Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rajani maushi

Wrote this piece long time back. Thank You SP College!


I was standing outside my college waiting for a friend. While I was still debating whether to go inside and explore my hostel premises, I saw a familiar figure walking in my direction.
It was Rajani maushi! Draped in a nine-yard sari, carrying a wicker basket in hand and spectacles perched firmly on her nose, Rajani maushi did not seem to have recognised me.
I rushed forward saying “Rajani maushi, Rajani maushi, olakhla ka?” (Did you recognise me Rajani maushi?)
She peered closely and said, “Kon radki ka?Kay kartes, kuthe astes?” (Is it you cry baby? What are you doing these days?)
When I first came to Pune in Std XI, I had to stay in a college hostel. I was painfully shy, homesick and not a very confident teenager then. Rajani maushi was the cleaning woman of the hostel. Along with cleaning of the rooms, she also took charge of the girls, reporting to the Rector if any one of us fell sick and ensuring that we participated in all the hostel activities.
I was reluctant to participate in the games or dance competition, preferring to switch off the lights and watching the fun from my room. But Rajani maushi did not let me do that for long, She used to drag me from my room, ridiculed me by calling radki and forced me to join other girls.
When that did not work, she took me aside and said, “Your parents stay just three hours away. There are girls from Patna, but do they cry? No. They are having fun and studying hard. You are just being miserable.”
Her words did not change me overnight. But then I slowly started reaching out to other girls and sharing my loneliness with them. In fact, when I became the matron in my final year, responsible for all the newcomers, Rajani maushi used to tell them about the cry baby I was.
Now, when I recall those days, I realise how much Rajani maushi has shaped the person I am today. I am still shy, diffident, preferring to stay in the background, but don’t wallow in self-pity. I also try and be patient with other girls who are staying away from their families for the first time.

Working of a media office

I loved writing this bit. Laughed so much.
This is the unedited bit. I actually thought I had lost this copy. Thank God, I haven't.

The Young Buzz Story

Sujata Raye (Assistant Editor, Young Buzz)
Ambika Pendharkar (Senior Sub-editor)
Vasudha Patil (Senior Sub-editor)
Atreyee Day (Illustrator)
Deepti Salvi (Designer)

