Tag Archives: love

Driving Dearest Dad

Stoppppp… Shift up, shift up, shift up. Slowly… Watch it… No slow down. Hit the brakes… No wait… that’s the accelerator….

A couple of years, or so ago, I would have been at the receiving end of these instructions, being barked into my ear by a driving instructor, hanging on to dear life; he pretending to teach me driving, me pretending to learn, on a bulky, bare boned, Maruthi Omni, on the pot hole filled roads of Ambattur. Who would have known, a couple of years later, A ‘road worthy‘ and ‘licensed to drive‘ Sudhakar, in his shiny red Maruti Swift, would be barking the same old instructions, to a visually excited soul, loving every minute of his time at the wheel, learning to drive with a unshakeable confidence in his instructor, something which even I never have in myself and my driving abilities. Dad, was loving it.

It was a reversal of roles in a way. A few good years down the memory lane, he was my teacher when I drove my first set of wheels. I’ve never had any vehicle to call my own. Except perhaps, the second hand BSA Champ cycle, that a family friend had ‘gifted’ me, because he was leaving to Calcutta with his family. The small, red, rusting BSA Champ. I still remember the time, when Dad held me as I steadied myself perched on the cushion of that bicycle. Which young boy can forget his first time on his bicycle, back in the time when training wheels did not exist, with his dad behind him, running to keep up with his son, providing support, as he pedalled his first few steps on his wheels, only to be zooming around in Pulsars and Karizmas of the world a few years later. You would have cried, thrown a fit, faked an injury, but Dad would have always been next to you. Supporting you and your bike, every time you lost balance. He taught me to ride a bike, I was teaching him to drive a car. Life had come full circle.

Dad was as excited as me, perhaps even more, when the Swift rode into our driveway. His son had got a car. And with his own money. He beamed with pride when he first sat with me as I took him for a spin. Beamed, yes. Perhaps trying his best to hide his nervousness with a smile, during my initial driving days. I still remember that he tried to be my navigator, GPS, proximity sensor and traffic police, all rolled into one. I remember it clearly, when I almost hit an auto which came speeding out of a curve. That was it. Two good looking ladies on an activa, standing next to my rolled down windows couldn’t help giggle, as dad shouted at me in full view of public. The auto driver didn’t need to say a word. I still think he got terrified of dad, that day. 🙂 Dad taught me his mantra that day. “In Chennai, you ain’t the King of the Road. That title is reserved to Water Tankers, MTC Buses and Autos. You are a mere subject, using the road. All you are expected to do is, drive slow and steady, and pray that nobody takes his frustration on you.” For a guy, who has been driving a two wheeler in Chennai for over a decade now, you usually take his advice with eyes closed. I did, and ever since then, I have had cycles overtake my Swift day after day. 😀

Dad has had his share of vehicles that he has proudly rode. Dad has told me that he had a cycle in his secondary school days, which he treasured till his college days. He still smiles, when he tells me the story of his first time on his cycle, and how he almost broke the behind of an innocent villager in Salem, when he ‘parked’ the vehicle between the legs of a guy having tea. He cracks me up everytime he says the story. In the 80s dad got his first set of motorised wheels, the swanky, new, blue Bajaj Chetak, which was almost like the Pulsar of the 80s. I still remember the time when I would proudly stand in front of ‘Hamara Bajaj’, pretending to ride it with a “vroooooom”, only to be jolted, everytime dad changed those stiff hand gears with a thud. 🙂 Dad prized his Chetak. I would drool at the Vespas and Kinetic Hondas of the Nineties, but I could identify from a distance when dad came home, with his trusty blue Chetak neighing away under his legs. When we moved to Chennai however, we had to leave the Chetak behind. Dad moved on to the trendy TVS Spectra, which still lies with a perfect engine but a broken body, in the corner downstairs. And off late, Dad is the proud owner of a nippy little Honda Activa, which I helped Dad get after I saw him pushing the Spectra home one night.

But all this time, Dad had never had the chance of driving a car. A dream, that his son had fulfilled only recently. You could fathom the deep desire the man had to drive a car, that perhaps only motoheads like Dad and me could understand. I had caught him a couple of times, wiping the car, after I had just washed it, making sure it was spic and span. I have seen him running to the balcony, when a neighbours car starts shrieking its Security Alarm, to check if it isn’t our Swift. I have asked him a lot of times if he wanted to drive the car, but he would always turn me down saying I needed to drive well first. I know for sure, that he was scared if he would do some damage to the car. Then one day, very recently, he signed up for driving classes with the same instructor who taught me. after a few classes of learning the fundamentals, Dad asked me this Saturday. “Dai… Will you teach me driving?” I just smiled, and grabbed my keys immediately.

