A clinical revenge.

Suresh, flung his right leg as soon as he parked his bike in the crowded parking space in-front of his brokerage office, where he worked.  Traffic blockade caused by seasonal rain, delayed his arrival by almost   15 minutes and it was just five minutes to ten when he reached.   He rushed in, discarding a call from the behind, a familiar voice.  The anxiety caused to the traders who eagerly await for his arrival at his terminal, disturbed him in no small measure. With only five minutes to go for the opening of the market,  just landed and sat comfortably, as his machine was already set ready for the day’s trading operations. He knew the regulars by their voices that, he can put the orders by entering their  trading codes with almost cent per cent accuracy.  So a day of his absence meant a lot to his clients.

A dealer in a brokerage interacts with clients over phone and with those who occupy vantage seats well in advance, lest they miss a sudden gush up in a particular scrip and announce to the others that he was the first to discover the impending flare-up in that particular scrip. A dealer assisted them in putting their orders and confirms its execution. There used to be claims and counter-claims about the movement of any scrip on the screen. All dealers were not well-informed and howlers from them caused havoc.

There used to be a scramble for space for watching their particular scrip and the short-tempered among the dealers to be handled with care.  They would revise the price and quantity and sometimes wrong instructions to sell instead of buy and to buy instead of sell and then  contradict.  If it favored them they will keep mum and if it goes against them then it is hell for the dealer.

It so happened one day; finding that his selling orders are not getting executed, the trader glued to the terminal, with his scrip on top, asked a  dealer, who was new to this group of traders,   to lower the price.  In typical Malayalam, it went like this; “solpam thath idu”.  The dealer thinking that he wanted a better view, dropped the scrip from the top to the fourth line.  Again after some time, the impatient client asked him “korochukodi thathu idu”.  The dealer again lowered the scrip to the eighth line.  Exasperated the trader revised the price and the dealers brought the scrip to the 16th level on the screen.  At his wits end, the dealer screamed, “korachumkude thakku”.  To this dealer, non chalantly replied, ‘inithathal   screen te purathakum”.  Now only the trader realized the gulf in communication and walked out in a huff.

Anecdotes are plenty as well as the thrill.  Every day is different and each day present an opportunity to go  long or short.   A Dealer, an experienced one, was asked a question by a client, “What is TATA Motor DVR?”. He coolly answered, “That is the subsidiary company of Tata Motors”. Suddenly there was a wild guffaw at the counter that arrested the attention of one and all. “What is wrong? Is it wrong?”, the dealer reacted. ” Yes man, you are wrong, doubly wrong. If you don’t know admit that and don’t give out blunders”, retorted the client who was the ‘owner’ of the ‘wild’ guffaw and corrected him in his stentorian voice. Weighed down by the insult. that too in-front of valuable clients, many of whom who consider him a stalwart and equally chided in front of his junior colleagues, for whom he was a wealth of experience and information, he left the counter feigning head-ache and and never to return that day.

Suresh had a client who had a particular interest in Williamson Magor. He used to ask its quote umpteen number of times, over phone, as if BSNL lines were absolutely free for him. He called him 10 to 15 times during those five and half hours of trading time, and was almost an intruder and his frequency annoyed other traders. Once he gets the quote he will hang up immediately. He neither ‘bought or sold. Just he will say ‘Williams’, Suresh immediately told the price. There ends. Again after 10 minutes, he would call again. Of course he was a nuisance. So whenever 10 or 15 minutes elapse, Suresh got ready for his call. Suresh had a very healthy relationship, that he one day arrived in the evening and after inquiring at the front-office presented himself before me announced and introduced himself as the great  “williams”.

One day, Suresh had to take a leave and another person, a was posted to take his seat that day. All other traders were, precisely, waiting for this day. They worked out a plan to outwit and to cut to size, the man nick-named in the circle as  Mr.Williams.

