Posted on Leave a comment

Mouth shouid open or shut when it should

 

We live on hopes and trusts . The belief that I will see the sunrise tomorrow gives me good sleep this night. The belief that my mouth will open again gives me courage to shut it after eating food or shouting at Ammalu . But for trust and belief , we will be living a life of fear and uncertainty.!

I used to teach a song to little Shasta, who is now with her maternal grandfather in Chennai

‘കാക്കെ, കാക്കെ, കൂടെവിടെ —-

‘KAkkae kAkkae koodevidae?! The same song I was teaching Ananu, 15 years ago

Imagine my agony if I can’t close my mouth to say ‘kae‘ after ‘Ka’ !

Imagine my agony if I can’t close my mouth to say ‘lu’ after ‘Amma ‘ while romancing with Ammalu.. you know what will be the consequence.?

She will yell : ‘even now Amma! Amma , Amma, always Amma!
Go to your Amma; she will bottle feed you’

Is this the age for me to be bottle-fed?

God is great ! After ‘kA’ I can say ‘kae ‘ !
Not a small matter! After ‘Amma’, I can say ‘lu’. Not a small matter!

You’re not unconvinced ?

Read this story :

Anantha Jyothi, my Habsiguda home. Sometime last year before my leaving for USA.

Soon after getting up from the bed, I open the main door to look at the rising Sun and pray ‘jayathu, jayathu Soorya ‘, as usual.

There stands in the opposite gate an angel wearing a Kerala sari, apparently the new tenant . I stand awe struck, my mouth wide opened at her charm , without noticing the fat man with a harsh look, obviously her husband, beside her. I try to shut my mouth realising that it is ungentlemanly to stay long in that position but alas, my mouth refuses to close!

‘Don’t turn your face,’ warns my intellect,’ Ammalu is watching you from the hall’

I become nervous as I can’t either stand at my door, mouth opened , like a ‘cheenganni’ or alligator when a newly married couple was watching from their house front, right opposite ; nor could I turn and face Ammalu!

Ammalu commands ‘get a salt packet, please’

‘Why salt in the morning ? Are you going to add salt instead of sugar in my morning coffee?, I wanted to ask her but my mouth refuses to move ! That was the first time in life I learned the fact that mouth has to close and open to perform its task and it can’t remain either opened or closed.

I walk down to the Kirana store, ignoring the surprised staring of the neighbors on both sides of the street at me, walking mouth wide opened, (like a cheenkanni.)

The agony was not over. To express my need to the shop owner, I had to open my mouth! My mouth was in the open state but I can’t say a word !

(Later, I learned that the husband of the damsel had used a Malayala mantravadam to keep my mouth motionless. Later , having learned from the neighbors that I’m a gentleman, he released the bondage using an antidote mantram)

We don’t bother to understand what a great system we are provided by God while sending us to this world ! Our mouth opens and closes; our eyes too, at our will ! Our hands and legs fold and unfold at our will! Our eyes move horizontally and vertically, our neck turns to our right and left, up and down. Our hand turns to scratch our back or leg moves to the front to kick a ball. These are great gifts by God and we won’t realize their importance till they protest.

Baghavan ! Keep my organs in tact, in working condition, well fabricated so that I can see what I like to , eat what I want to and close when I don’t want to see or eat or talk . Other than these, I have no activities in this world now !

Cartoon courtesy – my cousin Ramki Kumar, the popular wedding cartoonist of Chennai,

Posted on Leave a comment

Giving a small push

 

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 .

Cartoon courtesy.

My cousin Ramki Kumar, the popular wedding cartoonist of Chennai

Posted on Leave a comment

Rush to the sick mother

‘Gurudeva, my mother is seriously ill’

‘How old is she?’

‘Don’t know her exact age, but she will  certainly be older to me. I remember seeing her from my childhood.’

‘Intelligent boy! Hurry and take your mother’s blessings. You need it for your survival and future ‘

‘I’m going to loan the cooking skill, as wanted by my wife, before my mother kicks the bucket’

‘Your wise is not only intelligent but smart too.  The lockdown is not likely to end soon and you’ll have a skill in hand to survive and serve your wife’

‘Will my mother be angry, if I tell her the purpose?’

‘Never. In fact she will be too glad that you won’t starve, in her absence ‘

Posted on Leave a comment

Only marriage can tell you

‘SP Sir, your friend is critical. His pulse  rate is going down rapidly. His eyes are not opening’ 

‘Don’t lose hope sister. Ask his wife to stand close to the bed for ten minutes and call me’

‘Sir, success! The moment Mrs. Seshu went close to her husband, his pulse rate went up. It is normal now. But, he pushed my hands away.  I’m yet to change his dressing’

‘No cause for concern. He pushed your hands away from his body thinking those  belonged to his wife. Next time, if he repeats, stay put and observe what he does’

‘SP Sir, Success! I waited near his bed. His hands were searching for my hands. I could do my job. He likes his wife, obviously. Wonder why, earlier, he behaved as if he disliked  her’

‘Are you married, Sister?’

‘Not yet’

‘You will know the answer when you get married ‘

Posted on Leave a comment

Question of adjustment

‘Ammalu, if you make a little more adjustments, we may perhaps live more happily’

‘There is room only for one person in this chair and I can’t therefore accommodate you. I don’t mind handing over the chair to you and sit on the floor ‘

‘You didn’t get my point. I don’t want space in your chair. I want you to adjust in life, in our living together under the same roof’

‘That too is no problem. I can climb up the roof, though with difficulty and you can comfortably live in the house’ 

‘Oh, my God! How to make you understand ? OK . Don’t make any adjustment. Let us continue to live, as we are now’

‘That adjustment, I’m for’ 

Posted on Leave a comment

Beyond a wife’s expectation

‘You forgot to add sugar in the evening  coffee, Ammalu’

‘I gave you tea in the evening and not coffee’ 

‘And your Sambar for dinner tasted like rasam’

‘I served you rasam for dinner, not Sambar ‘

‘You’re kidding. I did bite a drumstick piece.  You add vegetables to rasam?’