Dad was nervous as we sat in the car. “Do you want to drive now dad?” I asked him, as I removed the car cover. “No da. Lets go to that T.I Cycle ground. That oughta give us some space.” said Dad, as he wiped that little puff of dust on the windshield. The T.I Cycle Ground was one huge ground, which could accomodate 8 evening cricket teams, playing in parallel. We drove there absolutely sure, that the ground would be empty. Afterall no one plays cricket in the midday Sun in Chennai, do they. Well, not everyone atleast. And as predicted, we had the whole ground to ourselves. Dad nestled into the driver seat as I introduced him to the control panel of the Swift. He knew the A, B, C’s alright, but he was nervous when he got behind the Swift. I told him it was alright, and assured him I was right next to him. Now, lot of people, I know, would have laughed their head off when I assured them that I was right next to them, but it did calm Dad’s nerves. And a few minutes later, Dad was away in the Swift, with his proud son sitting next to him. The clutch-accelerator combo was difficult for him to begin with. But after a while, he got the hang of it. A couple of false gear shifts happened, sometimes, he accelerated too fast, sometimes, the car just stopped abruptly, but slowly and surely, Dad was getting to know the beast. It was fun sitting next to him, laughing, smiling and turning the steering with him, as we negotiated the bumps, the odd rock which would have been stumps in the last match that was held here, and tiny pools of water filled with yesterday night’s rain. I got out, and tried to make a hazard course of sorts, for Dad to drive through, and he did just about fine. There were a couple of times when Dad looked at me apologetically, when we thundered over the bumps when he forgot to slow down. I did not mind it at all, and just smiled back at dad. It was like seeing an eight year old in a candy store. All excited about eating all the sweets, and yet nervous as to what Mommy would say. That day, I was trying to be the man, who held his son’s bike, as he learnt to bike. Nothing he did, would make me angry. We spent a good couple of hours there, me trying to teach everything I knew, and he, an Ex-Principal of a School, listening to me with rapt attention. After that, Dad let me take over the wheel, and drive us home. I asked if he would want to drive to home now, and he said No with an exhausted shake of his head. “Maybe next week son, maybe next week.” Its strange, the places where a Father and Son can bond. During a Cricket match, watching movie, or just debating if iPhone rocks or Blackberry, over the morning paper. Today it just happened to be my Mauti Suzuki Swift.

I love my car. I spend a good part of my salary every month paying EMI for it. I wash it, clean it every week, and spend a good deal of my time on weekends behind its wheels. I blow my lid, when someone even leans on it, and I’m sure I’ll suffocate anyone who even attempts to scratch it. But if Dad wanted, he could take it apart and scratch it till the paint falls off, and I wouldn’t say a word. Because to me, the man who taught me to ride a cycle, and his dreams of driving a car, are way too important than this contraption of polished metal, synced gears, cams, shafts and wheels, that we call a car. When your dad’s old mobile, which you had passed onto him when you ‘upgraded’ to an N-Series, has a photo of his son grinning like crazy at his car, as the only photo in it, you know he is proud of you. Dad was all smiles as we rode back home after having driven the Swift through the perfect learning ground and he had learnt to negotiate sharp curves, and simulated traffic. Dad had done perfectly fine and he knew it. He looked at my driving license, feeling the lamination, smiled at me and said – “I totally enjoyed it da. I am driving kind of fine, no?” I nodded my head, “A few more sessions, and I’ll be fighting with you for the car, Dad” I joked. He smiled, thought for a while, and then turned to me and said with a twinkle in his eyes – “You are a good teacher da. Far better than those Driving school guys. Always be patient, thats the best way to teach. Someday you’ll be a good teacher to your kids as well.” 🙂

Then… At that very instance… A mere Love you, Dad seemed grossly inadequate…


Filed under General, Humor, Nostalgia, Stories

Dog Days Of Love

This was originally supposed to be my entry to the Non Human Love Story for my team in BPL’s Super 6 Round. But I found it a bit too ‘conventional’ and to be frank, quite long, for my own liking, and decided to go ahead with ‘She, Me and a Love Story‘ instead. On hindsight, that turned out to be a good decision, but I couldn’t resist posting this anyway… 🙂