The trading began as usual. One trader who is seated near to Arun told him in advance. “Williams saar nu call varum. Saar backila irrikunnathu”. Arun nodded. Soon the calls started. Unaware of the receiver at the the other end and the receiver unaware of and not properly given instruction about this ‘particular’ regular caller, picked up the receiver. “Williams”. “Sorry, my name is Arun.”. Again the caller said ‘Williams”, Arun looked back, and asked, “Who is Mr.Williams, Someone is asking for him. This is the second time”. Then another trader told him. Williams has gone for tea. Arun immediately told the caller, “Willaims has gone out for tea”. He hung up. All the other traders  were celebrating. Arun remained calm and unaffected. Again call came, ‘Williams’. Arun turned back, “William saar ethiyo?’. Now another trader answered. “He is in the washroom”. Arun promptly announced that to the caller. The caller about to clarify further, but other traders forced Arun to hang up again, which Arun did reluctantly.There was an uproar from the behind. Again the call came, this time caller changed the style. “Is it not Suresh, who is this?” Arun polietly said “I am Arun and not Suresh”. The caller clarified “I want the price of Williamson Magor”.

Arun found out he was taken for a ride by his clients to take revenge on Mr.Williams.

Next day, when Suresh returned, the celebration was unabated. His enthusiasm and effervescence evaporated  and he turned glum when everybody, much to his chagrin, asked him “Ini enna adutha leave?”.

Who knows?

Sunday, brings a great delight and today in particular, as a day without newspapers, on account of  Independence Day, the previous day, is an occasion for double delight, as you can skip your early morning walk, on the pretext.  I told my wife not to to disturb me and she can proceed  to temple locking the house, as I want to relax up to 7’o clock.  She agreed but tole me to keep the side window open, so that she can leave the keys inside and away with more freedom.  I remembered an incident, when this was the daily practice of a lady of a house in our neighborhood. Unaware, being constantly monitored by a ‘third eye’, throwing to the winds an adage as old as the hills, “God helps those who hep themselves”, she left as usual and on  return, was dumbfounded to see the doors open, husband still snoring deeply, cupboard open, jewelry and cash missing, especially as it happened during the first week of the month.  So, I forewarned, “nothing doing, keep the key with you or else, you too, sleep and relax’.

But nothing went as desired, as I woke up unusually fresh by 4,o clock in the morning and left with nothing to than to read a collection of short stories by Guy De Maupassant, which I recently added to my small library, paying as little as Rs.80/- from  second hand book sellers.

They are enigma to me.  Their knowledge about all the books under their roof is absolute and amazing.  They will recommend a better book on Meta physics, Economics or any other subject under the earth and can deftly defend why their recommendation is a better buy.  Who knows, even our late President Mr. Abdul Kalam would have also been a regular client for rare books, in these parts, and in search of valuable books on Atomic Energy or related subjects.  My own inter-action with them left my mouth wide open, when I picked an English short story book, a text recommended for the students , by the Kerala University.  The seller demanded Rs.30/- for that one, but iI was inclined to pay only Rs.20/-.  He was very adamant, as it was a selection  by none other than Mr.Ruskin Bond.  The advantage I enjoy in such books is that, it makes comprehension easy, as the teacher’s instructions gets jotted down in the margin by the student, who had previously, diligently made use it now coming to my rescue.   Moreover, my love for short stories to novels is because , I can begin from any part of the book and finish and enjoy it rather spontaneously than the long drawn process in  a novel.  “Who Knows?” was the story I read.

Aptly titled ‘Who Knows?’, is a puzzling continuity of happenings which remains a puzzle to the protagonist as to the incident narrated is premonition, mere hallucination or reality, indeed.  The story is about the disappearance of furniture and fixtures from the  narrator’s home, to which he remains a mute spectator and a five months of police investigation leads to nowhere and unable to withstand the mental stress, as the  sole and only witness, on medical advice, he undertakes a long journey. He surreptitiously finds   all his stolen properties in a showroom, far away in Ruoen.  He buys all his ‘owned’ furniture from the shop and settles the bill and when he returns next morning to take delivery, along with police, he finds all his buys replaced by new items and the dealer no where to be seen.  Devastated and dejected at his double-loss, he extends his stay in Ruoen for another two weeks and one morning gets a message from his gardener that all his furniture and fixtures are back and all are in at the exact places, as ever before, in his house.  Exasperated thoroughly and at his wits end, at the fall of events, he gets himself admitted to a mental clinic, banishing all and sundry from visiting him.

