VERSE|The Ballad of Bubba Buckley

A fond tribute to all the hillbillies around the world; to the vaccinated lot and the detergent gulpers 😉

I was mindin’ ma own beeswax, toilin’ on the grange,
potterin’ in my chicken coops, Tendin’ to ma mange;
Got it off sweet Misty Dawn, the old ass at the farm,
She’s in Donkey Heaven now and left me with the charm.
I’d have a 12 Corona pack, and get drunk as Cooter Brown*,
I’d be swayin’ about the Hillby Farm until the sun went down.
I was happy as a pig in mud*. America was great.
And then the dammed Corona virus came to the United States.


I done not seen it yet; they say it’s kinda small.
But ma piggy babies are tiny too, and I can see ‘em all!
I got me a pair of new clod hoppers from Jed’s shoe estate,
To stamp out the damned varmint, if it came up to ma gate.
I also done taken out, ma AR-15,
And polished it up nicely to a mighty high gleam.
And If I ever see that Corona son of a gun,
I’ll mow it down with a full-on clip ‘fore I’m fully done!


The Corona! Who’d have thunk, that beer could be mean!
I’ve done throwed 24 cans of it on the grody heap.
I’m indulgin’ me ale-hankerin’ with this new “Lion Beer”
Brewed in Colombo, Kentucky by a good ol’ American brewer.
Now I sit on ma porch all day, until it done get dark,
Waitin for the cowardly Corona to holler its ugly bark.
I got ma gun on the ready, and ma virus killin’ gel,
“I’m ready for ya plonker, and you can Kiss ma go to hell*!”


They say the Corona’s got a magical wee cloak,
And you can’t really see the darn thang until you all-out croak.
And then it just eats ya, right up from the inside,
So you’re not there no more - like you just never died!
No sir! I ain’t gonna let that happen to ol’ Bubba Buckley,
I already got me a verse cut in marble for when I decease.
And then I heard our Cap’n Trump on the idiot box,
He said drinking De-tergent will kill the nasty fox.
So I went to ol’ Skeeters, and got me 20 pods of Tide,
Gonna have the whole darned lot with ma Lion beer tonight.

De Khudai pe aman

Southern Slang/ Idioms:
*As drunk as Cooter Brown: Very drunk; inebriated
*Happy as a pig in mud: very happy; ecstatic
*Kiss My Go to Hell: Kiss my a**
*Hankering: craving; urge

PANDEMIC 2020|Hairy Adventures – Part deux

Pandemic Special

It’s been just short of a month since the current curfew conditions were imposed in our city, and quite a lot longer in some other metropolises. And while the world at large has been preoccupied with the more immediate imperative of procuring food and other essential provisions, nature has been gleefully taking its regular course on all other fronts. Including the Follicular.

Three weeks on, and one can finally look in the mirror and know for a fact that what folks see of you now is what they actually get- an abundance of character, a pretty robust immunity (you’re still around aren’t you!) and of course the extra kg or so of all sorts of hirsute proliferation. This may include the heretofore publicly unseen unibrow, now quivering with health in its full horizontal entirety; and maybe also a quite robust moustache, that you last encountered when you were 14 and were still fast friends with all hair-related outcroppings. And of course the resilient growth on the arms and legs- a veritable extra canopy against the clammily bracing tropical breezes. Needless to say, many an air-conditioning thermostat has been adjusted to account for the extra covering, worn per force.

With the curfew now onerously plodding into its fourth week, the thin stores of razors and depilatories have also probably become nostalgic Ghosts of Hairlessness Past. And The more genteel amongst us are now probably spending more than a few of our locked-down hours thinking up ways of “taming the beast” before heading out for a session with Tania at Waxworks …. whenever that might be! The more constructively intrepid may even share a digital pearl of homegrown wisdom on the subject. So, together with updates on visiting food trucks, a social media hawkeye on this aspect may be of vast benefit to some….. many… who am i kidding, all of us!

In the meantime, the other denominator- the salon staff, are clocking their own glabrous countdowns to the time when they can alter the current Corona trend of Grisly Ladies who Lunch- in solitary. Needless to say, the urge to pluck, yank and depilate is intense across the entire salon confluence. I for one, got a lovely message from my resident spa wizard asking about my general well being. I told her that I missed her and that I was now quite definitely looking like Snow White’s wicked stepmother sans her magic (read: beautifying!!) wand. The hair was growing inelegantly grey and the eyebrows looked like 2 very, very distantly related cousins, in the aftermath of some personal endeavours in that area. In summary, I was not only suffering from cabin fever after all this home boundedness, but was with every passing day, looking more and more like I’d stepped out of the Neanderthal display in a natural history museum. She was delighted!

