Saturday, February 14, 2015

How My Birthday is 14th Feb

A few days back some bank has called using Noida call center. And to my disgust the caller didn’t know English. And my Hindi is at best comical. So I passed on the phone to my son. After the call he asked me with his usual twinkle in the eye and a smile on his lips how come I had this important day as my official birthday when my actual birthday was different. And it triggered again a flood of memories.

I was fourteen in 1974 Jan . I was filling the application form for my board / 10th class examinations and rules stipulate one has to be fifteen. So you had the option of backdating your birthday. At that time everyone was so particular about even days of backdating the birthday because one would lose government service and pay and promotions by even few days of birth date. I have backdated my birthday by more than two months than required and filled the form with 14th Feb as the date of birth.
My principal has come to the class for verification of the forms and he asked me why I had backdated by more than two months than required. I told him because it was Lovers Day. He was 6-3 and 200 kg and I was 3-6 and 30 kg. He flew into rage I had never seen. He cuffed my collar and dragged me out of the class room. I was terrified that he would kill me if dragged me to the end of the courtyard. So I just held on to the chapatah of the well and would not let go. In all telugu literature writers used to describe the  “ chintha barikalu” the branches of tamarind tree which are very hard and were used to beat up the kids. But here palm tree branches were used ( eetha kommalu) which used to come down on you with whooshing sound and take off a small portion of the flesh. I do not remember how long this beating went but when I woke up I was in the most forbidden place across the street, the girls hostel. On a cot with one of the most beautiful women on Earth. Another teacher was applying a paste to the whip lashes, never knew what it was. Must be navaneetam ( lime sludge mixed with coconut oil ). I was having a raging fever and come to think of it there was no ice. It was just water drenched clothes to rub off the temperature. I just reached out to her and kissed and told her I love her. She just joined a couple of days back then. She looked into my eyes and told me “ Ramana, You be the same as you are in your life”. Well I didn’t understand then. I was naked and I thought she was actually asking me to remain naked for life. Both of them wiped the shit off my ass, sponged the urine for two days. I was later told they refused to hand me over. Both of them were sacked on the second evening and were refused that night’s stay in the hostel and had to leave evening . It was so fortunate that bus drivers did not rape and kill night passengers then.

On hind sight, I think I should have used this opportunity of staying in the girl’s hostel for two days by curing myself quick and utilizing the opportunity.

Some thirty years later, when this shitty head HR people come to you to congratulate on your birthday I suddenly realized the meaning of her words. What she meant was “come what may, don’t budge.”  

And then a couple of years later I went to Australia for a holiday with my family. I was with my cousin at the Blue Mountains Off Sydney and it was a Sunday. So there was local market. I bought packets of strawberries for every one. Every one was freaking out with the little purchases in the market. Till that day, I have never eaten a strawberry. I ate one strawberry. When I had bit into the other, I remembered this lady because her mouth had actually smelled of strawberry. And I just sat slumped at the curb. And this giant of a man came to me and asked me:” Any problem mate”. I said I just remembered someone whom I had kissed some 3 decades back. He was a massive person and he bellowed with laughter and said:” Big deal mate. When I was 14,I had kissed six, fucked three, married one and my life is screwed now.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I just told him her mouth smelled like his strawberries. He was taken aback. He went back a few feet to his place, consulted his another hulk of wife and brought me another full carry bag of strawberries with no charge.
And then he told me one thing. “ Savour the memory, enjoy the fragnance till the end of your life”

I had deep pockets then. So I launched one of the biggest man hunt or rather women hunt. There was nothing. No records. No person alive who would give me who she was.

Even till today, even if all the women in the world come together and pour acid on me, I will always love women till I melt to the last drop.