Sunday, April 01, 2012

If authors took April 1 seriously

From A Suitable Boy:

'You too will marry a boy I choose,' said Mrs Rupa Mehra firmly to her younger daughter.

Lata avoided the maternal imperative by looking around the great lamp-lit garden of Prem Nivas. The wedding-guests were gathered on the lawn. 'Hmm,' she said. This annoyed her mother further.

'I know what your hmms mean, young lady, and I can tell you I will not stand for hmms in this matter. I do know what is best. I am doing it all for you. Do you think it is easy for me, trying to arrange things for all four of my children without His help?' Her nose began to redden at the thought of her husband, who would, she felt certain, be partaking of their present joy from somewhere benevolently above.

What would he have made of her four candidates for Lata Mehra? Dabbing at her eyes hastily with a handkerchief perfumed with 4711 eau-de-Cologone, Mrs Rupa Mehra listed their virtues for the benefit of her errant daughter. The cobbler had no teeth, but Lata would have the finest of footwear; the poet had no backbone, but his verses scanned; and so it went until Lata Mehra rose in alarm.

‘Ma!’ she said. Contentedly, Mrs Rupa Mehra registered the shift from Lata’s hmms.

‘April Fool!’ she said. ‘Stop crying, Lata, it turns your eyes an unbecoming red. None of these are the real candidate, not to worry. You too will marry the girl of my dreams.’


From The Mahabharata:

"And as (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And as thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors began to fall east-wards, O bull of Bharata's race, and striking against the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood arrayed, O bull of Bharata's race, the Sun rose divested of splendour, and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, O chief of the Bharatas, with loud noise. And the roll of thunder, O king, was heard frequently on all sides. So thick was the dust that arose that nothing could be seen. And the tall standards (of the combatants), furnished with strings of bells, decked with golden ornaments, garlands of flowers, and rich drapery, graced with banners and resembling the Sun in splendour, being suddenly shaken by the wind, gave a loud jingling noise like that of a forest of palmyra trees (when moved by the wind). It was thus that those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, ever taking delight in battle, stood having disposed their troops in counter-array against the army of thy son, and sucking as it were, the marrow, O bull of Bharata's race, of our warriors, and casting their eyes on Bhimasena stationed at their head, mace in hand."

Then, O bull of Bharata's race, king Yudhishthira, disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of Bhishma, urged them on, saying,--'The Pandavas have now disposed their forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the scriptures). Ye sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the highest heaven.'

“Hoi!” said an envoy, riding onto the field of battle. “War’s off!”

“What?” said king Yudhishthira. “But it took us ages to get ready, try putting elephants into suits of armour and see how long that takes you.”

“Pack up and go home,” said the envoy. “Indra says so. War’s off, Kurukshetra’s cancelled, great big bloody battle postponed until further notice. Kindly do the needful.”

Trembling like elephants sunk in the mire, the heroic car-warriors on both sides turned with a great rumbling of wheels. The horses tossed their manes and neighed, pawing the dust as they wheeled away from the scene of battle. The archers rested their bows on the ground; the elephants trumpeted as they turned in formation. With a sound like distant thunder, the two great armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas began to retreat. The envoy let them go until they had covered a distance of many koses and the warriors had doffed their helmets and unlaced their armour.

“Isn’t anyone going to ask me what day it is?” he called, rising in his stirrups.

“Oh blast,” said Arjun, raising Gandiva again. “April bloody fool. Back to war, you lot.”

“This,” said Bhishma, “is what you get from aping Western customs blindly and forgetting your ancient Indian culture. In my time, there was none of this April fool business. In my time, we didn’t have to pick up any old Western festival that came our way. In my time, we didn’t even fight the war in April—are you crazy, in the middle of summer?”

“If I hear him say ‘in my time’ once again,” said someone on the other side grimly.

“And in my time,” continued Bhishma, “the wars were better anyway. Call this a war? Arjuna and Krishna sloping off to write the Bhagavad Gita in the middle of the whole business.”

“Archers,” said the someone on the other side. “Whenever you’re ready, gentlemen. Whenever you’re ready.”


From Waiting For Godot:

VLADIMIR:
You must be happy too, deep down, if you only knew it.
ESTRAGON:
Happy about what?
VLADIMIR:
To be back with me again.
ESTRAGON:
Would you say so?
VLADIMIR:
Say you are, even if it's not true.
ESTRAGON:
What am I to say?
VLADIMIR:
Say, I am happy.
ESTRAGON:
I am happy.
VLADIMIR:
So am I.
ESTRAGON:
So am I.
VLADIMIR:
We are happy.
ESTRAGON:
We are happy. (Silence.) What do we do now, now that
we are happy?
VLADIMIR:
April fool. We are not happy. (Silence)
ESTRAGON:
We were never happy. (Silence.) Godot.
VLADIMIR:
Godot?
ESTRAGON:
Is Godot happy? (Takes off his boots.)
VLADIMIR:
Only on April 1. (Long pause.) Not on April 2.
ESTRAGON: On March 31?
(Silence.)

2 comments:

  1. I like all them but I love Mrs. Mehra marrying Lata to "girl of her dreams"!

    ReplyDelete
  2. loved the piece on godot!!

    ReplyDelete

 
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