Monday, September 27, 2010

What is Doing the Rounds in My Head

It didn't take much planning, surprisingly, this reunion that we girls from the BCom class had yesterday. The idea started after many years of planning to "catch up" individually, something that of course didn't happen. And then, out of a casual Facebook message that spiralled out of control, a plan was born. Girls I had scarcely thought about in the last six years, except in stray conversations, began to call up. It grew so fierce, the enthusiasm, that I was fielding calls throughout the day, earning very angry looks from ma who I had taken out shopping.

And then, it all fell into place. Most were free and after six long years, a bunch of us girls met on a Sunday under the threat of a very angry grey cloud. Need I say that it was super fun? I was nearly made to take a bow for getting it together. None of us could stop laughing, most times for no reason. Girls then, women now. Working, married, with a kid, with the air of the women we have all grown up to be. Yet we giggled and the psst...psst...began. My girls. Three years, a long time ago, spent in surviving college, what we all now see as the best years of our lives. Years spent eating ice candy that cost Rs 3. Years spent in friendships, exams, naughty jokes, silly fights, chalk piece days. College. Memories.

A bigger one is up next, sometime next month. So if you were my classmate at some point in life, call, mail or text me.

On days like this, when people who love you the most in life, your parents, have just left after a long holiday, when the smell and sprinkles of rain is in the air, that thing called nostalgia hits the hardest, doesn't it? It's strange how much I have come to be re-associated with Kodagu and people from there these past few weeks. I have never been big on the past, call that a vice, if you will. I am that way, it didn't work trying to change that. I rarely sit for coffee with my memories. There is in me an inability to cry easily, again a vice, if you ask me. People from college, school used to be left back there. Is that just me? Or something that a part of a personality I did not previously have, led me to?

Why do we peek into the past? Why do we seek out people we used to know and try to rekindle some connection? Could it be the Facebook phenomenon? Why dip into the years past? I don't know. I can't answer that except to say that we do. Maybe as we grow older, there is something tugging us back, some want for a period of innocence. I don't want to think the stone on which 'Nostalgia' is carved gets heavier as we grow older. But maybe that is what it is.

There are reasons that are forming in my head, but even before they form fully, I tell them to go away. That can't be it. Could it be the roots that can never be fully uprooted? Could it be the constant, unconscious yearning for a simpler something? Why does the past always seem better than what is there now? I wish I could write forth my half baked ideas that I know are not really the answer. But they don't sound right even in my head.

In the last few days, I learnt several things about people I know. A friend is managing a plantation. Another is getting into an arranged marriage (the last person I would have expected to). Another married a college sweetheart and has a beautiful kid. Another is using technology to design for an automobile company. Another is seeing another friend. Another was supposedly murdered. Yet another eloped. Another is DJing. One is moving countries, one marrying a classmate, one a citizen abroad, another something else....that is a great deal of information to handle. I don't quite know what thought are running around my mind now.

The past forces you to look at your present in a new perspective, I suppose. Is life about walking on without looking back or is this nostalgia thoughts of an undecided mind?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Those Tiger Hills

I don’t cry while reading books. Neither when I watch movies. (Not counting movies where cute puppies/other animals get hurt/die) Period. That is not something I do.

Except maybe having become weepy on two or three occasions. A long time ago, when I was reading Maupassant’s Une Vie, I remember feeling all choked up. But then, I was very young and the book cover said something like ‘if you have tears, prepare to shed them’. Maybe I was just compelled to think so.

The next time was when I was reading Alex Haley’s Roots. I was so upset about Kunta Kinte being captured by the slave traders that a hint of a tear glistened at the corner of my eye.

That being the history, I did not expect to be emotional while reading Sarita Mandanna’s Tiger Hills. Just your normal book, a sweeping saga of drama and love it was supposed to be. But once I picked up the book, there was no stopping the weepiness. I cried through bits of the book (sometimes even literally), and I hated doing so. Though I finished the book after a marathon reading at 3 am one morning, I still couldn’t sleep. The book disturbed, I didn’t like that either.

I don’t expect most people to think so highly of it. Just Google her book and you can read about all that is wrong about Tiger Hills. All that is written is right. The book begins and continues fantastically, a gripping read for most of it. Towards the third part, the pace unfortunately slows down and falls almost flat by the end. The epilogue is almost straight out of a soapy Bollywood film.

