Sunday, 18 September 2016

episode 62 the deal maker

in the strangest of way, they were alike.

when anjali left that afternoon, khushi was absolutely shaken. an impossible ultimatum loomed: either work for us at rm and train lavanya, or pay the money you owe ar. rupees one lakh. 

nowadays in india i constantly hear about lakhs and lakhs of rupees as though this has become an easy sum to all, our "scams" feel embarrassed to be worth anything less than at the very least a couple of thousand crores. a lakh being equal to 100,000 or a hundred thousand, and a crore, one hundred times that, 10 million to be precise.

but the truth of the matter is, india is still full of families like khushi's where a lakh means much, sometimes means impossible. almost. so when a man you barely know but feel well disposed toward says, let me get it for you, takes a lot to say "no." your aunt is teary eyed with relief and urges you to grab the offer, for "ek taraf kuan hai, doosri taraf sakshat nandkissore." it's a deep well on one side and the lord himself on the other, according to buaji. somehow shyam even with his sweetest face on is the last one to evoke the thought of the eternal. but buaji was blinded by love. all she could see was a bridegroom for her little titaliya, nothing else. old eyes do get tricked sometimes, and what are these compared to nani's? even they couldn't spot the truth of this dark one. shyam, minus all connotations, just means black. nothing else.

"bada hi dhokebaaz hai yeh payr... baar baar ladkhada jaati hai." quite a scammer is this leg... keeps going off, becoming unsteady, says shyam as he feels a shooting pain and stumbles, and khushi rushes to help him and holds his shoulder. a very awkward moment, a sense of red heat around my ears at his lascivious enjoyment of her concern, her touch. eyes all soft and melting. not a shred of conscience does this man have, amoral in his being, all he cares about is what's in it for me. in certain parts of this world he'd be a great success. and in the way of a good scam his will be worth many people's happiness, their very sense of feeling whole and good. a real shyam scale scam. darkness in its core and every layer.

but today, the character that intrigued me most was khushi herself. we keep talking about her and asr being completely different from each other in every way. he dark, material oriented, believing money is power, atheist, arrogant, hard, unyielding. she light, emotionally intelligent, believing only in the hand of devi maiya, never money, charming, polite, malleable, gentle. even the show makers speak of opposites attracting, etc. 

however, for some time now, i've felt, yes, they had a lot that was different, but perhaps what called out from within them to each other was the instinctive recognition of what was essentially alike in them. two kids terribly hurt inside. both managing in their own way. but a quiet, hidden, hurting place within. oh khushi had hers too, despite her smile, in fact that smile was put there perhaps by that hurt. also the sunny nature, the creation of stars that are parents and more. they were really at a basic level voyagers of the same universe, they had seen and felt the same places, even if not together. they knew of a pain not many have known so they can't feel. their love of family and people they loved was born there and had the same kind of intensity. both had their insecurities and and both were in their own way akhdoo. khushi showed her worst side of it on his birthday and the best every time she held on for a good cause. he of course, behaved like he had a copyright on that trait.

and today i noticed something else about them that was exactly alike. not just asr...

khushi is a deal maker too.

in the true and real sense of the word. she doesn't back down when a problem comes, she negotiates. the basic instinct of a dealmaker. 

it was there in that very first scene of hers. a huge issue at hand, payal's in laws have asked for lots of extra dowry at the last minute, her father is going to mortgage the shop. there is no 18 year old girl i've come across, certainly not from a middle class, small town family who will devise a plan to tackle this, nick the deed of the shop, and set off on her scooter in wedding party finery, helmet and sneakers on, to talk it over with her to be bro-in-law. try and save the shop and her sister's future. that is not what sweet 18 year old girls do on the day of their elder sis's wedding, they busy themselves giggling, chatting, prettying themselves up. and however foolhardy it may seem, it says you don't want to be resigned to your fate, you want to talk, you want to make a deal. and you know that means, compromise, tempering expectations, stuff, but because you desire to see something done you are prepared to accept a few "adjustments."

just like asr, when life presented a lemon, she taught herself to make lemonade, sorry nimbu paani with lots of sugar for a sweet tongue and some chat masala for that extra zest. 

"if you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds worh of distance run"

two lines from one of my favourite poems, rudyard kipling's "if." had written this poem way back for asr, for he had much of what is in the poem. but this quality even khushi has. when things get tough, she doesn't sit and cry, or resign and run, or throw tantrums of "i quit." she panics, she fears, she rages, then she chats with dm. her poolside is this little image of a goddess always within arms reach, it seems to me. what poolside often gives asr, dm gives khushi: a sense of connection with their inner self. to her she goes, worried, upset, whatever and seeks a way. as she closes her eyes and joins her palms, she descends into calm, gets in tune with herself, and hears her innermost being more clearly. and the way "comes" to her. feels like dm speaks. unhampered by fear, tension, material things, true and keen communication flows from her deepest self to her.

