In which trupz remembers Pu La Deshpande

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Today started as usual. a quick round-up of the latest news from Alexa while sipping some chai and reading the advertorials in the newspaper. I picked up my phone to check what the latter chatter was on Twitter with Kim Jun Ung and Donald Trump meet up in Singapore, that tweet thread caught my eye. Today, 12th June is the 18th death anniversary of the Pu La Deshpande.

I was immediately taken to my younger years when knew him as the “funny man” in Marathi, and for some reason, my father had loads of tapes of him. It was much much later that I figured out what an icon of Marathi literature he was. Literature, music, acting, orating Pu La Deshpande has many facets to his body of work and one cannot argue that he excelled at all of them.

Many years after my father had passed away, I chanced upon those cassettes and the curiosity to know Pu La Deshpande better led me to read his books. My most favorite of his writings is called “Mhais”. The essay paints a picture of a State transport bus en route to Chiplun in Konkan, Maharashtra and the happenings of the travel journey which are dictated by the ‘Mhais” (buffalo)

The beauty of Pu La Deshpande’s writings is in his unique characterization.  I distinctly remember how he had sketched the “Inspector” from a village arriving 0n the scene in a Jeep etc his mannerisms, how the people would react to the arrival of the Police. The dialogue “Diiiriver kone”, read by Pu La himself in a deep, husky voice has me as one of the people traveling on that bus with all those people. His description of the surrounding and the situation is so vivid that his words make the character and the scene come alive. Another one such essay I absolutely love is “Raosaheb”, or as I like to imagine Raosaheb as a gentle giant, whose innocence and love would melt your heart.

One of the greatest gifts Pu La Deshpande had was the ability to laugh at everyday problems. There was no huge plot or a climax that was revealed at the end, but it was a reassurance that if you take problems not too seriously, they are quite comical and easy to handle. Very few people have this talent, I believe through Pu La Deshpande’s works he intended to pass this on to his audiences.

Years later, when YouTube arrived, I was hooked to watching Pu La Deshpande’s ‘kathakathan’, an equivalent of stand up comedy in those days. The only difference being it was apolitical, devoid of using any expletives with clean content. The audiences also I believe were much tolerant, one of his humorous essays “Mumbaikar, Punekar Ka Nagpurkar?” I’m sure would have rubbed off otherwise in today’s day and age. I’m sure though that if someone would have protested to his views, Pu La would’ve converted that also into some more writing.

While I am writing this, I am listening to “Mi ani mazha shtrupaksha” and am left wondering what Pu La Deshpande would’ve written about the world today? In his birth centenary year, it only seems apt that a biopic commemorating his life is being made by Mahesh Majrekar. One can only hope that he does justice to the marvel that is Pu La Deshpande.

 Pu La Deshpande books and other works I have read: 

  • Marathi Vangmayacha (Galeev) Itihas (मराठी वाङ्‌मयाचा (गाळीव) इतिहास) 
  • Hasavnuk (हसवणूक)
  • Batatyachi Chaal (बटाट्याची चाळ)
  • Khilli (खिल्ली)
  • UralSural (उरलंसुरलं)
  • Purchundi (पुरचुंडी)
  • Vyakti Ani Valli (व्यक्ती आणि वल्ली)
  • Batatyachi Chaal (बटाट्याची चाळ) 
  • Asa Mi Asami (असा मी असामी)
  • Varyawarachi Varaat (वा-यावरची वरात)
  • Ti Fulrani (ती फुलराणी) based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Pu La Deshpande: Raosaheb

Pu La Deshpande: Mhais

Pu La Deshpande: Mumbaikar, Punekar ka Nagpurkar?

 

Here is also a brilliant Marathi blog “Pu La Prem

In which Trupz reviews An EPIC account of Ramayana

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Book – Ramayana of Valmiki

Original Author – Maharashi Valmiki (Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith)

Date – Treta Yuga

Available – in various interpretations – ranging from a version of Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas to a more modern take on it by various authors.