As the harsh Summer Sun dimmed down over the horizon, life that was sheltered inside concrete buildings and air-conditioned rooms, gradually started coming out. Cries of children playing in the park waded through the air. Men with their cups of coffee stood on the balcony and watched the world. Bikes and cars zoomed on the street, perhaps ferrying eager occupants of them, to places of amusement on that warm Sunday evening. 1st Cross, Vivekanand Nagar – That’s what most called this place. But some… called it home.

One among them was a sprightly, young canine who lay on his side across a thick patch of grass before a rickety old gate, visibly tired and deep in thought. His fur wasn’t as shiny as some high pedigreed breeds brought up in luxury, but his athletic build and pointed ears introduced him as a very intimidating creature that could be fierce when defending his territory. And yet, those quiet eyes, brought in an air of charm around him. His brown colored body, lay there breathing heavy, with his tongue hanging out and eyes half closed. He was perhaps, in pain. His old, leather, collar read RAJU across it, amidst chipped edges and bite marks.

A stranger passing through the picturesque Vivekanand Nagar, chanced upon Raju’s street, and found the line of shady trees and a gentle breeze blowing through, immensely inviting. He decided to stop here for a break and walked towards an emotionally occupied Raju.

“Hello Partner!” the stranger barked at him, as he raised his neck up to see a dark, ragged, old, street dog, with a patch of white just above his head. He wore no collar, and his coat was dirty. However his eyes glowed with wisdom that could have only come from experience of having seen life, and whose legs bore scars from his journeys across the lands. “Hope you don’t mind me resting here for a while. I have a long journey ahead.”

Raju just nodded…

As the stranger settled himself down in the shade near Raju, he introduced himself. “I am Guru, dear friend. Guru da, is what people I love call me. I am a traveler. I love moving on and meeting people. The world, with the risk of sounding clichéd, is truly my home.”

Raju acknowledged with a customary bark. “Welcome Guru da. I am Raju. I stay with my master in this shack behind us. This area between that lamppost and this bin on the other side, well that’s my territory.”

“I see a collar around your neck, but I can spot a lean, mean, street dog when I see one. Been here all your life?”

“My mom, they say, was the meanest street dog to walk these streets. She died shortly after my birth, and Ram Singh, my master, who is a Goorkha here, has taken care of me like his own son. He gave me a name, this collar, and shelter in this old shack behind us. This is my world.”

“But… If I may say so… I see there is something eating you. I can see it on your face. I am an old timer my son, I’ve seen the world. I may be able to help you. Come on, tell me. What is the reason for this gloom in your heart?”

Raju raised his head to look at Guru. Nobody said anything for a while. Then Raju buried his face between his paws and let out a soft bark.


“Ah… young love… Tell me all about it.” Guru settled in close. This was going to be yet another love story.

— —

“I was your regular neighborhood dog, Guru da. People were scared of me. Strangers could never walk past me. The milkman, postman and the newspaper guy, all of them almost quit their job when asked to deliver to this street. I’ve chased cars and bikes, scared people away, got pelted stones at by innocent kids, got into brawls with the rival gangs of the nearby street, extorted meat and bones from the butcher down the road… and yet managed to be called a good dog by the people in this street. 🙂 I was blessed in that way, having Ram Singh as my master. I belonged to the street. I could do anything I want. I wasn’t like those wimpy rich dogs who barked their loudest behind the tall gates of their masters and never even let out a purr when they saw us in the streets. I always liked to leave my mark, if you know what I mean. 😉 This was my street and I enjoyed that power.

But then all this changed after she came to our street, Sheela. That cute, feisty, beautiful animal – Sheela.”

“Love at first sight eh? Typical at your age, boy.” Guru chimed.

“Woof!” Raju’s mood changed from introspection to excitement. His eyes gleamed with joy.

“They told me that the mean streak in me was from my mother. But I’ve been told many times by Mani, that my mom had a heart of gold. But I realized that a heart beats within me only after I saw Sheela. I still remember the day when she and her masters moved into that posh bungalow 3 houses down some time back.”

“Who’s Mani?” enquired Guru about the new character in the story.