And surprisingly, for Penguin publishers, there are several typos. Devi, the protagonist, is too much like Scarlett O'Hara for it to be a mere coincidence, though I didn't think it resembled Gone With the Wind in any other way. Some passages have apparently been lifted from Kavery Nambisan's Scent of Pepper, according to Tehelka magazine. I can't say, I haven't read that book.

Surprisingly too, there are no other non-Kodava characters in the entire book, save for the missionaries, the servants and stray others. I hadn't noticed that, until a friend told me that on a day when we were discussing the book. He said that the book had the potential to be a great love story; I agree. It falls just short of it.

Finally, we agreed that there is a lot that is wrong with the book. But still, it is definitely one of the better fiction books in recent times. The language is a bit too flowery, like an overdose of red and pink on Valentine's Day, but with phrases like 'kingfisher skies' and sentences like '...the unfreckled skin, tinted tea and clotted cream, honey gold, or a rich, brooding coffee', the book left me mighty impressed.

Maybe it struck a chord because of the lengthy descriptions of the hills, the people and the estates that I grew up around. I could relate to the yearning for the hills. Maybe the weepiness was for that cornerstone of nostalgia, that yearning for the hills that I so constantly miss.

Claustrophobia is something I have long struggled with, be it in places or with people. No, I am not proud of it. There is really nothing very nice about wanting to get away constantly, if only for a few days. It has led me to lovely places, ruined my relationships with people, gotten me to quit my job and I don't know what else in the years to come. I can't control it, maybe I don't want to either, for the things that happen because of it. One thing remains constant though, the hills are where I have, so far, never had that claustrophobic feeling.

Am I destined for the hills then, I ask myself. I wish the "yes" was an easy one. On Facebook, elsewhere, I rant about missing the hills all the time. I am sure I exasperate myself too. There was one on wanting a glimpse of the rolling green hills so that I could endure the city again. A trip to Sittilingi happened soon after where the Kalvarayan Hills were green, rolling and utterly gorgeous. I came back with a loud sigh.

Following my 'hill' wishes, a friend wondered why I wouldn't just MOVE to the hills. I wonder too. If only it was easier than a fantasy to open a tea stall at the foot of the Himalayas. If only those 'yes' and 'no's were easy said.

"For it never left him, the shape of these hills, the lay of this land."
From Tiger Hills

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Revolution

This night, when I am simply unable to sleep, another of those insomniac ones, I was fiddling with the laptop, ignoring the mountain of work and chanced upon this picture. This was taken two days ago, on my latest trip to Sittilingi Valley and was cutely drawn behind the bathroom door of the room I was staying in.

And revolution is just that. Be it a personal one for your self. A revolution to be 'you' or a revolution to decide that you want to live when you are alive. A revolution of mind and wings and thoughts and space. None of them can be pretty. Or politically correct. Nor are they what you want me to be.

Maybe it is the sleeplessness talking. Maybe it was revolution of sorts all along.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Of Paayasa and Pancha-khajjaya

Unabashed. That is how I shall talk about the very first festival I celebrated in an almost traditional way this year. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most important festivals for us Hindus. At home, festivals are more about the feasting than the praying bit, considering how Appa and I are near agnostics, at best. But tradition is what I cherish a lot, the whole ritual of eating after everything is offered to God first, the whole idea of the festival and its stories.

I remember when as a kid, the smells and sounds from the kitchen were so tempting that I would sneak behind ma and try to at least dip a small finger and lick the paayasa. I don't remember succeeding though, ma would always catch me. I would help decorate the offerings and take great pride in blowing the conch, being the resident expert in doing so! Quick prayers, new clothes, the sounds of bells, fragrant agarbhathis, the conch, and a large, large feast, that is usually a festival for me.

This year, I wasn't able to go home. There are two things I absolutely loathe in life: being alone and without family around when I am very sick and during festivals. I get terribly depressed and sulk all day and throw tantrums over the phone. This month, both things happened and suitable days were spent sulking.

But in a bout of inspiration, I decided to celebrate the festival in the traditional way and the result of some two hours of cooking was this, below. The chakkuli (savoury) was bought. The rest of the menu was Chitranna (coconut and lemon rice), Paayasa (coconut and a kind of dal kheer), traditional sambaar (vegetables and coconut) and Pancha-khajjaya (the powder in the steel bowl, the mark of the festival, made with five ingredients). Yes, lot of coconut. Brahmins in my part of the state use it for anything. I am nuts too about coconut, and have been known to have withdrawal symptoms if gone without coconut for too long.