AS if bolt from blue, strictly speaking nothing of that sort, but under the circumstances, I felt like that.  While still under the delirium  and spell bound by the Maupassant creation, I was in the wilderness that the arrival of my wife from the temple went unnoticed.  She had change, in the meantime, and was appalled at my apparent indifference at her arrival, screamed ” if you keep yourself, so much immersed in your reading, even if somebody stealthily enters and decamps with whatever his hand chances upon, you will never know.” She continued, “either you doze off watching the TV, keeping the doors open or else keeping your eyes wide open, read something, simply lost to surroundings”. I murmured ” Who knows. ”

Sundays take a lot of time on attending to domestic chores.  Weekly laundry is high on the agenda and the laborious process starts usually by 10’O clock and ends by 3’O clock and in between a friend may drop in or I may call on a friend; wife and daughter eager for an evening stroll will begin airing signals to that effect by 4 pm. All of a sudden a fight my break out between my tow off springs over trifle matters that demand, we as parents, to be at the pinnacle of my neutrality, so on and so forth.  A day is not a day if it has no lighter moments. A remark I made on my daughter’s giggling had a stupendous impact. I told her whenever, she makes a controlled chuckle over the mobile phone, it sounds like ‘kilu … kilu’ similar to the tinkling tone one can hear when shaking coconut close to the ears.  She just walked away as if did not hear my remark.  But my hear roared with laughter when I saw her taking a coconut in hand and walking into the work area and shaking it close to her ears and confirming herself the melodiousness of my sweet tongue and I not to waste an opportunity to pull her legs, immediately summoned my son to share the sight of his sister repeatedly shaking the coconut close to her ears, and told him the legend later, making him laugh his heart out.  I asked her much to her inconvenience, ‘thanni illaya”… ? (No water inside..?). Furious, at being caught red handed, that too, witnessed, by her ‘ any time enemy-cum-anytime bosom friend’, her ferocity knew no bounds, precautioning me to be on guard against possible repercussions, soon.

What her plans are, up her sleeves, to pull my legs, in the next opportune moment, who knows ? Only she knows.

….and at last finding.

I was searching for a name in the Facebook. The pamphlet that contained the name was on my writing table. Fortunately, for me, I did not have to spent my time searching for that and it was right on the table. It rarely happens. In my lifetime, I would have wasted a major chunk of productive time, in search of misplaced articles, robbing me of my precious leisure and pleasure, giving in its place lot of pressure. I always regret why I fail in keeping things at appropriate places to obviate this repeated, frequently.

Actually, I had already undergone this exercise in the morning itself. However, it gives me another pleasure; I find so many things I missed in my earlier jaunt. Yesterday, I bought two small batteries to activate the mosquito repellent bat and after having removed the batteries from the polythene cover, I confidently put my hand under the cupboard where I usually keep. It was missing. I searched evading attention of my wife’s gimlet eyes, as searching articles hiding due to my carelessness unnecessarily invite unwanted and humiliating comments. I found out very much to my delight, a valuable find that I thought, as bad as lost.

I was searching, some months back, for the cover page of the first edition print (Feb.1966)of Richard J Whallen’s ‘The Founding Father:The story of Joseph P Kennedy’, which got peeled off the from the rest, which now I found out, was a source of great relief to me. This has happened so many times, that I prepare myself for such serendipitous findings. Today, at my wits end, I yelled to son, daughter and wife. Nobody responded but my wife, in the kitchen, amidst preparations, sizzling hot in the frying pan, not to be left behind, at her hissing best, fumed as usual “you have no fixed place for anything, you take one from here and throw it elsewhere and start bragging, the next time you need, create turmoil with your short temper and I am put up with all these for the last almost 25 years. If you need that badly, search yourself, I don’t care”. Familiarity breeds contempt. That is what is happening now. I have to live with it. Shortly we are celebrating our silver jubilee of our marriage.

