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Shyam Babu

A friend’s friend’s boy-friend lost his life in Mumbai, thanks to the terrorist attacks. Another friend’s girl-friend escaped firing at railway station yesterday (moments after she took train from the station, firing took place). Thankfully, all friends in Mumbai are still safe – or so they declared when I called them up today to ask them about what part of their body they had already lost.

I cannot keep talking about Mumbai and all the terrible shit that has happened and is still happening after more than 40 hours. I will instead talk about the life of Shyam Babu who can be found anytime in the cute little garden that I happened to visit (yesterday for the first time and today morning for the second time).

Shyam Babu’s gray colour statue that stands over a small cuboid shaped platform in the centre of the garden has something about it. The statue looks almost like a real bald person, lunatic enough in his old age to first have his body painted gray and then climb up the platform and stand over it, only to have a great look at every other character in the garden, trying to hide his cute paunch in the process. And oh, the characters…

Majority are uncles and aunty, there’s just one – who walks around the garden in a sari carrying a sleepy and sad face, along with her grown up and obviously unmarried daughter who usually walks faster and remains ahead of her mother. The daughter, by the way, is the only girl who roams around in the garden. In spite of her attractive slim physique, she looks as dull and boring as her mother in the salwar-kurta that she wears, the colour of the dress very well matching her looks. Two young dudes sitting on their laps in the centre of the garden, right below the statue, forming an upside-down T (hands straight – vertically aligned and parallel to each other and the straight chest, palms pressed against the grass) keep swinging their folded legs up and down about the centre of their hips – looking from far away like two dragonflies trying to drill the earth with their heads, flapping their wings in joy. Then of course, which garden in India doesn’t have it’s share of Baba Ramdev disciples? These uncles sit on their laps, close to each other, and unlike the dragonflies, focus more on their elastic and bulging bellies and enjoy kneading the same by way of sucking in and blowing out the early morning cold air. It’s fun watching their tummy blow up and then deflate – reminds you of the ups and downs of life!

One uncle who prefers walking  and who sports a dense beard, keeps a scarf tied along his tummy, as he does his walking – probably in the hope that this cloth-wrapping would ensure a faster reduction of his stomach dia. And last but not the least there are those in the walking-lot who use the scarf for the right purpose. But then that makes you wonder – what are they doing on a cold November morning outside their rooms anyway, if they are not even ready to uncover their faces or ears or neck and let the morning air  hit them?

As our men (and aunty with her daughter) bring life to the cute little garden every morning, ShaymaBabu remains firm in his pose and platform, his paunch as evident as ever, truly enjoying the rotation, revolution and all such kinds of movements of the human bodies all around him. Shyam Babu’s statue  definitely has something about it. 🙂

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