Those of you who know the characters and plot well, you may jump directly to the Critique

Characters

Dashratha – King of Ayodhya, husband of Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, father of Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shatrughna

Kaushalya – Eldest wife of Dashratha and mother of Prince Rama

Kaikeyi – 2nd wife of Dashratha and mother of Bharata

Sumitra – youngest wife of Dashratha and mother of Lakshmana and Shatrughna

Prince Rama  – Eldest son of Dashratha, main protagonist

Sita – daughter of Janaka, king of Mithila – she is found by him in a hole, wife of Prince Rama

Lakshmana – younger brother of Rama, faithful follower and companion throughout the account

Bharata – younger brother of Rama, mother Kaikeyi’s tricky ways makes him eligible to be King of Ayodhya, but his righteousness gets the better of her jealousy and he remains a loyal first in command till the rightful heir Rama returns to his throne

Shatrughna – youngest brother of Rama

Shurpanakha – Rakshasi, sister of Ravana – the Lanka king

Sugriva – leader of the monkeys

Ravana – King of Lanka

Hanumana – disciple of Rama, his follower and co- warrior

 The Plot

Ramayana is a story told in poem form, by memory (Smruti) about an Indian prince Rama, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and his presence on earth in human form was as the prince of Ayodhya. This story revolves around him, his exile from his kingdom, his survival with his wife Sita, and brother Lakshmana in the forests. The core of the account starts with Ravana, the Lanka king treacherously kidnapping Sita. This is because the Rakshasi Shurpanakha, who is Ravanas sister is luring the two brothers, her attempts do not heed and she tries to kill them. Lakshmana in rage cuts off her nose and ears. Rama’s search for his beloved leads him to Kishkinda, where he meets his trusted disciple Hanumana. Together with him, Sugriva and their army of ape soldiers they march to the Lankan lands, literally walking over the sea to recover Sita. A gruesome battle is fought, Ravana succumbs and our conqueror returns home victorious.

 Critique

The story combines of all human attributes all engulfed into a single life, there is jealousy, there is drama, politics, there is love, there is devotion, suffering, war and killing, victory and elation, a bit of science fiction too (monkey people – anyone say Planet of the Apes, in Valmiki times) and modern architecture (built a bridge over water with floating rocks). They have also figured out complex genetics here, since the King Dashratha as the story opens has been childless for several years, but after a  ‘Putra – kameshti Yagya’ and he has 4 sons!! Valmiki, one may concede was well aware of the subtleties of human tendencies and their implications. The temptations we give into, the emotional ball game and how women use it to their advantage, the power game and how one can yield it to manipulate people. In the entire account, there is mention of how those who were eligible for position of power were tricked by those close to them, whether it was Rama, Sugriva or one can even argue Ravana, he banished his brother Vibhishana since he opposed the kidnapping of pious Sita.

Rama the protagonist is the most complex character – he follows the path of ‘dharma’ which means doing the right thing no matter what the consequences are. When his parents ask him to relinquish the throne, he does so to maintain respect of elders. When he sees someone doing wrong, he gives them an opportunity to recover but if they do not, he does not hesitate from even killing them for their deed. For the ones who are closest to him and his most loyal followers, he is willing to go to any extent to protect them. His love for Sita is so true, that he over came all adversities and arduous circumstances to recover her, but his trust in her was as blind as the God of Justice, he abstained her as wife for lack of evidence to prove her sanctity for the time she spent as Ravana’s captive.

The character of Sita is most intriguing, she is found by Janaka, and considered daughter of Mother Earth, her eventual end also is defined as she succumbs into the Earth. She is brought up a warrior princess, pious and revered she follows he husband’s footsteps as he leads her into exile, giving up her princely possessions and living a hand to mouth existence. Even when she is kidnapped she does not give in to her temptations and remains a one man woman, yet her fidelity is challenged by society but she vehemently stands up to their questions, after being exiled by her own husband she raised 2 sons on her own. It could be argued that she started concept of single mother hood back then.