One incident comes to my mind. Some years back, when I was a day trader, dabbling in stocks and shares, about to leave for home, after the market hours, I lost my mind as to the place where I parked my scooty. It was missing at the place where I usually park. I had no idea, at that point of time and was completely in the blank about the location of my two-wheeler.

With the key in pocket, I searched here and there. I asked the security and he offered only his empty hand. Standing in a corner, I churned my memory. I got it. A loser ought not to lose more. So when I left home, to save fuel, I had walked all the way to the trading floor, contemplating my strategy for the day.  I had, most probably walked on the air.

In this instance, I cannot but praise the alacrity of my wife. Some days back, my wife went to her native place, for two days, leaving us to fend for ourselves. These are the days. I felt exactly as the character John Perkins in the short story, ‘The Pendulum’ by O Henri. I missed her a lot during this period and back to square one, once she returns. However, this incident is one I cannot wish away from my mind.

It was about 8’O clock in the night. My daughter, after her coaching class, would be waiting for me. I was about to leave. Oh! My ignition key was nowhere to find. I searched my pant and shirt pocket, inside, on and underneath the table and furniture, nowhere…I was feeling the pressure. At any time, she may call. I had a duplicate. I had no idea about its whereabouts. By ‘providence’ my mobile phone was in my pocket and as a last ditch effort, I called my wife. Two or three times, she did not respond. I called her sister. Then also it elicited no response. I called in the landline, again no response. Time was ticking away. I ran out check if I had left the key in the bike itself and once more, to check if it were left somewhere nearby and also checked the passage in the dim light, everything in vain. Thoughts running wild, I imagined I would have dropped the key inside the space under the seat, pressed and locked forever. Rainy season and extremely flash flood prone area, where the coaching centre is, where you will find yourself immersed in neck deep water, all of a sudden, kept my anxiety unchecked.

My mobile started ringing. I thought my waiting daughter is calling me. No but it was my wife. Raging with anger, for her failure to respond but controlling myself, I grudgingly but calmly enquired, whether, she has any idea about the duplicate ignition key. No time to hear and with stand a long dialogue and as if it is my right to know and her duty to keep anything safe, I urged her to be quick. After a few seconds, my wife calmly replied, “It is in the kitchen cupboard, on the right side, of the third rack, inside the fifth Horlicks bottle.” I ran in, it was right there as she told.

I never go out without a pen in my pocket. Therefore, I pulled the table drawer. Beneath a folded sheet of paper was sleeping my ignition key, unperturbed. The adage applicable to me stood the test of time. Search for one and you will get the one you searched earlier. A life less thing that can only ignite a two-wheeler flared me up and kept me on tenterhooks for nearly half an hour. This event made me very disciplined in this respect and I immediately, pasted a hook near that cupboard, where the duplicate dangles permanently.

I reflected over this after return from the coaching centre along with my daughter. My son happily waiting in the front of house after enjoying his evening fills in the nearby hotel. Had this happened some twenty years ago, I would have been all at the sea because of my wife’s regional slang; I would have, then, pulled my hair and ran amok, like a wild elephant. She was more used to Central Travancore slang, she would have told me “…… in the cupboard on the west and on the south of chilly powder tin and east of fourth of Horlicks bottle, to the west of sugar jar.”

If a list of frequently lost and found things were to be made, nail cutter, stapler and pins, TV remote control, screwdriver, day’s newspaper will certainly rank high, while toothbrush and paste are always easy at hand. Yesterday, I have added one more item that may, in all probability, be added to the former list. I bought a pain reliever gel, having a four-lettered brand name. (Obviously, the four lettered brand cannot and never be branded the way it may strike you).

