Oh! the confusing case of pointing a finger
My
youngest daughter’s Christmas vacations started from today and like most
ignorant Dads, I was foolish to jump out of my bed at 05.30 hours on my mobile
phone alarm and run across to her room to wake her up.
The
poor child was deep in her sleep when I snooped upon her like the Lady Tremaine
and startled her out of her Cindrella dreams.
Absolutely
oblivious of her plans to be in slumber till midday, she opened her eyes wide
to stare at me for once and showed me her little pinky finger and went back to
sleep. The communication, though in gesture, was quite loud and clear. She had
conveyed to me that she is “Katti” with me.
My
misadventure was soon cut short by my wife, who had got up too, and in no
polite terms, told me to leave the poor kid alone and let her enjoy her sleep
as her festive season has already started.
I
immediately went back memory lane and remembered how this tiny little gesture
of pointing the fingers by our friends decided whether it made or ruined our
day. The little finger pointed meant “Katti” which conveyed that they are not
in talking terms with us anymore. We would wait for the day when these friends
would decide to change their sequence of fingers to point towards us, the day
they would lift their middle finger and pointer in unison and convey the
“Mitthi” or “Bucchi” (reference depending upon which place in the country we
were), which eventually meant that we were back in their good books.
Pointing
a finger has various connotations. Its meaning may vary according to the finger
which is pointed and the occasion in which it is done.
A thumbs up or thumbs down is a common hand gesture represented by a closed fist held with the  thumb extended upward or
downward in approval or disapproval respectively.
However, I have read that “Thumbs up”
traditionally translates as the foulest of gesticular insults in some Middle
Eastern countries — the most straightforward interpretation is ‘Up yours, pal!’.
In some countries, it is traditionally an obscene gesture, equivalent to the
use of the middle finger in the Western world.
In our country, although the gesture is well accepted, similar
gestures have negative connotations, and we need to be ultra-careful while
using this finger to denote our gesture. If while doing a thumbs up, if the
hand is wagged from side to side in a reverse-pendulum like movement, it means
“won’t work” or “disagree”. Kids show the thumb to a person
and say “thengaa,” sometimes followed making a face, drawing the
tongue out and touching the chin with it. It indicates cocking a snook at someone. And corporate
employees swear by this gesture to call someone
“angoothachaap”(thumb-print) implying that we are insulting him/her
as an illiterate person.

Adopted
all across the world from the western culture, pointing the middle finger
is an obscene hand gesture, often meaning the phrase “xxxx you” or
“up yours”. Performed by showing the back of the hand, extending the middle finger of the hand upwards while bending the other fingers down into the palm, it
is considered as a gesture and symbol of Taunt, disgrace and insult.

The
index finger is generally used as a pointer to specifically point out anything
specifically, more widely now used in books and publications. Yeah, it is also
widely used by Umpires during cricket matches, to signal “out” or a “free-hit”.

The sign of the horns is a hand gesture,
formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb, is generally done when confronted with unfortunate events,
mostly of superstitious nature, like when a black cat crosses one’s path, when seeing a hearse (whether or not it is loaded), or when encountering any
person believed to bring about bad luck. Oh! Yeah,with fingers down, it is a
common gesture instead, by which superstitious people seek protection in
unlucky situations (something like touching wood).

The pointing of the pinky finger, apart from the “katti”
is also commonly used in our country to indicate that one has to visit the loo.
And here too, depending upon the nature of relief one seeks at the loo, the
fingers change, commonly referred to as going for “one number” and two number”.

As
till the end of the day, when I come back and see the smiling face of my little
princess, I shall keep my fingers crossed.