There is every reason for this work to be an EPIC as it is rightly termed so – Valmiki has encapsulated human qualities so vividly in the text, that every man walking face of the Earth is a Rama, or some shade of his, personifying his qualities as a son, a brother, a ruler, a warrior, a lover and a husband and above all as human. His depiction of society and system in those Treta Yuga times, are so relevant even now. We still depend on hero worship, we still want someone else to fight our battles, and we still believe that it will be someone else’s good deeds and sacrifices that will bring peace and harmony to our lives. We still believe (some of us do) it will take God in human form to resolve all evils and vices of the universe while we can only wait and watch for him to appear. Valmiki in his works has  expressed the detailed outline of hurt, anger, pain and suffering of Rama’s life, yet we look at it and seek to get inspiration from this. Had he psycho analyzed our race to be such that feeds on the deplorable situation of others? I have often wondered how many actually empathize with character of Rama? For all that he has endeared through out this entire account of events has been full of deceit, mistrust, suffering and loneliness to some extent. What was the Ramayana then – a glorified account of a family dispute, co scripted with love, war and separation? The best thing about Valmiki’s Ramayana is that it his only work, which has revolved around many human generations and there are many unanswered questions about it, many theories and speculations circulate it. There are the staunch believers and the ardent atheists, but there are few such novella in history of mankind to have generated such interest and for that he does deserve a Nobel!!

Note – the satire in the critique is not intended to offend anyone’s personal or religious views. 

In which IGNORANCE is BLISS

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The resource walked herself to office today unusually late from her usual reporting – not expecting much of the mundane work today. This was predicted to be one of those days when there is little to do. Another resource, lets call her resource 2 , called in sick and added more to the loneliness of resource 1. Thinking about random things to keep oneself occupied, she – resource 1, did what she normally would do, check the news on ibnlive.com, the hot topics being the furore over the Antulay remarks over the suspicious killing of the ATS chief … sigh, she thought, nothing in this country can be achieved without sensationalism. A few moments of pondering and she checked the watch, another 7 hours to go.

No mails or communication from other resources (read co workers), today was really a lull day. Resource 1 busied herself into reading anything. Friend 1 called enquired about some books regarding Inca civilization and mythology. Trigerring a wave of excitement of learning and reading something more interesting, Resource 1 quickly Googled around to read about Inca’s, Macchu PicchuLake Titicaca in the South American countries of Peru and Bolivia.

Taking to the topic rather too seriously she even read about othe related topics of Inca civilization and early history, religious connections with Inca etc. All these as much unrelated topics for Resource 1 – but today she had the inclination to absorb as much knowledge about anything. Another check to the mails – still nothing. Lunch with Resource 3 and little chutzpah later only 4 more hours to go before Resource 1 can pack up for the day. Discussions on how Dostana is not really such a good movie and Rab ne . . . is a earnest effort. The self endorsed critic,Resource 1 thumping opinions on the minion Resource 3 – she only a few days old in office and doesn’t really have an option but to agree.

After a trivial rounds of conversations and no work – back to the phone, updating ‘ what else’s’ to the GEEK, he was as usual hammering the digital bugs with some pest control measures using scientific language only he follows. Armed with the recent Inca knowledge and a sudden affinity to visit South America, Resource 1 burped out to GEEK, he suggested some more reading, apparently GEEK knows these things already, since his Childhood. Not a surprise for Resource 1 GEEK knows almost everything about everything. Looks like his reading bug has infected Resource 1 too, NIIICE!

Followed to the tee, GEEKs suggested topic was next on the Google search list, NAZCA lines, geoglyphs drawn in the desert can be seen even from satellite pictures. Strange how come ancient people have such sophisticated technique and mechanisms to do things that lasts generations, some Tera- ages of forward thinking. Resource 1 was completely absorbed into reading about what these lines and figures could represent, aliens, religious signs, pathways … yes she did go on to read related articles too.

Not sure how but somehow diamonds and South Africa were next on the list. After a quick synopsis of Blood diamond, history of South Africa and why is it so rich in diamonds. The band of stones on the ring of Resource 1 did they come from one of these mines, the myth about diamonds of being precious and rare – its all hyped, diamonds are much like the other gems and found in such abundance everywhere around SA. The truth about the huge diggings and the wiped out hills and the big holes the mines have made in African countries. After a rather righteous dose of humanity and must Save the environment – time check again, 30 minutes more. Again no mails.