The easiest one and the one you never have to indulge in searching is the modern ubiquitous, satellite aided communication gadget the Mobile Phone. Either you lose it forever or you blame yourself for leaving it on the switched off mode.

A breezy day !!!

“ANYONE WHO KEEPS THE ABILITY TO SEE BEAUTY NEVER GROWS OLD”.

 

Yesterday was a day of fluctuating fortunes. Fluctuating fortunes, you may wonder what..? It happens in Cricket, Tennis and Hockey or any other sport event, where a contesting player/team fights from the brink to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat or to make the match more memorable and thrilling. In my case, nothing of this kind happened, but to me, it was, indeed, a day of fluctuating fortunes.

Everyday, it has now become my routine; I take my daughter to Mudavanmukal seven km from my home, where she has taken up short-term assignment in a kindergarten. Yesterday, I was running short, not one but on two counts. Fuel in the bike would be alarmingly low, I anticipated, for my return journey and money too little in my pocket. I latently yearned for a fuel meter that quantifies the available fuel in milliliters and not just a level indicator as of now.  ATM card in my pocket, I began the journey confidently, under a clouded and drizzling monsoon day.

By then, the quality of air had undergone an enormous change with pleasant  petrichor emitted by the wet sand, replaced the obnoxious atmosphere and I opened my nostrils to enjoy, which I had earlier, almost,   clipped to save it from breathing the stench that arose from the generously accumulated and decaying garbage on an earlier short stretch of the road, ‘thanks’ to the whole-hearted contribution from the generous public and the nearby corporation dump yard.

To and fro it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach my first destination and I hoped I can safely land at my office by 9.00 AM.

So on my return, fuel level precariously close to running out, I entered an ATM counter, and inserted the card. Nothing happened. Again I tried; the machine stood glum. A man waiting outside was feeling impatient and I noticed his discomfiture at my inordinate delay. The machine stood too rigid, just like a woman in a state of frigidity and not susceptible to emotions. A thought passed through my mind. Whenever my old TV failed, not now, years back,   I used to bump it on the top or side to make it operational.  I wanted to bump the machine on the sides, but the presence of surveillance cameras thwarted me of such a misadventure. As a last ditch effort, I decided to pull out the card put it in the reverse mode, if that can help. I was shocked. Fool! I cursed myself. Instead of ATM card, it was my Pan card that was servicing me. Somehow it got inter changed, much to my dismay. I do not have the habit of keeping money in purse and whatever little I keep only in my thin pocket. It was a rude and unexpected shock. I confirmed to the next person waiting to get inside, who was quizzically glancing at me with his penetrating eyes, smelling a rat at my exit empty-handed,   by a short unwanted and unwarranted explanation, that it was with Pan card and not ATM that I mistakenly tried to log in, so that he would not under-estimate and think, I have no balance in my a/c. I flashed my Pan card at him, affirming him of my ‘solvency’, trying to conceal my blush. A Facebook addict myself, I have been constantly reminded of this human nature, by a striking sentence, which reads as this: Never explain yourself to anyone. Because the person who likes you doesn’t need it.  And the person who dislikes/uninterested in you won’t believe it.

I, stood outside the counter for a minute, scratching my head, thinking about what is other way out in case blood for my vehicle runs out, that is bleeding me because of two recent hikes. A syndrome I am aghast at is that when going up, it leaps and when coming down, it only trickles. These are things we have to live with and carry on and on.   I pushed the start button. My bike, a new one, bought on the day Modi government took oath, ignited as peacefully as ever, unaware of the ‘trauma’ his master was going through .

Lingering anguish at my carelessness of putting pancard into ATM card pouch and the consequent corollary of being stranded en-route, looming large, I endured.

