C-rappy Cacophony

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Memorial Day

Many memorial days had come and gone in the last 20 years for the widow of Major General John Lubbock after the gruesome death that her husband had incurred at the hands of the guerrillas that he and his crew were sent to fight with.It had been just another day of pride since the past 2 decades for her and her 7 kids who never failed to attend the Memorial day celebrations organised by the local city council.They eagerly collected the plaques that the city mayor endowed them with for their fathers' selfless contribution to the army.

This year was not to be the same.The 70 year old widow was waiting in the silent city hall eagerly awaiting the news from the military command who had promised to call her to let her know about the whereabouts of her son's plane that had been reported missing on the borderline of Iraq a week ago.As she eagerly awaited the phone call which was full of suspense,she could feel a huge lump of sadness descend through her throat.Her eyes caught sight of the portrait of her husband donning a beaming smile,that one of the city Hall workers was cleaning and applying a fresh coat of paint,in preparation for the next day's Memorial day gathering.

As she was lost in thoughts about the past,she could hear the reverbating sound of her husband's majestic walk and razor-sharp words that were as sharp as the specially crafted sword that he carried.She recollected the last words that he spoke before he left for the battle,when he had got assurance from her that she would stay resolved all her life and make sure that her sons also serve the U.S army no matter what was in store for him in the battle,then.She was awakened from her thoughts when one of the uniformed men turned on the TV set.She could hear the president of the nation address the nation in memory of the great soldiers.It was the same oft repeated speech that she had been accustomed to,all through the years and she had grown tired of every presidents' speech which bore the artificial tinge of patriotism with every word displaying the true feeling of non-chalance.She began to question herself for having been stupid all her life letting her dear ones serve for wars and battles without questioning the purpose.If it was the illegal guerillas a few years ago,it was the weapons of mass destruction this time ,none of which was anyway remotely seeming to concern her and her family's immediate personal life.

She suddenly heard a few cars drive by and come to a stop at the entrance of the city hall.As she got up from her seat to take a glimpse of the happening outside the window,she found her 2 sons in their military uniforms unloading a casket draped in the U.S flag.Her 4 daughters alighted from the second car and rushed towards their mother,unable to control their grief.So,there she stood again with the same emotions that she had encountered two decades ago upon the death of her husband.As she started to grind her teeth,pressing her lips hard with the determination not to cry,her eyes unable to bear the sudden load of strain closed for a second,spurting out a few drops of tears which had been entrapped in there for a long time, awaiting this occasion.

When the city Mayor carried the citation to the widow honoring her deceased son,he couldn't help noticing the pride in her eyes and the way she maintained a raised head.She thought of her husband and tried to sport his trademark smile as all her kids huddled around her and wept!


P.S:Yet again all compliments regarding the snap needs to go to Pradeep Raghunathan.Feel free to access and comment on his other excellent photos at photo.net
This write up was just something which occured to me when I looked at the majestic yellow flower still holding strong and displaying a colourful life,even after losin one its stamens.

Posted by rajesh |

Monday, May 24, 2004

Kritanta...A short story!

As M.S.Subbulaxmi's effervescent sound of 'Kausalya Supraja raama' reverberated through the ears of the soundly asleep masses at 'Rengaa'apartments,Saranyu got up from her Pathamadai Paai(mat)and clasped her hands looking towards the smiling picture of 'Guruvayurappan' as she applied Vibhuthi on her forehead and on her still-asleep infant.As she looked through the window of her apartment,her eyes caught sight of the solitary,green leaf which was laden with one small globule of water that had accumulated due to the morning mist.

Suddenly,everything stood still as all the events started appearing as a vista of unpleasant thoughts before her eyes.Not long ago,was she looking through the same window waving at her software engineer husband-Surya with a cherubic smile.Just after 6 months of married life,she had been confronted with the worst shock of her life in the form of a divorce from her husband.If the divorce by itself was a heart-breaker to Saranyu's appa-Govindachari,the real tragedy struck when he learnt of his divorced daughter being 4 months pregnant when she got divorced.A month later,as an added bonus in installments,she had much more shocks in store when she discovered that her husband had generously endowed her with something he had acquired from his trip to Seattle,before their marriage.

As she looked at the water droplet gently roll over the leaf and hold on to the end of the leaf,she couldn't hold her tears.She looked at her 8-day old baby's soft,serene face which bore no signs of any weariness or any worries of the impending catastrophe.Saranyu kept thinking and cursing her fate as she wildly exclaimed and questioned her favourite Gods as to what sin the baby had committed and how was it justifiable to cut short its life abruptly for no fault of it.The sadness grew more at the pass of every second as she could not forgive herself for having passed on the HIV virus from her estranged husband to the innocent infant!

