“See the other side” by Tatyana Tolstoya – a work of fiction in Russian translated by Jamey Gambrell.
….Ravenna was the small Italian city where Dante was buried. Once upon a time right at the start of the fifth century AD- the Emperor Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Roman Empire to this city. Ravenna - the city is famous for its mosaics, tourists and churches …
Every city big or small turns ugly with the lapse of time like Ravenna. In her work about the city Tatyana proceeds to say there’s only darkness, heat, silence, irritation, doubt and dejection.
This was in response to a postcard written by her father and forty years later she pays a visit to Ravenna only to feel disappointed.
Coastal cities will perish
Like people like cities do face the aging factor and this calls for re-building or renovation. All coastal cities must be constantly spruced up to retain their old glory or they will die a natural death.
Dusky doe-eyed Gaikwad
School days can never be uneventful especially if you are in the company of some extraordinary classmates. Well Meena Gaikwad was one who tried to impress any group with her jokes, songs and couplets in Hindi. Her only drawback was that dusky complexion but her beauty was exemplary. Large eyes, very soulful,cute smile and teeth like a string of pearls made her attractive. One day she confessed that her dad was a make-up artiste at a film production unit not soap operas. Of course had it been these days her dad would have been more prosperous due to an influx of work. Yet her effervescence showed some hidden talent.
She kept herself busy with extra-curricular activities and never bothered about academics. No wonder she disappeared after Class Ten to be a part time dancer at a film unit. Thus she made her dreams come true. Today, she may be a dancers’ coach.
Gaikwad the bus driver
I recount the experience of dependable bus rides, to and from Kings’Circle to Colaba(Mumbai).The driver had immense patience, a chiselled face and a mouthful of ‘paan’ (a mixture of betel leaf and betel nuts). Generally ‘paan’ eaters are irresponsible spitters. But Gaikwad was not uncouth as he never used the roads to spit out the chewed ‘paan’ remnants (discoloured saliva).
Whenever or wherever he noticed us (my husband and I) he would stop the bus to ask if we needed a ride. Gaikwad wore a serene face had a tousle-free hair, a gold watch and a faint smile that lined his face. He was never ruffled or annoyed. Wonder what attracted him to us but in due course we missed him for a few months.
One fine day, he spotted us at Dadar and stopped the bus only to tell us that his wife was out of hospital. She was being treated for tuberculosis. Well, she was back home, hale and hearty. As a token of his inner joy at seeing us he handed over a sealed jute bag. It was a bagful of Alfonso mangoes. Promptly the next day my husband insisted we pay for the mangoes. Gaikwad refused and said he owned a fruit shop at the M.P. Market, also called Crawford Market. So our wealthy driver was large-hearted, too. Long live the serene Gaikwad.
Last week the irking demeanour of a law-maker (R.Gaikwad) and his in-flight drama raised many eye-brows with disgust. He was temporarily banned by the airline for unruly behaviour , many would have heard of the VIP. The ban has been revoked. (P.S. do purchase Kolhapuris from refined shops only.) Do not feel offended!
Do leave all your arrogance and vengeful acts in your backyard. Nobody wants bad temper. Learn to unshackle all body toxins and flush it down the drain.