Traffic burgeoning, because of peak morning hours, I was moving very cautiously. The need of the hour was extreme presence of mind and caution, but, unfortunately both began to flutter and slip, as my eyes stumbled upon a couple who were riding just in front. My weakness for good looking faces again began to fang out. She was looking forward and is not turning back. There are two ways to catch a glimpse. You can over take that bike and allow that bike to over-take you and then you can have a decent peep. But that is only mechanical. I inched closer and saw her ‘dupatta’ hanging close to the wheels but safe. I did not want to lose that opportunity. I made a touch-and-go push to the horn button, the result too was a short siren ‘kee kee’. It evoked no response. Again I made another attempt. Another futile effort. Try, try until you succeed, my inner soul prompted. I again pressed the button exerting the same pressure. This time she looked back. Really…. not…. a…. wasted…. effort. Her rosy face was radiant but eyes emanated a thorny look. Rose plants have thorns embedded; that is a universal truth. The gentleman in me flashed a smile and directed her to hold the ‘dupatta’ in her hands, lest something unthinkable happens. Suddenly, her rudeness vanished and she illuminated my heart by a thankful, graceful smile. She resembled a rose dangling in the breeze.

I took my eyes off her and surged ahead, taking a cue from a Malayalam movie that was released approximately 20 years ago, where the hero fabricates a successful stage-managed stunt show, to save the trapped heroin from the arranged goons, to win her heart,  and leaves the scene sternly warning his accomplices of dare consequences and swiftly rides away in his bike, making sure that his effort to earn her respect and love, had not been in vain.

The beauty is that, I completely forgot about being stranded in the middle of my journey, and the thought simply escaped me through out the two kilometer stretch, when I followed that beauty.

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty, never grows old”, says Joseph Kafka. His concept of beauty may encompass so many things beyond my comprehension and for me, it is limited and lies with in my reach and with which I enjoy and engage in habitual soliloquy.

Oh! I forgot. Fuel in my vehicle lasted and lingered a bit more.

What’s in a name…. ?

What is on my mind, today morning  is what’s in a name?

We come across various names of persons beginning with the alphabet A and a few names have X and Z. Names beginning with X may be very common in China, Japan and Korea. Numerologically compatible names are in vogue now, with additions or subtractions of an alphabet to your name as per the value of each alphabet and this has opened a new lucrative avenue for milking money from the gullible.

Mr.X is famous as we immediately call a person X if his christened name is unknown .If in a arithmetical problem you have find out the age of X or we have to begin solving a problem with X to find who among the many probables is Mr.X.

When Chinese Premier Xi Jinping was in India, couple of years back, a newscaster with Doordarshan pronounced his name, mistakenly identifying the first name Xi as Roman letter XI and announced as Mr.Jinping the XI. For this brazen error, she was dropped immediately from the panel of news readers. Mr.Zig Ziglar is the only name that crops up in my mind for a person with names beginning with Zs. I enjoy his famous quotes on Facebook. I had actually typed his name as Mr. Zig Zagler as zig zag automatically comes  to one’s mind. On second thoughts, I did a google search and found out the correct name. Thank God. Had the newscaster taken the help of the  readily available search engine Google, she could have saved herself from this embarrassment and   ignominy.

Nothing is complete with- out a character and an episode from films. The role played by the venerated critic and comedian, Mr..Cho Ramaswamy in a Tamil film released way back in the 70’s, comes to mind. His friend asks him, much to his annoyance, how on earth he got such a quirky and puzzling name. He replies : “ What can I say. My parents were childless for a considerable time after marriage. They were so desperate to have a child that my father didn’t mind if it was a poochi (insect) or puzhu (worm). My mother conceived. I was born. They rejoiced, celebrated my birth, and named me Poochi. They have made me a laughing stock. Mothers who are feeding their tearful and protesting children amuse them by pointing me out and yelling at me whenever they sight me. “ Here comes poochi! Here goes poochi!” When these children grow up, they are so familiar with my name, they call me, not even Poochi Anna (elder brother).. Calling me Poochi  ………. Poochi, has become an amusement for every Tom, Dick and Harry.”

