The Making Of A Poem: Part II

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In the Cipher 1982
by Jean Michel Basquiat
Continued from the previous post:

And then suddenly, tabhi achanak, I received a phone call from my friend....

While I was still recovering from the mishaps of the day, she enthusiastically detailed her family’s fabulous outing to the museum and the park. After she finished describing their fantastic lunch at Olive Garden, she asked, “Do you have any plans for the evening?”

“No,” I replied, thinking she was inviting me for some activity.

“We will be at your place within ten minutes. Happy and Lucky don’t want to go home yet, and besides, we want to give you a break from your blogging-shlogging.”

“Oh sure,” I said. I didn’t get the chance to tell her about my dismal condition but it did not matter because she would have come to see me regardless. This was a friend who always asked me what it was that I wrote about.

I ended the conversation with a “see ya,” and then shouted, “Operation Munna Bhai MBBS.”

“Operation Munna Bhai MBBS,” the father relayed to the daughter. This was our code for a rapid action task to make our home and ourselves clean and tidy, inspired by Munna Bhai’s ability to create a fake hospital in a jiffy.

I remembered we didn’t have anything to serve with the tea. “Will you make pakoras?” I asked my husband in a very low voice.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

This time, I didn’t give him the chance to say, “awaaz neeche.” He has stopped making pakoras ever since he watched the movie, Action Replayy, in which a docile Akshay Kumar fries pakoras at his dad’s house.

All three of us knew what we had to do when there was a call for 'Operation Munna Bhai MBBS.' Under OMBM, we only had a few minutes to carry out the mammoth task. I combed the upper layers of my hair and tied a ponytail—it would have taken twenty minutes to untangle my hair by brushing it all—and then got out of my faded T-shirt to put on a new one, and rushed to kitchen.

Living room was under the daughter’s jurisdiction and bedroom under the husband’s.

I reminded my daughter, “Collect shoes and food items separately, and don’t put half-filled teacups, tumblers, and coke cans with clothes.” She brought four baskets and gathered all the extra stuff lying around, and carried two baskets to the wash area and squeezed the other two in the closets.

The husband covered the stuff on the bed with a comforter and shoved all other things lying on the floor under the bed. Meanwhile, I collected dirty dishes and dumped them in the dishwasher. Many other things, including the junk mail and lots of shopping bags lying on the dining table for past many days, were transported to the garage. All the while, in my heart, I was cursing my husband’s parents for not teaching him housekeeping skills. Of course, he is a good cook and all that, but they never taught him to keep his future wife’s stuff in order.

When the doorbell rang, I went towards the door, spraying the house with stink-neutralizing spray.

My friend stepped into our house, exclaiming, “Wow, your house is always spick and span.”

Her husband rejoined, “It looks like a model house.”

The wife explained, “That’s because they have only one child, that too a daughter.”

We had barely settled on the sofas when the doorbell rang again. My friend informed us that she had invited my neighbor’s sons, who were of the same age—four and seven— as her sons, to play with them because Happy and Lucky didn’t get along with my daughter. It was only a matter of a few minutes when the four boys brought out all the underground stuff and made a museum of our house once again.

According to my friend, they had had heavy lunch in the afternoon, so she was not hungry at all and had planned to skip dinner. “Joshiji, please don’t make pakoras either,” she requested and he readily complied with her.

After spending their energy running around and jumping on couches, the boys started chanting, “noodles-pizza, noodles-pizza.” All of us had instant noodles and frozen pizza for dinner.

When they left, I sat down with my computer, and words poured out from my heart in the form of poetry. I hope my poem is not too difficult for you to understand:

When you go for a stroll, early in the morn,
Keep an eye on the ground that you stomp,
Not only to avoid tripping on potholes n rocks,
But you don’t wanna kill snakes, or step on bombs.

Don’t look skywards with your mouth wide open,
There are monkeys on the trees besides the birds.
Don’t smile at the strangers you see on the road,
They could be lechers, pervs, gangsters or psychos.