“Oh he’s a very old, wise, family friend. A ghost is what I think people call him; He’s been haunting these streets for decades now. He knows these streets and the people in here like the back of his palm. He’s perhaps the only one who’s been in every house and knows everyone in and out. Perhaps as learned as you Guru da. Perhaps even more…” replied Raju.

“Oh no. These ghosts are far wiser than us canines. They’ve seen world differently. Pity we are the only ones who can see them in that light. The rest of these humans fear them.” said Guru. “Go on.”

“She arrived here, and my whole world changed. Word had spread to all the neighboring streets about her beauty. The other dogs from nearby had an eye on Sheela as well, which had to happen. But I wasn’t going to let go without a fight. Love is truly, survival of the fittest. And she was in my area boss. You see, I have a reputation here of being quite a ‘bad-ass’. There were a few rough fights. Bittu, that mean hound, from the 3rd cross, was one mean competitor. You see these scars on my neck and limbs. Some of them were from that fight. But then, yours truly came out tops. And hence I became the only eligible bachelor dog of this area, who was the only one fit for Sheela… Well that was until that ‘Tiger’ arrived at the house opposite to hers.

Sheela mostly kept to herself, spending time inside that posh bungalow. I spent hours before her gate to catch a glimpse of her, but with little success. Her master was an aging, balding gentleman, who took her outside only during mornings and evening for a walk. And what a walk that was. Believe me Guru da, you should’ve seen her. Damn she was beautiful.”

“I can see that in your eyes, son.” Guru chuckled.

“Yeah, and it was in one of those walks that she saw me and said ‘Hi’. I swear on the Dog Star Guru da, that was the sweetest sound, I’d ever heard a canine make. I was head, over heels in love with her. And I think she knew it too. But a big ‘Tiger’ was in the way.”

“Tiger sounds bad…” Guru said.

“Yeah, he felt bad as well. He was a huge Doberman, the size of a cow. His bark could wake up the ninth street. Good thing he was on a leash, inside a big, black gate which seemed to be built with a purpose of keeping him inside, rather than keeping others out. I would’ve been history, if he was on the streets. He was terrifying. And coming from me, that’s quite a complement. a clear threat to me. Once he confronted me and told me to stay off Sheela’s trail. His Master and Sheela’s bald guy were thick friends as well. Hence his arrival was like a villain in my love story.”

“So he got Sheela in the end?”

“Nah, not really.” Raju smiled. “I decided to use brains than brawn to deal with Tiger. I went to Mani for help on how I could woo Sheela. He was a master in these situations as he himself had spent considerable time wooing the pretty and scary Mohini who haunted 8th Street. He told me that I had to gift her something she loved if I had to create a first impression. He promised to take care of Tiger. I stole a new tennis ball that the kids used to play in the ground, and gifted it to Sheela one day. She was delighted. I was well and truly away. Sometimes she would sneak in some dog food that she was served in her household. It was delicious, but nothing could match the large bone from Ahmed Bhai’s shop. I brought it to her one day, and she loved it. We were in love.”

“But what happened to Tiger?” asked a curious Guru.

“Aww that was a masterstroke. Mani bhai paid a very visible visit to Tiger’s master’s bedroom that night. I heard he left the locality with his dog the same night. :D” replied Raju.

“Woof.” Guru shrieked in appreciation. “But I’m curious, did you ever tell her how much you loved her?” Guru enquired drawing himself closer to Raju.

— —

“I did. One day, I mustered all the strength that I had and decided to confront Sheela with what was in my heart. I waited for her during her evening walk. She came out with her balding master around sunset and took the usual route. I jogged up to her with my tongue hanging out in expectation. Her master spotted me and shooed me away. I didn’t give up and kept chasing her. She seemed a bit uncomfortable. I barked out to her. That bald guy tried kicking me out, I got irritated, was about to charge at him, when…”

“When… What?”

“Sheela barked at me. Asked me to get out of there.” said a crestfallen Raju.

Guru shook his head. “That’s it. I know what would have happened next. Young one… Take my word. That’s how the opposite gender are.” Guru said in a condescending tone, getting up shaking himself. “They might show interest in you and throw you off balance, and turn your life upside down. And then when you’ve changed into someone who can’t live without them, they’ll wag their tails at you and leave you forever. You should’ve moved on dawwg. There are a lot of good looking pooches out there to pick up and hang around with. There are always choices.”

