Bulls – The Real Bahubalis (Humour)

You edge past him nervously on the road or make a detour, fearful about a sudden dash he can make towards you. But he stands there, benign and cool, perhaps thinking about what to eat for the day or where to find a new girlfriend. Be careful still – this calm might be quite deceptive.

Within a moment, he may just be doing what you feared the most and you will have no option but to run for cover. ‘Take the bull by the horn’ may be the best way to deal with beastly issues in your life but not with the beast itself. You cannot even touch his tail, let alone hold him by his horn.

Bull on the road (pc : self)

His ego is as big as mountains. He would still stand there like a malfunctioning car, bringing the traffic to a complete halt. Then as if he is magnanimous enough, he would move a bit, giving the passersby and the stranded passengers a narrow passage for making a move. It might take quite some time before he relents and clears the way.

By that time, the passersby would be restless, and buses and cars might be honking their horns to express their displeasures. But to ruffle him would be risky because if he runs amok, no one knows who might be gored and who among the crowd might be injured while trying to flee.

A bull is a bohemian in lifestyle and the way he leads his life could be the envy of even an artist. His close relatives are toiling hard in the fields, but he would eat the produce as a freeloader once the crops are ready or barge into the vegetable market and feast on nutritious food. he had no contribution in making. Thus, he would make a strong build for himself, which his  brothers and sisters can only dream of but never have in reality.

He would loaf about markets, streets or lounge in a temple complex like footloose teenagers. While the teenagers themselves would do so up to a certain age and eventually settle down and live a life of responsibility, bulls could afford to remain carefree and have romantic relationship all throughout their lives.

I had a tryst with a bull in my childhood. We grew potatoes in the  agricultural fields near our home. A bull would come regularly to eat the plants and potatoes that were still growing under the soil. Those should be quite tasty, or else why would he visit the place every day? One day, I called my friends and together we chased the bull away through agricultural fields by throwing the dry balls of soil that would be plentiful in the fields in the summer. As those dry balls crashed on his back, he ran. Once or twice he turned back, grunted, pawed at the ground and charged at us.

But that was to scare us momentarily. He would eventually go away and we would come back home, victorious. But he would return the next morning to devour our crops! Again we chased him and this continued for a few days until the bull stopped coming. Making a bull run is quite an act of bravery, I, as a 16-years old, thought then, and I patted myself on the back for it.

Nandi bull at Mysuru temple (pc : http://www.pixabay.com)

Their symbolic presence in the stock market is one of strength and aggression. Bulls constantly fight with bears and when they take control, stocks rally and people make money. In Hindu religion, the bull, Nandi, is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The statues of bulls are installed in temples where they are worshipped.

There are bahubalis (strongman) among politicians who have a strong influence in their localities and make their presence felt by intimidating people around them. But ultimately, they are brought to justice and often serve terms in jails. On the other hands, bulls generally do not trouble you unless you trouble them.

Their occasional aggression is perhaps to remind you, ‘Don’t mess up with me. My horns are enough to toss you up like toys and shake your whole make-up.’ Their mere presence sends shivers down your spine and you keep distance. They build a strong physique and live lives on their own terms. They are the real bahubalis of India.

Peter and Paul ring in 2022 (A Skit)

The Sun is rising on the first day of the new year, 2022. Paul is one of the early risers among the crow community in the Tali Park. He wakes up and flies to his friend Peter’s nest to greet him with a rhyme.

PAUL: Hello, Peter,
Mr. Late Riser,
Crow name spoiler,
Get up and see the new dawn,
Good moments don’t last long.

(Peter takes a moment to respond to his friend’s call – it is a little earlier than his usual waking time in the morning.)

Sunrise (Image Credit : http://www.unsplash.com)

PETER:  What’s happened? Sounding so poetic today! Let me have a drink. I’ll soon be back.

(Peter flies to the lake inside the park, has a drink and quickly comes back.)

PETER:  So what rhyme were you singing?

PAUL:  Idiot, this is the new year! Year 2022! See the wonderful sunrise in the new dawn! Ah, see the crimson hue in the sky! Is it a time to sleep?

PETER:  Oh, I see. That’s why you’re so excited!

PAUL:  Naturally so.

PETER:  But is the sunrise different from any other day? Is the crimson hue brighter than usual?

PAUL:  Oh, you’re being cynical as always. This is the beginning of the new year. You have to be optimistic.

PETER:  What optimism? Is there fresh air to breathe? Is the food safe to eat? Will the new year be any different for us – the crows? Will the cyclones stop coming? Will humans love rather than hate us?