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It was again one of those lazy
Sundays where I had put my foot down and refused to move out of the cozy
corners of my sweet home. It was pouring out there on this rainy Sunday and I
was longing for the “Garam Chaai” and the “Garmaa-Garam Pakodaas” that my wife
would have otherwise lovingly made for me, a decade back.
There was no love lost with my wife,
but some gains for me that had prompted her to take the extreme decision of
“No-Pakoraas” for me since the last couple of years. The unfortunate situation
of my age crossing 40 and I gaining some good amount of clout along my waist
since then, were the culprits. Honestly, both of these situations were natural
and I did not have any part to play in it, but was made the scapegoat and pay
the price for it.
Women are great Inventors and my wife
was no exception. She had already chalked out other methods of keeping me busy.
It was only on the previous Sunday,
one of the few occasions, when I ran out of excuses and I was pulled up from
bed just before noon by my wife and daughters, dragged to the garage, made to
start the car and before I could realize, how big a trouble I was into, I was
already inside the mall which displayed huge signs of “Off-season Sale”. The
signs were all over, and you could just not avoid them, as if they were
purposely hung there to tease me and the several other husband-fathers like me
moving around there with their hung faces.
Moving around with them like the
baggage trolley, my both hands full with the stuff that they were mercilessly
picking up from all across, I too was once in a while rewarded with some shirts
and T-shirts, which my wife and daughters, decided that I would look “cool” in.
A sort of “Baksheesh” for the chauffer for having carted them there. It was
quite late before I realized that the “Baksheesh” was not even a decent
percentage of the total amount I had to shell out that evening.
The definitions of “cool” and “hot”
have completely changed since when I was made to mug up their meanings in my
primary classes.
I had just dumped the new dresses in
my wardrobe that evening and during the whole week had not even the slightest
time to try them out in front of our dressing mirror to arrive at my own
decision whether I really looked “cool” in them.
My wife’s plan for that Sunday was to
make me clear my wardrobe of all the old stuff, which I had not worn for ages,
since I gained those extra inches. I religiously agreed, knowing fully well
that this option would be far better than any other alternate plans that she
may have on her mind, provided I refused to do this.
I stood in front of my wardrobe and
as I was removing some apparels, I lay my hand on a shirt, which I did not even
remember having worn. It looked as good as new but for reason probably that I
did not look “cool” in it, I had not worn it much.
I took it out and thought out trying
it on and as my hands went across its pocket and I felt a piece of paper
inside. I put my fingers inside and pulled out which was LO & BEHOLD – A
FIVE HUNDRED RUPEES NOTE.
I was at my wit’s end. From where did
this money come from? How could it escape my attention for so long? What could
be a plausible explanation for this windfall? Had I declared the same in my tax
returns? What if the taxmen come to know of this? All sorts of questions
started running through my mind.
Scared like hell, I yelled at my wife
for help. I could hear the clanging of utensils in the kitchen as I saw my
better half charging down like a bull. I was already on my knees and my
palpitations had increased by the time she was next to me desperately trying to
decipher the situation since I was just kneeling there with my mouth wide open
and no words coming out of it.
It was some moment, which seemed like
years to me, before I could grasp a breath and wife could heave a sigh of
relief. I narrated the story to my wife with the earnest hope of getting some
input from her.
We are living on a fixed source of
income and have our monthly budget planned well in advance. However, like our
Union Government, we normally end up with a fiscal deficit, which fortunately
is not to be met out of borrowings but by way of reduction in the expenses,
unlike the Union Government.
A Rs.500/- note going unnoticed for
such a long time clearly indicated a complete failure of the planning
mechanism, I opined. However, this contention would not cut ice with, my wife,
the planning commission Chairperson.
Enquiry began almost immediately and
I was now facing my wife in the interrogation room and was being bombarded with
a plethora of questions. The questions were certainly biased, she being very
sure and absolutely confident that nothing has gone amiss in her planning, but
I had some undeclared income. I felt being hounded by the interrogator as if I
was being funded by the “underworld”.
It was not very late before I
realized that there is no way I could prove my innocence and all evidence,
circumstantial and direct, were totally against me. The only way to finish of
the interrogation session was to admit.
As my wife branded me as earning
“black-money”, honestly, I felt privileged and my heart puffed with pride.

I was in the August Company of our country’s elite class.

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