Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The old lady I met in Belgravia Square ...

My office was located at 18 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HN. The fourth floor of our office overlooked the queens backyard in Buckingham palace. On winter days when the trees shed their leaves and were bare some of my collaeagues would claim they saw the Queen’s dogs being taken for an afternoon walk inside the Palace gardens . 

It is not just the Queen's dogs inside the Palace but the men and women outside the Palace who worked in offices around central london take a walk in the afternoons because that is pretty much the only time where there is some decent amount of shine and warmth to venture outdoors.

Weather permitting, I would walk the length of hyde park until the serpentine or the Speaker's corner during my lunch breaks. That was probably the only physical exercise and a breath of fresh crisp air  I would get during the course of a work day.   

When my walk had to be short it would not be to hyde park or the Buckingham palace but to Belgravia square that was behind our office. More often than not it would be to pick up a sandwich at the sandwich bar run by an Italian guy in a small corner house two blocks away from the Irish emabassy.

Belgravia square in Central London houses many embassies of European countries. It is a quiet and quaint place with century old heritage buildings from the Victorian era.

Few old Londoners still maintain an active residence in this area.
Their property would be worth billions of pounds if not more in this posh upmarket locality.
If one were to draw up the Demographic profile of Belgravia, most of its residents would be neo rich Investment bankers, Arab shaikhs rich with oil money or ambassadors and high ranking officials of other countries stationed in the UK.

As with rest of London that is increasingly becoming multicultural one would very rarely spot a blimey old Brit residing in central London.There were few living in Belgravia.

Most of them were elderly people who would in course of time move to nursing homes before their property changed hands and got dissolved in the multicultural melting pot that London was turning to be.

On one such day, a particularly stressful day at work, I took my solitary afternoon walk towards  Belgravia square.
Approaching me from the opposite side on the pedestrian pavement  was a black lady pushing the wheel chair in which was seated an old english woman with a compeletely lost look on her face. It was apparent the old woman was oblivious to the world that was around her. 

Her caretaker had probably got her out to get some sun on her pale wrinkled and freckled face on that warm summer afternoon. As I approached them closer, I kind of took a closer, deeper look at the old lady, being curious but at the same time cautious of not rudely staring at her. 
I need not have worried. The old lady did not even take notice of me or for that matter anything that was happening around her. As far as the black lady who was her caretaker, she gave a kind of look that suggested that this was very normal for her.  

Our paths crossed and we moved on in opposite directions.
It was time to get back to work.  

The old Lady’s face kept flashing across in my mind. 

As an Indian used to a joint family system where the elderly are the moral responsibility of their grown up children, the ultra independent old men and women in Britain would come as a culture shock for a long time to come.  
I would see them in super markets shopping for their groceries in wheel chairs or with their walking sticks stooped and wrinkled with age.  Yet mainting that dignified poise and properly dressed in that old fashioned British way. Like a lot of fellow Indians I always felt growing old in Britain was a lonely and scary affair.
This lady must be decently wealthy. She had a caretaker, probably a hired part time help taking car of her basic needs and taking her out for a quiet stroll in the afternoons. Not many can afford it in today’s Britain.

The old lady’s listless face haunted me when I was back in office.

It kept coming back to me like a piece of fibre stuck between your teeth, refusing to get out.

Her face was definitely familiar.

It was just that I could not put it in place.

And then it struck me.

I googled to reconfirm my hunch.

And I was right.

I was overwhelmed and awestruck .        

These were the two words that I googled .

Margaret Thatcher + Belgravia.
I had my answer.

Bingo … when in doubt … consult google.

This was in 2006.
She must have been 80 years old. 

To this date nobody would believe me if I told them the circumstances under which I met the Iron lady.

But trust me… I did.  This is a true story.

This morning, when the newspapers flashed the news that the Iron lady had passed away, I choked and shed tears for a woman that I had so briefly met under compeletely uninspiring circumstances in a very unexpected context and place.

Here was a powerful lady who left lasting impact not only on Britain but on world politics.
She was the most powerful woman in her days and arguably for many years to come.   
There is plenty of tribute pouring from all over about the Iron lady .
To me she is an inspiration from a different perspective. 

My brief encounter with her truly humbled me.  It ingrained into me a profound lesson that no matter who you are, how significant or insignificant your contribution to this world is, disease and old age are a great leveler.

To be able to
give the world your best,
retire just before you know your game is up,
age gracefully and
die peacefully

These are the qualities that I will always remember from that Old fragile IRON LADY who suffered from Dementia caused due to old age for more than a decade before she bid good bye to the world where she called the shots a few decades ago with her no nonsense outlook, wit and grit.   

RIP Margaret Thatcher.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

The unbearable lightness of being a ... Bitch

My previous post of the famous F word could not have been complete without its female counterpart the 5 letter B***** word.

But for all that claim to fame that this four letter word seems to boast of …
There is much to be said about its female counterpart in English vocabulary …

Research done by some fucked up university scholars in UK, US , New Zealand and Australia suggests that a certain male of the species use the F*** word 83.4 % more frequently than the female of the species.

On Analysing the reasons they found that the females of the species is so fundamentally fucked up with intense soul threatening experiences that they find it easier to mutter the silent five letter B**** word than utter the loud four letter F*** word as an intense form of expression.     