“Well that sounds like a great idea… But wouldn’t Sheela have bit my neck off if I did that?” Raju enquired?

Guru stayed silent for a while trying to understand what Raju was trying to say. He opened his mouth to say something, but all he could manage was a cat-like purr.

“Wha… How…?”

“Well I never gave up you see. I was way too tough for that. You need to be tough for love.” Raju growled, with a touch of pride in his voice.

“So Sheela…?” asked Guru.

“…was always in love with me. She was just playing hard to get. I bet you know these girls much better than me. Don’t you? I never missed Sheela’s morning walks after that. I realized Sheela’s bald master was sleepier during mornings than the evening walks, allowing me more time with Sheela before being shoo-ed away. During my conversations with her, I found out that she had barked me away earlier, because she was scared what her master I might think, and that I might hurt him. She always had loved me. Now imagine what would’ve happened if I had moved on leaving her behind and move on as you had said.” Raju clarified, Guru silently nodded.

“I kept following her. One day, when I helped nab a thief trying to break into Sheela’s household, I became her hero. The bald master grew very fond of me after that. And slowly I became a part of the family. Sheela and me are together now. And that’s how our love story goes…”

“But why the long face then? You are happy aren’t you?” enquired a puzzled Guru.

“Of course I am. But then no-one said lovers always keep smiling, did they? There are challenges in our everyday life. Having each other for company, just gives us more strength to face them. We’ve had our fights and our disagreements. I’ve screamed at her, she has screamed at me. But that doesn’t mean we are any less in love with each other.”

Guru nodded in agreement.

“And about now, well Sheela’s in labor. I’m worried about her…”

Guru was taken aback.

“Holly Scooby Dooby doo… And I had almost thought you were a love failure, you dog.” exclaimed Guru with a wink.

“You see Guru da… Any fool can fall in love. But it needs dogged determination to stay there.”

Guru waited till he got news of Sheela’s delivery. He wished and blessed the new pop of three wonderful pups. He wanted to meet Sheela, but he had to continue his journey. He bid goodbye to a madly excited Raju and as he crossed the street, carefully negotiating the tricky, traffic filled, intersection, he kept thinking about what he had heard from Raju. “Any fool can fall in love… But it needs dogged determination to stay there.” He could only smile in agreement. “Love stories never have endings” he told himself. He kept on smiling. He kept on walking. 😀



Filed under Romance, Stories

She, Me, And A Love Story

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Tiger Trails Team for the SUPER 6 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event in the history of blogging world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

They say, Love is hopelessly blind,
A feeling that can make you laugh and cry.
I thought, these words, belonged to love songs, alone,
Until, that day, I saw her pass me by.

I considered myself a bad, ‘Accidental Poet‘,
So bad, that I made ‘site’ rhyme with ‘with’.
But this time I confess, this was no accident,
It was she who made me a full-fledged lyricist.

It was purely, Love at First Sight,
When I saw her, and fell in love, sometime back.
But not surprisingly, I wasn’t her only admirer,
I was the proverbial – ‘Needle in a Haystack‘.

I’ve seen her, going out with other men,
And my poor heart, skipped a beat, each time.
A dark cloud of gloom, crept over my tiny heart.
But deep inside I always knew, she was going to be mine.

There were a few strange ones, who hated her,
A few mortals, who I thought, needed vision correction.
I’ve spent my energy in explaining to that crowd,
That the cutie, that she is, she has no competition.

After a while, I had almost given up,
I was sure on this story, remaining a fiction.
I thought, my love epic had come to a premature end.
But then, science can’t explain the laws of attraction.

And then, that day, she saw me with her big round eyes,
I was head over heels, hopelessly in love again.
Through that thick sheet of glass I could see her smile,
I knew it was time to break open the Champagne.

I asked her for her hand in marriage,
I promised I would take good care of her.
She said nothing, but smiled in affirmation,
And I knew, we’ll be spending our lives together.

I spent a long time convincing my parents,
They thought, she was just too good for me.
She was a spoilt, rich and glamourous girl,
While a plain and simple professional, I was trying to be.

But love, they say, knows no odds,
Opposites attract with brute magnetism.
It is when each partner completes the other,
And Life becomes colourful as light through prism.

Our coming togeter, now had everyone’s approval,
There was still a tiny problem, however.
I still had to take care of the marriage expenses,
And as luck would have it then, I was a pauper.

