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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gone cuckoo...

There's a large leafy tree near the gate of my house, and it has been the refuge of lots of birds over the years. Literally hundreds of sparrows returning to rest in its branches at dusk made such a din, chirrupping all together, that I sometimes had to break off my evening classes until they settled down, because I could hardly hear myself speak. Of late the sparrows seem to have vanished, God knows why and where (I have heard dark murmurings that the electromagnetic emanations from all the mobile-phone signal relay towers that have mushroomed around the town have killed them off en masse, though I have no idea whether it is a scientifically-valid explanation or not).

Now that it is (at least technically) springtime, my garden is full of the cooings and chirpings and twitterings of a variety of birds. It sounds melodious and soothing as a rule, and I thank my lucky stars that I live in a place where I can still enjoy such natural charms without having the privileges of a tycoon. Unfortunately one young Mr. Cuckoo, desperate to attract a suitable lady love, has been taking things too far lately. He doesn't coo - there's nothing remotely sweet and delicate about his call - he literally yells his head off. And he's been at it night and day, waking us up at four in the morning, screaming at a demure female who can be heard coyly cooing back from many trees away even in the evenings until the boys and girls start giggling and I begin to grimace so furiously that the class has got to be suspended now and then (it's the middle of a rather hot day right now, but young Galahad is still at it: the thing's becoming faintly like the notorious Chinese water torture). I hope he finds a consort soon, otherwise he'll drive us nuts. No wonder one meaning of cuckoo is 'mad'!

The lovesick fellow probably ground through umpteen school crambooks to get a berth in some second or third-rate private engineering college, and now that he's landed a twenty-thousand -rupees-a-month cybercoolie's job in Bangalore, his mother's nagging him to find a bride. After all, he has 'shone' and become 'successful' by every middle-class standard, so why should he not 'settle down' now, so that the new Mrs. Cuckoo could raise a brood and get them admitted to school and then shriek at them night and day to study hard and follow in daddy's footsteps. It's all as Mother Nature wrote, for generation after generation, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

I only wish the poor dumb brutes had the advantage of facilities such as shaadi.com and bharatmatrimony.com provide us humans these days. Then they would not have had to yell their heads off night and day for several weeks on end in such primeval fashion to find wives for themselves, and my ears would get some rest.

17 comments:

SleepyPea said...

The first part about the cuckoos is wonderful....the last bit about the who-knows-who-that-is...ah, I see. Bherry Punny, Suvro da. I guess I can see what you mean. I swear I could shoot those folks...or maybe give a nose flick. Sometimes of course the dark clouds come in bringing rain over my head. BUT there's nothing wrong with the shaadi.com service (I guess)- it provides hours of entertainment. I should know! A friend of mine put up a pretty picture of mine (yes, it really was pretty) - I looked all sweet and shy and coy...and the morons who responded to it. Gah-bah. Was quite frightening, and such a bore - but amusing...however - all said and done - it does give one a good laugh (unless things work out - as they do for some folks!) - then they are probably the ones who laugh all the way - nice and easy, and the rest of it.
As for the Chinese water torture - the Chinese did come up with some marvellously painless torture techniques - didn't they? No limbs or lives lost. Zen. Absolute Zen..."patience" - like the Yoda master! What a wonderful teacher you are, Suvro da! But I don’t see why you have to be so furious with the birds!

kalyanjit said...

A very funny post. At first reading it looked like one of those David Lynch movies, where the first half is completely disconnected from the second half. However, at the end you sit still for a moment and then see through the glass.

Suvro Sarkar said...

Assuming that the cuckoos are the same creatures we call “kokil” in Bangla or “koel” in Hindi, I always thought these guys are among the lucky few species in the animal kingdom whose males look better than females. If I’m not mistaken, the female kokils, though still pretty much the fairer sex, are much larger and uglier than their male counterparts. And yet, as you find out, it’s the males who have to do all the prospecting and searching and shouting out loud. So grossly unfair that it actually makes me a little happy that at least, we humanoid males are the larger and uglier version in our species – makes the bad, bad business of finding a mate a little less bad. And, of course, we are blessed with the matrimonial sites but I, for one, would any day prefer the traditional matrimonial columns – possibly because it tends to be a more genuine medium? That’s not to take anything away from the shaadi.coms, though, for believe me, sir, a whole e-generation (during my first 3 years in college when there was no orkut.com) grew up on ogling at the pictures of pretty Indian girls posted there.