A cuppa tea down – almost aiming for close of day – Resource 1 was proud to have spent the day learning new things, much about history read only in Tintin comics. A feeling of satisfaction devouring – routine always puts hurdles in path of new discovery. On and off it is a good feeling to try something new. Surpirised at herself, and a new found interest in history again – there is much that one does not know. Almost happy that there was no work today and no pending mails, that led her back to the ancient ages – she discovered, OUTLOOK was in offline mode. Like the title suggests IGNORANCE is BLISS only till it lasts :).

In which Trupz and Adi define "Rules of A Happy Marriage"

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Our wonderful friends had presented this poster as a wedding gift – it read as the title suggests, “Rules for a Happy Marriage”. It hung proudly on the wall, till we both realized all rules hold true but with a little twist. So here is our take on rules – don’t forget to read between the lines

 

RULES FOR A  {supposedly} HAPPY MARRIAGE (but there is no guarantee 🙂 )

 
 

NEVER BOTH BE ANGRY AT THE SAME TIME

Trip-se : True that – unless it is the same person or same reason

Adi-se: Yeah, bitch about the rest of the world, but not @ each other.

 

NEVER YELL AT EACH OTHER UNLESS THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE

Trip-se : Only if he refuses to leave the loo till the book finishes or if India wins the next Cricket World Cup!!

Adi-se : Or if she is taking tooo much time to get ready!!!!!

 

IF ONE OF YOU HAS TO WIN AN ARGUMENT, LET IT BE YOUR MATE

Trip-se : implies THE WIFE

Adi-se : implies THE MISSUS,  you can’t win this, you might have won a single round, be happy, you lose something but you win something else 🙂

 

IF YOU HAVE TO CRITICIZE DO IT LOVINGLY

Trip-se : “You don’t look so fat in this” is not really a compliment

Adi-se : Tread this territory very carefully, its an art you shall learn over the years, use lots of nice words, remove the direct negatives 🙂

 

NEVER BRING UP MISTAKES OF THE PAST

Trip-se : especially old flings, flames, chicks, friends

Adi-se : ditto, oh yeah and never bring up any screw ups on her part during an argument.

 

NEGLECT THE WHOLE WORLD RATHER THAN EACH OTHER

Trip-se : so its okay to bunk office some days.

Adi-se : Weekends are meant for ‘FAMILY’ (including her friends and your’s, one’s approved by her 🙂 )

 

NEVER GO TO SLEEP WITH AN ARGUMENT UNSETTLED

Trip-se : you can always PAUSE between the debate and do other interesting things before sleep beckons obviously :P. Some arguments are never meant to be finished.

Adi-se : Damn!!!  Midnight is not the right time to have discussions/arguments

 

AT LEAST ONCE EVERYDAY TRY TO SAY ONE KIND OR COMPLIMENTARY THING TO EACH OTHER

Trip-se : You know they always look and smell nice, but let him hog that mirror sometimes to get his hair correct or an extra 5 minutes in the shower (just kidding),  psst – this ensures you can always get that extra credit for shopping and makeup 😛

Adi-se : Timing is of most importance here :), but seriously do it, makes you feel good !!!

 

WHEN YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING WRONG, ADMIT IT AND ASK FOR FORGIVENESS

Trip-se : this one is strictly applicable to the other halves ladies, we all know that you don’t just bump into an old buddy and no one really forces you to wait for a few more drinks!!! Also, it is perfectly okay to get inspired by your best friends fashion and clone it.

Adi-se : Applicable to both halves, though getting her to admit it is an art in itself 🙂

 

IT TAKES 2 TO MAKE A QUARREL, AND IT IS THE ONE IN THE WRONG WHO DOES MOST TALKING

Trip-se : NOT always, if the ones in the wrong accept their fault it would save a lot of breath 🙂

Adi-se : You make a mistake as for forgiveness as soon as possible, otherwise fall into the loop of point’s 7,9

There are no rules for Happiness, you get as much as you can extract from life. There can be no less but there is always room for MORE.
Marriages have but a few secret ingredients of LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, RESPECT, TOLERANCE and above all TRUST. Just mix them in the right proportions for a lip-smacking recipe.

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