The age of the Corona is obviously teaching us more than just patience, forebearance and humility. It is also adjusting (correcting?) our socially conditioned sense of self as more and more, we’re letting it “all hang out”. Our partners too, are hesitantly/ puzzlingly/ apprehensively (depending on how much of a real life filter you had going on for yourself!) getting used to the peremptory au naturale trend of 2020.

The runways in 2021 will be interesting to watch. Nameless/ faceless models, with on-point face masks and matching all season gloves, teaching us elegant ways of walking 6 feet apart from one another. The post-Covid ramps will offer little occasion to portray beauty that is only skin-deep; picture perfect, surgically enhanced features will seem irrelevant and ephemeral after the corporeity of the previous year. It’ll probably spawn a whole new return to basics with a more authentic medley of wellness, beauty and form.

That will imaginably be a CSL – a Corona Silver Lining.

Hairy adventures

De Khudai pe aman.

PANDEMIC 2020|The Importance of being Gracious

(Quite as Important as being Earnest)

These are strange, even somewhat chilling times as we navigate through a viral storm of unprecedented proportions.

We have all been constrained to significantly modify our lives as we traverse the largely uncharteted waters of interminably extended curfews and lockdowns. Where the regular hustle and bustle of life as we’ve known it, has changed drastically to not only embrace a new kind of solitary social ideology but also how we go about procuring our daily provisions.

For those of us living in curfew-bound localities where we are dependent on the good graces of generally wayward supplies trucks that roll in occasionally, this change has been much more onerous. And that is where our hidden stores of grace, forbearance and compassion come in.

These are difficult times, no doubt, but everyone of us is capable of showing that essential modicum of dignity and consideration for our neighbours and fellow condominium residents as the case may be. So next time when our friendly Covid-era food trucks swing by, it would be a first class gesture of camaraderie and beneficence to fight the urge to amass as much as you can carry and then some. There are other residents who are in a similar nutritionally-deprived state, undergoing the very same Where’s-the-next-decent-meal-coming-from mental trauma and who would therefore mightily appreciate some manner of social solicitude.

So yes, despite the 40,000 year old homo sapien brain sophistication, there are those perplexing few among us who still feel their ancient Neanderthal instincts frantically kicking in when times are uncongenial. But, there is light at the end of that inter-epochal tunnel; a splendid little trick to help you overcome those unbecoming primeval compulsions: Drop down on one knee, or both (depending on your orthopaedic veracity) and pretend to look for some lost little thing (“Decency!” the crowd vociferates! But i digress…) Let the ancient brain, in the astute survival legacy of our Palaeolithic ancestors, urgently scout for the next meal potentially crawling by. That flagrant substratal self-reminder will almost surely help to put you squarely back on the path to Homo sapien self actualisation. And as the blood rushes to your brain while maintaining that perfect primate squat, stark Cro-Magnon man lucidity will hit even more sharply as you quite quickly realise that you’re darned well not going to munch through or cook those 2 Keells* bags full of vegetables you’re eyeing like manna from heaven, or wash your entire wardrobe 7 times over.

Let Grace into your lives- the quality that is; letting the lady in may cause inessential stress and scandal in these already testing times. (Bad joke- courtesy: Corona Fatigue!)

Come on folks, let’s be decent. Let there be kindness and empathy. And the vital awareness that never before has it been more important to unite as a community, a species and an intelligent, aware and perceptive life force across our wounded world.

Start with your neighbourhood. Be mindful. Be courteous. Be kind.

De Khudai pe aman.

*Keells: a prominent grocery chain across the island

SOCIAL FARCE|Marital Bliss(ters!)

(An affably prejudiced view)

Been there, done that; yes I too, at some unquestioningly-norms-embracing point in my life, succumbed to the connubial Shades of Grey. Ever since, i have with a mixture of amusement and unabating stupefaction, seen others go down that dubious sluiceway; some emerging disturbingly scathed and others not so much. But all, significantly drained of their essential sense of self and of the salubriousness of the soul. And yet, like the Pied piper of Hamelin, the Nuptial Chains jangle millions on into their tortuous embrace.

There is that diminutive window allowing prudent rethought. It is dismally small though and those reaching through it are oft labeled wayward, nay, freakish eccentrics incapable of weaving themselves into the normal Matrix of society. The pressure to fit in with the Joneses and the Karamatullahs of the community, is still quite unrelenting.

The journey to the aisle or the Dholi* usually begins with these crazy, frenetic bonding hormones, insidiously plotting and planning and then dividing and conquering every sane thought in one’s head. You’re left a soppy, whimsy mess. And if you do not err on the side of caution and lawfully Un-encumbered togetherness, the only light one can see at the end of that emotionally aqueous tunnel is le marriage. And then for a while, the ‘pain’ of maidenhood or bachelorhood as the case may be, ends….