PAUL:  Oh, Peter, will there ever be a moment in life without any problems? You have to live with them. And when it’s time to celebrate, you celebrate, or else life will be boring!

PETER:  Yes, they were celebrating it with song and dance yesterday night. I was watching them from the top. Then they started bursting firecrackers. I choked and almost died. Is that the way to celebrate, tell me? The air is already polluted and now you make it dirtier.

PAUL:  Oh, that’s pathetic. Are you fine?  

PETER:  Is the food safe to eat? They’re using pesticides to kill insects, rats and using chemicals for all purposes. They’re poisoning us slowly and silently. Vultures have almost become extinct! We don’t know when it’ll be our turn to die.

PAUL:  By polluting the environment, they’re, in fact, digging their own graves. They live in this world for many more years than us and therefore should be more concerned. But now it seems they’re realizing what harm they’ve caused to life on Earth.

PETER:  We’ve the right to live in this world. We don’t need their mercy.

PAUL:  You’re right. The world is ours – and literally so. They live in small compartments while the entire sky belongs to us. Why don’t we take advantage of it and move elsewhere?  

PETER:  That won’t save you from cyclones, you know. My nest was blown away twice. Thank God, I was not and am alive to tell you my story. I sheltered under the roof of a building and saved my life.

Ripe papaya in plant (Image Credit: http://www.unsplash.com)

PAUL:  That’s worrisome. But that’s a natural phenomenon.

PETER:  Natural phenomenon? You know so many things but not this or are just pretending not to know. It’s again pollution that’s warming the ocean. Thus, more and more cyclones are happening.

PAUL:  Ok, Peter, no point arguing on this. I can’t force you to celebrate. If you don’t want to celebrate, so be it. But be thankful to God, we’re alive despite all this. At least, be grateful to the mother Earth. She’s completed another journey around the Sun. At least say cheers to her!

PETER:  OK, cheers to mother Earth! And I’m done with my lecture. Tell me what you want me to do.

PAUL:  Papaya? Are you interested?

PETER: Yes, very much.

PAUL:  Can you see the spire of a temple above the trees there? There’s a clump of papaya near the temple. It’s a little far from here. But it’s worth the effort.

PETER:  Oh, I know that very well.  

PAUL:  But there’re scarecrows.

PETER:   Oh, they’re quite funny. I love them and find it amusing that those fellows invented this stupid thing to keep us away. What made them think that we will see those zombies and fly away, frightened?

PAUL:  OK then, let’s go and meet them.

Peter and Paul fly to the clump of papaya where the ripe fruits are hanging tantalizingly from the crowns of the plants. They peck holes in the papayas and start feasting on their soft red pulp. They quickly devour two or three fruits to celebrate the new year as the scarecrows stand overseeing the plunder happening under their noses. 

Mr. and Mrs. Sen’s Search for A Condo – Humour

Mr. and Mrs. Sen have saved for years to buy a condo with modern amenities and pleasant surroundings. There is no dearth of choices for them either in a fast-developing satellite town of Mumbai. Thus, flush with money, if they are now busy looking around the town for a suitable condo, that is only natural for anyone to do!

It is only that they have seen and rejected so many of them that one fears they will one day be left with no condo in the town to buy.

Today the couple has come to the site of Priya Constructions. The area is filled with dust of concrete; the skyline is dotted with cranes, scaffoldings; and one can get the smell of wet cement far from the site of the project. The ten-storey building they are interested in is quite big and is under construction with the structure ready and floors made, but the walls are yet to be built. The builder, Rajan Desai, waits for them as they drive up to the gate of the building.

Building under construction – representative image (Image Credit : http://www.unsplash.com)

RAJAN: (On mobile phone talking to a customer) Your cheque has bounced! I told you to do fund transfer or pay in cash. The problem is that you don’t want to pay.

(Seeing someone wave from a car, he goes forward and points towards the parking space. Mr. and Mrs. Sen park the car and saunter towards the gate of Priya Constructions.) Oh, Mr. Sen. You called me a few minutes back. Welcome…welcome. Welcome, Ma’am. Please come in.

(Rajan exchanges greetings with the couple and ushers them in. Mr. Sen casts a look at the building.)

Mr. SEN: You told me that the building was almost complete. But a lot of work is still to be done, which will take not less than six months.

RAJAN : Six months…yes, your guess is correct. But that is the time others will take, not us. Mr. Sen, Priya Construction is the fastest builder in the city. (Smiling) While they move like a sloth, we run. Don’t compare us with them. We’ll finish it within just two months.