The Chinese water torture is indeed, a very good analogy because, as wikipedia tells me, the thing that drives people nuts is not knowing when the next drop of cold water is about to hit you – and I think, neither do you when it comes to this guy’s rendition of popular koyeli love songs! Incidentally, I recently came across another form of torture involving water called “waterboarding” – which subjects the victim to a sensation akin to drowning – allegedly used by the CIA in interrogating suspected Al Qaeda militants. The “cool” part is that it doesn’t leave any physical marks on you and you can never prove that you were tortured!

Navin said...

I miss these sounds so much, in this dry arid state of New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

That was a witty post indeed, Sir.

I, for one, feel for that lonely male cuckoo. Little is he aware of the upcoming danger that he is inflicting upon himself. Hopefully, within a few days, he shall find a pretty bride for himself(with the amount of effort he is putting in tirelessly day in and day out, he should be able to accomplish this task quickly- I wish him good luck!) and settle down comfortably- just as dear mummy had wished. Soon after, they shall have kids to look after, and Mr.Cuckoo shall have a tough time in finding a suitable 'English Medium convent' school to get his kids admitted to. Mrs.Cuckoo, in the mean time, shall get very busy in forcing the kids to learn painting, swimming, singing, dancing, cricket and all other sorts so that her kids might excel at everything (how else could her kids 'rise and shine' to become an all-rounder, and how can it be that her children cannot do something which her neighbour Mrs.Sparrow's sons can do in a jiffy?).

Our friend Mr.Cuckoo shall (and I hate to say this) lead a miserable life thereafter, shuffling his time between office and home, and finding solace nowhere. Add to this the constant nagging of Mrs.Cuckoo regarding the absence of nice car, jewellery, fancy microwave oven and 'camera-walah' mobile coupled with bearing the regular typical 'saas-bahu' style quarrels between Mrs.Cuckoo and Mother Cuckoo , and you shall actually start pitying the miserable 'cuckoo-pecked' husband.

Sir, pray to Lord that Mr. Cuckoo doesn't settle with his family in the vicinity of your house, or else there's going to be a lot of cacophony for you to bear up with.


Thanks,
Joydeep

Suvro Chatterjee said...

It's you who deserve my thanks, Joydeep. You are the first to get the black (and acid) humour and to comment upon it!

Subhanjan said...

WOW! I couldn't help myself smile Sir when I read your post. And I couldn't help myself smile more when I read Joydeep's post. WOW! I think that was one of the best of your posts. And Joydeep's comment was the best of all his comments. When I went through your post Sir, somewhere inside I felt some witty thoughts tickling me. But I was unable to arrange my thoughts. Reading Joydeep's post arranged my thoughts, and painted a clear picture of what I was thinking and what are the other issues that I should think about. Both the original post and Joydeep's comment are written in the simplest of style, but questioning some of the most important issues regarding life and society. Good work Sir. And a lot of thanks to Joydeep too.

Nishant Choudhary said...

Hullo Sir,
a humourous post indeed....this one i think is the very essence of the things that you used to tell us in those classes of yours, the narrow minedeness of the majority of the middle class, and its tendency to be contended with the minimum one gets, (not aiming any higher than a job worth Rs.40000 a month, a 2 bedroom flat in one of the metros, a satisfactorily "pretty" bride and a foreign tour). I remember you saying a similar kind of thing to me when i last came to see you, the inability of the majority of the masses to focus on the bigger picture, which if done could lead one to reap greater profits, and have a far better life with Mrs Cuckoo and master and miss cuckoos .
Thank You.
Nishant

Aakash said...

Dear Sir,

To begin with, I loved this post.

The young Mr Cuckoo sits alone on a branch, condemned like Sisyphus. He looks for a change. Changing jobs for a fatter pay packet has lost all its charm. He's perhaps done it once too often. So what does he do then - looks out for lady love. Little does he realise that this too was ordained in Sisyphus's diary.

But Sisyphus never gave up on hope - poor chap kept pushing his stone up the mountain. Hope was his punishment, I believe. And I'm sorry to say Mr Cuckoo too won't give up so soon.

With regards,

Aakash

Anonymous said...

Thanks Subhanjan. It's my great good luck to have intelligent people like you to read my post and appreciate it.

Many of my friends are getting married lately, and they are not even twenty-five yet. They have just started their careers (all of them are in the IT Industry) and I beleive they have a long way to go before they can bear the responsibilty and the pressure of sustaining a modest family. I am a little surprised to see these people donning the wedding gown so early, specially so since they know it as well as me that they are not financially stable yet to afford the basic amenities which a simple family must be granted.

