My Paulo Coelho Moment.

I read Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, some years ago. To say that it left a lasting impression on me, would be nothing but the untruth. To me, it was more a fantasy tale than a wonderful novel. How I am qualified to qualify a best seller, many may wonder. But my opinion is as simple that. For my limited intellectual and aesthetic bent of mind, it only had that limited appeal.

There are some quotes I had marked, which are more appealing and reveling than the entire book, for my future references. Of the most striking of some golden sentences, one stands out. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. I would add one more word ‘wholeheartedly’ before the word ‘want’, to make it more striking.

Some days back, I was in Salem. During that Monday morning, my friend, who runs a hotel in Trivandrum, called me and enquired about my whereabouts. When I briefed him , he had a request. “Narayanan, my elder brother passed away at my native place and the obsequies will be on Wednesday. I will be returning only on Friday. Could you please manage the cash counter in the evening on Wednesday and Thursday”. Conveying my heartfelt condolences, I confirmed, I will make it on Thursday, as I will be travel weary without sleep, despite having an assured berth.

The problem with me, I can’t sleep in a moving train. I will keep sitting through out the night munching something, or peeping though the window, even while the outer is dark. I will maintain a small pocket book and note the stations in between and the time taken in between and compare the time taken during the up journey. What else can I do? You cannot read, switching the lights on and in the process, earn, co-passengers wrath. Then I my thoughts go hay-wire.

During the up journey to Salem, one youngster, observing insomnia, berthed in the upper one, when the train just covered Alwaye, asked me if I can alert him when the train leaves Palakkad, so that he can get down at Coimbatore. Sure, I assured him. But I fell asleep in between that when I opened my eyes ‘just in time’ , I noticed, the train was at Pudur, I hurriedly and promptly woke up the youngster.”Next is Coimbatore, we are at Pudur”. He stared at me. I missed its comprehension. He rushed, without a word of usual courtesy. I kept it to myself and casually and innocently, asked my co-passenger, “Coimbatore……..after or before Pudur?”. His answer sent shivers down my spine and unmasked itself, the cause for the youngsters indifference at my ‘timely’ help. I had missed two stations during my sitting slumber.

My Paulo Coelho moment started the day after I landed back at home town. After a days rest, I prepared to honour the word I committed to my hotelier friend. My wife was aware of of my journey and never thwarted my journey’s to my friend’s place at any time during the last so many years of our friendship. But she was bit hesitant this time. “It is raining”. “So what, I have rain-coat”. I countered. “I know you are still tired, you need more rest” “No, I am not going to do any herculean task out their. Just sitting at the counter and collecting the payments”. Not to leave me at that,she continued, “You forgot that you paid Rs.14,000/- the previous day at the shop. When we went again the following day, to take delivery, you said you have not made the payment and the shop-owner confirmed collection, when you offered the money again. Chithi told me never to allow you to handle cash alone. Now you are going to handle cash with a sinking head”. ” You cannot generalize an one off event”. I told her confidently, about to take leave of her.

About to swing my legs on to the two-wheeler, I noticed another bike just passing me and coming to a halt just in-front. That was my would be nephew-in-law (and not son-in-law), who addresses me only as uncle and not as father, very much to my delight. So I cannot go out leaving him unattended. That took about 15 minutes. When I told him about my commitment and about to reload on to my bike, a car with very familiar number halted. They were my better-half’s sister and husband, visiting us to invite us for their son’s marriage. Again I had to walk in and spent some time with them. Then they too left and the time was only 7.30 pm. I still had some time.

Soon dropped in the catering contractor, to whom I had promised to meet on Thursday evening, which escaped my memory, the minute I made the appointment, some days back.  This entailed a longer session, with the whole family joining the discussion on  menu for the dinner and lunch. I hurriedly, concluded the meeting with a qualification that this is not final and got a rough quotation, which was but tumulting, considering the differing views of son, daughter and wife, while I had my own notions. That session was over by 8.10, still nursing my desire to go was deterred by nature when it began raining ferociously.

As my wife’s want was more than a mere desire, Paulo Cohelo’s golden words proved good for her and was seen gleaming at her success of thwarting my journey.

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As I walked along, alone, in the morning…..

Morning walk along the same route, gives you the same scenery and more or less the same people who come across and with whom you exchange greetings. One thing I have observed, If there is a slight change in our schedule, while the regulars adhere to theirs, the people on the street are now entirely different and present another opportunity to get to know more people, if you reschedule your walk that way. It may be highly productive for people who are in the business of and in search of prospective clients. I have a friend, who is an insurance agent, who walks all seven days of the week in different locations. When I asked him about this way of walking, he told me this is the best way of prospecting new clients.