Mr. SEN : Oh, I see. But you won’t compromise with the quality of construction, I hope.

RAJAN :  Compromise with quality? Never, Mr. Sen. Our track record speaks for us. Please see our other constructions in the city. They have surpassed all standards of excellence.

(They come to the ground floor of the building. Rajan takes a brochure kept on a table.)

RAJAN : OK, let’s take the stairs and go to the third floor. You’ll get a good view of the surroundings.

(Rajan takes them to the eastern side of the building on the third floor. There’s a pond below, which is almost dry with some puddles in the middle. Buffaloes are wallowing in the mud and a foul smell was coming from it.)

RAJAN: (Showing them the plan in the brochure) This’ll be a 3BHK flat. This’ll be your kitchen. This’ll be living room, this’ll be master bedroom and this’ll be your dining hall.

Mrs. SEN: (Smiling) Oh, this is the kitchen. Quite spacious! Nice!

RAJAN: You like it? That’s fine. Thank you, Ma’am. (Going towards the edge of the floor) Here’ll be your balcony. (Smiling) You can see the lake and enjoy your cup of tea in the morning.

Mr. SEN: What lake, Rajan bhai? It’s just a pond. That too is dry and stinking!

RAJAN: We’ll revive the lake, Mr. Sen, and there’ll be fountains in it. You won’t see what it’s now after two years. It’s in our brochure, you see.

Construction in progress – representative image (Image Credit : http://www.unsplash.com)

Mr. SEN: (Smiling) OK, but… many builders leave things unfinished.

RAJAN:  That’s what I said at the beginning. Don’t judge us, seeing what others do. We deliver what we promise.

Mr. SEN: That’s what we want…I appreciate it. Can we now see the other side of the building?

RAJAN: Oh, sure! Please come along with me.

(Rajan takes them to the western side. There’s a women’s college opposite the building and a road in between. It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and some girls are seen entering the college gate.)

Mr. SEN : What’s that? Is it a school?

RAJAN : No, that’s a women’s college. 

Mr. SEN : Hmm. A serious issue here!

RAJAN: What’s the problem, Mr. Sen? The condos in this side are selling fast. Most of them are booked and only three or four are left!

Mr. SEN: Rajan, do you have an 18-years old son at home? 


Mr. SEN: Then, you won’t understand. I don’t want anything to distract my son from his studies now.

Mrs. SEN: If you won’t take it, what’s the point wasting our time?

RAJAN : Would you like to see some flats on the back side?

Mr. SEN: That’ll be nice! Let’s go.

(They saunter towards the southern side of the building. The side is open to a forest. A few monkeys were hanging from branches of the trees and jumping from one tree to another and chattering.)

RAJAN: This is the green zone … urban forestry. You’ll get a lot of fresh air from the jungle. The municipality will not allow clearing of the forest, so no construction will come up there.

Mrs. SEN : Oh, Soumen, no, not these flats. You’re on tour most of the times. I can’t stay alone. Ghosts roam about this jungle. And these monkeys will enter our flat and trouble me.

Mr. SEN : My wife has a problem. She’s afraid of darkness and ghosts and spirits.

RAJAN: Ma’am I promise there’ll be no ghosts here. This side will be lighted and won’t be dark for you to be afraid. Besides, do they really exist?

Mrs. SEN : No…no. They’re there and I fear them! I just read in the newspaper yesterday that people in a colony are living in fear because of some strange things happening at night. I won’t take any risk. (She walks away.)

RAJAN: Would you like to see flats in the front then?

Mr. SEN: But I saw a signboard on the other side that read ‘This land belongs to some group of hospital’. That means a hospital will come up there.

RAJAN: No construction is going on for now. But even if it comes up, what’s the problem? You’re now middle aged. Hospital will be nearby. Good only, no?

Mr. SEN: No, Rajan bhai, I can’t bear to see the sufferings of the people! I’ll wake up in the morning and see people in pains! I can’t bear that.

RAJAN : (Keeping his hand on his forehead) Mr. Sen, on that side, there’s lake and you’ve rejected the flat. Then there’s a women’s college and you’ve rejected it. Now you don’t like a jungle, you don’t like a hospital either. Definitely, there’ll be something or other everywhere.

Mr. Sen : I love nature and like your jungle side flat. But my wife fears ghosts and what can I do about that? I can’t go against her. That leaves me with your lake side flats. Currently there’s a filthy, stinking pond. But you told me you would clean up that.

