Kinda funny

Intimate bonds

A year back, when I first moved into hostel more than a thousand miles away from home, I felt all alone.

For the first time, I had no mother with me to wake me up every day (which is no easy task); I had no father to guide me about my decisions; I had no grandmother to feed me with her own hands (a privilege I still enjoy every time I am back home); I had no grandfather to thrill me with the stories of his exploits in faraway lands. All I had with me was a cauldron of emotions: a whirlpool of sayings, advice, stories and morals.

The first day I was in my hostel room alone, I felt like crying. It felt like I was on a lonely unguided ship taking me to a desolate place far, far away with no promises to return soon. I started thinking, “What if my grandparents die while I am away? What if something terrible happens to my family?” I broke down and started weeping. Which was when the phone rang up.

Maa is one of those gentle souls who cannot be at peace knowing that someone somewhere else is suffering. So when I picked up Maa’s call, I pretended to be alright.

Quite obviously, she saw through it.

But she knows best how to calm someone down. She took my mind off by weaving a story about our winter vacation plans and asked me what I felt about it. Then she recounted the story of how Dora, our cat, was finding it difficult to get up on the window sill, so she just had to claw and chew through the expensive curtains which kept getting in the way. Maa was almost sympathizing with Dora though I could hear Dad grumbling about Dora’s elevated position in the household. At the end of the phone call, I was genuinely happy.

There’s a unique lesson to be learnt from each elderly person, because they have all grown old with their own set of ideas and experiences, tied together with intimate bonds. While Maa taught me how to control outbursts of anger, Dad taught me how to solve problems rationally. While Dadu (grandpa) taught me how to think, Ammi (grandma) taught me how to feel. Even before I learnt to read, Ammi used to read out Amar Chitra Katha stories to me, enthralling me with stories of Lakshmibai and Shivaji, inspiring me with stories of Netaji and Swamiji, entertaining me with stories of Akbar-Birbal and Vikram-Betaal.

Rommel and me with Ammi and Dadu

The support my elders have given me, is enormous. Their influence, all-encompassing.

Is it possible for me to support them back for all that they ever did?

Surprisingly, yes.

Maa once told me how Ammi loves telling her sisters when I do well in an exam or win a quiz. She feels good knowing that there’s her grandson leading a healthy life (ignoring the chips and soft drinks) miles away from home, making her proud. Dadu’s expectations are somewhat higher: he wants me to wake up by 6 every morning.

To conclude with two lines from one of my favourite songs, from Ek Phool Do Mali, where the father sings to his child:

“Aaj ungli thaam ke teri, tujhe main chalna sikhlaaun

Kal haath pakadna mera, jab main buddha ho jaaun”

(Today, I enfold your hands and teach you how to walk

Tomorrow, do clasp my hands when I become too old)


Really want to thank Support Elders and Kolkata Bloggers for having this, and stirring up a flurry of emotions.

Edit: This blogpost came second in the Support Elders Blogging Contest. Heartfelt thanks to all who read this 🙂


The Greatest Indian Chamcha

The Great Indian Chamcha (GIC, pronounced geek)

Scientific name: Chamchacus indian


Appearance: Strong resemblance to Homo sapiens; may lack the backbone


Eating habits: Depends on what Bossguru Sir-madam (BS) wants to have


Places found: Right outside the room of BS


Threats: Other GICs

The Great Indian Chamcha is a species of animals found extensively over India. They are seemingly harmless characters and rather objects of ridicule, until they walk away with the job you deserve (but apparently not the one you need right now). This article presents excerpts from a conversation between a noted GIC (name withheld on the request of his immediate BS) and our not-so-noted reporter Pornhob Cumswami.

PC: Mr. GIC, why do you think you got the promotion when there are so many better candidates for the job than you are?

GIC: I may not be the best, but I am the greatest. Just like you are the best reporter ever!

PC: I am not your regular supply of BS. Anyway, what makes you the greatest?

GIC: Sir, I believe that our greatest strength lies in overcoming one of the major weaknesses that most Homo sapiens still have. Ego. Yes sir, we have overcome our ego to serve our BS. GICs in the position of Assistant Manager would still go out in the hot summer afternoons to get that cup of tea from BS’s favorite teashop. Would any Homo sapiens do that? Pornhob, you are the most intelligent reporter ever. I am sure you understand the supreme sacrifices we make.

PC: I do. Okay so how do you take care of other GICs when they come threatening?

A completely unrelated photo, taken ironically from

GIC: Well, this is very tricky. If the other GIC buys BS a cup of tea, I’ll have to buy him a cup of cappuccino. If the other GIC praises the BS on his management and technical skills, I also have to bring up how well he maintains his health and takes care of his family and property, even if the GIC is called Siddharth Maal-Yeah. And now, before we progress any further with this interview, I have to do my duty.

PC: What duty all of a sudden?

GIC: The best newspaper in the galaxy, The Times of India, wants me to give a link back to their research on the Great Indian Circus and to KolkataBloggers. KolkataBloggers is the greatest startup ever, with really hardworking people who are not laid back at all. They are the brightest minds of the society who have tied up with the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival because, well, great minds blog alike.

PC: Our viewer, Miss Medha asks, “What happens if your BS doesn’t fall for your charms?”

GIC: Then we just have to try less harder. That’s the trick! Subtlety is the key to such problems. For example, if the BS proposes a new idea, less experienced GICs might say, “Sir, your idea is so awesome! Best idea ever.” But experienced GICs like me would just look amazed and enthralled without saying a word.

PC: Mr Pushpak from Kolkata asks, “What’s the inspiration behind your creativity?”

GIC: Politicians, mostly.

PC: Another viewer, Mr Bikramjit asks, “How do you take care of better looking female rivals?”

GIC: It is true that BS’es do promote them quickly, but their promotions usually end up at the position of a Secretary or a Wife. No direct threat there! By the way, thank you for asking such amazing questions! I am so overawed by the quality of viewers you have, Pornhob!


If you have questions for the GIC, please post them as comments below. Facebook-enabled comments are there so you need not create accounts and all. Because working hard is only for the GICs.