Everything turned out great, if I may say so myself. The salt was just right, spices just so, the sweet there, but not too much.

All the cooking happened with me in a SAREE!! If you know me, you know that's a big deal for me!! :-) More than anything, ma was super proud that I was being all grown up and lady-like, FINALLY!!! The pride in her voice made it all so worth it. More than tradition itself.

The friends arrived with flowers that we used to decorate the door of my house. By the end of the meal, all that I made was eaten up. And I took it as a sign that they liked it.

To my horror, I also realized that I love wearing a saree and I quite enjoy cooking!!! Whatever this phase is, I hope it passes! LOL!!

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi, everyone! :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Panjarada Shale, a Review: In The Hindu

I reviewed a play for The Hindu. Read it here or see below.


I may not look like you. Neither may I speak the way you do, or dress as well, or have the aesthetic sense to admire that painting on the wall the way you can. Does that make me less cultured? Do I become inferior in your sensibilities? More power than what I wield does not make you also morally, culturally superior, does it?

These are old questions: they have been asked across sensibilities, fed culture wars and fuelled the urge to conquer and subjugate. The old questions were asked again, through B.V. Karanth's play “Panjarada Shale”, itself based on Rabindranath Tagore's “The Parrot's Training”. Performed by children of middle school of TVS School, Tumkur, the play explored the violence and discord that a conventional education system causes in an individual.

In a brilliant staging by students trained under Pralayan from Chennai Kalai Kuzhu, made more enjoyable by lovely lighting, the play told the story of a parrot that is captured by a king who decides that all the bird can do is sing and fly, and therefore, its ignorant mind is to be educated and cultured. What follows is an attempt to teach by rote mathematics, the languages and other subjects that will make the parrot a learned and cultured individual.

Stifled by conventions, the parrot, in a poignant scene, looks at the other birds that are flying by and wishes to join them. The cage is golden, but without the sounds and smells of the trees, the bird loses its ability to fly and sing. The king decides it is time the parrot returned to the forest and spread her new found knowledge to the rest of the birds. The cage is opened, but the parrot only manages to crash to the ground. Without wings, without freedom, she is already dead.

In the second part of the production that culminated after a month-long theatre workshop at the school, the students of high school staged “Gramaayana”, a touching portrayal of life in a village. The students wrote the script, made music and the props. Quite importantly, they got the village accent right, right down to the rotund drunkard husband and the rather lecherous village moneylender.

Fast-paced folk music and a synergy that was more than quite professional underlay the many problems of daily wage labourers in a village. Landlords cultivate cash crops more than food crops, deepening the food crisis. The NREGA scheme is good, but payment is made once in 15 days. For the daily wage worker, with daily expenses and no other means of income, this is catastrophic. The PDS system is manned by a corrupt man who hoards rice and oil to sell at a profit. The moneylender lends Rs. 1000 at the beginning of the day and earns an interest of Rs. 100 on it by the evening. Land is acquired by the governments for development projects that do nothing for the villagers except to snatch away their work from them.

This, to the villagers, is democracy. Some community scenes, where the villagers are working, where they meet the village headman, dragged a little, but the insights into rural life that the kids revealed in the process was rather impressive. Folk culture was given the stage too, with dollu-kunitha and a song of the night usually sung in villages in the Deepavali season.

Towards the end, you could not help raising a parallel with Anusha Rizvi's “Peepli Live”, in scenes that show villagers migrating to cauldrons that form cities. They move towards boards that announce ‘Men are at work' and ‘Work is in progress'.

Be it issues like farmer suicides or land acquisition or finer details like the twang in their rural accents, the children's mighty impressive performance showed empathy for the villages and its people as is not detailed otherwise.

Monday, September 06, 2010

On the Devadasi Music Tradition: In Himal Southasian

Another Devadasi story, this time on their music form, in this month's South Asian magazine Himal Southasian.

Read the piece here or see below.