On this Monday, I am no insurance agent, nowadays, but never had such an idea as told by my friend, when I was one, then I had a different strategy. Today, I took another route and walked through the streets of First Puthen street, (First New Street), having an antiquity of more than two hundred years of Tamil Brahman settlement, in and around Fort area. The First Puthen street, has approximately 200 row houses on the both sides, with wide frontage and an ambiance of togetherness and friendship in abundance, not to be missed. But this century old street still goes by the same name Puthen street, titled so, centuries ago. There are still antique buildings, many have been remodeled in tune with the change of time, but the name sticks.

The landscape and occupants of the houses on the lanes have changed but it retains the title bequeathed to us. As one born and brought up in such surroundings but at a different location, what strikes you very much is the structure of row houses, more or less, remain the same;  some are wide, some narrow. The normal structure of a house in a agraharam consists of a thinnai (Verandah), ulthinnai (drawing room), Rezhi (common bed room, pooja room combined), a pavul (storeroom) in the corner, thalam (dining hall), edanazhi, (where female spend their  time and take rest during their ‘periods’, and adukulai ( kitchen). And then extends to a space that has a kinar (well), and kottil (where cows are boarded). Toilet, then, used to be in the backyard. Another fature of these houses is that, if you stand at the verandha door, you can have view up to the cow shed and if that door, too, is open up to the end of the backyard.

Privacy is available to the young couple only on the first floor, which goes by the title ‘machil’. And those young- couples who are not so privileged, would yearn for some privacy from the bottom of their hearts. In verandah (thinnai), youngsters spent their leisure time playing cards, chess or reveling and celebrating the victory of their cricket team or discussing, disputing and dismissive of the put into bat decision, electing to bat, sending the wrong man at one down, not introducing spin at the right time and over use of seamers, the vital drop of a simple catch slips or the simple stumping chance that slipped through the keepers glove, a touch and go run out and a dubious umpiring decision that went against the home team. The captain when he is losing,  commits only blunders and in victory, he is very shrewd and awesome. The position of captain is hard-pressed, indeed, if he leads a losing team.

What is life, especially in the eager minds, if beautiful dames, in the neighborhood are not their subject of talk? However, in this, they are very careful to see the brothers of their subject, at that point is not amongst them, sometimes avoid such beautiful girls from their talks due to their mutual respect and a sort of quid pro quo. Gossiping is an art in this parlance and exaggerations run wild, especially when these have no sentimental bearings. This may be true of all agraharams in every part of the country. I trudged along the street, as if a tourist, gobbling up each and every sight and throwing open my ears to hear some comments that I could across, while on the way.

A beautiful morning indeed! Being Monday, all are unusually busy. Women with broom and bucket of water in hand, cleaning their house front, chatting too, with their neighbor about scarcity of water in the morning and ensuring that it was not an isolated issue, by the by, proudly announcing the expected arrival of relatives in the afternoon. They keep, in a small dish, what is called ‘kolapodi’, on the corner of their verandah, with which they draw ‘kolam’ in front of their house. Each day it will be different and has some uniqueness, based on the day. However, depending on the improvisation, while the basic ‘kolam’ remains the same, it will give different appearance in different homes. These drawings attain its pinnacle of its glory on the eve of ‘Pongal” (Tamil New year Day). This is a sight to be experienced anddefinitely, a photographer’s delight.

A man was reading, much to my delight, spreading the newspaper on the ground in the open verandah, we call it ‘thinnai’, and reading more or less bend over it, the way I do. An old man, sitting in the armchair, inside the grilled verandah, watching the world slowly moving around him, with drooped eyes and wrinkles all over, may be thinking of his younger mornings, or was he ruing about that particular decision that caused his present state of affairs, I have no idea, but his face was a writ of sadness.

Many of the  houses offer some service or the other. Priests available, lady cook for special preparations for ‘sradha’(a religious ceremony in memory of parents or brothers every year on the particular date, arrived as per ‘panchangam’, a religious calendar), and related functions, eateries like seva, dosa, idly and hot vada, computer peripherals, DTP services, photographers and what not, are available in this street. Tuition centers, too make its presence felt, with activity in full swing in the morning hours. Doctors of all branches of medicine, Allopathy, Ayurved and Homeopathy too, are available, as too, Advocates. Therefore, this agraharam is not merely a Brahmin settlement but a bundle of economic activity.

