Sweep of history

A hilarious article by the master columnist Jug Suraiya(who writes for TOI as we all(or almost all)know).

Economists keep telling us that we are currently in a phase of negative inflation. Which in economese (the language that only economists speak, and only economists understand) means that prices of things are coming down. This proves that economists don’t eat daal, the price of which far from coming down has shot up like one of those space rockets ISRO keeps launching, and is now Rs 90-plus a kg (daal that is, not ISRO rockets). This also proves that economists don’t eat onions, which are Rs 20 a kg. Moreover and most significantly this proves that economists don’t use a jhaaru, that indispensable item of daily use in every Indian household.

The other day, Bunny informed me that Sudha, our domestic help, had indented for a new jhaaru, the old one having given up the ghost, after yeoman service sweeping up the doggy hairs that Brindle deposits on the carpets and furniture every day. OK, i said, fishing out a crumpled tenner from the dusty recesses of my wallet. This won’t do, said Bunny. Sudha says a jhaaru now costs 38 rupees. Thirty-eight bucks? For a lowly jhaaru? Does Sudha think jhaarus grow on trees? i demanded. Which, come to think of it, they probably do. I’d never thought of where jhaarus come from, but with their feathery, frond-like appearance they probably do come from trees. Maybe Sudha enterprising soul was proposing to invest in a whole jhaaru tree, or even an entire plantation of jhaaru trees, and was planning to use my 38 rupees as venture capital for the project.

But it turned out that i was mistaken. It seemed that Sudha was not in fact thinking of cornering the jhaaru market, becoming the Mukesh Ambani of the jhaaru trade, so to speak, and having Anil take out snide public interest ads about monopolists and cartels and what-have-yous, or rather what-have-you-nots, the monopolist having glommed all available supplies of the commodity in question. Which in this case was jhaarus. A single one of which, i discovered, now cost 38 smackers. So much or should that be so little? for negative inflation. And for non-jhaaru-wielding economists.

The jhaaru India’s low-cost (till now), eco-friendly answer to the western world’s vacuum cleaner is much more than a humble instrument of domestic sanitary engineering. It is an emblem and a daily memento of the cyclical sweep of our ancient history, and of our even more ancient mythology that lies beyond the horizon of time. Did Sita do jhaaru when she and Ram and Lakshman were in vanvaas? Of course she did, must have. Forests are full of dust, and like any proud homemaker or vanmaker, which would be more accurate in her case Sita must have wielded a jhaaru along with the best of them, keeping their patch of forest spick and span for Ram to come home to of an evening after a hard day of doing whatever it is that exiled god-kings do in the wilderness. In fact, so assiduous was Sita in her jhaaruing that she overstepped the protective line that brother-in-law Lakshman had drawn for her and got herself abducted by Ravana, but that’s another story.

Ever since Sita, Indian households and forestholds have witnessed the daily ritual of not the removal but the re-allocation of dust with the use of the jhaaru: every day the ancient, abiding dust the same patient dust swept through the ages by Sita, and the Maurya dynasty, and the Mughals, and the British, and now us is swept out through the door and relocated outside, from where the wind will blow it back in again, in an endless circle of ebb and flow. Thirty-eight bucks? A small price to pay for an eternal tidal flow of which, part and parcel, is that half a handful of dust called me. Bring on the jhaaru. And inflation be damned. Together with the economists.


A Travelogue – “The Journey Begins”

A friend of mine who wants to be anonymous wrote this beautiful travelogue, from her trip to Goa.

Free since birth and vagabond by nature is a healthy combo for a curiosity driven girl. Here’s presenting the prologue to the exotic tale of an impertinent chit who dares to be herself.
May 25:
I was looking forward to this day more than my birthday, so you can well imagine how momentous the day must be. It was this day which saw me and my travel loving family embark on a trip to a new land yet again—the lush and lovable GOA. New people, new cuisine, new hotels, new lifestyles –it’s BEWITCHING. Everybody should have a taste of this magic more than once in their life.

Even the casual journey from the airport to my holiday resort proved to be a thrilling experience. Picturesque landscape greeted my eyes everywhere I looked. Red, blue, green, purple colored houses dotted the roadside showcasing the significant influence of Portuguese cultural extravaganza in the lives of Goans.’24 HOURS SERVICE’ bars being the biggest hit in the category of local specialties could be found at every nook and corner!!Although the afternoon weather was hot, the sea breeze was amazingly refreshing. With its heavy scent and languor it caressed my face like a lover’s touch evoking joy and freedom at the same time. And the people here are another story altogether. Apparently men & pants is a rare combination to be seen. Men here wear the ‘Lungi’ (Indian Sarong for Men) which is the locally preferred attire whereas women are dressed in frock and skirts and dammit the place lives its touristic jingle ‘365 DAYS ON A HOLIDAY’ everyday. During my journey to the resort I hardly saw anyone in the streets or for that matter any shopping hustle bustle in the afternoon which as my mother informed me later was due to the ‘SIESTA’ culture prevalent in Goa.

My resort cannot be described in any other words except THE HEAVENLY DELIGHT OF GOA. Massive and spread across thousands of acres it boasted of the best state of art architecture and enough facilities to entertain the guests till they drop dead. Swimming, yoga, gym, library, game zone and internet were few of my interests which I decided to pursue relentlessly in the next 6 days. After a few hours of rest in our room, I browbeat my parents into visiting each and every corner of this palace of bliss. Last and not the least we visited the beautiful and exclusively maintained beach overlooking the hotel which provides a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea.

There is something magical about visiting the seacoast at night my friends’ .Something out of this world. Recommended to one and all. Starry sky, gentle sound of the waves crashing on the coastline—the mood is romantic ultimo. Coming back to the resort restaurant after the ‘hectic know-it-all’ trip, me and my parents were greeted with a delightful dinner menu. Today’s theme was Rajasthani with salad starters, cheese pasta for kids, puddings, soups and what not. Mouthwatering aint it? It took us three rounds to quench our hunger plus we overate because the food was delicious beyond compare. And hereby ends the story of my first day of a new life, the story of the world as I see it.

P.S. I was bitten by the photography bug as soon as I stepped into Goa which led me to capture around 100 images each day with my parents digital camera. Here are a few from the collection. Hope you enjoy their uniqueness as I did. Right now am trying to convince my parents to try out the delicacies of exotic Goan seafood and cocktails at our superb resort bar. Got to go.

Until next time.

-Miss Blogger 19

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