Mr. Red Bottom- Edited Jan 2021
I had posted this story long back on Sulekha pages. I just revisited and have tried to make it more interesting.
We belong to a Brahmin community called Mohyals. There are seven sub-castes in our fraternity, which are Chhibber, Dutt, Bali, Vaid, Mohan, Mehta, Bambhwal, and Lau. We are Chhibbers and Bakshi is a title bestowed upon us by the Mughals or British or God knows who. My grandfather used both the title and the surname as attributes as does my father in law. Maybe long names with titles and subtitles were in fashion when the kings were ruling India but now people like short names.
Do you know Prince Charles’s full name is ..Charles Phillip Arthur George? I don’t think it is necessary for the people to know the whole list of ‘inseminators’ in the dynastic order for appreciating the pedigree or for acknowledging what shade of blue the colour of one’s blood is while the truth of DNA might have been lost in escapades with some strangers admitted under the quilts by the concupiscent lassie, while the geezer remained lost in the library searching the history of his descendants.
We have had some famous personalities in our community besides the writer of this piece. Barkha Dutt Haha, what a way to start.. Gauri Chhibber (Shahrukh’s wife), Anuradha Bali urf Fiza- Chand Mohammed (Bhajan Lal’s son Chander Mohan’s love bird for whom he converted to Islam-spat, divorced and reconverted, I don’t know what is he now), Geeta Bali, Yogeeta Bali, BKN Chhibber ex-governor Punjab and my bother in law’s father in law, Bhai Mahaveer ex-governor of M.P., Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt… you may not be interested in knowing anymore.
Mohan Meakin Breweries are owned by Mohans who are from our community. Our community brings out a monthly chronicle called Mohyal Mittar. It’s the worst tabloid I have seen surviving more than half a century, without an iota of improvement. Our community owns properties like community halls and guest houses at many places in India and perhaps abroad about which I am not aware. In North Indian big and small towns once a year they have community gatherings called ‘Mohyal Melas’ where we have community lunches and song and dance performances from individual members, especially children and some singing of praises of achievements by some in our otherwise, not so illustrious community. I think this boring prologue is enough for the story that follows.
A little search on the internet gives me this information on our history
“The Mohyals claim that they are the progenies of the great Raj Rishis who were distinctly different from the class of Brahm Rishis because besides being high priests of spiritualism, they also wielded temporal powers. In fact, Parshu Ram was the first Brahmin in history to wear arms and to conquer territories.”
I think I should end my search and come back to my story or else light readers are sure to take a flight and FB is a space that is mostly populated by the swifts and hummingbirds
I remember one such Mela held at Jhakhoo hill in Shimla. I must have been 10~12 years old. My father was away on tour as often he used to be and my mother wasn’t interested in going that far, as we lived deep in the valley on the other side of the town. I had in mind to sing a song there and get some praises. In those days patriotic songs were my favorite. I readied myself for the big day in my new shirt and trousers despite my mother’s reluctance, but with her, I could always have my way. She feared that I will spoil them while playing on the hill or spill some food on my clothes as was my wont. She was right because even today if you meet me you can appreciate her apprehensions from the stains on my clothes besides knowing about the dishes I have had since they were washed last time. It is not that I still wear those clothes and it is neither that they are sparingly washed as they were in Shimla when there were no washing machines and because of the cooler climes it wasn’t necessary to wash them after every use. Even to this day, my clothes are like a menu card of a dabha, stained, and telling tales. I often get inspiration from them like I am getting now. It will be easier for me to write my story if I start telling you about the recipes of the dishes I had lately.
My father even sometimes checked if I had some hole under my chin by raising it with his powerful forefinger. He even sometimes checked if my ear canal ran from one ear to another. Cooked food is not all that my clothes had an affinity for, they attracted anything they could get on them and act as stimuli to my thoughts and to the anger of my father too. I remember I once spilled oil that I was supposed to put in my hair (yes, applying oil to the hair was a done thing under and express order of the parents) on my new school uniform. My father, who was overseeing my routine of getting ready for school, gave me such a stunning slap that today I even blame that for some of my deafness and the flawed genetic code that I got from him for the rest of it.