As the drop grew older,Saranyu watched the tragedy unfold as the leaf finally was unable bear the weight of the droplet,letting it fall to the ground and vanish!Govindachari and Saranyu named the baby - Kritanta -'the lord of death' with the thoughts that, in death,it had become GOD.Some people live all their life and prove nothing to the world but the baby had lived only for 21 days yet it had proved its point of a divine existence.As Govindachari started looking for a match for his second daughter Sukanya,he insisted that the potential groom's seeking his daughter's hand attach their BHPM -a biodata/horoscope/photo and a "Medical certificate"!


P.S:All compliments regarding this excellent snap needs to go to my good friend Pradeep Raghunathan.Feel free to access and comment on his other excellent photos at photo.net

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

What my inner voice says about Sonia Gandhi!!!

Well...What a stir she has created in a span of days!!
She created a stir in my mind too..Heres my 'Inner Voice' ;) with some thought provoking anagrams of Sonia Gandhi..
1)I had no gains
2)O!A Singh and I
3)O!India hangs
4)India's hag?No
5)Shanian God!
6)Hindi on a sag
7)A shining ado?
8)As Indo,I hang
9)Doing Ahinsa?
10)As in God?Nahi...
11)Aio!!Hand sign..
12)Gash on India
13)A Saigon Hand?
14)A dashing Ion
15)I hand agoni's
18)Ah!Soda in Gin?
19)Adios Ginnah!
20)Indian 's a hog?

Posted by rajesh |

Sunday, May 16, 2004


6:Good Knight..

As the bhajan song "Giridhara Gopaala Sathya Sai.."came to an end,Subadra,in a saffron Salwar and Sreeni,in his usual T-shirt and jeans,decided to leave the SaiBaba temple,after getting the prasadham sweets.Subadra- a staunch SaiBaba devotee often persuaded Sreeni to accompany him to the temple,but Sreeni,who didn't believe even in the Almighty God,was never able to come to terms with considering a human as God.The only reason why he accompanied her was for the free sweets and also to bring his Suba safely back to her hostel after dark.

As they were about to leave,Subadra asked..
"dai..Cheenu,Whats up?U seem to be lost nowadays.."
Sreeni replied softly.."Nuthing da..Just the same old thoughts..I told you right..Anyway leave it...Time is the healer for everything"
Subadra felt sad for her friend as she leaned over him and pulled his arm, putting it over her shoulder and started walking.
She then said.."Cheenu..I understand da..I have to confess that I secretly overheard that cassette that your Luckoo had given you and I was totally moved by it..Anyway,Remember this...'Focus is the substitute for time'...You don't need time to get over your worries.Just be focussed on your future & you will succeed on what you are pursuing!"

Sreeni smiled at Subadra and pinched her cheeks for that piece of thought-provoking saying that she had pulled out of thin air.Little did he realize that Subadra was thinking on the same lines to attain one of her most coveted prizes-Her cheenu.
When Sreeni reminded about something she had said in the train,Subadra said.."
Oh..that thing?hmm..Lets not talk about it in the temple,Lets walk across to the 'Ambedkar Memorial gardens'.

It was the perfect setting that Subadra had dreamed for -The cool breeze at dusk with birds returning back to their trees that swayed in the dimly lit garden grass with the backdrop of the setting Sun.Subadra sat next to Sreeni leaning over him and said.."Cheenu..During my trip to Chennai,Amma put up a matrimonial website profile for me,and some 5 guys responded.Initially,I too didn't seem to be bothered by all the hullaballoo being created over this issue,but the fear started to creep in as I realized that I might be married off to some unknown guy in a span of months."