When I mentioned about vada, earlier,  an incident narrated by Mr.Pradeep Sebastian, comes to my mind, who, through his column ‘End Paper’ in The Hindu, has endeared himself to the hearts of millions of readers, wrote about his chance meeting, in the January 4, 2014 issue with a celebrity author, way back in 1980, in New York City, in the vicinity of Ramakrishna Vivekanandha Centre. He was accompanying his German friend, who wanted to return a little book, titled The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, to the person who had earlier lent her.

There he met a tall man, to borrow the writer’s exact words, “slightly graying, a little hunched, and holding an umbrella in his left hand, he nodded and walked quickly towards us.” At the time of parting, his friend, Greta invited him to join them for a quick snack at a small South Indian restaurant. While declining politely, the invitation, the author, hastily scribbled on a piece of paper the name of a South Indian dish, a favorite of his, and handed the piece of paper to Pradeep, recognizing the Indian amongst them. The two words scribbled on it, in angular handwriting: Rasam Vada. The author was none other than the celebrated novelist Mr.Salinger, the great recluse, who wrote, The Catcher in the Rye and many other notable works.

Walking along, I over- heard two women, who were walking behind me, discussing their menstural dates and their hope that the probable date of their next period, do not clash with the slated house hold ceremonies, otherwise, they will be forced take in medication for postponing their natural endowment.

I heard a young mother’s yell from inside a house. “Brij, don’t run. You will slip and fall.” I understood that is a command to her young son, fresh from his bath. All most in a flash, a small boy alighted out of his house, naked, water trickling from his supple body, with a mobile in his hand. Raising it, he took a selfie. What a nice photo, it would have been, had I too, took a snap of that moment. But my only base model mobile has no such applications. The boy’s mother came out, delighted at her sons newly acquired faculty, checked it and her eyes were gleaming with happiness and I too joined to see the photo and was enthralled by the accidental perfection of the shot and requested her to upload it in the FB.

I stood in front of a house, now, bearing a big lock on the door, presumably, the occupants have gone abroad, or gone for a short outing. The house owner, an engineer, retired from a public sector undertaking was one of my client, when I was the franchisee of Asianet Cable Networks in the year 2000. Difficult to part money,  he delayed the inevitable on flimsy grounds. What he could have delayed a bit longer, he failed miserably or did he indulge in that deliberately, that happened subsequently, only he knows, but surely, I was caught unawares, at the unexpected turn of events.

He would put unnecessary questions, why this channel is not available, while the competitor provides, why you are coming in the first week of every month, and finally yet importantly, how much I earn in the process. The tragedy is that he repeats the same question every month, that to pre-empt him, I answered all his stock questions, myself at the fag end of this agreement with Asianet, left him flabbergasted.

As if to cut me to the size, sitting on an upholstered chair, gently lifted his right buttocks a bit and parted with élan, a fart with a long and very disturbing noise, leaving me in stupefied at the unkindest and unexpected turn. The obnoxious smell that engulfed the room was beyond words, and this man, without switching on the table fan, took a weekly journal and waved away the smell from the vicinity of his nose, alone. “Subscription please”, I cried from the bottom of my stomach and very much understanding my predicament, immediately, paid me the subscription and with an authoritarian look, that he emitted very much symbolized an attitude, ‘my house, my fart’, forbidding me to behave better the next time.

Of the various noises produced by us, this one is the most vicious and nasty. We yawn, giggle, belch, sneeze, cough and snore and to release this one from the body, that too when you have a visitor sitting in front required a skin as thick as a hippopotamus. As fortune stood by me, I surrendered my franchisee arrangement, the following month, and never has seen this fellow ever since.

Moving on, I saw two women from Tamil Nadu, settled here for the quite some time, coming in the opposite direction, talking about their household chores and one remarked in a very high decibel voice. “Pichu’s marriage has been fixed.” I can hear it at a twenty feet distance.

At this her co walker asked about the venue of the marriage, “Hoer”? (where). I immediately understood she was from Nagercoil, a town in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, erstwhile part of Kerala, from 80 kilometers from Trivandrum. Here, those who studied in a particular college in the 70’s used give stress to alphabet ‘h’ and would pronounce, ‘hoer’ for where, ‘hoy’ for why and ‘wahat’ for what. “Most probably, it will be held here only in Trivandrum, as we have more friends here than relatives, elsewhere”. Rightly said, one loyal friend is better than 10000 relatives are. I was elated that my kindled spirit is working in my alter ego.

