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Loneliness, a Musical Comedy

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by ojaantrik, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Women are the most admirable amongst God's creatures. Irrespective of the state of the world, drought or flood, glut or famine, war or peace, they never fail to fascinate me. Most of my life, I have been staring out of imagined windows and dreaming of enchanting females attired richly in red, green and gold, long eyelashes mascaraed, anklets jingling and forearms covered with shining multi-coloured bangles. They treat me to captivating tunes about everlasting springtime, inviting me to lose myself in endless deserts, depthless oceans and limitless skies.

    Unfortunately though, reality keeps butting in rather mercilessly, diffusing my burning fervor and throwing me down on "the thorns of life", bleeding, one might say, in embarrassment. The truth of this observation visited me somewhat forcefully the other morning when Sunita Kanwar, an attractive, young typist, walked into my office with no prior notice at all and offered to drown me in an ocean of tears.

    It wasn’t an unwelcome idea, I admit, in her company. Much that I looked forward to the prospect though, I couldn't possibly flout administrative procedures. So, instead of changing into my swimming trunks with alacrity and taking the plunge, I inquired as softly as I could, to what action of mine she owed me the favor. My whisper was reciprocated by more sobs and sniffles, amidst which she informed me that she had been marked absent from office by her immediate superior, Kavita-didi. Even though she was actually present!

    A tragedy it was of monumental proportion indeed. For me I mean. For, it was clear that she had no intention of underwater swimming with me. Despite my heart-break, I wiped off Sunita's tears as well as I could (not literally of course, even if the prospect was tantalizing) and helped her retrace her steps back to her own office with the assurance that I would have the matter “investigated”.

    I called Kavita Ramaswami in, who, though somewhat older than Sunita, was no less ravishing herself. I asked her most politely to explain why she had marked Sunita so unfairly absent. Pat came Kavita’s reply. The adorable Sunita's signature was simply not visible on the attendance register! Under the circumstances, how could she be marked present? Good point.

    I called Sunita back in therefore and discretely inquired why she had signed an invisible signature. She moaned lugubriously in turn and explained that her pen had run out of ink! But if one were to scrutinize compassionately enough, she argued, the scratches she had made on the aforementioned register would surely be detectable.

    Her suggestion set the grey matter in motion inside my skull. Did the situation warrant an examination of the register under a microscope? Should forensic experts be called into service? My heart prompted me to move against my head however, for I felt quite convinced that beautiful girls should definitely be allowed to sign with inkless pens. I was so convinced about this that I recalled Kavita and tried to sell her the philosophy in guarded language. I was a bad seller. She remained totally unconvinced. And registered her protest by freely accessing her own tear glands. So, there I was, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Or rather, between two deep blue seas. They threatened to mingle and submerge all creation.

    What do you do friends, when a lovely young lady hurls accusations against another equally lovely one and you are called upon to pronounce a judgement? Uneasy lies the head they say that wears the crown. I found myself wishing for a millionth time within the course of the next five minutes that I had not been in charge of the organization the two ladies worked for.

    It was too late of course to hand in my resignation and I needed to collect my wits. So, I stared expressionless for a long moment at the empty wall in search of wisdom. If I were Noah, I would build my ark. If I were Moses, I would discover a divine way through the two towering masses of saline water. But, I was neither.

    As a devout Hindu therefore, I resorted to praying. And, miraculously enough, my entreaties to the powers that be were not unanswered. I recalled from whatever little knowledge I possessed about the way Lord Krishna conducted business in the Mahabharata that one's best escape out of uncomfortable situations lay in creating confusion. Or, to put it simply, one's discomfiture, when forced to arbitrate between pretty young ladies, is inversely related to the skill with which one can obfuscate the issue, leaving the warring parties in permanent doubt as to the identity of the winner.

    I tried out this strategy with commendable success I think and it would be a pity to keep you ignorant of the story of my victory. To begin with, I consulted my copy of Lord Krishna's "Guide to Successful Administration". Chapter 5, Section 7.8 advised me to fall back on the political expedient of a postponement. I informed each lady therefore that I should be thinking over this serious issue and give a verdict the next day! Till then, I requested them to reinstate sanity as opposed to salinity in neighborhood.

    And then I undertook a bit of research on my own only to discover that there were two opposing factions amongst the female administrative staff in my organization. It even appeared as though the members’ allegiances depended on which side of the Vindhyas they happened to have been conceived. In the Kavita camp, a prominent member was Ponnaamma Menon (of Kerala, in case you are wondering), while Sunita had the support of stalwarts like Meeta Verma and Mridula Bansal. The two camps were not even on speaking terms. Yet, as part of the administration, they did communicate, by passing written notes, horizontally across tables, or vertically across floors.

    The root of the problem having been so easily identified, I chalked out my tactic with enthusiasm. I prepared a speech for the consumption of the duo and called them in next afternoon at the appointed hour. I offered each her choice of Darjeeling tea or Nilgiri coffee, as proof of impartiality. Then, while they sipped their beverages, I delivered the speech with the sole purpose of causing bewilderment. This is how it went.

    “Dear Ladies! Though the world looks different on the two sides of the Vindhya Hills, the people are really not all that different. I know of course that you cannot begin to communicate with each other in Tamil, Malayalam or Punjabi at the mere flick of a finger. So, please feel free to pass on notes vertically as well as horizontally in whatever languages you have been finding it convenient to carry out communication till date.