Sreeni patiently heard and asked.."Paavam daa nee..What did you do?"
Subadra replied.."I thought about it for a few days and told my mom that infact I like a guy very much and although it is not like the tinsel world love stuff,I would prefer to spend the rest of my life with him.Amma was really impressed when I explained about that guy and she said she might talk about it to my dad!"
At this point Sreeni,who was sitting laid back,got up and shouted...
"Hey..You are the worstestestest friend..You never said anything to me about that secret guy?Your schoolmate or undergrad Romeo?Whozzit?Do I know him?"
Subadra looked directly into Sreeni's face judging all his reactions.When she discovered that Sreeni really didn't seem to understand what she was saying,she broke down immediately and her black Kaajal laden tears rolled down to her cheeks.As Sreeni looked at her confusedly she said...
"Dai stupid Buffalo..Did it even occur to you that the person I was talking about was U..U stupid goose!"
Sreeni was confronted with the second shock of his life after the one he had had at the internet centre 2 months ago.There was sudden silence for about 2 minutes and then Sreeni blurted..
"Hey..chamathu..Really sorry da chellam..I know how it hurts when someone doesnt reciprocate the warmth and affection!But pls understand and listen without mistaking me..I have always professed this ideology to my friends- One should get the urge and feeling that the other person is "THE ONE" for them.Only then life would be meaningful to spend as a couple!Although I feel,you have got such a strong feeling for me,I should frankly admit that I have never thought in that manner about you .That doesnt mean you are not my best friend.Added to all this,I have been engrossed in this emotional turmoil,particularly after hearing this latest news of Laxmi's wedding next month with some stupid,proper Iyengar Software Maapillai."
As subadra started to explain how her mom was not concerned about the Iyer-Iyengar stuff..Sreeni quipped.."hey ashadu..Focus is the substitute for time..hehehe.Lets leave this topic now and leave to the hostel"

The next 3 months that passed was eventful with Laxmi getting married and busy with her Malaysia honeymoon tour and Sreeni & Subadra busy with their career placement group discussions and interviews .Fate had decided that their MBA episode was not over yet when they both got placed at Wipro,Bangalore along with 5 others of their batch!
Sreeni's best friend,self-assumed philosopher and often-wrong guide-Kaybee called him one fine day and as they were talking,Sreeni asked him..
"deii..epdi daa?How can a girl just have no feelings or rather forget all the feelings that she had 3 months ago;get married and go for a happy honeymoon..I dont get it!"
Kaybee retorted.."dei..Sreeni..cmon daa.its not the way U think,Oflate I have been chatting with Naramada a lot..She explained the pathetic situation Laxmi had undergone.Laxmi used to cry to her about her helplessness.She was almost tortured at her house when they came to know about the affair and finally she had to succumb to the emotional outbursts of her aging dad.Narmada told me that the height of sadness was when Laxmi was inconsolable when her brother asked Narmada to talk to you and get back all the trinkets such as the letters/cassettes etc.But she forbade her from doing so!"
When Sreeni broke out saying he wasn't convinced yet,Kaybee pulled out his analogy..
"Dai cheeni...Listen..So many times we burn our lips while sipping coffee or bite our tongue when eating food,but we dont stop eating forever.We just become very cautious the next time and think about the painful event every other day,but proceed with our life..Thats the same Laxmi has done and she really is a wonderful person with lots of friendly feelings for you!"

The next 13 months passed in a jiffy with Subadra going to belgium for her project and Sreeni going for his to Dusseldorf Germany,200 miles away from Kaybee's place of work.When Sreeni and Kaybee met at one of the omnipresent roadside coffeeshops,Sreeni smiled as he watched an Indian student couple sip their coffee,totally involved in their conversation.He turned to Kaybee and said.."Poor guy!Hope he gets back to his senses soon.What a waste of time,money and one's life!"
When they boarded their train to Berlin,Kaybee asked Sreeni what he had decided about his wedding,to which he answered...
"dai..I have no idea..I am like this train seat da...People just come and go in its life..Nobody cares for the seat!"
Kaybee spurted out his yet another analogy as if he had prepared it specifically for this specific occasion.."Dai..Cheeni,If at all you are the train seat,then you should be proud..Although the one for whom it was reserved decided not to travel in it,it has not lost its importance.There is always some Subadra in 'Reservation against cancellation'(RAC)class ready to get it for any price..Cmon da..The train does not stop..The journey of life should go on!"
'Friendship enbathu RAC,love confirm panna nee yosi'- Kaybee sang the latest movie song putting Sreeni under great embarassment!He then continued.."By the way..Sreeni,one piece of news da..Narmada told me that Laxmi gave birth to a baby boy last month.The kid's name is Sreekumar and everybody addresses him 'Chickoo'!"

The whole journey Kaybee found Sreeni looking out of the window,buried in deep thoughts as he fell asleep.As soon as they reached their friend Parvathi's house at Berlin,Srini hurriedly logged into the matrimonial website and pulled out the profile 'shub01' and clicked the response button as he typed the words:"Focus is definitely the substitute for time!Will you marry me da chellam?"Kaybee who was beside him all along shouted with joy as Sreeni tilted his head and said in his typical SRK Baazigar style..
"Hae hae hae hae hae..Haarke jeetne waale ko Sreeni kehte hai!"