RAJAN: So shall I book one of the lake side flats for you, Mr. Sen? 

Mr. SEN: I’d think it over. I’ll call you, if I decide to buy one.

RAJAN: Thank you, Mr. Sen. Please decide quickly. This is the right time to book. As work progresses, price will only increase. 

(Mr. Sen shakes hand with the builder and takes leave of him.)

Mr. and Mrs. Sen drive away, leaving a swirl of dust. They are not likely to book a condo in Priya Constructions, but nevertheless they are quite happy about seeing it. Who knows a condo meeting the requirements of both of them may be hidden in it and not noticed by them? Now that they have seen it, they can rest assured that they have not missed anything. But having visited most of the constructions in the town, they have only a few of them left to be seen. One hopes that they are mindful of that and make a choice very soon.

When Two Crows Chat – Humour

The time is not right for the crows of Tali park to engage in any activity. It is noon and the sun is beating down very hard, making everyone look for a shade. The park has a lake and clumps of trees that shelter a small population of crows. Two friends, Peter and Paul, slake their thirst in the lake and fly to a Peepal tree. There they perch on one of its branches and strike up a conversation on everyday things of their concern and life in general.

Image credit : http://www.unsplash.com

PAUL: Hello Peter, what’s up? Looking very worried nowadays?

PETER: Can’t you see why I’m worried? My wife laid eggs a few days back.

PAUL: Congrats! But that should make you happy. What’s bothering you, dear?

PETER:  Idiot, cuckoos. They’re too smart. They’re making sorties around here. If I look the other way, they’ll drop their eggs on our nest and fly away. But I’m chasing them. Too clever…ah? I’m Peter. Don’t mess with me.

PAUL: It’s all nature and instinct, Peter. Don’t get so worked up. It’s how they’re made.

PETER: What bloody instinct? Can’t they have their own nest? Can’t they raise their chicks? It’s all naughtiness and shirking responsibility and nothing else.

PAUL:  Oh, I see…you have made some new friends! But what about humans – your best friends? You’re at peace with them now?

PETER:  What are you talking, Paul? They’re endangering our lives. They’re using masks and throwing them on roads, footpaths and dustbins. We have to go out and forage for food. Who knows, one day we’ll be infected with the virus and meet the same fate as theirs.

PAUL: They’re getting vaccinated. Why still they need to wear masks, I don’t understand.

PETER: Even otherwise they’re masked. How does it matter whether they wear it or not? Let Corona go. But they must wear masks forever.

PAUL: Don’t be so cynical, Peter. Not all of them are like that. A few of them are.

PETER: Paul, most of them are. They’ve so many pretensions. They look so generous, gentle, and kind to each other, but that’s only a mask. Actually, they are jealous inside and harm each other every now and then. They show off too much. Lies come out of their mouths like fountains. They change colours faster than chameleons do. I caw strongly in protest, but it makes no impact. I hate these humans.

photo courtesy : http://www.unsplash.com

(A bat comes flying in suddenly and goes past them.)

PETER: Oh, Paul, see the bat. Be careful! They’re the real culprits. They’re the carriers of the virus.

PAUL: You talk with half knowledge, Peter. The virus they carry and the virus that’s spreading the infections are not the same. 

PETER:  Don’t teach me about them. After all the virus they carry only has changed into the current form. My point is why they won’t have it. Do they take bath? Do they come in the sun? Then they poop, hanging upside down and make themselves dirty. If they don’t have the virus, tell me who’ll have it.

PAUL: Peter, don’t talk non-sense. They don’t poop upside down. They get themselves in position for that. Then they pollinate and help plants bear fruits. Look at their positive sides as well.

PETER: You always argue with me and side with others.

PAUL: Who’ll argue with you except a friend like me? But I’m not arguing just for the sake of it.  

(They hear a cuckoo call not far from where they’ve sat.)

PETER: You heard it? Very musical and humans die to hear this ‘koo-koo’, which heralds the spring. By looks also, they are beautiful. But I don’t see a species more exploitative than them. They raise their chicks in others’ home…just imagine. Now for a change, help me chase her away. Otherwise, she’ll do just what I fear. 

PAUL: If not for a change, at least for a sport, I’ll be with you today.

Peter and Paul fly in the direction from which the calls have come. A cuckoo whooshes from a nearby tree and is soon followed by them. They chase her up to the jungle at a distance and she disappears into it. Then carried by the momentum, the two friends fly even further beyond the jungle until they become silhouetted against the blue heaven.