An amusing moment in these high tech days, too, has its share in the rock bottom strata of our society. A man who was fast asleep on the parapet of a shop-front, on spread out old newspapers, was seen, on my return, speaking, using his mobile phone, shouting to his female voice at the other end, “moll pesu, molla pesu” , little realizing that he has kept the handset on the speaker phone mode.

Two more Puthen streets, hope, will give more tonic to my pen, sorry, to my fingertips, for typing.

 

Its Raining.

Regular in his timings, Damu woke up exactly at five. It was raining outside and the hiss of rain when it fell on roof and tree tops, enthused him. He switched on his transistor to listen to sweet melodies aired by his favorite FM channel. Just like his preference for short stories to novels, as he can pick and begin from the middle of the book, to read a short story,   he preferred radio as it provided him the opportunity to read something, while sweet music was on his back ground. What never distracted him in spite of his deep involvement in reading was the ‘chuk’ noise produced by the drop of newspaper.

It was raining profusely in the morning, and the ‘chuk’ noise was somewhat muted by the rattling rain. Bit annoyed at the delayed delivery, but unaware of its execution, he rose from his seat for an inspection. The newspaper was very much there, but soaked in water. Furious at the callousness of the delivery boy, he immediately called the vendor and admonished him and not to stop it there, he resolved to meet the boy the next morning to cater one or two harsh words to the boy at his face. Had he stretched a bit, it would have only landed on the top of his car. Senseless fellow, he cursed him and waited for the next day morning.

It was raining as usual. Today, Damu waited at his door to witness the delivery and deliver some mouthful to the boy. It was dark. He heard the cycle slowly  coming to a halt at his gate.  He  was about to indulge in his usual exercise. ” Wait” yelled and Damu rushed. He saw the boy drenched in rain head to toe, but all his bundles neatly and safely covered with polythene to prevent damp. Something stirred Damu’s conscience. He forgot what he intended. He asked the boy softly, “why can’t you put on a rain coat?”. “No sir, it costs more than I can afford”. “Come inside. Don’t stand in the rain”?. “Sir, I have along way to go” the boy said politely. “No, wait a minute”, Damu called the boy in and rushed inside. He took a thousand rupees note and told the boy, ” Buy one today itself, and protect yourself the way you are protecting the papers”. His apparent self-respect reflected his delicacy, but the pleasure and gleam emitted by Damu’s eyes, made him accept the gift, in that early hours of the morning. “Yesterday, I found the paper soaked in water.  Had you stretched a bit it would not have happened. Next time take more care “. How  the boy took it, Damu did not wait to see or hear and walked inside swiftly.

The difference.

Ganesh turned his bike to the left and as he was about to search for a parking space, his eyes caught sight of a young girl walking just a few yards ahead, accompanied by a man of his age. The way he looked at her, was not taken kindly by the lass and she showed her annoyance at the man as old as her father.

Ganesh just passed them, when somebody called from his behind, “Ganesh”. He looked back and enquired, “How come you are here, Subhash?,”

“See”, pointing to the tall girl just near him, “She is my daughter, Sruthi. She needed a pancard for some purposes, So I came to your office. But as you had gone out for lunch, I could not meet you.”

“Oh! good. Subhash, when I turned right and was about to park my vehicle I saw her. Now I know she is your daughter that’s a pleasant surprise. She did not like the way I looked at her. I don’t blame her as both of us were only strangers. for that matter, all are only strangers before a formal introduction. Now that is over, Sruthi would now feel better. “Aren’t you, Sruthi?” Ganesh asked.

“Sure. Uncle you are right. I did not like the way you looked at me.”.

“Subhash, I was excited to see a girl who very much resembled my daughter in many respects. Of course, Sruthi has a better complexion Anyway It is a pleasure to meet you. Subhash, execuse I have over shot my lunch-break deadline. Now it is time for me to go. Bye to both of you”. Ganesh walked fast not looking back.

Sruthi kept watching Ganesh, cursing herself for mistaking his benign look from a sinister angle and kept watching him till he vanished from her eyes.. Subhash just stood, peeping at both of them.

Subhash told his daughter, “You misunderstood him and he did not”.

A Longing for a long ………

A great feeling is blankness;
It is for this we strive in its fullness,
Blankness is when we reach the pinnacle
Eyes so closed, everything blanked for seconds.