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


5.That Day this age!

"Mutual concern and emotional understanding"-Those were the words in verbatim,uttered on his collegeday stage by Sreeni to describe his relationship with Subadra,when questioned by his collegemates, which went down as the hapax legomenon(Golden words)of IIM-C history!After that incident,nobody dared to question the closeness between the two,which was well-evident when Sreeni freely addressed her passionately in public as 'chellam','chamathu' and 'daa' as if she was a 3 year old boy.Subadra cherished every second of Sreeni's company and reciprocated with the same warmth.

"Cheenu dai..what are you listening to daa..so long?" Subadra asked as she couldn't help noticing Sreeni play Laxmi's cassette again and again.
"Nothing daa Subha..Just some new rock music,which you girls don't like" quipped Sreeni as he adeptly slid the cassette into his bag.
Subadra gave a smile and a small tinge of pain went through her mind as she realised that her best friend had lied to her.Then she tried to change the topic and blurted..
"Dai..I had told you in yahoochat last week right?that my parents started looking for alliance for me?"
Sreeni came out of his world of worries and shouted excitedly..
"Hey..Subha..cool daa..U seem to be blushing!!Whos the unlucky guy??"
Subadra frowned and started explaining how she had put up a fight against her parents' idea of arranged marraige with someone she did not know.
As Sreeni seemed uninterested and started climbling to his berth,Subadra reluctantly whispered..
"Cheenu,After we go to college,pls remind me da..I have something important to tell you!

"Bannerji Netcafe" was the only internet centre which was open 24 hrs a day and it was almost always crowded,thanks to the chat savvy students of IIM-C,who sneaked out of their hostels at night.That night at around 4.00 a.m,Sreeni couldn't sleep and startled his roommate when he said he was sneaking out of their hostel to get some air!
As he watched the watchglass of his yahoomail's netscape navigator window,he could feel his heartbeat rising and his head becoming heavy,unable to bear the suspense of his life.
As he clicked the icon next to "You have 1 unread message",he got the inevitable shock of his life..The mail started with Laxmi addressing him as Sreeni and not Chickoo,which immediately gave him an idea of what was in store.Sreeni madly read through the lines as he covered covered his eyes and silently wept..


Dear Sreeni,
Read your email which shocked me to death..I'd never imagined you in that fashion earlier but ur sweet mail,did put me in an emotional turmoil.The rush of blood made me talk about you to my appa and anna but the initial euphoria did not last long as they vehemently opposed my intentions and stubbornly asked me to concentrate on my ambition to do my PhD.
I am still crying as I write this..Please forgive me and do not ask anymore questions.
Yours friendly(pls be my friend da as always!)

Sreeni dashed out of the cube to the telephone on the counter and dialed Laxmi's number without even considering that it was 4 a.m in the morning.
"Marakamudiyala daa cutecho!! (Can't forget you daa..so-cute!!)Sreeni thundered at the top of his voice,catching everyone's attention in the netcafe.After a verbal dual which lasted for about 30 minutes,Sreeni headed back to his hostel with a shattered mind.
He couldn't digest the basis for his rejection at Laxmi's household which was a trivial issue of him being an Iyer and not an Iyengar!He entered his room and madly threw himself onto the bed as he ripped out his Poonal thread and shouted-"Stupid Brahmins!"

Not a single day in the 2 years she knew Sreeni,Subadra had noticed him unshaven with a beard.Seeing him suddenly keep a low profile and lost in his world of sorrows,made her sad as she imagined what could have transpired.As a few days passed,it was time for Kaybee to leave for Germany.He was surprised that he was unable to get hold of Sreeni for the past few days and what was even more surprising was the sudden change that he had noticed in Laxmi when she didn't even wave at him as she passed through his floor in the flat.
Finally,when he spoke to Sreeni,he was flabbergasted to hear about what had happened and started yelling at him..
"deii..cheeni..This is nonsense daa..These girls!!Oh ..they are so deceiving..In the beginning itself I warned you,U remember?"
In the past few days,Sreeni's anger had mellowed down and he replied politely....
"deii..what I did was nothing wrong da!I dont know if I have told you before.She was the inspiration of my life.It was her encouragement during our REC final year that motivated me into getting into IIM-C.Now I ve almost gained my MBA but have totally lost her..."
As Kaybee continuously poured his one-sided abuses on Laxmi,Sreeni interrupted him saying..
"Deii..Cmon Pls Stop it..Da..Don't scold her..Unakenna theryum avala pathi?Really what do you know abt her?If at all,I am something today,it is all because of her.I have no grudges against her and you wouldn't be surprised if you were to find her photo in my Pooja room!She was the nicest thing ever to happen to me!"