and so, completely racked by tension and trouble, she hears the ultimatum of anjali, then the offer by shyam. and then, surprisingly, asr's voice, "tum jaise log toh paiso ke liye..." why does she hear him? why does what he thinks or says matter? why did the instinctive deal maker decide to walk away from it all in a hot and bothered moment in a sunday afternoon store room. why was she ready to run, not deal? yet, wasn't she really assessing the situation? how she looked at him after throwing that line. and then in the most convoluted manner ever, she found a way out of her own decision to leave delhi and now it's, i'm not leaving delhi.

so what he thinks matters. she is all set it seems to just say, no. then she hears her mother's voice, speaking of the terrible financial difficulties at home. and she comes to her poolside.

next morning, when the bell rings at rm, it is no surprise. the deal maker is here. the tears and anxiety gone from her face. instead a resolution.

and a shart. a clause. this deal is going to have some advantage for her too. not everything his way. or anybody's. she speaks of "majboori" but she never lets her majboori break her spirit. a deal with that too. in fact, with dm also she jests often, get this done for me and i'll give you tonnes of prasad you like. i know these may not seem like real deals, but they are... an ongoing negotiation with life to keep pushing it the way you want it to go, while it pushes you to do what it wants. i love this attitude of ipk. there's a realism and a positivity and an active feel to it.

i admire this quality of khushi's in people. perhaps because i have too little of it. took me quite a while to understand, if you want to win in life, you gotta be prepared to play a bit. the very closed "this or nothing" attitude can actually come in the way of living a full and real life.

"kitne laddoo the"... mami and la are doing a girls' thing, la getting several laddoos for her laddoo making. anjali quakes and worries whether khushi will come or not. she has taken a most uncharacteristic dealmaker's stance here as her love for chhotey is involved and she will do what it takes to keep him from leaving home. nai sees the mess la makes and says, "ek taraf ee hai... aur doosri tarf khoosi... jo galti ma kiya hua kaam bhi... theek karat hai." at one end there's this one, at the other thee's khsuhi who even when she does something by mistake, she gets it to be right.

and so when khushi enters, and anjali explains, that she's here to train la, as nani won't let her or mami get involved, anjali thinks she's sweetly tricked nani. nani of course smiles and readily agrees to the idea. why that gracious and almost irrepressible smile on nani's face though, i wonder. in episode 63, the reason becomes clear.

shatir nani, more or less engineered the return of khushi. uff. now we know where the grandson gets that stubborn and clever streak from. so i like an idiot thought nani is going to take this i'll move in my cool gf to the family home thing lying down. watch out all, this is nani. don't mess with the babbar sher. another supreme deal maker among us. i adore such pragmatic, empowered yet gracious and feminine portrayal of women in media. this is not sick manipulation but a considered game playing to bring home a point that she genuinely believes is good for chhotey. she gains nothing from it, just saves her loved one from losing something. this is really sexy. and subversive. the opposite of the "come, walk all over me" women patriarchal societies have successfully created as an ideal. jayshree t is just so perfect in her role. she brings alive another time, and a grace women had without being obsequious. compared to her la looks old fashioned and highly submissive before a man. 

la, on hearing chamkili will teach her things, does the either or thing and says, she'll leave. nani is delighted, "hum janat rahe khushi ke kadam padte hi shubh kaam hoga," i knew the moment khushi stepped in good things would happen.
 anjali panicked.  

then the resolute one took over. "anjali ji, hum sambhalenge." anjali ji, i'll manage this. and she does. classic manoeuvre, the win win "phormoola." there's something in it for you, la, and something for me. shall we

"chamkili se samjhauta dono ka fayda." compromising with the situation/chamkili will profit both of us. give... take... win. smart girl.

la says, "deal."

today, this terribly good looking man appeared for half a second and said quarter of a thing, though everyone told us how much he disliked her and kept him in the picture. ok, we ge the point. and really, like or not, please show up in the same frame as her and devastate us. that's all. there's fayda in it for all.

in the rest of the news...
mami: "tumra heart tumse bahut e baat karat hai. humra heart ekdam mouni baba hai." 
your heart speaks a lot to you, mine is a silent hermit.
how to talk, mami, if you don't stop even for an instant?

mami: "ab aayi maja phati sari bherses chhote kapde matlab easht bherses bhest..." oh it's gonna be fun, torn saree vs small clothes, east versus west...

bua: "dilli ki saari sadake oo raijada ke gharai jaake khatam hoti hai?" 
do all delhi roads end in raizada mansion? 
maybe not, but khushi's steps make all roads go there.

kunti, sita. did anjali kind of look at khushi as she corrected mami and said, "sita" not kunti? is this a hint of a trial by fire, an agni pariksha being dropped? i prefer to think it's about the extraordinary strength of sita who took a lot, but finally said "enough." in bengali, her call to mother earth to take her back after she'd been doubted by ram the "n"th time, "dharani deedha hao," earth, cleave open!... still gives me goose bumps.

wrote two days ago when i reserved this spot, every word still true (and thanks to katelyn, now that i know what's on tonight, my heart is in complete dhak dhak state, acidity keen. main badtameez hoon poori duniya ke liye, lekin aap ke liye nahin or words to that effect, and how did he look exactly. tell you, the man was born to render my gender completely ineffectual and permanently acidity struck.)


e.p.i.s.o.d.e.s of dil
episode rambles

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