The Three Traits of a Woman – Uncle Gokhale speaks again
July 1998, Pen, Maharashtra
Arrival at Pen:
If you have read my last blog you would be conviced as to why i am in love with this place. The monsoon of 98 with a great training at IPCL Nagothane, and a great place to retreat after a long day at the plant, made those 10 days memorable. Apart from the occassion, what made the experience unforgettable was the magic of Pen – the house where we stayed and its owner Uncle Gokhale, who was the dad of my father’s colleague. Many more trinklets and glistens formed the fine brocade of this magical place. It was also a different experience for a pampered and protected kid like me to stay away from the luxuries of a well provided, “automated” home.
Mounted on a rumbling n’ wobbling four wheel box o’ jagged tin ( God knows whether the fifth wheel existed in the drivers hands), which is locally called Maharashtra ST bus, we chug-chugged from Mumbai. After getting down we carefully followed the detailed directions noted by my dad and found ourselves far away from the bustling Goa highway into the quiet enclosure of old Pen where the trumpets of the great marathas can still be heard looking at some of the old “Waadas” and the old Shiva temple up the hillock.
We were welcomed by our elderly host, Mr. Gokhale, who assured us that his home was a peaceful and comfortable place to stay. We felt quite protected in his octogenerian company, despite feeling slightly insecure about the heavy rain falling on the age old mangalore tiled roof. He helped us quickly unwind. He told us that there had been few students of a nearby engineering college, who stayed as paying guest with him for a long time except for one who got bogged by drinking habit and had apparently put up some obscene posters in his rented room.
I could see Mr. Gokhale getting more talkative with growing enthusiasm which was a direct reflection of how lonely he had been staying all by himself long after the last paying guest had left him…. long after his wife passed away… long after he retired from the film editing lab where he glared at every frame of movie with his expert eyes, much before the burning light of the arclamps projected its image on an awaiting white screen. As he started talking more and more we could see the experiences he had been through and the many cycles of various seasons, some changing as per the nature’s pattern and the others rather uncertain.
Uncle Gokhale pointed to the inner room and said ” tum log yaahaan pe soneka.. chadar chatayi rakha hua hai.. laga ke so janeka Bhe**hod”. The last word came naturally with an absolutely smooth allignment with the rest of the sentence. Kaushal my colleague who was a non-swearer till that point in life, wondered why uncle used a gaali for no mistake done!!! I was reminded of my Dad’s description of few elders who use abuses like Ashtottara, which is a set of endearing names to God almighty.. I could feel the same music in his abuse, except that Kaushal took time to appreciate Hard rock music, which was clear from his question “Uncle ne humlog ko gaali kyon diya”.
For the next two days Kaushal and mine sentences to each other ended with that word, while trying to imitate the smoothness in uncle’s tone.. we could not :-). Saints as we were at that time when we never used any abuse, it was quite a try when no one else was hearing.
After our dinner, uncle said that there were many boys who stayed there but he never allowed a single girl to stay there.. I thought that with a small house as that it would be an obvious reason not to allow a girl to stay there. But before i could freeze my apprehensions, Mr. Gokhale vented out saying:
” Ek chatt ke neeche hazaar ladke reh sakte hain … lekin do ladkiyaan kabhi nahin.. Kyonkin aurat ka teen gun hota hain” (teen and gun are hindi words not to be pronounced as in english, but what uncle meant was a more lethal weapon than a gun in english) .
I did not wonder too much as to why he was being so unfair to womankind because i myself was a MCP those days, much more than what i am today. Overcome with sleep after a sumptuous dinner and an equally filling long talk, I nodded at that statement thinking that it was one of the dialogues of his film and retired to bed in total darkness of not just the night, but in the darkness of my ignorance about where uncle Gokhale came from when he made that statement.
Next morning he spoke about his sons and their family, about the arrogance of his daughter-in-laws. One of whom had a love marriage with his younger son who was not even having a firm employment then. His older son’s wife was arrogant and quite believed in staying separately. It was apparent by now that Uncle had seen the worst of women in them who were the reasons for him to stay away.. far away from urban civilizations in his own world where he experimented with herbs and ayurveda, where he carefully stored his collection of old film posters of those for which he did the editing, where he lived with the fond memories of his passionate and hard struggled past. He once again ended up saying “Aurat ka teen gun hota hain“.. this time my eye brows went higher, the way it does when you see a catchy advertisement for the second time delving deeper into what it is trying to convey.
I heard this sentence a couple of more times before i finally blew the whistle asking “Uncle yeh teen gun hain kya??”. He burst out laughing and asked “Tereko aurat ke teen gun nahin maloom? Kaisa aadmi hain tu bhi?” I told him that i honestly did not know about it. He then then repeated the phrase like a mantra.
“Aurat ka teen Gun hota hain“
Ater a pause he repeated and continued ” Yeh teen gun ke wajah se saadaran si aurat Indira Gandhi ban jaati hai.. yeh teen gun se …..sirf yeh teen gun se woh apna raj chalati hai is duniya pe”
“Sabse Pehla gun: Shringaar” A lady expresses Shringaar through her beauty, through the way she carries herself, the way she decorates herself and makes her presence felt aloud. She grabs attention and then she robs unsuspecting sights and hearts…. she conquers. The charm of beautiful women like Madhubala was still present in the fading posters from uncle’s collection of those movies he edited. Cleopatra unlike the hype was not known to be a particularly good looking woman, she had some odd features. What made her alluring was her sense of Shringaar. People go out of the way and ways fall apart when the lady in red calls for her shots, no matter however “strong hearted” a man may be. The way a woman carries herself can get her big tasks done by others without throwing her weight. I must confess here that i have been an unsuspecting victim to this weapon too and many among ye readers after raising your eyebrows will recollect a time when you have been vulnerable (men) or when you have used this deadly weapon (women) :-)…. She dresses to kill and she rules.
“Doosra gun: Rodan” . I recollected Munshi Premchand’s words which may be translated as “A woman’s tears is the highest calorific fuel to keep masculine anger at its highest temperature”. The toughest masculine carborandum-hearts have melted like butter on a frying pan at the first trickle of a feminine tear droplet. Tears may arrive as an indication of deep pain but have the immense capacity to mobilize action.
“Teesra Gun: Matsarya” .. Before uncle could tell me more about jealousy, i was reminded of the famous story of Goddess Parvati being jealous of her sister River Goddess Ganges residing in her husband, Lord Shiva’s hair locks. She devised a fine conspiracy after that to ensure that Ganges was sent back to earth. However her Jealosy served a higher purpose of relieving the thirsts and sins of thousands of seekers in the downstream of Ganges. But I stood bewildered at the amount of action and change that Jealosy can drive.
Its amazing that these three forces are neatly concealed since they appear as signs of weakness or as means of getting attention. It is these notions that makes these forces unbeatable.
Mr. Gokhale’s story was an eye-opener which showed clearly that men and women are not created equal, as women are more equipped with these three forces. As a matter of fact every woman is well armed to use these three forces for either rocking the cradle or ruling the world.
…. “yehi teen gunon se woh apna hukum chalati hai…. aur saadi si ladki Indira Gandhi ban Jaati hai”
A page in my diary Tales of Gokhale Uncle and Pen