To be concluded..

Posted by rajesh |

Saturday, May 08, 2004


4. Night..ingale..
'Even lifeless hearts may leap'-That loosely translated to the tamil movie "Thullaatha manamum thullum" which had set the ball rolling for Sreeni and Laxmi's proximity as they watched it 2 years ago on the occasion of their bodybuilder like friend - Deepak Johnson's treat for getting admit at XLRI.Deepak being Sreeni's schoolmate and Laxmi's Aerobics class batchmate ,was a common friend to both of them. The seating arrangement with Sreeni and Laxmi occupying the corner seats ,the movie selection with a subtle relevance ,the timing of such an event had been meticulously orchestrated by Deepak and his gimmick had paid off successfully then.
Tonight it was slightly drizzling as Laxmi and Kaybee got off their auto and dashed to the crowded counter to get 4 tickets for the 10.30p.m show "Kaho naa pyar hi" at Melody theatre.The other 2 to join them-Sreeni and Narmada were as usual late and as the crowd started to move into the theatre,Kaebee started murmuring..
"Laxmi..This Sreeni is always frigging late.Even during our univ exams,he would make us wait till the last minute..Appothaan 2 Marks book..he will even start reading!Useless fellow!"
Laxmi smiled and remarked in a manner which suggested she didn't agree with him.
"Kaybee..He is not at all late..May be hes got held up somewhere..I am sure Narmada is the culprit today!"
As they turned towards the road,they saw Sreeni and Narmada running towards them with Sreeni making his goat like bleeting sound trying to immitate Shah rukh Khan's laughing style and dialogue delivery..He took off his cap and bent his head a little and said in SRK style
"hea hae hae hae hae...hea hae hae hae hae...Sorry yaar..late ho gaya..Bade Bade Deshoan mae aise chotae chotae baathaen hotae hai!" and winked at Laxmi as she started reeling with laughter.
Kaebee got yet another chance to use his choicest set of uncouth expletives in tamil which he murmured close to Sreeni's ears-"Poada #@$$@$ , ##$$%$# ! First song is almost over..U are always like this!"
In the dark, as they manoeuvred through the rows,Narmada innocently ended up sitting near Laxmi and Kaybee cunningly sat near Narmada putting Sreeni 2 seats away from Laxmi.Kaybee saw the confused looks on Sreeni's face and couldn't hide his laughter as Sreeni whispered to him..
"Daii..Shit..whats this da..Pls do something machaan!"
Kaybee turned to Laxmi and quipped..
"Hey..U dont understand Hindi that well right?" and without even waiting for an answer he suggested Narmada to trade places with Sreeni as he could narrate the story to Laxmi.Finally everything was set to go and Sreeni's attempt to get his heroine was on its way.
As the final day of Sreeni's departure to Calcattu dawned,there were mixed reactions.Sreeni was tensed as he was bringing Laxmi to his house on the pretext of Navaratri Golu and his tension level increased much more as he thought what would be Laxmi's reaction to his acrostic email that he had sent a few minutes ago from a newly created id Luckoochickoo-at-yahoo.com....
C hickoo's heartfelt musings
A bout the art of Complete coffee making!
P eaberry seeds' unique aroma competing with my princess' unique aura..
P lain glass of milk seeking a colourful life;could the soft class of silk be my wife?
U nlike the artificial sweetener,my beau is a cube of sugar!
C up awaits eagerly to join its saucer...
C ould the lovely lady accept my offer?
I nstant coffee devoid of taste & arranged marraige -kinda waste!
N o is also an option,although your "YES" would be the decoction.
O ne large cup of Luckuccino is my life's elixir!For the sake of complete coffee Making!-Chickoo
As the words of the only carnatic music that Laxmi knew -"Shree Gananaatha Sindhu Uravarna..." came to an end,Laxmi drank the glass of lime juice that Sreeni's mom offered amidst applause from Kamali and Vimali.She had come to their house for Golu with Kaybee,posing as his friend but it wasn't hard for Sreeni's folks to figure out that there was something going on between Sreeni and her.They were amazed to see him adjust the A/C level,pull down the window blinders,put on the tubelight and pull out the chair for her as she entered the house.All these were the most UN-sreeni-est actions they had ever seen.
Sreeni's heart was palpitating fiercly as he kept thinking how Laxmi would react later that day when she went to the internet centre to check her mails,one among which was his cryptic proposal.
The boggies suddenly jolted as the Howra Expresses engine got attached to them.As Sreeni was chatting with Kaybee on the Chennai Central station platform,Sreeni's IIMC Batchmate - Subadra boarded the train.She was Sreeni's closest friend at Calcutta and was his project/paper presentation mate in over 50 management related papers that they had presented in symposiums all across the country.Kaybee pulled out the mickey mouse keychain that he had bought for Sreeni and the cassette that Laxmi had given him yesterday to hand over to Sreeni .He then suddenly hugged Sreeni as he wiped the tears of his eyes and said..
"Daii..I feel very sad da..I don't know when we will meet again..May be 3 or 4 years later only..But surely I will come to ur marraige with Laxmi!That a promise!Okay?"
Sreeni reciprocated the sadness as he delicately placed the cassette over his bag through the train's window and then whispered that he was worried about Laxmi not even calling him to wish him bye that evening.
Meanwhile,Subadra who was inside the train ,got settled with her window seat adjacent to Sreeni's seat and as she put on her walkman and headphones,she noticed the cassette over his bag which said.."En swaasa Kaatrae" on one side and "Breathless" on the other..Subadra couldn't control herself from hearing A.R.Rahman's music and Shankar Mahdevan's breathless as she saw Sreeni on the platform ,busy talking with his friend.She slid the cassette to listen to the songs and was puzzled to hear a voice of a girl followed by hissing noise and wild laughter,which went like this..
"Chickoo,Heres 'En swaasa Kaatrae' for you..shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!hahaahahaha"
As she flipped the cassette to hear 'Breathless',she heard Laxmi's voice again..
"Chickoo,deii..U are my best friend in life...What you heard on Side A was my life with you as my friend..what you hear now,is my life with out U"and then there was silence in the cassette portraying the lifelessness...

