Friday, October 19, 2012

What Poster Did You have on your wall ?

By Gaurav Parab

I am writing this from an adult bedroom. Now before all of you get excited and start chanting Writer dude give me some. Writer dude give me some, what I mean is a room designed by adults for adults. A room where grown-ups stay. Breathe slowly.
There are trophies, books, and a hundred thousand remotes. The cupboard is all dark and mahogany and care has been taken to hide the wires that snake mysteriously, touch each other inappropriately and dive grandly into gadgets made in china, designed somewhere else.

This room has a lot, but it has nothing. Zero personality, no character. It is just walls, sandwiched between floor and roof. This room is the Manish Tiwari of rooms. Boring. Irritating. Stuffed with big words. It whispers insinuation and things come out of its nose.
Things were different back in the days, weren’t they? What happened to the frigging poster on the wall? Seriously, what happened to the poster?

When I was growing up, posters were the first signs of a child’s ownership of a place. A kid was becoming a man, and he was showing it through posters of random people on the wall. They were not there for hero-worship, or for signifying a great idea – they were just there. Each one stuck with poor quality cello tape that would fall off before the last strip was pasted. Each installation an act of two kids, one usually the elder sister who would hold it while the other admired it from a distance and nodded if it was put straight.
A poster was that little piece of defiance that began where the pile of Brilliant Tutorial books ended. It said here was a boy who would end up doing great things when he grew up.

Backstreet Boys.  Frigging Backstreet Boys.
(Stop judging me. It could have been Peter Andre. It could have been VENGAAABOYZZZ !)

Then there was a Madonna from the time when she did not sport Popeye arms. A picture of sheer impish beauty, life sized in a tantalizing gown with eyes that looked down at me as I slept and dreamt about having my own initials in the periodic table.
H He Li Be B C N GP

Sigh. Where did you go Madonna?
Year or two later, we moved out of the house leaving her behind and Dennis the Menace with random words of wisdom that never meant anything appeared. To show I am growing up all good and Maharashtrian, I even put up a Kalnirnaya Calendar and greeted everyone who entered my room with a short rendition of aamchi maati aamchi manasa.

 And then we moved.
When college came up, the plan was to dig out that one poster that would capture the inner most angst* (* Voted favorite word of all Bengali pseudo-intellectual teenagers) that I knew I was supposed to feel. Enter the most iconic act of creation ever.

Terminator 2. Arnie. Shot Gun. Big Bike. Goosebumps.
The most awesome thing in the whole world since that Contra game!  By its mere presence around me, I could talk to machines, hold my shit inside for three days, and look at women to get a heads up digital display of their vital stats inside my head. While Arnie S looked on, I slept through a thousand dreams of telling Jessica Alba* (She would be invented in the future) that I am a cybernetic organism, living tissue over endoskeleton. And I would pray that she would not run a spell check on my words.

The infinite awesomeness wasn’t its greatest gift. Its biggest contribution was it made me feel like a man. Like I imagine a picture of Aloe Vera makes a girl feel.  
The poster, like a machine defined by words like RPM and torque (feels week in his knees), erased the uncoolest images that had ever entered my mind.

Ajay Devgan, doing a leg split on two motorcycles --> Delete.
Kapil Dev speaking in English about the Rapidex English Speaking Course --> Delete
A friggin Apso dog dressed as a cricket umpire in Maine Pyaar Kiya --> Delete
Jeetinder playing badminton and singing ---> Delete

Abhishek Bachachan dressed as a gangster ----> Hell. Freaking Hard Delete.

And then I had to move places again. The poster got lost in transit. As I settled down into a new place, the first thing to do would be to look for that one image that would now define the new me. That one poster, which would make random women enter my room and ask – Who is this guy? We saw the poster from the street. Now we want to meet its owner.
And I would reply, with a far off look that says I have lived a life of pain, and hurt, and angst (which all mean the same thing but sound real cool in a sentence when used together) just like the man on the poster. 

Che Guevara. Pronounced differently every time.
Rebel like me. Myself, Parab. Gaurav Parab. My native, Pune.

And the women would tear their shirts off and they would scream that how could they resist the man who has a Che Guevara poster and plenty of angst inside of him.
“How can we resist you Senor?”

And I would shrug and do what had to be done.
But as I discovered, even the frigging vegetable vendor had the Che Guevara poster. Worse, he had it on his shirt. So that came off pretty soon.

And I moved on with my life. Got older, married the college sweetheart, disapproved when Arnie did the nanny and replaced the posters with paintings done by the missus.  But on days like today, when I sit inside an adult room staring at colorless walls and writing stories of people losing their minds to time and to greed, I can’t help but think about the time when everyone was a kid and everyone had a poster in his room.
Tell me about the poster you had in your room by writing to me at and , dropping  a line on facebook