I wonder what load of faulty genetic code did his Y chromosome carry but sincerely the positive attributes in it would have far outweighed the negative ones, but where are they? What stopped them from showing in my personality? Why I became a fearful, maudlin, effeminate, gawky boy much against his liking, and although I admired all his attributes except his quick-silver temper, I turned out to be a mama’s boy. True, I adored my mother but in this world being a man with a woman’s heart is difficult. Trust me, when I say this at the fag end of my life.
As my father too was hard of hearing and I think in our family, genetic defects related to the hearing were passed on to progeny through slaps. My elder son had sharp reflexes as he would shield his face with a raised arm whenever I tried to apply the familial method of disciplining the children. I got a sharp sting whenever I tried to pass my genetic code to him through the time-tested mode. I didn’t try it on the younger one and both of them have very good hearing, though they don’t employ it to listen to me, because that part of the trait they have acquired from their mother or like in me the aural canals of their ears are directly connected.
For a long time, I think until I was seven or eight years old, I would speak ‘La’ as ‘Na’. So I was known as ‘Bhona’ in place of Bhola (my pet name), for that’s what I would tell my name was. Perhaps, I couldn’t distinguish between ‘La’ and ‘Na’. I sang a song at the Mela and my “laas” must have been “laas” then as I won “Ludo” in the prize.
The roads in the hills are laid winding around them to reduce the steep. While walking you can often see the section of the road, way down. You can use shortcuts thus in place of walking along the serpentine road. If you can recollect, Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili and Sridevi in Khuda Gawah were using this technique to stay ahead of their lovers who were using motorized means of transport but were slow in the heads as the lovers are. But for doing what those lasses were doing in the movies I reminded you of, one should be a Khaaduu or a Khaaden. I think it is better than calling them girls “Mountain girls” and make mountains of the ‘molehills’, if you know what, I mean.
For being an ace Khaadu, one should have the knack of running down-hill or going uphill. He should be sure-footed and he should be prepared for the perils like falls, nettles, and thorns. I was a trained pahadia, with years of experience behind me. It’s great fun and the growing up children often test their growing skills, by taking unchartered courses. I just couldn’t resist the temptation of running down the hill and I was experienced like a high mountain goat.
Now, as I said the Mela was held somewhere on the flat patch of ground on way to Jakhu temple and here on this page the readers are mostly Shimlaites, they may pick holes in my cock and bull story, let me say that the narrative is not an affidavit filed in the court. Some of you might begin to wonder at the authenticity of the story because there’s just one steep road leading to Jakhu from the Ridge and there’s no flat patch anywhere along the way. But, I remember there were some flat patches tucked in the bosom of that dense hill back in the 1960s and small pagdandees, branched out from the main road for reaching them.
At many places the part of the road below can be seen, at least then it could be. It must have been so then, because the story is true, believe me. I crossed over to the edge of the road and ran down the hill. Morass, fallen dead leaves, and especially the pine needles make the slopes rather slippery. Initially, the speed was thrilling but then suddenly I tripped and fell down and inertia of motion carried me some distance before I could gain purchase. My pant wasn’t able to bear the assault as it was made of a soft woolen fabric as was in vogue then and tough canvas jeans hadn’t been invented. My bottom got bruised and the trousers developed tears on the rear.
