“Hellooooo Chennai, ellarukkum ennoda Kaalai vanakkam, Good Morning, Shubhodhyam, Shubha Munjane, Suprabhaatham, Sat Sri Akal….Salaaaam Namaste!! Indha cosmopolitan good morning wishes kku pinnadi oru periya flash back iruku. Inikki Radio Mirchi oda 4th Anniversary Celebration. Unga ellaroda anbum aadharavum annnndd non-stop Chennai Hotness dhaan indha Radio Mirchi kku masala ve. Indha sandoshamana nerathulla, unga kitta naan sila vishayangal share pannikanum nnu virumbaren. Aana adhukku munnadi, neenga indha song kettu enjoy pannunga. Oru beautiful day, oru amazing morning, oru semmayana song….Stay tuned to Radio Mirchi…Idhu semma hot machi…”… and RJ Karthik’s voice faded off to allow the strings of A R Rehman’s Fanaa into the speakers. ("Hellooooo Chennai, a very good morning to all of you, Shubhodhyam, Shubha Munjane, Suprabhaatham, Sat Sri Akal... ….Salaaaam Namaste!! There’s quite a flashback behind these cosmopolitan wishes. Today’s Radio Mirchi’s 4th Anniversary Celebration. Your love, support annnnd the non-stop Chennai Hotness have always been an extra masala to Radio Mirchi. I would like to share something with all of you on this happy occasion. But before that, I would like you to listen to this song. A beautiful day… An amazing morning… an awesome song….Stay tuned to Radio Mirchi.. It’s Hot!!....")
“Arrrrrrrgghh!!, Switch that damn thing off right now!” Jahnavi bellowed like a wounded buffalo. In her sleep-driven haziness, her aim traced a perfect trajectory (which is otherwise pretty impossible) and the pillow projectiled onto the music system, shaking its very foundation and landed next to my feet.
“Oh, shut up!” I growled and pulled the plug off. That sister of mine had to ruin everything for me. I walked out of the bedroom, grumbling about my misfortune in getting a sister whose big head and an equally big mouth always had to compete with each other. I can’t believe her friends didn’t lose her in Ooty. I had specifically told Priya to dump her at Doddabetta and run for her life. Four blissful days without Jahnavi could have been extended to an entire lifetime. I sat down at the dining table and kept twirling an apple on its fat bottom. Why did it have to be an RJ that I had to have this huggggee crush on? If it had been a VJ, I could have at least stared at him on TV.
Amma caught my hand as I was about to give the apple an opportunity to present another circus act.
“Enna di indha thalai mudi? Yennai thechi evalo naal aaradhu? Pah, apdiye, kanji pona pullu maadhri.” (What’s this hair of yours? When did you last apply oil? It looks like dry grass.)
Catching hold of my poor hair, she applied so much oil on my head that I contracted temporary olfactory delusion. I smelled like a mobile coconut grove along the backwaters of good old Kerala.
“Why did you have to apply so much oil? I am going to wash it off anyway.” I got up resolutely. With strength unimaginable, Amma pushed me back into the chair and added with a menacing glint in her eye, “If you wash it off today, I’ll apply it again. You better keep it on till tomorrow. Let it at least lubricate your brain cells.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“He’s sooooo cute right?” I sighed dreamily.
“Yeah… extremely so.” Jahnavi replied back, distractedly.
“I love his voice. It just wraps itself around me… like Amma’s old shawl.”
“I know. He’s too good.”
“His work is so unique. Avan ellam engeyo irukka vendiyavan” (He’s better off being somewhere else)
“True. He is best suited for Hollywood. I think that’s where he must head after this.”
“You really think so? But he is still young. He would need some more experience.”
“He’s almost 45 Anu. Some more experience would account for a bald head, a toothless smile and a walking stick down the lane. Apram, “Father of the Bride” thaan. Are you nuts?”
I stared at her and then it struck me.
“You idiot, I’m not talking about Shah Rukh Khan. I am talking about RJ Karthik.”
“Oh avana… theriyum. Amma told me. His athai athimber are in California and he is staying in their flat for the time being. Chance kadaichappo ellam avana terrace lerndhu thongi thongi sight adikare. Romba sight adikaadhey, kannu lollaya poida pordhu” (Ah, him, I know. Given a chance, you’re bending over the parapet wall and ogling at him. Don’t do that often. Your eyes will go for a toss.)
“Adi paavi… dhrogi. You’re talking as if you’ve never ogled at any guy at all. Periya Sati Savitri nnu nennappo? (Traitor!! You think you’re Sati Savitri?)” I spluttered, a little miffed that she had noticed it all.
“Alright, so this Karthik is our neighbour. And he is cute, got an amazing voice, awesome hair, a sexy stance and is a chamathu Iyer Paiyyan. So?
I realized then that Jahnavi’s genes could not have belonged to human species at all. Her rudimentary DNA strand must have had a weird time, trying to comprehend as to what shape to take. Shaking my head, I decided that she was chromosomically better off, falling in love with amoeba under a microscope. They are all the same and they do not talk back.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The bell rang and I refused to open the door. I stayed put in my place with a Clive Cussler book in hand. Voices from the living room strayed into mine and revelation struck… Oh yes…aweessoommee!! I touched my head by mistake and… OH NO!!!…nooooooooo. Karthik was in the living room and I could hear Amma calling out for me. Jahnavi was snoozing away happily. Traitor!! Ava porandhu enna prayojanam? (What’s the use of her birth anyway?). I got up and paced the room. Biting away all my carefully home-manicured nails, I wondered what to do. The en suite door was ajar and my desperate eyes landed on a towel.
Mata Anuradha Devi granted an audience to RJ Karthik and Amma’s eyes nearly popped out when she saw my head wrapped in the towel in a very bizarre way. I guess my orange kurta added to my image as well and I nervously smiled at him.
Amma managed to regain her composure quickly and I could see her understand her daughter’s vanity.
“Anu, it seems Karthik is very bored at home. Can you…” Amma paused for a tiny second and my heart leaped. Oooooohhh… “….give him some books to read? You have a pretty big collection, don’t you?”
I nodded my head mutely, a bit disappointed. Amma went into the kitchen to get some coffee for him and I led him into the tiny study where I had set up my bookshelf.
“How’re you doing Anu? You gave quite a shock to all of us that day.” he ventured.
“Oh, I’m doing much better.” I smiled weakly.
I could feel him staring at my towel. I cleared my throat and took some books out.
“What’s with the towel? New fashion?” he grinned.
I jerked back, lest he smelled the coconut oil. Oh God, naan enna paavam panninen. Amma va naan apram vechikaren…(What sin did I commit? Amma better answer all my questions.). I hoped and prayed he wouldn’t cite this as a joke on air the next day.
“It’s nothing to do with fashion. It’s to keep my head a bit cool.” I finished lamely. Cool?
“Yes. Kerala style!!”
He refused politely the coffee that Amma offered him and left with two of my books.
The towel fell off my head finally.
Ammmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
to be cont...