What this feeling is, I am at a loss to know
For it lasts not long, too short, but we desire it to be slow.
You can name it easily, but can’t enjoy eyes up blown;
Somehow, we close all shutters for few seconds of glow.

Eyes go blind, ears but deaf, surroundings sense lost,
Reach when we,  the height,  in all silence that tallest post.
That is where I thank only one; none but God
For he granted us many ways to indulge in this
sojourn, so soft.

A Stare At Dusk

“You need pay Rs.1500/- per month for her services. She is efficient and sincere and I know her for the last three years, since she started working at my friends house”. My wife told her counter-part and neighbor, introducing Sarada to her. She got assigned the job immediately and her working time was fixed everyday evening between 5.30 to 7.

One Saturday, she was asked to come earlier by 3.30 and exactly at that time she knocked on the door, while I was preparing to go out to sell accumulated old newspapers for the last three months. I used the money realised to buy roasted cashew-nuts and this has been practice for the last so many years, that the sight of stacking old newspapers produced an elation in my daughter, she commanded as if her right, “Cashew nuts, on the way back.”. . I nodded approvingly.

In any act you are not alone. My eyes immediately stumbled upon another man, who was riding his two-wheeler, just in front, with all spaces available in it fully packed in the front and the rear, which would surely earn him more than Rs.1000/-. Whether he too was going to buy cashew nuts or some other delicacies I could not guess.

We had the same destination and soon we reached. There were two or three people in their cars for the same reason. You cannot jump the queue but wait. I found time to talk to the ‘fully loaded’ man. “You have a collection of one year or more”. “Yes. Son is against selling old papers. He is preparing for Civil Services and he would have already taken his share and storing it in his room. Of this many pages he would have cut and pasted in chart papers.” He announced proudly and added, “Month end syndrome, you know, is catching up and ten more days to go”. He gave ‘ten more’ a great stress and I concurred with him, mentally, immediately. As I expected he got more than Rs.1,000/- and left gleefully.

I was left alone when my innings began. As I observed, the go-down had a heap of old books kept in a corner. I obtained the owner’s permission to glean and select books that interest me. Short stories always enthrall me and if it contains selected short stories of various authors it is a double-delight. Small mercies do happen. I got a collection and selection of two short story books by Educational Publishers and the one from Frank Bros & Co, was compiled and edited by Mr.S. Chakravarthi, When it came to settlement, the buyer had an excuse, “Sir, today being Bank holiday, a lot of people turned up than expected. You just saw one man getting more than Rs.1000/-, . Could you please come back by six in the evening.”. “How much should I pay for this two books”, I asked. “Nothing, you can take more, if you want.” If I had bought these two books from second-hand book-sellers, they would definitely charged me Rs.50/-. ” Ok, I shall come by 6, I shall pay for the books then”.

About to open my mouth about the temporarily suspended payment, an equally eager daughter rushed to munch roasted cashew-nuts, as soon as I lifted the seat to take out the books, beneath which I had concealed a sachet of cashew nuts under various papers lying inside that space. In a flash, I took the books and announced the news about the delayed payment, with out looking at her.
” I know you are lying “, she said and in lightning act snatched the key from my hand and ‘brandished’ the sachet, I had hid inside, but not safe from her gimlet of eyes and she vanished.

I sat down on the floor, near the entrance door, and began browsing one of the text books edited by Chakravarthi. In the preface, written in 2009 the Editor laments “Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of being an English teacher today is to me to terms with the fact that more and more students seems to be so disinterested in reading. This is, indeed, heart break. Young people today have access to several mediums of entertainment — cinema, television, computers, music at finger tips as a result of which their interest in reading is slowly, but surely, being neglected and heading for an untimely demise”. How true I felt. Many students goes through this mechanically just to get marks and never enjoy the literary beauty and due course simply forget ever having ‘studied’ rather read such a story, leave alone the author.

The first short story was ‘An Astrologers Day’ by our won RK Narayanan, which I have read umpteen number of times, that I jumped the next one by Saki, a favorite author of mine.

The story was titled ‘DUSK’. “The story begins on a very a pessimistic note as the author describes all the defeated people of the world who come out of their homes in the dusk time so that they do not have to meet successful people. However, the rest of the story has little to do with this pessimism and we are drawn into the brilliant plan of a confidence trickster who was out to make money on some gullible victim. The end of the story is bound to make the reader laugh and wonder at the wit and creativity of a master storyteller”.