I remember one incident way back in late seventies.  It was about 8’o clock in the morning.  My friend’s elder sister, who had been married for some years but yet to conceive, called on my mother, tears in eye.  After she left, I asked my mother why and what of it.  My mother explained, this is a form of vow, by which they beg (pitchai) in every home and the money they collect is  donated  to a particular deity and when their prayers are answered they would name the child with a suffix ‘pitchai’.  Later on she conceived and she named her daughter ‘Pitchai Lakshmi’.  Another world famous Indian icon is Mr. Sundar Pichai.  Only his parents know the legend behind his name

When I was engaged in selling tea to tea shops and canteens way back in 1999, a hotelier had a doubt to clear. He said to me, “Narayanan, I have a serious doubt. I know Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, but this one name confuses me. Is Sachin Tendulkar the name of one person or two. Sometimes newspapers mention the name as Sachin and some other times as Tendulkar”, in a muted voice, lest somebody hears. I too, cleared his doubt, in a low tone that only he could hear. My issue here is entirely different.

I man the front office segment of our brokerage and share the space with my senior, not by age, but by sheer experience, Mr.Anil on one side and a lady on the other. Let her be Mrs. X. We exchange harmless light humorous words in between to enliven our working hours and pull one another’s legs, sportingly.

Clients approach us account opening and various other enquiries, and the person who is free at that time, interacts with them. About two weeks back an employee (Mr.Y) of a large textile-cum-upermarketvisited us for a/c opening purpose. My counter was free at that time and Mr.Y was ready with all the necessary documents.. As he could not write in English, I volunteered to do that for him. As in every application form, we call it KYC, we have to add details like, Name, father’s name, DOB, and Pan card details.

I began by filling up his name. . When we came to the second line, Father’s name,I was taken aback. His father’s name was Smasanam, meaning burial ground. I concealed my shock, and after the formalities were over, I shared this information with Mr.Anil and Mrs.X. Oh! They wouldn’t believe me and checked the proof for confirmation. Anil added, we have another client by name, Sudalai that means ‘pyre’.

I wondered why parents give such horrendous names to their sons. One possible conclusion is this. Mr.Smasanam and Mr.Sudalai’s father would have been childless for a considerable time after getting married and somebody would have suggested, that the child, if conceived, must be christened Smasanam or Sudalai. Happily and coincidentally their mothers would have conceived and turned models overnight, prompting several aspiring, desiring and delayed parenthood people to do the same and now, may be, many Smasanams and Sudalais are roaming the streets of Tamil Nadu, shoulder to shoulder and hands in hands with Pey and Pisachu. (Forms of ghosts)

By the way, there is a beauty parlor in Paruthipara, on the outskirts of Trivandrum, that goes by the name, MEDUSA.

A face in the dark…..

The day began bright and sunny as any day. That day I remember, in particular, is because of the message it delivered me, unexpectedly, in the evening when it started raining all of a sudden, ferociously and I was caught in a piquant situation and bewildered how to escape the nature’s fury, with my son, just two or three year old then, whom I took to a birthday party in my bike as my wife had to take care of younger baby girl, who was just one year old,indisposed due to slight temperature. In those days, mobile phones were way out of our wildest imagination, and I as a matter of precaution ensured that my wife is equipped with my friend’s domestic connection, if any contingency arises.

My son always ready for a ride, smelt of the evening ‘ jamboree’, to call it so, I know is a wild exaggeration, as it is impossible to ape or come anywhere near this exalted celebration that takes place in Bollywood, was preparing for the outing very much from the morning, when he was gradually getting to know the sense of time; morning, noon, evening or night.