Some time back I was in the tube ( underground metro for the uninitiated and the perverts whose imaginations could run wild) .

There was this woman whose cleavage was bursting from under her size 14 jumpers.
‘Bitch’ … I muttered to myself (ofcourse silently in my mind) …that is what happens when you get tempted by that buy 1 and get two free offer at   PRIMARK, then have no time to hand wash and carelessly chuck the jumper into the washing machine.  

Beneath her cleavage that was attracting a lot of attention …. She was reading this book ‘Why men prefer bitches : From doormat to dreamgirl  - A woman’s guide to holding her own in a relationship’ - By Sherry something …

Strange is’nt it .. when you are obsessed with a word .. it just appears all over the place.

Now that is a catchy way to entice someone to buying that book.
That Sherry something must have made a lot of money considering she has been on the bestsellers list for a zillion years now. I bet she must be now thinking of retiring into a farm house in Sctoland , Newzealand, South of france or some such place.  Lucky BITCH. this Sherry  Something.

When I got down at Victoria, I headed straight into W H Smith to check out on this bestseller.
I flipped through a few pages and then the cover page on the back.

At 14.99 GBP this was’nt my idea of spending my money on a DIY self help book.  Stingy Bitch  you could say.

Anyway a couple of days later a copy of this book re-emerges at the desk of P from marketing department. Pretty looking bitch this ‘P’ is ..I tell you. Why does she of all the people need to read that book ? I did not quite understand ?

Well… each bitch to herself …

I made a mental note to ask her and the next time I saw her at the rest room doing her makeup before leaving for the day, I asked her if she liked that book. 

Next few minutes ensued to be a long drawn conversation about what she found interesting and what did not hold her interest about that book. Honestly it did not hold my interest. You know why, her eye liner had not quite dried up and was spreading all over the eyelids in that typical way those cheap eyeliners do … and she was not even crying. I did let her know about it.  She probably thanked me profusely since I must have saved her a great deal of embarrassment with her date.

Who cares … I was successful in getting her to lend me the book for the weekend. Clever Bitch .. are'nt I !!!

I am not a great fan of self help books … I mean if they really produced results why would the author not keep the secret to himself.
And why are there not so many Warren Buffet all over the world …
I pulled up sheet of Financial times and put a cover put on the cover page. Not that anybody cared what book I was reading, but then old habits die hard.  Call it a hangover from those mills and boons days.   

Google on the B***** word during free time using your own resources.  
Because if you do it during office time this is what you get … and you never know .. some bitch from IT must be watching over ...  

The word "bitch" has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active.
Search Results
Coming to the real inspiration for this blog post was a real Bitch.
When I mean a real Bitch .. I mean a real bitch ….

She stalks me during my morning walks.
I learnt that the easiest way to shoo her was to look her in the eye and put her in place. It helps if you silently mutter the B**** word when you look her in the eye.
She probably does’nt understand .. but I don't not care either. It is therepeutic ... trust me.  

A real Bitch

And this fella .. He is a real SOB – son of a btich … ai’nt he cute. 

The most versatile word in English vocabulary

F*** is arguably the most versatile english word ever coined.

It is  an English word with recent origin.  

It can used to mean different things at different times depending upon the context.
It can easily fill in the roles of an adverb, adjective, verb, noun, pronoun and whatever else. 
It can be used in present tense, past tense , future tense ... anytime you are tensed. 

Here are just some of the examples... 
Fuck … I have won the million dollar lottery ( Fuck as in ‘wow …’)

Fuck … boss caught me minimizing the window of ( Fuck as in  Oh shit’)

You are so fucking funny ( as in ‘so .... funny’)

Fuck off – angry expression ( as in sod off / bugger off )
Fuck off – with a coquettish look and a blush in the cheeks ( as in I am enjoying the attention but too coy to accept) 
Fuck off – friendly expression  ( as in ‘just forget it’)
Fuck … you have put on so much weight ( as in ‘how ugly’)
Fuck … you look so gorgeous ( as in 'how incredibly beautiful')
I am so fucked up in this meditation class ( as in I am so stuck and bored…) 

F.U..C…K….!!! ( as in 'Thank god !!!' when you slammed the brakes of your car JUST IN TIME when that naked kid with bare bums suddenly ran across the road after finishing his job in the short cut road that you took inorder to avoid peak hour traffic)  

The saddest thing with the F*** word is that its versatility is also its biggest weakness.  
Sadly enough it is the most misunderstood and miused word in English language.  
No one really uses it for what it actually is supposed to mean ...
Would anyone in his right sense ever say...
 Darling can I F*** you ? ( F*** as in the act of copulation)    


Soon after I wrote my creative piece on the famous  four letter F word ...
here is what a google search of the F word yielded me ...
My fucking fault ... i should have done my fucking research on Google before unleashing my creativity.

Anyway, this does not take away the heartfelt tribute that I have paid to the F word ....

But then the one on Youtube is so fucking funny that I could not help but post it.

Best heard with the audio in full volume...
Best viewed without Adult supervision.
At your own fucking risk ...
Go ahead and  Fuck youself ...

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