'These instruments, they demand a lot. She demands a price every time she has to come out of the bag,’ Imla Santappa Halsapor says, lovingly caressing the hollow drum she carries. Her lips are attempting a slow smile, but her eyes have a faraway look; perhaps she is thinking of earlier days, when the business of living first required reverence to the goddess Yellamma and only thereafter the act of pleasing a partner. Undoubtedly, times have changed. And so has the Devadasi system and all that the dedication of these girls entails – to themselves, to their customers and to the local community.

The women sitting together have little in common. The oldest at about 65, Yamunavva, utterly gorgeous and still shockingly bold in the things she says to men, is from the richer lot. Her gold chains, cotton sari with zari – a form of intricate embroidery using gold and silver threads – border and the heavy natt, the pearl-and-gold nose-pin, are proof of her high standing in the local community. They also indicate the wealth of her hiriyavaru, the permanent partner that the Devadasi can take on, apart from other customers.

Then there is Reshma Taugeri, 34 years old, almost fragile and unable to work her drums fast enough to keep up with Imla, in her fifties, from neighbouring Mahalingapura. Imla, of the older lot, is draped in a simple sari, for her hiriyavarudied almost 25 years ago. Her feminine charms are restricted to the coquettish lyrics of the Chowdike Pada, the traditional verses in which Devadasis are trained, accompanied by the tingle of her two dozen green bangles.

One of the few commonalities between these women is that they are all jogathis, servants of Yellamma, who is worshipped in some parts of Karnataka. There is a second link, as well: none of them wants their art form to survive, the thousands of songs in which they are versed being an integral part of the repressive system that they are now collectively fighting to eliminate. They say that the youngest Devadasi is now in her late 20s or early 30s; there have reportedly been no fresh dedications in the past few years, though the Karnataka state government banned the practice way back in 1982.

The women, sitting in a small town called Mudhol in Bagalkot District of north Karnataka, say that these songs will disappear soon. And with them will go the knowledge of practices, rituals, stories and histories of people that they have incorporated in those simple lyrics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these women, amongst the better educated in their community due to their training in the mythologies of their gods and the people who worship them, seem particularly sad about the possibility of another rich tradition slipping into memory. What will happen to the songs and traditions if there are no new entrants into the Devadasi system? In their answer, they are unanimous. ‘We know that the songs will disappear,’ says Imla. ‘But it is ok,’ interjects Yamunavva. ‘We are not too sad about our traditions disappearing, because they are part of a system that we don’t want to be passed on to the next generation.’

Nitya sumangalis
Already, the younger Devadasis do not know the songs sung by the seniors such as Yamunavva, who, as a ‘master’, remains involved in overseeing the music education of the recent inductees. The younger ones have to egg her on before she sings a verse in soprano. ‘I don’t know the origins of these songs,’ she says. ‘But these instruments give us the inspiration to sing in praise of Yellamma. When we have them in our hands, there is a respect we command. Everyone knows we are jogathis.’

A hollow drum with a long handle called a sutti, a pair of tala (small cymbals), a smaller drum called a chowdiki and a small bag for alms makes up the ensemble of the Chowdike Pada. A cane basket called a jaga on the head and a cane bowl or hadligi for alms make a woman a jogathi. The concept of the male and female forms, and their joining together, is integral to the Devadasi tradition. The sutti becomes the male, the chowdiki is the female and ‘perfect’ music is made only when the two join together. Made from wood and covered at the bottom with a calf’s skin, the drums are decorated with zari and silk.

The passing-on of the tradition starts with a devadi charitre (history of gods), in which an initiate is taught the old stories in song. These are part of a rich oral tradition, though some jogathis today make note of the lyrics in unassuming ruled notebooks, possibly the only documentation of the songs that will be left in a few years time. Some enterprising Devadasis have also recorded cassettes, which are sold at Yellammana Gudda at Savadati in north Karnataka, the Mecca for devotees of the goddess.