To be continued.

Posted by rajesh |

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


3 :Kaybee's day out..
Laxmi had met Sreeni 3 years ago at one of the Telephone dept functions where her mother was being felicitated for her 25 years of service. During the course of the boring speeches by the officials, the both had stumbled into each other at the water fountain area, instantaneously engaging in an hour-long conversation which was to blossom into a memorable saga later. Laxmi's count of friends was always on an exponential rise with equal proportion of guys and girls .Her simple looks and down-to-earth attitude had won her a number of well-wishers, the protagonist of this story being a very special one among them. Although she had no second thoughts in introducing all her other male friends plainly as friends to her parents, for some unknown reason she played it safe when it came to Sreeni’s introduction. She made him her virtual senior at college although there wasn’t an iota of truth in it.

Sreeni's undergrad life at REC, Trichy was a sharp contrast to his present state of affairs. All through the 4 years, he took pride in hanging around with a bunch of guys who called themselves the "AARCI"s-Academically and Romantically challenged individuals! Although they were known for their rodomontade of being indifferent to girls and studies, they always had a spot in the toppers' list as well as the girls' minds due to their obvious show of spontaneity and brilliance. One such close pal of Sreeni was Karthik Brahadeeshwaran alias KayBee, who had left for his Masters degree in physics to Germany leaving Sreeni to join his MBA at IIM-C.2 years had passed since Sreeni had bid farewell to Kaybee with a warm hug at the Chennai Airport and here he was standing almost at the same spot to receive him during his month-long India visit. As he was eagerly waiting with Kaybee's parents at the crowded airport,he started reminiscing the great times they had spent together as roommates at their rented house in Trichy- the fights they had had over the only available bucket of hot water in the mornings, the dosas that they relished at their favorite tousar-paandi mess ,the unusual proximity that existed between Kaybee and the landlord aunty etc.