‘What you bit was coriander leaves’

‘What’s happening to you, Ammalu?’

‘Nothing for me. You’re aging’

‘And you’re becoming younger, my dear wife ?’

‘Thank God, you realized that I’m your wife and not a Murinkai Kai piece  in the rasam, I served’.

‘Ammalu, a girl is dear till she becomes wife. For me, you’re dear even after living together for over four decades’

‘SP, you’re adorable at times and tolerable most of the time!

‘A woman can’t expect more from her man’

Posted on Leave a comment

Ammalu is always right

‘Ammalu, I couldn’t believe what I saw in Kittu’s house, this evening’

‘What happened? There was a bear sleeping on his cot?’

‘No, he was washing his wife’s clothes. The other day I saw him cleaning the kitchen’

‘Who’s wife’s and whose kitchen?’

‘His’

‘Then, what is your concern? Husbands are not unselfish. For giving something, kittu would be reaping something much more valuable’

‘What could be that? I will find out from him’

‘No need. We both are too late for that ‘give and take’

Posted on Leave a comment

Ammalu is always right

‘Ammalu, every one, except you, like what I post in the Facebook ‘

‘I like YOU. What else do you want ?’

‘You really?’

‘Now, I don’t like you’

‘Why Ammalu?’

‘You should have asked that question when we met first and not after living together for over fifty years’

‘Ammalu, now I accept that there is some meaning in what you said’

‘I like that ‘some’, SP.  Behave always like a learned man, which you’re. Behave always like a honest husband which you’re . Behave always like MY HUSBAND, not Ammini’s, Paru’s or anyone other woman’s which you are not. Thank you.  Let MAtA Saraswathi give you knowledge’

‘You said just now that I’m knowledgeable!’

‘Don’t know how long it will stay. You’re so unpredictable’

———————————-

” ‘You are too modern, Ammalu is too conservative’, say my friends”

”No problem, SP. I will change in a jiffy”

” SP ? Jiffy?  What language is this Ammalu?”

”The first lesson in modernism . Shall we go to the next?”

” Let us remain illiterates but live in peace and dignity”

”Your friends?”

”I will tackle them”

Posted on Leave a comment

Ammalu is always right

‘Ammalu, the day is not far, when as Lord Budha did, I’ll leave you and go away, far, far away, while you’re in sound sleep’.

‘Give a tip before I go to sleep’

‘For what ? To fall at my feet and cry and cry to stop me ?’

‘No. To pack your thermos with a tumbler of coffee’

‘Oh, what a compassion ! Trying to bribe me with one tumbler of coffee? Why only one tumbler, madam ? Why not two ?’

‘For the second coffee, you’ll be back home ‘

—————————————-

‘I bought the steps, dolls, saris and other stuff for the Golu, from my hard earned money. What’s your contribution Ammalu, other than placing the dolls an the steps, as you do with the vegetables inside the fridge? And for that you get all the credit. ‘ Ammalu’s Golu, Ammalu’s Golu!’- everyone talks!

And me , nowhere nearby!’

‘You should have told me about your grievance when I was arranging the dolls. Even now, it is not late. I will make space for you to occupy a prominent place among the dolls, on one condition – you shouldn’t open your mouth’

‘For singing ?’

‘No, in appreciation, every time a woman enters to watch the Golu’

—————————————

‘Ask for anything you want, Ammalu. I’m like Karna of Mahabarath’

‘Your mother threw you into river soon after you were born?’

Posted on Leave a comment

‘Your attempt to argue with me on science, art, literature, history and geography is inversely proportional to your intellect, knowledge and wisdom. Ammalu’

‘God made us like that. With directly proportional geography and other things, I would not have gifted you with our children. Have some common sense, SP!’

—————————-

‘Ammalu, after all for whom should I save money, if not for your pleasure? For the Navaratri expenses, I’m sanctioning  a liberal grant of Rs. 101 this year. Enjoy’.

‘Do you want me to invite my friends (many are your friends too) for the Kolu or not?’

‘Yes, of course. Invite every one. Ammini, Paru, Parukkutty, Karthiayani, Kamalakshi, all your friends ‘

‘Ammukutty, Thailambal?’

‘Yes, Yes, call all your club members’

‘Are you mad? If I call all the Club members, I may need Rs. 5000 or even more’

‘What’s Rs 5000 these days, Ammalu? Draw Rs.10,000 or whatever you want!’

——————————-

‘Can we discuss our problems and come to an understanding, Ammalu? I’m your husband’

‘You asked a question and gave the answer too. What is there to discuss now?’

————————-

‘Can you spare a few minute for me Ammalu? I’m your husband’

‘I can but not immediately. I’m your wife‘

—————————————-

‘Ammalu, now I feel that I made a mistake by saying ‘yes’ immediately when your father asked me whether I liked you, during our very first meet’.

‘Immediately? You were awestruck by my beauty and sat for full  five  minutes, mouth wide-opened! Your father had to sprinkle a palmful of water to bring you back to normalcy. Without his asking whether you would like to  marry me, you started nodding your head in agreement so forcefully that your mother had to apply balm for a week to remove the sprain’