Thursday, 7 January 2010

That Greek God... Part 6

“I should get married… to at least beat this recession period.” Jahnavi quipped, crunching on some potato crisps.

Vidya and Supraja giggled in acquiescence, while Gautham glared at me. I ignored it religiously and continued pouring out the cool orange juice into the glasses set on the coffee table.

“Did your father decide to throw you out of the house to save on some monetary funds?” enquired Nakul in all amused gallantry.

Jahnavi ignored the jibe and caught on to the last embers of her statement with positive enthusiasm, “Actually if you all look at it, it’s quite a lucrative venture.”

Ending the conversation over his mobile phone with a tap to the end button, Shashwat grinned engagingly, “So how do you propose to go about it?”

“It’s very simple- find a millionaire and get married to him.” Jahnavi replied without batting an eyelid.

Nakul choked on his drink, “Machaan, she is the devil incarnate. No wonder, wise guys stay away from girls.”

Raising a brow at that, Gautham smirked, “As long as we have guys like you, girls like Jahnavi would definitely want such dim-witted millionaires in return for interludes of credit crunch, Wise Guy,” and he regarded me with a strange look, “Are you also looking for someone similar, Anu?”

“The answer is Veerappan.” Vidya intervened mischievously before I could say something.

A split second of stunned silence gave way to uncontainable guffaws from everyone. Apparently, I discovered, my friends were singularly determined to throw Veerappan into my already pathetic love-life at every possible turn.

I just couldn’t picture myself as the village belle who would come running (with arms outstretched on the sides) to the singular bus stop where the only bus for the day would somehow manage to drop off a very ecstatic Veerappan (who’s returned from the town). I would rather commit myself to third degree torture than scuttle screaming out, “Maaaaaammmmuuuuuuu”, at the end of which:

1. My vocal cords would have singed out on account of burning.
2. Director Bharathiraja would shout “Cut” and the shot be approved.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is something logically paradoxical about walking down the streets of T Nagar a week before Diwali in the company of a younger sister who is persistently preoccupied with a mobile phone. Your best ally at combating the thronging crowds is lost to the rampant attraction of communication technology and you are left alone to claw through it all, at a pace which guarantees getting past one and a half people at a time.

Nearly three hours later, I managed to pull her out as she was using her spare arm to send a text message to someone.

“Cut it out!” Jahnavi complained distractedly.

“Do you even realise that a small kid wiped his gooey palms on your dupatta after finishing his candy bar?” I asked, completely irritated with her.

She whirled around with a shriek and dragged the end of her dupatta out. Her mobile phone fell down in the melee and blacked out. Juggling some heavy shopping bags, with her cell phone perched precariously between my fingers, I triumphantly pushed her toward the two-wheeler at the parking lot. Finally!!

“You’re going to ride now and I am going to sit behind you.” I announced menacingly.

Grumbling about the tyrannies unleashed by older sisters, she keyed the engine to life and waited till I hopped on. I would never forget the journey back home…

The bike protested sadly as it wheezed forward in the traffic. We were trying to convince Appa to donate the relic to the Madras Museum. Appa, however, was under the firm conviction that the “antique” would fetch us our own feature in a newspaper supplement. I am surprised it had not even made front page news already for holding up traffic even when the entire road held only a bullock cart for competition.

“Hey girls!...” I turned around as my thoughts were interrupted. “…do you need some towing with that archaeological stuff?” sneered a heartrending excuse for a monochromic grizzly bear, right next to my ear.

“Why yes, you jerk. Why don’t we have a little discussion over it, if you manage to survive this?” jeered Jahnavi and gave a quick twist to the handlebars of his bike. Distracted, the guy ended up banging into the car in the front. I never knew if he managed to survive the consequences. But my ears having been subjected to a steady onslaught of abuses and curses surging unreservedly out of Jahnavi’s mouth, started bleeding and by the time we stopped at the next traffic signal, I was numb with exhaustion.

I spotted a brilliantly coloured tropical bird a few feet away and wondered if the migration season was on. The bird shrugged its bright plumes and scratched its eyes with a couple of grubby fingers. Wait a minute, did I say fingers? Yes, I did and out of that radiant plumage, ladies and gentlemen, emerged the most spectacular chunk of solid rock that I had ever seen. It turned around, bared its teeth to grin at me and then I realised I was staring into Veerappan’s doleful eyes.

Jahnavi narrowed her eyes when she saw him. Turning around, she smiled painfully.

“Anu, did you see him?” she enquired.

“I did. Just now.” I replied back weakly. It is as if he is the highest paid actor in my blog. He turns up in every act.

“He has been stalking for quite some time now. I noticed him in the rear view mirror. I will handle this.”

Flailing her hands out, she beckoned him to come over to the edge of the road on our side. The lights turned green and we parked under a tree. He maneuvered his two- wheeler slowly in our direction and came to a stop with a wide smile on his face.

He was the first chicken that I had seen which was at its happiest on its way to a slaughterhouse. You shouldn’t misunderstand me, but Jahnavi finds her peace of mind when she gives her voice some space.

“Veerappan, what were you doing?” she began, without a preamble.

“Hi, Anu, I am sorry, I don’t know your sister’s name.” he smiled genially. I almost felt sorry for him.

“That is not necessary,” she snapped, “You were stalking us. Yes or no?”

“I… what?" he spluttered, not yet comprehending that a single word would trigger my boiling sister off at this point. Believe me; I have been at the receiving end.

“Was that a yes or a no?” Jahnavi snarled. I could see she was ready to bite his head off, however awful it tasted.

“Listen, I think you must be mistaken.” he tried in a complacent tone and I heard the Saavu Melam (Funeral Song) at a distance, but approaching us steadily.

“I will tell you who’s been mistaken. What do you think of yourself? Periya pancha-varna kili ya? Don’t you have any sense? Anu doesn’t know how to say no. But I do. So stop following her. Do you get me?”

Tapping her foot impatiently, she waited till he assimilated her outburst. When he didn’t speak for a second or so, she pounced on him. This time, I detached myself from the group and scanned the road for an auto rickshaw.

She continued giving her voice-box a powerful work out for a full ten minute phase after which she took a brief sabbatical. Two curious by-standers approached her and asked if there was any problem. A several danda naka-danaku nakas later, they beat a hasty retreat and I speculated if I had to bribe Veerappan to get out of the place before Jahnavi attempted homicide. I turned around to interrupt her when I noticed the emotion on Veerappan’s face. It seemed spine-chillingly familiar. He was wiping the sweat off his brow and a cigarette packet was peeping out of the pocket in his yellow jacket. Bringing myself back, to the sonic boom, I caught traces of Jahnavi’s hollering venture.

“…yes, that! So why do you smoke? Is it because your favourite actor Vijay smokes? Can’t you read English? Doesn’t every cigarette packet carry a statutory warning? You not only want to go down voluntarily, but want to pull us down along with you. How can you be so selfish…”

I then knew that Jahnavi had gone too far this time and I had to stop her. It all clicked at the same time in my mind. You never ask a guy to quit smoking. Never, ever! That is the most fundamental rule to be followed. Any breach of that rule would have the guy thinking you cared for him.

Now I understood the wealth of feeling on Veerappan’s face- a look of absolute, honest adulation; for Jahnavi. The same look that he had before dropping down to a knee at my feet.

Of puppy love and true love…

No comments:

Post a Comment