Kaybee was a pixillated individual known for his idiosyncracies.It was not a surprise at all to his parents to see him take off to Sreeni's house within 15 minutes of his arrival from Germany to the new house that his parents had shifted to recently. With Sreeni leaving to Calcutta in just 2 more days as his vacation was coming to a close, Kaybee wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. As they sat at the Landmark bookstore's newly opened coffee place, Kaybee started working on his favorite Hindu crossword, simultaneously questioning Sreeni's recent endeavours. Sreeni narrated his story about being close to Laxmi and how his friendly liaison with her had leant a significant meaning to his otherwise uninteresting life. Kaybee couldn't believe that such philosophical words were emanating from his stolid, savant friend and burst into laughter, instantly incurring Sreeni's displeasure.
Being a pococurante in this realm, Kaybee as usual started off with his pessimistic words..
"Itho paarudaa cheeni..Ithellaaam venaam daa namakku...Paathuko..Yoschukko!by the way, Apdi yennadaa irku intha ponnungalta?"
Sreeni thought for a moment about the cowardice hidden in Kaybee who himself had fallen head over heels for a girl in the college days but had never dared to speak about it to anyone, fearing the ignominy and severe dent that would result to his textbook style “chamathu-payan” reputation, had he proposed to the girl and failed.
Sreeni changed the topic and asked..
"Dei..Today is the third day of Navaratri and Laxmi has invited me to her place to look at the Golu stuff. I ve told her that you would also accompany me.So lets dash..Its getting late."
Kaybee as usual hesitated and then agreed to it when he came to know that Laxmi lived in the same flat as his and there was no valid reason he could give to decline the invitation. As he was pondering on which book to buy her as a gift commemorating their first time meeting; Sreeni blurted out that she was fond of literature, especially archaic poems. Kaybee flipped through the book of love ditties and sonnets that he had bought and smirked as he read aloud a tragic love quote-
"The hottest love has the coldest end"-Socrates. Sreeni smiled to himself as he heard Kaebee- the hypocrite, relishing a Socrates' saying about a Shakespearean tragedy, totally oblivious of the depth of the platonic relationship that he shared with Luckoo. All through their way to Laxmi's place, Kaebee was busy going through the endless gadzookery in the poems and laughing his heart out comparing Sreeni to Romeo and Laxmi to Juliet.

"Perumaala Saevichutu sundal edthuko paa" were the words that Laxmi's weak,old Paati uttered as Kaybee and Sreeni were about to pounce on the sundal bearing paper cup. As Sreeni and Kaybee remained puzzled unable to understand the orthodox iyengar language ,Paati almost instantly asked..
"Neenga thenkalai yaa vadakalai yaa?” putting the 2 Iyer guys into terrible confusion. Laxmi took charge from there and started answering everything on the guys’ behalf. Sreeni thanked Laxmi for saving them from her Paati’s flurry of 20 questions but little did he realize that those few questions that he startled him that afternoon ,were going to be the turning point of his love life.
After eating the special bread upma and cauliflower Manchurian that Laxmi had prepared for the duo, it was time to leave when Kaybee asked where Laxmi’s parents were. As Laxmi explained about their going to Tirupathi , Kaybee understood the reason why she had invited them that particular day during her parents’ absence and gave his characteristic nod and smile towards Sreeni whose stare said it all : ”dei..vetti…freeya vidu daa..avanga enga pona unaku enna?Vandhiyaa saaptiyaa poniyaa…athavittutu enna kaelvi!?”
As they were leaving, Laxmi silently handed over the postcard size painting of “Radha-Krishna” that she had painted specially for Sreeni. Sreeni went a step further and stole the magnet bearing Laxmi’s UKG photo, from her refrigerator adding to his fond collection of Laxmi-related trinkets such as her kerchief, expired ID card, broken keychain etc. Sreeni shouted from the street to Laxmi asking her to check her mail without fail that night! Kaybee got a hint that something great was coming soon with Sreeni leaving the next day by Howrah express!

To be continued..

Posted by rajesh |

Sunday, May 02, 2004


2: Arabian Nights...
As the autos slowly started approaching like swarms of bees looking for nectar,towards the Panagal Park bus-stop trying to lure one of those frustrated passengers,Sreeni checked through his Baggy pant pockets for his 50 rupee note and the change for the bus that he had snagged from his mom's Pooja room shelf.He had been successful in persuading Laxmi to sneak out of the last hr of her engg-"Antenna & Propagation" class that friday and she grabbed the opportunity to escape the most boring of all subjects.When she expressed fear over losing attendance,Sreeni as usual surprised her with the news that he had called her friend -Narmada and arranged a proxy- "yes ma'am" shout for her!

That friday evening,things were not going right for Sreeni.The fear of resistentialism started to creep in when he recollected that suddenly all the inanimate objects were acting against him at crucial times-the printer at his house losing its cartridge when he wanted to get a copy of the poem he had written abt Laxmi;the cordless phone losing charge when he was rushing to call Narmada;the shoelace snapping when he was dashing out to the bus-stop and now the omnipresent "12-B" bus not being in sight for almost 15 minutes.