Walk carefully on the wet bathroom floor,
You never know when you might slip and fall.
Your fall could prove expensive and painful,
If you break floor-tiles and fixtures on the wall.

Before sitting on a chair, check its sturdiness,
That it has all four legs and no visible cracks,
Because if it collapsed during your occupation,
Your weight would be blamed for all the mess.

Conduct OMBM drill at home every once in a while,
You never know when your esteemed guests would drop by.
Never show your hubby movies like Action Replayy,
He will stop frying pakoras, and start saying “awaaz neeche.”

That's all for now. So long until my muse visits again....


  1. This my dear is priceless advice. Here's another one from someone who's seen and done it all.

    How about getting Mr Joshi to watch "Joru ka ghulaam"? If your house starts looking neighbours envy - owner's pride and you get to gorge on a four course dinner, you know who to thank.

  2. lol!!!! I love OMBM :D We also conduct that quite regularly but never called it that ;)

    And hilarious poem :D

    Love ur sense of humor :D

  3. Great idea, Purba!! Only the title of the movie, "Joru ka Ghulaam" is not convincing enough. Maybe I will show him the same movie, but tell him that we are watching "The King of House"

    @Smita: Thanks!! You can call it OMBM...I will not claim copyright. :-)

  4. Hilarious...smiled through and through...the anticipation of what the next line might say never ever wavered...keep it anticipation for more:))

  5. LOL, I thought that your daughter would be as intelligent as you to automatically sort things the way they should, but it turns out otherwise. :P
    What to say of our beloved 'atithis', they always come without a 'tithi'.
    Do you organize summer camps on the OMBM? I think I might need to attend one. :)
    And oh the poem, it came straight from the heart. :P :D

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  6. @Sangeeta: Thanks for the critique :-)

    @Anshul: Of course she knows how to sort things, but as a responsible parent it's my duty to remind her every time. If I organize OMBM camp, I will definitely inform you.

  7. Hilarious, as always! Just what I needed to sit and grin away to glory just now!

  8. Hehehehe....I just learnt a new phrase "OMBM for home" :) Hilarious poem...and love the idea from the comment section about the "king of house" movie :)

  9. Fall or rise,
    Noodles or fries;
    Cover your eyes,(and everything else)
    There're faeces in disguise. :P

  10. @Deepa: Thanks :-)
    @Hema: "King of the Castle" would sound even better :-)
    @Sayak: Thanks for the addition! I suspect you are Baba Ramdev's adviser :-/

  11. Register me for the OMBM course.....Good fun.

  12. @Ajay: So finally you got to read the poem!
    @Alka: Done :-)

  13. Had it been so, he would have preached people to survive on junk food. ;)

  14. OMBMBBS sounds like it could come in handy in the future. :D
    Also the poem is EPIC.

  15. @Sayak: :-)
    @Sammy: Thanks! Looks like you are too organized right now :-)

  16. OMG Giri Aunty! You are my dream mom! Why do the similarities between you and my mom end at the looks? I wish she was more like you.....No matter how hard I try, by the evening I am caught and made to commit the blasphemy of bathing on Sundays.

    OMBM was very handy at the hostel but not at home. The moment she opens the closet door - OMBM is busted :( But then she sweetly organizes it too.

    Most of the times I get - "What will you do when you get married?" Now I have an answer -'I'll be like Giri Aunty' :P :P

    Whattay post!!!! Hope the tiles err you are okay! Even I write when life gets a bit too ironical for me. :)

  17. Hey Cool Cat, I feel like adopting a lot of kids. The only problem I imagine is keeping their closets in order. Little ones do tell me quite often, "I wish you were my mom." :-)

  18. lovvveed ur work to the core :)

  19. What a hil-larious poem! 'Your weight will be blamed for all the mess'..LOL...You're the next Ogden Nash!

  20. Hey Smrithi, thanks for all your comments :-)


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