A grumpy twelve year old fiddled with her Biology book. Beside her, her best friend beamed, a victorious smile plastered on her face. Oblivious to the teacher, whose attention fully revolved around the otherwise pointless differences between a small, white petunia and a huge, red hibiscus, a small war had just torn apart the tiny 2-seater desk. The bell for lunch was like the final war cry! The battle that had so far been waged in hushed tones and scribbled notes, now turned into a full on confrontation!
“I can’t believe you have such terrible taste in music. Puh-lease! Who listens to pop these days?” Miss O said, exasperated at her best friend’s dismal taste in music.
“I like Pop. And don’t you dare say a word about Nick Carter.” Miss C retorted, desperate to save her blonde, puppy-eyed idol from the ravages of war.
“That’s not music! They don’t even write their own lyrics!”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t sing!!!!”
“Sing!!!!” smirked Miss O. “They are like the Flag-bearers of auto-tuning!”
Miss C’s lips curled. This was like the final nail on the coffin-the ultimate insult to her teenage idols. Growing up under her brother’s expert guidance, Miss O’s arguments had always been tough to counter. “I need to hone my knowledge” Miss C rued, thoughtfully. The other girls, however, barely took notice of the on-going tussle, fully aware that this was a daily occurrence between the two!
Six years later as the girls finally graduated from school (14 years of “Ramer Bonobash”, as Miss O used to call it), multiple cease fires and negotiations still hadn’t been able to resolve the war. The tussle, which had been appropriately christened the “Your pop my rock fights”, still lurked somewhere in the corner, threatening to institute an emergency situation in the class any moment! In spite of Miss O’s efforts to educate Miss C on rock music and Miss C developing a secret inclination towards what is popularly called “soft rock”, her undying love (read fantasy) for the blonde dudes with a twinkle in the eye and enigmatic crooked smiles still enraged Miss O. The girls finally left school after “signing” a verbal peace treaty, fully aware that this delicate situation required a lot of diplomatic tact.
Chucking aside a few isolated incidents of verbal violence, the diplomatic ties between both buddies remained friendly for the next six years. Matured, earning, independent young women who swear by feminism, equality and the policy of “live-and-let-live” do not encroach on one another’s private space, or for that matter, choice of music!
On the afternoon of Saraswati puja, the Bengali Valentine’s day, as Miss C and Miss O excitedly shared details of their respective suitors (thankfully not blonde, blue eyed or tattooed with long, unruly hair) in hushed tones, while the “purohit” struggled with the pronunciation of unintelligible Sanskrit slokas, the blaring heavy metal from Miss O’s first floor apartment tore through the air.
“That must be my brother!” Miss O said to Miss C, under her breath, as she smiled graciously at her flabbergasted “society-mates” in an effort to neutralize their apparent shock.
Miss C rolled her eyes. “Of course, it had to be Rock!”
Not the one to lose, Miss O maintained a straight face “Even that is art. I’m pretty sure Saraswati Mata would be impressed!”
The purohit’s traumatized expression and the hilarity of the situation made the friends draw a truce even before a full on brawl could commence. Society had taught the girls by now that highly qualified, elegant, smart women like them (let’s not get into their antics when they are away from the public eye) do not engage in a scuffle over such “pointless” issues openly!
Cut to another six years later, Mrs O and Mrs C are now women (no offense) who somehow still love to refer to themselves as “girls”. Settled in two different parts of the globe, connected by the blessings of social media and buried under the weight of their daily mundane lives, the cold war has taken a back seat! Until one fine morning Miss K sparked the fire again by quoting one of her favourite BSB songs on her social media handle. Mrs C and Mrs O pounced upon the comments section, clearly leaving the confused Miss K wondering what to do about the avalanche of notifications during office hours.
But to Mrs C and Mrs O, this was no ordinary keyboard war. This was a breath of fresh air, a window to the past. At some level, both knew that the choice of music of the other no longer mattered in this grey world of adult life. However, the mock war of words left the two young women in two different parts of the world smiling at the same moment – grandly showing a “thumbs down” (refraining from using any other finger for the sake of decency) to the distance and time difference created by man and nature!
Here’s hoping for more such tussles and more such wars. Here’s hoping for more broken peace treaties and cease fires. Here’s hoping for two sixty year old “young girls” fighting over pop/rock bands in shaky voices; smirking through wrinkled skin! Some diplomatic relations are never meant to be peaceful; some peace treaties are meant to be broken and some conflicts are best left unresolved !