4.06 p.m. .
Finally,after much deliberation,as Sreeni called an auto and recklessly bargained the price for the 3.5k.m ride to around 20 rs,even the auto-driver was taken by surprise.All through the bumpy ride,Sreeni was thinking about what reason he would give Laxmi for his 10 minutes delay and how he would be able to manage the day's coffee bill with just 30rs that he would be left with.

4.15 p.m..
Laxmi was standing few meters adjacent to their meeting place with her head covered with her pink Dhupattaa,to escape from the scorching sun.Inside the dark,tinted glass doors of Coffee Day,the waiters were busy arranging their tables and cleaning the floors to make way for another exciting business day.As Sreeni jumped out of the auto,it was well evident even from a far distance that he was apologetic,as he almost went down his knees,twisted his hands and clasped his ears in a religious fashion.Laxmi couldn't hold her serious looks for long and burst into laughter noticing Sreeni's antics.
"Sorry daa Luckoo..I got late..12-B-Worst Bus service in the whole universe!Shanian.."
"Ok daa Chikkoo...cool it..I myself got here only 2 minutes ago..!
As they walked towards the cafe with Sreeni taking charge of Laxmi's mickey-mouse bag laden with 15 kgs of Engg books with Laxmi insisting that she would carry the Gun-holster shaped Engg-drawing T-scale herself,the air was reverberating with the words "Luckoo..Chickoo";one of those funny little unique aliases the 2 addressed each other with bountiful affection.The next 3 and half hrs saw one medium glass of Arabian Mocha,being shared by the 2 habitual coffee drinkers,sipped with 2 straws from the same cup at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes,to the bewilderment of the cafe owner and the waiters..!

Laxmi's dad - Mr.Sheshadri Iyengar was a septegenerian who had retired as the headmaster of the Tirunelveli Govt High School and Sreeni's dad - Ramakrishna Iyer was comparitively a younger man in his 50's who had got voluntary retirement from his Income Tax Dept job and was busy with small-scale shirt business and occasional R.S.S meetings.
Both Laxmi's mom and Sreeni's mom worked in the Telephone department which was a boon to them as both of their houses had 2 free telephone connections.Sreeni's sisters- Kamali and Vimali, who were twins had a gazillion friends calling them but Sreeni never had to worry about the phones being engaged as he had a line entirely dedicated to him in his room.Laxmi's recently married brother -Vinodh was employed in Bangalore at Vadafone telephones(his mom's Telephones Dept boss' recommendation had worked)and shuttled between bangalore,Madras and his occasional trips abroad.

7.00 p.m..
Sreeni cursed the 12-B bus as it sprang a surprise this time emerging out of the blue,as Sreeni and Laxmi boarded it from 2 different entrances, with the destination being Laxmi's SSI computer class..Sreeni always had a thrill in getting through the rearside of the bus and manoeuvring his way through the crowded bus towards the front where Laxmi waited for him;that way he avoided the stigma being attached to them in public that they were lovers.He had scanned through all the shops near the SSI building and every alternate week he would be a customer to a different shop where he would wait for an hr till Laxmi's class got over.Today it was the "Murugappa Chair repair Cantre" where Sreeni had given the old wire chair from his house to be re-wired.For the past few days,his getaway phrase at home was "Amma..Chair pinnitaanaanu paaka poraen..vara late aagum!".Lately the shop owner had started quipping to his colleague that in his 35 years of service he had never noticed such a customer who was so passionate about his old chair that he visited it daily to check it getting repaired!

9.36 p.m..
As Sreeni finished his dinner cutting short his favorite curd rice part and the 25 paise A.R.R betelnut paaku that followed it,his mom gave a weird look at the twins ,which transformed into a smile as they watched him spring back to his room to pick up the phone at the 3rd ring.As all others in the table were reminiscing about their day that had got over,Sreeni's Arabian Night had just begun.Taking a leaf out of a popular tamil movie song "Sangeetha swarangal" from Azhagan,both Sreeni and Laxmi would have their TVs on for the next 4 hours and indulge in their ever-interesting conversations.Every incident spanning from the upma that she ate in the morning to the college romeos proposing to her to the pet dogs-Johny and Danny getting sick,was discussed to the minutest detail.

To be continued..

Posted by rajesh |


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