Until a whole new torment takes root. Creeping like a flagitious ivy from some J horror movie plot, straight into your heretofore wonderfully humdrum life.

So what happens to those who follow the Maker of Marital Maladies into the maw of contracts and legalese?

A good number, fairly early on, take the ‘red pill’** – the damned things are quite quintessentially absent when that new-love Oxytocin is doing its merry pre-marital jig inside ones left ventricle! This set then, quite quickly, develops new found enthusiasm for the mundane, the inane, the irrelevant and generally, most things non spousal. And thus they bide their time until they’re hit head-on, hard, by some long subdued memory of delightful, legally uncoupled days gone by; or are convulsed by some other similar anti-shackling epiphany. And so, the debilitating contract perishes as the awareness of it’s fundamentally caustic nature is revealed with the clarity of daylight.

(Yes! Sinister plots unfolding!)

Then there is the intrepid ‘Legally Tethered’ who begins to test the waters outside the matrimonial pool of Spouse and Co++***. The wheeling and dealing and wily deceptions become a part of life. The once upright character dissolves in a mire of treacherous double agency. The MI6 and CIA agents of the world could take a scholarly page or two out of the books of these home grown specialists in duplicity and chicanery. And thus another contract expires amidst copious betrayal, mortification and indignity.

Last but not least is the ‘traditionally wed’- the couple set up by parents and other family seniors who are fully convinced that their progeny, at 30++**** is entirely incapable of having an opinion, living on their own and of course choosing who they’ll share the bathroom with for the next 50 odd years. These highly complex attributes are the specific domain of their elders, praise be to Allah/ Bhagwan/ the Lord, (and to stir-crazy traditions that continue to thrive). The longevity scale here can tip either way depending on how well trained one or both incumbents are in the art of defeatist self delusions.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add on the odd little outliers- the couples (with special powers!) who actually achieve the “happily ever after”. ‘Tis a myth I still maintain! But I’m willing to doff my Skeptics’ Hat to them; mostly because I know each one has an identical doppelgänger who ensures the other gets copious breaks from onerous spousal indenture. But yes, there are those mightily evolved spirits who have, despite it all, connected on a higher plane and are making it all work. May karma always be good to them – (we need the incidental shining examples even if they are only to indicate that the system once worked and indeed, functioned well).

Safe to say, then, in ending, that through the ages Marriage has become a formidable institution, but also, that few of us in our right minds really want to be institutionalised. However, there is also that inexplicably intoxicating pleasure in being mad which none but madmen (and the pre wedded couple!) know.

So here’s to sense, sensibility and the capability to love, respect and partner without drawing up laborious, counter-intuitive contracts. Here’s to actually embracing the complexity of the human spirit to ensure genuineness, depth and fidelity. Here’s to leaving a Relationship legacy based on emotional and spiritual maturity to our future generations.

Here’s to loving, wise and dignified companionship, with the only affadavit being that of sincere good intentions and an evolving sophistication of mind and spirit.

De Khudai pe aman.

Mahvash.

*Dholi = a decoarated palanquin used to carry the bride to the wedding venue, usually held aloft by her brothers and other male relatives.
**Taking the Red pill = opening oneself up to the unpleasant truth vs. taking the Blue Pill to remain in blissful ignorance.
***Spouse and Co++ = Child ++. If the incumbent is an eager beaver orthodox fiend too, that plus plus can be close on a bakers dozen.
****30++ = this marriageable faction includes ‘children’ that are in their 40s and their 50s.

VERSE|I shot the Sheriff

And I think he’s called the Covid, the Covid 19.
I also know this declaration seems somewhat extreme
Because I hadn’t been tested
So how could I have bested
The microbe that has its pestilential claws
render all it touches, grievously impure?
Try “dead” to be factual!
But hope doth spring eternal ....
In this pandemic, we lasses are only gently brushing by Hades
We’re nothing if not intrepid of spirit, what say you ladies!

But I digress- yes I still maintain,
That I encountered the corona conta-gion!
It came upon me like a flash in the pan;
One day I was hearty, the next, weary and wan.
And my muscles, they did ache
Like someone had driven a stake
Through both of my legs, ala some Vampire Chronicles
Except ‘twere my limbs that were speared, and not my coronary auricles.
Could have been the ventricles too I concede,
But poetry is distinct from prose, you too will accede.

Continuing the saga, I was sick as a dog
No not quite, I’m just exaggerating a tad!
But there was intermittent nausea and my spirits had dithered;
The full bodied lily had ever so slightly withered.
I thought I would get lighter
By a kilo...or fiver.
But the ‘piggy pangs’ continued to be salubrious guests,
And so, I beat the virus at my robustest best.