Tuesday (Could be any month)
Scene I
(My flat)
6.30 am
Phone beeps. There could be just two persons calling me at that unearthly hour. If it’s not my mother, then its my boss.
Sujata: Are the pages in control? The pages have to go to print today. Everything okay?
Ambika: Yeah..yeah. Except for the 54321 sms question, everything is in place.
Sujata: Okay. We will think of something. See you then at 11
Scene II
10.30 am
(My flat)
Phone beeps again.
Sujata: I am leaving for office. Today we better send off the pages by 3 pm. Tu kevha yenar ahes? Lavkar ye. Pages baghaychi ahet ekda.
Ambika: I am on my way. Bye
Scene III
On the way to office. Doing the nandi-bail act – shaking my head from side to side, mentally crossing out questions. Nah…this won’t mark. Uhhh…this won’t either
Scene IV
11 am
Parking my Activa in office’s parking lot. Still thinking…no lets think of a better question.
Scene V
11. 05
Young Buzz Section
Atreyee, Vasudha, Sujata ma’m in their respective places.
Ambika (glad, but still thinking): Surely, they must have come up with the sms question?
Ambika: So, have we decided on the sms question?
Ambika: (Readying to repeat herself)
Atreyee (in a sweet, low voice): Nahi re…
Sujata: Has Deepti come in?
Ambika: Not yet, I think
Sujata: Hmmmm. (Pause) Ambika, Vasudha…did you look at this page?
This Nandini Nayar story. The illustration….(big pause) I feel
something is wrong somewhere.
Ambika (thinking): Boss, its already 11.30. Where is the time to change the illustration?
Ambika (opens her mouth to object; shuts it almost immediately)
Sujata: Atreyee, I think you need to change the illustration. You know what I mean, Atreyee? You can’t show a teacher flying out of the window. We all must remember that this is a CHILDREN’S supplement. We can’t show something like this.
Atreyee (in the same sweet low voice): But, Sujatadi, no one said anything when I made the roughs. In the story…(turns to open her word file) see, see here (gesticulating towards the file) here it says that…
Sujata: I have read the story, Atreyee. I know what’s written there. The illustration has to be changed…
Atreyee (in the same sweet low voice): But, I think…
Sujata: The illustration has to be changed and THAT’S IT.
(Meanwhile, Ambika is glancing anxiously at the clock. DEADLINE. Vasudha sits placidly making the corrections on the page.)
Atreyee (in the same sweet, but with resigned tone: Okay. I will do it. Turns to Ambika and says, “When do you want it?”
Ambika: 10 minutes
Atreyee (opening her big Bengali eyes wide): 10 minutes. Aisa kaisa hoga? Be reasonable
Ambika: It’s Tuesday. (Thinking hard – no sms question yet). There’s too much of work. Jaldi de
Atreyee (in a curt voice): Theek hai
(Begins working furiously).
Deepti enters the office. Ambika sighs.
Sujata: Deepti, Atreyee is redoing illustration for Nandini Nayar story. Once its done, get it scanned.
Deepti: But, ma’m…what about the colour correction? Scanning people come at 4. Pages cha kay karaycha?
Sujata: Hmmm. We will see.
Scene VI
Young Buzz
12.30 pm
(Vasudha still working placidly.)
(Ambika still racking her brain)
Shriram Shinde, who looks after the Sports section, passes in the YB’s line of vision
Ambika: Shriram sir…
Shriram: Namaskar. Bola
Ambika: Can you help us with the sms question?
Shriram: SMS question? Ah…the sms question? Hmmmm. (thinks hard)
I will do one thing, I will just go and have a cup of tea. It will help
me think better.
Scene VII
2 pm. DEADLINE beckons
Young Buzz section
Intercom rings. 212. Deepti
Ambika: Kay ga?
Deepti: Alignment and everything done. If you have got the sms question, I will give you the final print outs
Ambika: 5 minutes more. I am just typing out the question. (Actually doodling in the diary)
Ambika (to others): We haven’t decided the sms question.
(Everyone swivel their chairs around)
Sujata: Lets come up with at least five questions.
Ambika (sniggers): Can’t think of one. 5 kahan se layenge…(thinks to herself)
Sujata: Stop mocking and think something
Everyone thinks hard
Batti jalao, batti bhujao, eureka, Mars, khana, peena , bus, tree, malls…
What will the kids like?
Ambika: IDEA
Types out the question.
Sujata: Atreyee, Vasudha… Is this question okay?
What does everyone think? Will this work? How much response we
will get? Ambika…do one thing. Since you have got the question,
think of five answers. If all of us are able to have five answers, I
think the question should be okay. You know, that’s the way you
have to think. It’s a CHILDREN’S supplement
Ambika: I can think of two answers.
Sujata: No, two answers won’t do. If we are not able to answer, then what
will the children send us? I think we better choose another one.
Ambika (starts howling): No, no. I think this question should be okay. Kids
are smarter ya. We will get good response for the
contest. Don’t you worry….please
Sujata (looking sceptical as usual)
Ambika: (Scowling) It’s almost 3 pm now. Dive ghat (that’s the press where the pages are printed) will start calling. We have to SEND the pages
Sujata: Okay. But, you know what I think…
Ambika (hurrying to pagenation): You said okay. I am sending the pages.
Scene VIII
3 pm
Deepti: Pathvayche ka? Ekda corrections baghun ghe
Ambika: Start with Friday. Page 1 looks okay…I think that caption line is touching the text. Push it up. Go to last page. I think we can make the pictures for globetrotters slightly bigger…
Deepti: Done. Anything else?
(Same process continues for all the 8 pages of YB Friday and YB Saturday)
Scene IX
3.30 pm
Deepti: Shall I do the PDF?
Ambika (nods): Some niggling doubt. But, ignores it
Stands near the printer as the PDF pages prints come out.
(PDF files are sent to the press. They are the final prints…design, text, illustration everything is final. Unless someone dies or if there is some emergency, changes cannot be made.)
(Gets the PDF prints one by one. Checks day, date and bylines of the writers. Everything okay. Signs the pages)
Scene IX
By 4 pm, everyone is in a state of relieved exhaustion. Pages have gone to press. Then, begins the waiting game. Until a call comes from the Dive Ghat that everything is OKAY, no one can leave office.
Ambika: (Yawning) Now, what do we do…
(Is about to voice her thought of getting chocolates or having pohe from canteen…)
Sujata (interrupts): What’s our next week’s status? What is the cover story? I Say vagaire ahe ka Vasudha? Better get down to planning…