Much to his delight, his eagerness ended by 6.00 pm and after making some statement of comfort to my wife, but true to self, bit elated at the blessing in disguise, I along with my son started to my friend’s house a few kilo meters away in high spirits, having some plan to pull the legs of some of my then colleagues, who too are expected to participate and return back in the same coin, when opportunity gives way. Who pulls whose legs, nobody knows, but all come prepared. It is a matter of give and take and nobody takes it to the heart as no accusation is personal and only pretty imaginary and all in the uniform genre, laced with plain sexy stories and if any female member happens to be part of it, it gets coated with a clean double entendre. What is partying with out a glass in hand and tongue full of concocted stories? Some are ready with ‘poora pattukal’ to add to delirium of joy. Some among us, who are not ready to be ‘earthen’ look serious and officious, only to be left behind. Very much conscious of my capacity and more for maintaining a semblance of normality back home, I dilute a lot to keep in control. I took care to ensure that my son is well fed and happy playing with other kids. He enjoyed a lot and makes the best in reveling and the trend still continues.Everything over and it was time to say good bye to friends and ride back home. It was drizzling, by that time.

Soon the condition changed for the worst. It was raining cats and dogs, adding more to my woes, my son, deep in his sleep, clinging to my shoulders and my self caught in a small bus stand, was really in soup. I cannot leave the bike and take an auto back home. The space where I stood for escaping the ravishing rain was already densely populated and gasping for air. Having marked the place, I decided to catch an auto and get back. Autos were whizzing fast like rockets with occupants. Time running fast and it was around 10.pm. I thought of wife and my daughter alone in the house and there was no way to communicate. It is when one is in isolation, that one’s heart pumps more blood and brain starts exaggerating negatively and all these compounding and aggravating physical discomfort.

 

I saw a man coming with an umbrella in hand and understanding my predicament, inquired,with detachment, the absence of wife and easily sensing that, I clarified. He realized my restlessness coupled with helplessness. Even if rain were to stop, riding with a sleeping baby on my shoulders was an imponderable thing, he added. The stranger asked me to wait and assured he will be back. In a few minutes, he was back in his vehicle and asked to sit on the rear seat. When I reached home, my wife very anxious asked, where my bike is, as she thought something untoward would have happened. I told her nothing to worry. With a towel ready in her hand she cosied our son and I also asked how is Jinku. Fine, she too was fast asleep. I took leave of her as the stranger was unwilling to come in and join for a hot cup of tea.

I reached the spot where I left my bike and was about to the part with the stranger, thanked him profusely and wondered how can I ever return this gesture. The man with out showing his face, which I do not remember or will ever recognize in future, as I have never seen him before nor did I see him broad day light, told me a reply that remains etched. (“Ningal ennethanne sahayikkanam ennilla. Ithu pole oru sandharbam varumbol sahayikkanmarakkaruthe.Ningal arannennu enikkariyenda; njan aranennnu ningalum ariyenda.) You need not help me at all. When you get an opportunity like this do not fail to help. Who am I or who are you, both of us need not know.

That face in the dark, I do not know whether it was swarthy, wheatish or fair complexioned ,gave me a message for my life. How many times I would have rubbed his shoulders in crowded areas of the city, unknowingly, only God knows.

Of moods and hopes!!!

Was it a sunny day,
Was it a rainy day,
Was it a sultry night,
Or was it a rainy night;
Oh, rememeber, I can’t, for we indulged
When mood enveloped and need engulfed us.

Stands now,  confirmed is your imminent arrival;
Await you, in our eagerness, too,  kith and kin and all,
Son or daughter of which we aren’t curious at all;
Our anxiety is more in your perfection above all.

In some months time, you will be in this world;
Await eagerly for that  letter day of red
A bright summer morning with cool winds surround;
Chirping, screeching and cawing birds,
All in gay and all in plenty around.

You will grow with us and learn to crawl, sit and stand,
Walk and run and slowly babble a lot, keep us amused;
We will see hope in you and the whole world in you,
Enrich you with love, pamper with gifts and colorful dresses,
And snap you in all modes and still your days.

You will make friends and move up in life
You too will quarrel and may not relish all and sundry
But remain rooted in your convictions strong;
But, we hope, ardent, you have no killer in waiting
Or none  taking shape in some corner, here or abroad.