I didn’t think twice and loaned money from the Bank.
For a rate of interest, that made the Banker smile.
I was doing this for the love of my life,
And I knew, I would be repaying this for a while.

And then one day, it all fell into place,
And the both of us were solemnized in a quiet ceremony.
It happened in her house in a quiet little corner,
She and Me were thus bound in Holy Matrimony.

She was all dressed up, looking beautiful as ever,
While I looked as shabby as I ever could be.
But even then people saw us and remarked,
We looked every bit the couple that we were meant to be.

And finally I took her home, amidst rousing reception,
As friends and family rejoiced, a few had concerns with her colour.
But, deep inside, my love for her had only started growing,
My Little Red Car and Me were just made for each other.



Filed under Humor, Poetry, Romance, Stories

55 Fiction: Playboy

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Tiger Trails Team for the SUPER 6 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event in the history of blogging world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

Mala was beautiful, Tracy was hot, Kayal was homely, and Divya was just about perfect… No, I’m not a Playboy. I love all these women equally. I’ve never missed meeting them whenever they’re in town… Everytime I watch my wife Viji play these characters on stage I fall in love with her one more time…



Filed under 55 Fiction, Romance, Stories

Short Story: Humor: A Trunkload of Love

You know what? The toughest part of a Love marriage is not convincing your parents. Oh no, that can still be managed at a later point, by emotional blackmailing, silence treatment, hunger strike or perhaps any other method that Indian Cinema has unleashed upon us. The toughest part is breaking the truth about your love story to them. Telling them on their face and watching their reaction. Guessing if its going to be an Alaipayuthey type of “Veliya po di” (Get out of here) sort of a reaction or a Sooraj Barjatya type of smiling, “ask him to come and see us tomorrow” kind of a reaction. It is harrowing. Especially if you are a girl, from a strict, middle class family in Chennai. Especially like the one I was from. And I was going through the tremors as I stood there before a very nervous Amma and Appa, who thought I was going to tell them that I did not get promoted.

My name is Aarthi… Aarthi Chandrasekar. Or AC as my friends call me. A regular 26 year old, free thinking, salary hike and promotion seeking, deeply in love, software engineer, who’S like anyone you would have seen on the busy OMR working in one of the many IT companies in Chennai. I earn a decent buck, fight with my brother, love my parents and most importantly to this story, had fallen in love with a guy of my dreams. Well… sort of.

Ok. The hero’s name is Atul Kumar Rajendran. Smart, geeky looking, B.Tech Chemical guy who found his calling in dotNet programming in another IT company a few minutes drive from mine. Curly hair, thin rimmed glasses on an oval face, almost 6 feet in height on Fridays when he is wearing his thick Woodland shoes :), shy, not really a social butterfly, but a voracious reader and a wonderful human being. It was surprising that I had grown so fond of him, considering that we had met each other, through a common friend, less than 2 years ago. There was no official ‘proposal’ from the either of us, but we grew so deeply in ‘love’ with each other, that we decided that it was time to tie the knot. Apparently his family were ok with his decision, which left me with a scary thought of breaking the news to my parents. And it was on a cold, January morning, that I belted out my well researched, well practiced, but poorly executed, “I am in love” dialog to my parents.

“Hmmm… What did you say his name was again? Amul Ramarajan?” Appa shouted after a long spell of silence, after I told them about Atul. Silence that was punctuated by hushed up giggles from my younger brother in his nearby room who was now contemplating about taking over my room after I was kicked out of the house.

“Atul pa…” I corrected him. “Atul Kumar Rajendran. From Alwarpet. Software Engineer pa… Good Family… Monthly Salary is…”

Appa raised his hand and asked me to stop. I faithfully agreed. My throat went dry. Amma stared at me as if I had just tasted her delicious Sambar and said it was horrible. Paati in the nearby room came in, wanting to know what was happening. Appa and Amma spoke to each other in hushed voices, while I began to make a mental plan of action on what to do if I was thrown out of the house. I was trying to remember a few hostels in the area, and if I would be allowed to pack my bags before leaving, when Appa cleared his throat…

“Aarti ma. Tomorrow evening 5pm sharp. Ask him to come here. I want to meet him. I am not saying anything at all until I meet him. Tell him not to bring anything with him, just ask him to be here at 5 on the dot. I’ve got something else to take care after that. Clear? Go to your room.” Appa said.