    "But, notwithstanding your loyalties to the north or the south, or the clashes between your cultures if you will, I think you might be able to locate endlessly many facets in your existence that unite you together. Like Sunita's signature, they exist precisely when they appear not to. Or, not to disappoint Kavita-didi, they do not exist even when they dazzle in front of Sunita's eyes."

    I paused here and requested them to help themselves to some more coffee or tea. For, I was well aware that my intended mystification reigned supreme in their minds at this juncture of the speech. Their minds needed a well-deserved rest. And while they frowned over the content of my observations and counted busily the number of slips between the cups they held in their hands and their lips, I resumed my harangue.

    "Consider, for example, the Raga Hamsadhwani, which undoubtedly belongs to the South. It is a typical Carnatic raga with which music concerts commence regularly in Chennai. The credit for its composition goes back to Ramaswamy Dikshitar, father of Muttuswami Dikshitar. Difficult to go further south than that without losing oneself in the Indian Ocean.

    "Nevertheless, it has now been absorbed into the main body of Hindusthani classical music too. In my opinion it received superb treatment in the voice of the Late Ustad Amir Khan, who undoubtedly belonged to the same side of the Vindhyas as the lovely Sunita. The North Indians liked it so much that no musician of repute in the Hindusthani tradition has so far failed to perform it. In fact, Kishori Amonkar’s rendition of Hamsadhwani will go down in history as a milestone in North-South integration."

    I stopped here for breath once more and cast a stealthy look at the two pretty faces on the other side of the table. I thought I detected a trace of a smile flitting across their lips this time, indicating that they were close to reaching agreement on the questionable state of their boss's mind. Gleefully therefore, I started off again.

    "I don't know if any of you will ever find the time to listen to this mellifluous recital which, by the way, is available in the market as an inexpensive audio CD. However, please sit through it again, if, that is, you manage to end up doing so at least a first time. You will then appreciate that nothing’s impossible in God’s creation.

    "The invisible could well turn visible. And the visible, invisible.”

    And then I applied the brakes abruptly and switched off the engine. The proceedings jolted to a stop. I ignored the perplexity adorning the ladies' faces with grim determination and sent them packing to their respective desks.

    The most demanding part of my administrative job was now performed to my satisfaction. So, with a lingering taste of triumph, I rotated 90 degrees on my swivel chair to stare out of the glass window adorning the entire wall of the western face of my office. The sky I could see was aflame and the sun, dressed up in glorious orange, was signaling silently to me that it was high time I started out myself in quest of the last horizon of my corporeal existence. I kept staring at the scenery and began, as was my wont, to dream.

    Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax.

    Of smiling maidens of Rajasthan. Jingling bangles and billowing, brightly colored ghagras. Red, yellow, green. Dancing their way into a golden desert sunset.

    And, as always, I doubted very strongly that they would ever smile at me.


     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
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  2. charuchitthra

    charuchitthra Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Ojaantrik,

    Tht was a well written piece with humor to amuse , n concept to think. U indeed r gud in managerial skills or else how could u ve possibly managed two crying females.

    Regards,
    CC
     
  3. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a lot. Mangerial skills? hmmm ... I need to think about that. Who knows!
     
  4. meera2503

    meera2503 Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Ojaantrik,


    You have handled the situation very well with your ' strategy' [could say chanakya neeti] and with an excellent audio. Great write -up.thanks for sharing.


    meera
     
  5. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear OJ,

    Superb peice of justice i must say.And yes with two pretty females warring, it is difficult to take sides.HAHA.

    Just loved it.And i am sure all ilites will love it.And now if u ladies here have any problems among yrselves, u now know whom to consult.Regards.kamal
     
  6. Lalitha Shivaguru

    Lalitha Shivaguru Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear OJ,


    Firstly :hatsoff:hatsoffto you for endearing all the ladies here. This is no ordinary task and you have done the same with such ease and elan.Bow

    Secondly you have brought out very well the humorous side of all situations........ the narration was beautiful and was smiling reading thru this. Thanks for that. To solve this, you had to get the help of the LORD himself shows the difficult situation you were put in but finally solved the same so aptly.

    Keep more coming !

    BTW: In another thread you had addressed the ladies as Madam, but please do call me by name as am not that too old ha ha
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  7. hemchi

    hemchi Silver IL'ite

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    That's a nice one OJ. Such nicely chosen words and streaming beautifully. It felt as though I was going on a long scenic romantic journey.
    We ILs surely want more of your writing. The other one was also nothing less.

    Regards,
    Hema
     
  8. roopadadia

    roopadadia Silver IL'ite

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    Good one OJ...:idea BTW if you are looking for a job change let me know...i wouldn't mind having an administrative person like you :hide:

    Just kidding.
     
  9. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    that was a very nice one oj,...two waring females.... a real problem for any guy but u managed it very well...and hey impressed with your knowledge of music too...do keep writing
    Mindi
     
  10. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    I hope the ladies agree with you that I handled the situation efficiently. Of course, they could have also thought that their boss had gone ga ga. And yes, I am very found of this Roshanara Begum piece. Thanks for enjoying the post.
     

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