Back in the room with the rest of the Devadasis, Shivalingavva and Sangitha Kadakad’s voices are the most inaudible in the group. They have not learned too many songs, as both are in their early thirties. ‘Each village will have a different set of songs,’ says Shivalingavva. ‘The lyrics may be modified too depending on the situation. There are common songs too, but every village in the district might have some variations, some local flavour.’ For instance, Sangitha continues, ‘When there are visitors, we may add their names and welcome them, or use the name of a god who is the favourite of the family that we sing for.’The singing at functions sometimes also takes the form of a Chowdike Pada competition. ‘Sometimes, the family that invites us might ask for two groups to be present,’ explains Rekha Gadi, a jogathi in her thirties. ‘One sings of the gods while another sings praises of goddesses. We call it Haradeshi-Naageshi, a local name for the event, and it is a competition that goes on all night. By morning, the two groups abandon trying to gain the advantage and become one.’As is common in Hinduism, Fridays and Tuesdays are especially auspicious days for these nitya sumangalis or eternal brides. Because the death of their partner does not give them the status of widowhood, their blessings are greatly sought after, and on these two days their songs are widely heard. Families invite the women, usually five at a time, to sing songs of their favourite gods at weddings or other ceremonies, where their hands are typically washed in ghee and milk before being served a feast. Indeed, only after the Devadasi begins to eat will the rest of the people be served, and invariably gifts of money and saris follow.

In addition to singing about the goddesses, Devadasis are also widely believed to have healing powers. A woman without a child might seek their blessing and beg for a rupee with which to pierce the ear of the baby after its birth. Another might seek a cure for a disease by feeding a group of five Devadasis lavishly. The Chowdike Pada itself becomes a tool for education of sorts. For wives in villages, there were lessons in hygiene, on how to care for a newborn, on how to be healthy in each month of pregnancy, even tips on how to seduce the wayward husband and keep him home. All such information is included in the Devadasis’ songs. In villages where wives rarely had access to such information, the Devadasis thus took up the task of educating the women with whom they came in contact.

For the chosen only
Imla heads back to her village of Mahalingapura, an hour’s dusty drive from Mudhol, during which she talks about her Muslim partner, who died in a truck accident nearly three decades ago. His name is tattooed crudely on her forearm, a common practice among the women, whose lives are dictated by passion. The tattoos are equally crudely erased when the man dies or deserts her.

After navigating through narrow lanes full of pigs and open drains, we come upon a small temple, where Imla’s ‘master’, Danamma Poojeri, joins her in singing. The neighbourhood children gather around as the crescendo builds; the drums strike a seemingly primitive beat and the kids, some naked, some still in school uniform, quiet down, awed. They will listen, but can never learn to sing these songs. Only Devadasis can ever learn the lyrics or these particular drum beats.

One woman, Danamma, must have taught these songs and dance routines to dozens of others. But her own granddaughter, Asha Poojeri, knows none of them. Asha is a Devadasi herself, but works more as a peer educator on HIV/AIDS-awareness issues with a local NGO. A lineage has ended there already. Imla later tells me, away from the ears of the younger ones, that girls today are interested only in ‘doing sex’, and not in learning the traditions and rituals of being a woman of god.

In truth, the tangled web of rituals that the Devadasis have themselves constructed is proving to be their undoing. For instance, the songs cannot be written, nor can they be learned by most others, not even by all Devadasis. According to Shivalingavva, ‘Only the ones chosen by Yellamma can sing.’ Even the instruments of Chowdike Pada cannot be randomly passed on; the dying Devadasi must appoint a successor to carry the music and the respect along. The music demands elaborate prayers and rituals every Friday, every Tuesday and on every full moon. To the Devadasis, the instruments are just another form of the goddess they revere.

But then, there are no newer aspirants to learn the art, and there are many that say they want the tradition to die once and for all anyway. Today, grumble the elders, the lyrics are increasingly being muddled up, and many of the lines are already being forgotten. Yellamma no longer receives the full reverence she demands. The women say they are okay with the songs not making it through to the next generation. But when they regularly try to correct the singing of the younger jogathis, it seems more likely that they are simply resigned to the inevitable.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Overheard on a Sunday Afternoon

“Are tickets available for ‘Gentlemen’? (in Kannada). “Yes, they are.” (Deliberately answered in English)
“Ok, thanks.”
“It’s in English, that all I know.” “Chalo, chalo…let’s eat at Anju’s first.”
“I will go home and take a bath and come there.” “Ok, we will call.”

They don’t take card. It is Rs 450. Cash is given then.
“No rice, only paranthas. And pasta.” “Let’s eat pasta with white sauce.”
“I want hot chocolate, I am (cough, cough) dying here.”