So why do I say that I have sat at the table
With the Mighty Corona and am yet able
To count myself not only among the recovered and well,
But also that alone, I greeted and then bade him farewell?
Because it defies logic and reason,
That the virus is enjoying a full hunting season
In the First World, which with all its military might
Hasn’t been able to quell this microbial blight;
While the much more vulnerable emerging nations
Are seemingly left to their third world machinations.

So I’ll end with a salute to our high caliber genes
For besting a bacillus extremis like Covid 19

De khudai pe aman

Mahvash.

SOCIAL FARCE|Hairy adventures

(From a lass’s perspective)

Having been blessed with hair that is as voluminous as it is scanty, to this day i continue to be amazed at its anti-gravity feats. I’m waxing eloquent on the subject because folks, my ‘crowning glory’ has experienced an epoch of action: a naive debutante phase, an eerily long era of high adventure, periods of abandonment and not infrequent disasters, all interspersed with the odd interval of a somewhat happy equilibrium. Yes, this head of hair has probably gone down in the annals of “Strand, Bristle and Postiche” history in some other dimension where Keratin is at the top of the food chain! (Postiche, because every alternate universe will have its AI cross/ torch to bear…)

The debutante phase is the most nostalgic – so little effort and yet so much on-point oomph emanated from this crown in the 80s. (The mullet was probably inspired by commodious heads of hair like mine). I was the envy of more than one abundantly silky-tressed beholder with her own hair flowing like a tropical waterfall. This amazing denominator included my beautiful, sleek-haired sister who also went down the dubious path of frizzy perms for a few years, and from which she triumphantly emerged unscathed and glossy-headed (a shout-out to you Zar 😘).

Let me liken the high adventure phase of my coiffure to a zombie invasion on a city – you can run, but you can’t hide from the ever expanding blood/ melanin thirsty, heat and humidity crazed horde that is bearing down on you one frizzy, split-ended head at a time! At the end, you pray for a miracle in the form of an antidotal vaccine (read, conditioner!), or to dream one last time of running in zombie-free fields of gold with thick, lustrous hair flowing down your back until ….. *chomp* – the end.

Gruesome, yes, but then i didn’t quite promise you literary rose gardens either 😉

Nope, no perennial rose gardens, but the elusive yet ever-present silver lining, i do pledge to regale you with in most of my babble. So on that cheery note, I’m delighted to share that the ‘happy equilibrium’ phase is currently upon me. I’m still not sure whether it’s actually my intrepid mop finally acing climate change, or whether it’s illusions of contentment brought on by decades of mental hair fatigue. You know, Mother Nature’s no-frills way of telling me that i can’t control everything, and that my hair was put on my head to forever remind me of that! Either way, I am pretty close to hair nirvana, and hoping that my vision is perennially clouded by these gloriously crowning hues. 🙏🏽

De khudai pe aman

OPINION|The perils of being somewhat discerning!

The title does sound somewhat entitled, and snooty even, but please bear with me. I speak from a multitude of recent experiences that has had me picking at my voluminous but sparsely populated noggin (whether of the keratin or grey matter variety, I leave to your gentle conjecture!😁), and gnashing my already well-worn enamel.

Having been a part of the Customer Experience realm for close on 20 years in an exacting industry like the financial services, has honed my BS radar and quite woefully lowered my threshold for plain old bad service of any variety. That’s not to say that I will ruthlessly judge a service provider for delayed service or even providing a pot of tepid tea (the latter though, will depend largely on my then caffeinated state of well being! Tepidophobia is a thing and is quite devoutly and unashamedly a part of my prized anxieties!)

I am speaking of a consistently poor stream of delivery, for instance in the provision of a good or service which, by its nature, is conveyed over a period of time. The caveat is not in the mistakes that can occur – to err is human and all that jazz. Plus, reliable research* has shown that customers tend to remain more loyal to a brand where they have experienced some issues but where the service recovery was substantive, timely and focused. More so than even with places where they have not yet undergone a service breakdown. No, the caveat is not in the faux pas occurring; it is in the dismal failure to even genuinely attempt to fix things. An apathetic attitude is the icing on that poison toffee apple. Too many times, processes are formulated with no attention to service recovery protocols. That is a death blow to repeat business and as we all know, the pie is only so big.

I feel 3 Kgs lighter after that blog post (‘rant’ just sounds guilt-ridden which brings with it its own …. weight (‘burden’ just sounds even weightier!) And since ‘slender body’ and ‘good hair’ days are few and far between after 40, I’m going to go with this being a thoughtful study in the “benefits” of being discerning 🤓

Khudai pe-aman – (may you grow, glow and prosper, or just simply maintain your status quo for now. Until we meet again).

*Reliable research: opinions gleaned not only from the nerdy ramblings of academics or the corporate savvy presentations of management consultants, but from the life experiences of yours truly. That i do promise you with all my heart – to wax (and wane) eloquent with the utmost honesty until death…or just the digital milieu, do us part!

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