a mild hint of amusement had replied 'He's never really been much keen on any tuition.' To her surprise, the reply was met by suppressed laughter and scornful smiles and conspicuous sarcasm from everyone.
'My son has been training for this admission test for the last 2 years!' replied the other woman, in all the hubris as a mother. The others sitting there spoke up, almost synchronized, about the span of time their wards had prepared under a number of teachers and ex-school teachers from the same school, 'One year!' 'Two years!' 'Three years!'
In the end, while most of them got in, many didn’t. And surprisingly, I ended being among the former, only to discover that the school was a medieval patriarchy unwilling to change with time.
14 years later, I met my sister’s friend who, at that time, was enjoying the livelihood of being a successful tutor to a couple of twelve-year olds. She tells me of this particular kid, who was naturally tensed before her half-yearly exams. Having made a few mistakes here and there, she kept up with her tutor anyway. Her mother in contrast, was howling from the kitchen 'Beta, 10 more minutes beta! Ask her questions, revise her answers and give her a test!' while it was already an hour of overtime.
The mothers of the metro have their own competition, their own vendetta, waging their own personal wars against the other mothers - their colleagues in the office or in their husbands' office or sometimes even their own sisters. They’ll neither let their sons and daughters play games, nor let them read storybooks. It'll be an hour of falling behind, and its cumulative effects could apparently destroy the balance of the universe.
All through the week, tutors come and go. While on some special days, a mid-level tutor arrives, the one who has been to the IITs, to revise only the lessons taught by another high-level tutor who apparently knows nothing about the existence of this parallel universe of tutors!
It’s clear that the mothers of the metro have not heard of the idiom 'All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!' In my city, they might just tell you that there are no ‘Jacks', but a number of unpronounceable Bengali names who are blessed with mothers, unmovable in their resolve to achieve for their children nothing short of a well-heeled establishment.