I smiled and in true filmy style wanted to hug him tight, yelling “Appa!” with the veena playing a happy tune in the background… But better sense prevailed, and I marched up to my room, content that the worse was over without major damage. It was all in Atul’s hands now.

And true to his word, Atul’s bike growled to a stop before our gate at 4.45pm. I sneaked a look through the window, only to find him, wiping his face with a tissue paper, combing his hair, and praying like a 12th student about to enter his exam hall, before opening the gate and stepping in. I told Amma that he was here, and she went with Appa to answer the door. I tried to peek at the proceedings from the adjacent room. Amma and Appa welcomed Atul in with a smile. Amma dropped the tumbler in her hand which made a funny noise as it rolled over on the floor, providing some situational background music to enliven the proceeding. Appa invited Atul to the sofa, while Amma walked back towards me, tumbler in hand, sweating profusely, and with a very very serious look on her face.

“Come inside di…” Amma signaled to me as she walked past me towards the kitchen. I saw Appa examining Atul as if he was an alien species that had just knocked at a scientist’s door. Atul was clearly uncomfortable and sat there twitching in his seat.

“So what do you do pa…?” I could here Appa asking Atul, before Amma yelled at me to come in.

I rushed in to Amma in the kitchen as she was preparing tea there, and stood there silently.

“SO…?” I asked quietly.

“GO get the new saucer set from the cupboard.” Amma replied, almost expressionlessly.

I obeyed quietly, hoping she hadn’t heard my question. I brought out two beautiful cups from the cupboard, washed it, dried it clean and placed it on the table.

“So… How do you like him?” I asked again.

Mom did not utter a single word, as she removed the milk from the stove and banged it on the table. I kept watching her lips expecting her to utter at least a “hmm” of acceptance… Nothing came. I waited for a few minutes till she poured the hot tea to the tea cups.

“Amma!” I screamed, clearly frustrated.

“What?” She shouted back, equally frustrated, only to make me realize that after all ‘screaming’ was in our gene pool.

“Atul ma…? How is he?” I almost pleaded for a reply.

Amma looked at me straight in the eye for a few minutes, before she continued with her work, and muttered – “I don’t like him.”

I was confused, and hoped that I did not listen to her properly, before Amma gave me that tray with two cups of piping hot tea, to be served to Appa and Atul.

“But why?” I asked her, almost crying, like a little girl who was told that she can’t have that doll that she had wanted at a toy store.

“Now go, give this and come back” she ordered.

I walked slowly towards the living room, the tray in hand, slowly thinking that Atul was going out of my life for good, when I heard Appa laughing out loud in the living room. And that too, with a stranger he had just met. Suddenly the future did not seem that dark at all. My pace quickened as I almost spilled the tea before I reached them. Clearly Appa was impressed with Atul.

“I trust my daughter pa. I always have. I trust her enough to make the right decisions. So when will your parents….” Appa stopped as I approached them. There were smiles all around. A stark contrast from the situation in the kitchen. 🙂

“Aarthi ma, I’m just stepping out with Atul thambi. He has offered to drop me till the 3rd street. Tell Amma that we are leaving.”

This was huge. Atul ‘thambi’? Atul had seriously impressed Appa. I couldn’t stop giggling. Things were looking up and how. I went in and called Amma, and she put on her ‘difficult smile’ to come outside and see off Atul and Appa. I was happy that Appa looked happy, as he sat behind Atul’s Pulsar and sped off down the road.

But when I turned back to Amma, that ‘difficult’ smile had disappeared completely, only to be replaced, with an expression of angst, a mild touch of dejection, and a good measure of disappointment thrown in.

“What the hell is wrong with you ma?” I pleaded.

She turned to go in quietly, unmoved, untouched.

“Aiyo. Amma!!!” I screamed, standing in front of her now.

“Stop it now… I told you right. I don’t like him… Now move.” She pushed me aside coming inside the house..

“But whyyy?” I said in the tone that I had forgotten to use after my class 10th exams.

“See, I can’t give you explanations for everything. I don’t like him, and I won’t let you marry him.”

This was now officially, War. I mean I could have argued with her, if there was a reason for her to not like him. But clearly, she had none. And I wasn’t going to give up this easy.

