Wearing a gold colour silk Kurtha ( courtesy Megh) and a silk uthareeyam , I went to attend a Kutcheri, music concert, in the Secunderabad Keyes High School open air theater sometime ago..
The authorities offered me a seat in the front, respecting my age and presuming that either I’m a musician or a cloth shop owner willing to sponsor a day’s program, going by my silk clothes, kadukkans, kumkum pottu, ornamental walk stick etc
Within a few minutes after the program started , an young lady seated next , told me something which I couldn’t follow. She, then, wrote on the back of her entrance pass:
“Thampuran ! thAlam thetti’
-my Lord, your beats are wrong!
That is the general meaning. The concealed meaning is something is going wrong. Nothing can go wrong with me . So, I took the general meaning.
My hear aids, due to severe head shakes to show others that I was enjoying music, got loosened from their seats , scattered somewhere! I was not therefore hearing the music but didn’t want to show others I wasn’t. Hence my wrong Tharalam or beats .
There were nearly a thousand people attending the concert, many fully involved in the music . How to search for my two small instruments in that crowd ? I would be a nuisance if I start search, but there was no other way, as I can’t hear without the aids . Moreover , Vuday my son in law paid 1000/2000$s and I was told equally good quality is not available in India. The light was dim, my eye sight poor and my knees non cooperative . Not an easy job to bend down my head and body and crawl in between the rows of chairs occupied by men, women and children . Audience will object, musicians too . Young women might ignore me as an innocent old man but old women? No . They will never approve any one especially an old man touching even their cloth by accident and in the process if my hand happened to touch anywhere in their body even feet, that will be the end of Hastha nakshatram, Kanya rAsi jAthaya—
And moreover what a big man I’m ! what is my status in the society ! What is my prestige ! And how costly are the things I wear! Lucknow silk Kurtha , diamond kadukkens, pure gold neck chain and rings etc ! And me to crawl before the audience or under them ?
Never, never SP !
My neck started paining by too many shakes snd more over, the smell of decoction kApoi and hot vada, from the make shift restaurant in the premises, had started spreading in the air
I left for home.
Declaring in high pitch, ‘ Ammalu, kutcheri was pramadam! You missed a golden opportunity ‘, I entered my house.
Ammalu as usual against my bluffs , was cool and non-caring.
I was unhappy seeing her neglect.
‘You did really miss ‘ I repeated.
She looked deep into my eyes first, then smiled and said ;
‘What I missed was the amazing scene of your crawling in the little space on the floor between two rows of men, women and children, at times placing your hand on their laps resulting their screaming at you; I missed the scene of the baghavathar staring at you and the mridangist and violinist using force while handling the instruments to express their anger.’,
As if that insult was not enough , she added , ‘ you shouldn’t have bent your head before a woman to do thoppukaranam for searching the hear aids kneeling under her chair !’
I was silent for a minute, slowly raised my head with the proud of a gentleman husband told her ;
‘ Ammalu, can you ever imagine my head bowing down before a woman other than you, in this world ?’
My question instantly lifted her ego sky high and she brought the hear aid box from inside , kept those on the small table and advised ‘Now on, never forget to wear these while going out’
It is very easy to handle women if you know how to give a small push to their ego .
My cousin Ramki Kumar, the popular wedding cartoonist of Chennai