Vantage point

Saturday, October 25, 2003


This is not an honest world we live in, no sirree. I have suffered from people's questionable ethics at every step of the way. The most regular one is song stealing.

I never encountered this theft before I came to IIML because I used to live in a house. The bathroom walls went all the way up to the ceiling and when you took a shower, what you did during that remained confined to the four walls. In a hostel however, the government seems to have issued a decree that the walls and ceilings can not meet. So in IIML Hostel 11, you have 5 cubicles next to each other with walls that stop a foot short.

Nah, nah, nobody is perverted enough to climb up the walls and peek at what you are doing. What bothers me is everyone else can hear what you are singing!

Now I am what you might call a melodiously-challenged person. When I sing, people want to bung the closest brick at me. But again, this is not why I mind those walls. I am not afraid that someone will bung a brick over the wall (suddenly I feel like listening to Pink Floyd!!). Yet when I start singing, through habit, I have expected people to cluck their tongues in exasperation and pray to the almighty that my bath ends quickly. Not your hardened IIML blokes though, no sirree (didn't I use the phrase once already?).

The guys showering in the other cubicles, or brushing their teeth at the washbasins, they steal your song!! By that I mean they start singing the song themselves. And I don't mind them singing in sync with me, to form a sorta bathroom chorus you know. But they are out of phase by anything from pi to 3pi radians. That means if I am singing "Ae Zindagi gale laga le", and am on the line "Chhota sa saaya thaaaaaa....aankhon mein aaaayaaaaa thaaaaaaaaaaaa....", it clashes with the dude in another cubicle shouting at the top of the voice, "Humko sahara mil gaya hai zindagiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii". Now I can understand his joy at finding Sahara in Lucknow (!). But doesn't he realise he is barging into my song-space?

Grumbling I concede him that song, and start singing another one. This time, the fellow in another cubicle hijacks it and makes the song do its own bidding. Then I shout "Hey, get your own songs, don't steal mine", and in response I get a rendition of "Ready reckoner of the 20 most popular expletives in North India".

As the last resort I have started singing only marathi songs in the shower. But that backfires too, because 4 of my 11 wingies are Maharashtrian.

Jab main raaja banoonga, I will introduce a legislation banning the theft of songs being hummed by others. I dream of a society where heavily armed 'Song Police' will patrol the streets...and make sure everyone's songreignty is protected. Come join me in the movement to make this dream a reality.