I went through the story,  totally absorbed in its twist and turns. A short story of just four pages, this one simply transported me to another world, that I was totally unaware that Sarada had finished her work and about to go home. As the story ended, as mentioned by the Editor, I instantaneously laughed aloud at the sudden and unexpected turn at the end that she looked back and stared. Stung by the stare, I had to tell,  fumbling, “No, not at all at you”, pointing to the book I was holding,  “This book caused it”. Whether she took it or not, I do not know, I simply withdrew inside and cursed myself for  reading sitting at the door step.

Gift

The Sunday evening itch began by 5.30. With money in her bank a/c remaining untouched for more than a week, my daughter is getting restless in transferring that into somebody’s pocket. “My dresses are getting old, I want to buy a pair or more of churidar material. Moreover, I want to gift one to Kuttu’s sister who scored all A Plus in her 10th and came out top in her school.”. That last sentence won her my consent for the outing along with my always reluctant better-half.

So the process began at 5.30 and we went out by seven. A gestation period of more than an hour.

Enthusiasm is very contagious, it seems. While my daughter got enthused by her itching to get new dresses, her inclination to gift one enthused me. When I readily agreed to visit my wife’s cousins house after shopping enthused her more than ever.

The resultant goodness of enthusiasm immediately got us an auto, that we had a seamless journey. Nowhere in the three traffic signals were we held up, we got green signal the moment we were about to stop. Air filled was with enthusiasm.

The mall always brisk,presented a very lively and lovely ambiance for the shoppers. Festive season or not, this Mall attracts people from far and wide and it is a celebration once you enter it. A group fifteen was waiting outside with all paraphernalia for live performance of chenda melam.

“Ah, what happiness it is to be with people who are happy!”, a line in the Garden Party, a short story by Katherine Mansfield, struck me. All are happy and enjoying. They did not show any freckle of pain or disappointment,  all normally have. Cinema theaters, ice-cream parlor or an amusement park are centers of happiness, where one must throng to once a month to relieve themselves of the daily strain and pain. Better said than done. A deep pocket is a necessary concomitant.
The selection process, I know, considering past experience, will only be laborious. So I kept aloof in a corner. To include me also in the  process my daughter frequented me,  put me a question, “How is this one?”. Not to let her down, I said, ” You have one more or less in the same color”. She heard it half or full, she disappeared immediately.

The tube music flowing, took my thoughts to,1980, when I was in Delhi. The mall culture was not there then. But Palika Bazar was a golden rendezvous for many like me, from the taluks of Kerala. Film songs of Qurbani and Abdulla, coming in a sequence, simply transported me to that time almost 37 years ago.

Standing in a corner, lazily, but observing beauties moving around in plenty of all age groups, I thought some familiar face would say a sweet hello. It was not happening.

Then I remembered having shared an information in,  Facebook, about new Rs.500,  counterfeit notes of which are suspected to be in circulation, which was depicted having the security thread away from the normal position than  in a genuine currency.

I took out my wallet to check the fate of few notes in it. I had eight numbers of it. I patiently checked the security thread. All were ok. But not uniform. Three on the line, two within the line, two just inside the border and the last one well within. Why this variation I was in the oblivion. The counterfeit had its security thread over the signature of the Governor of the RBI.

Disappointed at finding no familiar face,still I did not lose hope. When it rains it pours , not the way it rains in these parts of Kerala, especially in a rainy season. Then I saw a glimpse of man, a familiar face, holding a chubby child in his hands and another young boy walking close by and beautiful lady just behind. The innocence of chubby child was more an  attraction that I saw less of his mother. It was none other than my ex-colleague. We exchanged pleasantries, and we parted. The minute he went away, another man touched my back. He was a Development Officer of LIC, who helped in reactivating my Agency, and smoothly reminding to start procuring business. In a Mall, Cinema theatre, ice cream parlour, hotel or in a amusement park, you need not ask your friend what brings them there? Then I saw client who as about to pack up after purchase. Just as my MD who often  makes a regular remark, when a former regular client walks into his cabin after a long gap, I too asked him, “Kandittu orupadu nalayallo, Sir, evideyille? ” ( Long time since we last met. Are you not here?). So I had a hat-trick, with in a gap of three minutes.

By the time my daughter finished he shopping it was 8.20. She asked me, “Which one of the churidhar material should I gift?”. “The best of the three  and the one you like the most;  then forget ever having given a gift”. I said.