“Mohanlal used to be always up to it.”
“But doesn’t this happen to everyone? Performance anxiety?”
More anxieties. The young dude has them, so does the married, father of one barber who realizes there aren’t many things that Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t endorse.
There is also an old man thrown in, with ‘Koyi Lautade Mere Beethe Huye Din’ in the background.
Gorgeous dull red saree, a long strand of bloomed jasmine in the elegant mostly-grey hair. Sensuous woman.
The Bengaluru Kannada is just right. “Nodi saar….”
How can a woman not have the last word, even be it in the narcissist world of men obsessed with Mohanlal or whatever name they might want to go by? After all, in cricket, to bat, you need a ball too, don’t you?

In a long orange kurta, he was doing the unshaven, unkempt look. It wasn’t working, looking more like he just needed a wash instead. Short haired friend of his dragged out a cigarette and lit it. More of similar disposition joined in. One needed a haircut, very badly.
“Macha, it was nice in bits da, as a whole….”
“Dude, what are you saying, it was a good depiction of what most people have going on in their minds!”
“The script was…” “Oh, I believe it is called the ‘content’ these days, not the script, apparently.”
“Whatever man, gorgeous woman, that last bit was fantastic. The lighting though….”
All in Kannada. Middle aged men with bidi between fingers that are attached to big fat gold rings.
Yellind bandaure ivella?” (“Where are these from”?)
Ade, Shankar Nath adyeno katyavnalla, allinde natka nod bandirbeku.” (“Oh, that something that Shankar Nath built; these must have come from there.”)
“Shankar Nath? Who is he?”
Are, that Geetha film actor, Jotheyali, Jothe Jotheyali… song…”
“Oh, he was also in Autoraja alwa?”
“Ha, that one…”
“Ok, when will that man give the money? Call him”
Sari (ok), I will see you in the evening.”
The witness to this come to a corner of Anju’s and sips too milky coffee later.

(For most who will probably not get this, this is a not-review of the play ‘Gentlemen’ by Dr Anil Abraham, staged Sunday at Bangalore’s Rangashankara which was built in memory of late Kannada actor Shankar Nag. The conversations were all either heard, seen, spoken or overheard.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

PJs for Posterity

Time: Between 2 am and 3.30 am
Place: Rahul Guest House, Hampi
At the best of times, JN and I cringe at the PJs (poor jokes, for you sane people) that we are subjected to listen to by SA and DA. Our plight was even worse one night in Hampi when what seemed like an entire township of mosquitoes invaded sleep and kept us all awake through the night.
Did you know that most nights, for the entire night, mind you, the entire village of Hampi does not have power? Most times of the year, the place is unbearably hot. Even August nights, supposedly the monsoon season, were very difficult to with no power and a feasting populace of mosquitoes.
I preserve them PJs here, for posterity. Don’t expect to find them too funny, they never are! ;-) But somehow, at that moment, we tried to ignore the mosquitoes by managing to laugh at these.

* What is the similarity between mosquitoes and monkeys?
--- Both start with the letter ‘M’.
* What is the similarity between TV journalists and mosquitoes?
--- Both want one bite (byte) at a time.
* What is the difference between Manipal Hospital nurse and a mosquito?
--- The nurse asks permission before taking blood.
(To which JN wanted to know why Manipal Hospital. Why? Why? But why? She went!)
* What is the difference between Microsoft and Hard Rock Café?
--- One is a software company and the other is a restaurant chain.
(JN, for some vague reason, had said the answer was ‘constipation’! Yeah, don’t ask!!)
The alternative answer was that one is soft and the other is hard! (Sheesh!)

This following one was a particular favourite by next morning. I was complaining about how the damn mosquitoes should just bite and get lost instead of buzzing near the ear (the sound was like that of an ambulance, so said SA). The conversation led to how once you kill one of those creatures, others pounce on immediately, and bravely. DA said that they should be given a Param Veer Chakra, the gallantry award, for their head-on bravery. I said it would have to be given posthumously and we all started giggling at it. DA, gravely says, “Don’t laugh. It’s a gallantry award given posthumously, you shouldn’t laugh.”) The giggles turned to hoots, of course.
DA’s logic was that the mosquitoes go home by 4.30 am after which we could sleep. After much nonsensical jokes, I don’t know whether the mosquitoes went home or not, but we managed to sleep around that time. JN and I like to believe though that we fainted from the excessive smell of Dynamite, DA’s deo that he sprayed, to fumigate.