I didn’t wear underwear in those days. Fancy “Yeh andar ki baat hai” types hadn’t come in the market. The only alternative for children was tailor-made contraptions with drawstrings and no-fly. I have already told you about the dangers the apparel provided with clumsy drawstring controls can present to children and grown-ups. Another run of my thoughts into that vista of imagination is not necessary. It is tedious for a child to handle so many things for drawing out a small appendage for peeing which becomes even smaller in winter and in places like Shimla it tends to remain at its smallest, even leading to moments of panic in young boys. Even at times, one needs frequent touching for mutual assurance. A kind of symbiotic relationship occurs between the boy and his buddy. Children in their excitement and for drawing sexual pleasure subconsciously hold back urine till their bladders can’t hold any more of it and fiddling to find the mode of discharge hidden beneath piles of clothing at such emergencies can only invite disaster. Moreover, as I said, in those readymade undies were not available, going to the tailor for giving measurements in such proximity can be dangerous because they could indulge in titillations or worse make some nasty comments. Life for young growing up boys is not any easier than it is for young girls. The dark side of the world wasn’t lesser grey back then and boys had to be guarded as much from the beasts on the prowl. There are stories to tell about that and now once I have set down to write those, I will bring some of my personal experiences of close encounters and lucky, proverbial hair-breadth escapes, but some unfortunate children fall prey to the evil designs of the bad world out there.
I looked back at the mess my trousers were in. There were green stains here and there, but worse, the reddened and bruised skin of my two little bums peeped through the big tears. I wasn’t worried about another dose of genetic code getting delivered to me as my father was away. My mother was adorable even in her anger. It was something I couldn’t find in any female I came across besides her. In my experiences spanning from ecstatic ponytailed dreams to monotonous orgasmic matrimonial realities and raw sexual reliefs in less traversed terrains frequented by desolate sailors searching for a soothing replica of love in the disquiet of loneliness, I haven’t found another one like her.
I was now worried about my cute rear peeping out of the tears as with my eyes filled with tears I saw the mess I was in. The colour of my pants was dark blue and my bottom was baby pink, almost as fair, as I was when laid next to mum after delivery. They as such were a shade darker in pink than what exposure to sun and salubrious climate of the hills tinges the cheeks of Pahari maidens envy of peach. But now they were bruised and bleeding as if mauled by a predator. They weren’t that adorable pair of cheeks but a pair of cheeks they were, nonetheless.
I had to cross from Ridge to Scandal Point, an area on every tourist’s visit list. On my way home from Scandal Point I could take a less frequented by humans but favorite with the monkeys, high hill road to Kali Bari temple instead of taking the Mall road which again was infested with people of every description.
Before I came to the foot of the Jakhoo hill where stands Christ Church, I had thought of a way to cover my embarrassment. My tears had dried out and the fear had subsided. My won prize came to my rescue. I stuffed the Ludo board in the rear of my pant and hurriedly walked from the Church to Scandal Point wherefrom I took the upper road to Kali Bari temple, descended the stairs, and ran towards my home. The paper that covered the cardboard Ludo board was red and to a keen observer, my bottom must have looked like one of those of hundreds of Rhesus monkeys that live in the hills. No one complained, no one giggled, not even not a monkey came to have a close look.
(Note:- Main body of the text was written, many years ago when as it appears to me that Mallaika Sherawat used to set the stage of fire with her gigs. I have decided to just let it be as it was because the text by itself should be able to invoke the thought and convey the message, girls will come and go.)
I wasn’t bothered about what they thought long as they couldn’t see the real thing but I wonder how the likes of Mallaika Sherawats can jiggle those in front of the cameras and the leering, drooling filming crew? But Malaika Sherawat is not a Mohyal Brahmin. What I care even if she removes the green strip and what even if she was a Mohyal Brahmin, I wouldn’t issue a fatwa even if I was authorized to do it. It’s her thing, she can flaunt them the way she wants it.
All I have brought to you are my feelings about impropriety when I was a ten years old kid. Before I close this article let me tell you that when our younger one was getting his first lessons by recognizing the pictures in the magazines, he would stop us from avoiding turning the pages with the Ads for Bras and Panties quickly and pointing at the women in those advertisements he would say “Isne apane kapade kyun utare huye hain?” (Why she has removed her clothes?). If he were born in Brazil, perhaps on seeing the pictures of the models fully clothed, he would have said- “inhone kapade kyon pahane huye hain”. Hahahaha.
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