What irks me the most is the reason they cite for their early marriage: Supposedly, the girl's parents are of the opinion that the girl must be married off to the boy as soon as possible, lest he gets distracted by 'other things' if left unmarried for a couple of more years! Talk about unconditional love, respect, faith in one another and mutual understanding; and this is what you get! I often try to talk sense to my friends saying that the girl's parents are needlessly afraid, since pure love does not fade away with time, and nor can someone forcibly resist a person from building a lateral relationship if he/she is unhappy with the current one, but who cares?


I hold another grudge against all my married friends- Just after their marriage, they turn stone cold to all their former friends, not even bothering to call up once, or send a mail or two. They all give the same lame excuse for their conduct- that they had been too busy with their wives, in-laws and relatives, and they hope to be pardoned for such an alibi!


Thanks,
Joydeep

Subhanjan said...

OH! What an observation Joydeepda! Keep it on. Jai Hind!

It is so true. Everywhere all around me I see this terrible sickness among boys and girls to get married soon. And they have nothing far more important to think about. And the worse thing is that, even when they think of marriage they do not think about it in the way they should. And by that I mean that they are not taking marriage as a very sacred thing and giving a lot of respect and importance to it with a deep sense of love, care, dedication and responsibility. The tragedy is that we all know why most of us want to marry - just to posses a body for the purpose of having sex. I feel no shame to say this as this is a horribly crude truth that I have seen all around. And when I questioned this among my friends, they shamelessly caricatured me, and also found no other reason to marry. What a world we live in!

My wife should be the other half of mine. To me she is my mother, my nurse, my sister, my daughter, my teacher, my student, my body, my soul, my smile, my tears, my joy, and my sorrow. No one equals her. I am not supposed to marry her for her body, but for this deep realisation that she means so much to me; and that she would be incomplete without me and I would be incomplete without her; as I had been incomplete without my mother.

If I have to marry a girl for her body, then why marry at all and spend countless money behind her throughout my life. Spend only five hundred bucks tonight and enjoy a prostitute. If you want the female body again, go for another night. This way one saves a lot of money instead of spending a lot of money which he does not want to spend. Money is precious.

What a world we live in and what words I have to say for its people!

Anonymous said...

People are 'falling in love' left, right and centre. But how many are sinking is the real issue. Most of the time they are simply looking for good old mating and it is extremely funny to see what all they have to go through for this simple experience ( which, as correctly pointed out in the last post, is easily bought for far less money and accompanied by no other trimmings ). They declare undying love to their beloved who is -according to them- the most beautiful woman they have ever met or seen. It is ironic that pornography is generating ever-increasing profits.
That is only the first part. The aftermath of marriage is a pretty grim one. Adultery has reached new levels- of course, we have become so liberal! People do not hesitate to make passes at married women and ,this is hard, the responses are mostly positive. The reverse is also true, but less frequent.
Middle-class guys are raised in the iron grip of their mothers who determine everything about their wards -from which books to read to which movies to see to which games to play (if they do at all) to which exams to give and which career to follow. These guys are then forced off into marriages as and when the Iron Lady sees fit.The girl is of course chosen by her. The unhappiness hereafter is well described by some earlier posts. The marriages are rocked several times but an external facade is 'cleverly' maintained (even though everyone knows what the real state is) ONLY because divorces are not socially 'acceptable' in India. Of course ,incest , rape , groping, wife-bashing, passing lewd comments are ! Couples cotinuing this increasingly painful coexistence compound these problems. And that is not all - the frustrations are passed onto children who typically become clones. The seeds are sown.
When confronted with this bleak scenario, people respond with the oft repeated joke that children in developed countries of the west do not even know who their parents are? Undeniably the west has problems -everyone has- but it would perhaps be better if , imstead of comparing, we tended our open wounds instead of theirs. It is not ,after all, a joke that sometime in the near future all the frustrated Mr.Cuckoos and the equally frustrated Mrs.Cuckoos begin an all out war.

P.S: Those rare few who consider themselves lucky that they have been able to mould themselves so that they do not fall into the trap, will please consider that my comments are not levelled at them.

To Sir: I am keeping this post anonymous because of several personal reasons while hoping that you would not mind and will consider publishing it.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I have broken a rule to allow in an anonymous comment, because I thought it was relevant, true and important. I would have been happier if the writer had revealed her identity (it's almost certain to be a 'she'), but I must rest content, seeing that some people feel very uncomfortable about telling unpleasant truths! I find it both sad and funny, seeing that I have told such truths all my life: it has not caused me any serious harm, and if it has lost me a lot of friends, I am quite sure I wouldn't have gained anything from friends of that sort.

Sayan said...

Another reason why I think people are falling in love 'left, right and centre' is a feeling of lack of companionship, no one to talk to, no one to pour out their woes to and no one willing to listen to them; thanks to a grossly materialistic world where people are so busy chasing primitive urges that they have little time to introspect, much less think and care about someone else. No wonder many younsters listen to the FM for hours on end, think DJs to be their closest friends and keep dialing the telephone to get a chance to talk to them. When I look at the schoolgoers of Kolkata today I feel pity to see them returning home from school or tutions, trying hard to balance themselves under the weight of their heavy bags, at a time when it's almost dark and a precious evening having gone by. They have little time to play or indulge in any meaningful activity of any sort. Also it is hammered very hard into their heads from a very young age,that the sole purpose of life is to get more marks than the neibourgh's child and therefore it is not at all surprising that these children grow up to become mindless, calculating machines with little respect for human dignity, earning loads of money but deeply dissatisfied within. It is this dissatisfaction and unhappiness that causes them to act in ways that are either unlawful or morally wrong.
The solution, it seems to me, lies in catching children young (the best time is early teenage, I guess), when they haven't yet formed opinions or views about the world they live in, and try to mould them. Not all of them will respond partly because the iron grip has always been too strong on them and partly because they are genetically too thick-headed. However, as Sir says, telling the truth doesn't necessarily cause any serious harm, I guess it's a risk worth taking.
Sayan Datta.

Anonymous said...

To Sir:
Thanks, but I am a 'he'. Sorry for the three mistakes in the comment - you cannot give exams ,you can only take them; the word is continuing not cotinuing; and instead is the correct spelling, not imstead . It will not happen the next time.

To Sayan Datta:
Please be restrained. No one can ever play god without disastrous consequences ( check Hitler ). You cannot forcibly indocrinate anybody. To each to his own - either you learn to be free or you stay in the prison.To you as well as to me (and few others)- the first choice declares a person's love for freedom (and a life full of hardships but personal satisfaction) the second almost always leads to comfortable ,albeit artificial, slavery.

Sayan said...

To the anonymous commentator,
I did not write with your specific comment in mind, I wrote what I felt and what seemed natural. Also, I write here mostly with myself in mind; I do not even know most of the other commentators personally, so, just to put things in perspective, my comments are directed mostly at myself rather than the public as a whole. This exercise for me is an attempt to learn rather than to preach; I don't think I have gained enough knowledge to be able to suddenly get hold of the ethical and moral banner and go about teaching everybody. Again, neither am I trying to play God nor forcibly indoctrinating anybody, I know only too well that that is impossible. My comments are merely attempts (again they apply to me mostly) to see things as they ought to be seen. And if you are talking about this line "The solution, it seems to me, lies in catching children young (the best time is early teenage, I guess), when they haven't yet formed opinions or views about the world they live in, and try to mould them"- well, I will not take it back. If someday I go about telling youngsters that there is a difference between right and wrong, truth and untruth, good and bad; I think that would be quite a harmless activity, very distinct from those of Hitler's! Also if I am not able to become a very virtuous person, I can always take pride in the thought that someone whom I had taught to discern and distinguish has become one. Even if my first choice indicates not as much love for freedom as ought to be, I will take comfort in the thought that at least I have come to know that freedom is the only quality to be worshipped and try to learn from those who have become true masters of their own minds; a man may even be half way saved by those whom he has chosen to waorship (Your line Sir).
Hope you read this.
Sayan Datta.

Sayan said...

One more thing Mr. Anonymous,
Please be restrained. No one has ever told other people what and how to think without disastrous consequences (check Hitler). Do not take it upon yourself to weild the sword at people who hold nothing against you. So please refrain from advising others especially when you don't even know them (or do not care to). You don't know who I am, what I do, what I think, do you? But, if you have anything worthwhile to say, at least have the courtesy to use your name (real name); it feels awkward doing business with anonymous folks. Anyway I don't take advice from every man on the street (especially anonymous folks). People offering advices are too many, people willing to listen are just too few. And in future, if my comments bug you (though I do not see why they should), then just ignore them.
Sayan Datta.