“What? Don’t you see Appa likes him totally. I’m sure he’ll agree.” I argued.

“I can see that… Your father looks unusually happy. Not sure if age has damaged his brain or something. But whatever he says, this marriage is not happening. I will never agree to this.” My mom declared. I began crying.

Filmy dialogs ensued, suicide threats were followed up by ‘I’ll run away from home’ threats, tears flowed in abundance, but my mom was unmoved. My dear old Paati, with her ears that were now being used only to support her glasses, sat patiently in the pooja room, unmindful of the commotion created in the living room. After I had cried my eyes red, I crawled to my mother’s lap, hug her tightly and pleaded.

“Please ma. He’s a good guy. He loves me a lot. He’ll take care of me well.”

My mom began crying now. But moments later, she regain her composure and looked at me.

“I know di. But… But there is something that you should know.” She peeked to see if her mother was still in the pooja room. Satisfied, she took me by my arm and dragged me to the store room.

“Come with me. I have a secret to tell you…”

We reached the store room and moved a few broken chairs, old photo frames, and cleared the cobwebs, to reveal a small loft in the end of the room. A loft that had a few brown coloured, iron trunks, neatly arranged on top of the other.

“That one…” Amma pointed to a green coloured trunk in that loft. “Help me get that one down.”

We slowly managed to drag the big old trunk from the loft, to the floor. It was surprisingly light for its size. Amma sat there, feeling her initials on it, and tried to clear years of dust that had formed its surface now.

“Now listen to me carefully. Not many people know this, but I trust you di.” She started. I was confused like an insect in a glass box. “Back in the late 1970s, when I was studying BA in Rajaji College… I… Well… I really used to like a guy. He was my senior. He helped me a lot with my English in college and I used to do his accounts assignment. We met very often and slowly it developed into friendship. We used to like each other a lot and were in absolute awe of each other.” I saw a trace of smile on her lips as she narrated this to me. I was now giggling like silly.

“Ammma… :D” I teased her, surprised out of my senses, that this was my mother I was talking to. I had nothing else to say. “So what was his name?” I asked.

Amma’s smile slowly faded away, she opened the trunk, went through a a few books that had pages almost disintegrating when they were touched. She looked deep, searched hard and finally found what she was searching for. She took a little, old, black & white photo, saw it for a couple of minutes, and then passed it on to me. “We wanted to marry each other. His name was Anand..” She began, around the same time I turned the photo passed on to me. I was not prepared to see what I saw.

Out of the photo, peeked a geeky looking, young man, Wearing a floral printed shirt, straight out of the seventy’s, with a curly mop of unkempt hair on his oval face. A big framed spectacle adorned his face. He looked like any young man from the seventies, except… Well… Except that it was the face that I had come to love the last couple of years.

“…Anand Kumar Rajendran.” Amma completed. “Now you see what I meant?” Amma added sobbing “I bet that’s Atul’s father’s name.”

I was blown away. I was hoping that this was some Photoshop trick that my totally computer ignorant Amma was playing with me. It was undoubtedly Atul’s face on the photo, only with a very seventies, funny, hairdo and printed shirts. But it was Atul no doubt. I had seen Atul’s father earlier, but the resemblance never struck me at all. But now that Amma mentioned, they did infact look similar. Oh come on, that can’t be. These things happen only in movies. For God’s sake – ‘double role’?? Father and Son?? You’ve got to be kidding me. And Amma? In love during her college days. Man, that was even bigger. That innocuous little trunk stood there, apparently as a testament to a beautiful little love story. It was as if I was being bombarded by a hundred questions from every side. I stood there for a long time, trying to breath everything in. A few minutes later I asked Amma.

“So Appa knows?”

She nodded in agreement saying – “I told him before the wedding itself. Your Appa was a gentleman, he said he didn’t care about my past at all. And true to his word, he has never spoken a word about this, these 28 years.”

My Appa was the dude. I soon began seeing the funny part of it. I had enough material to pull Amma’s leg to eternity. A smile returned and I felt light. But then I suddenly realized that I had skipped to ask the most fundamental of the questions.

“Amma! But why didn’t you marry this guy?” I asked inquisitively.

Tears trickled down her eyes. She waited for a while to gain composure.

“Your Thatha and Paati didn’t agree di..” she explained.

Well that figures. Parents are parents after all.

“But why!!!” I asked her again.

Amma wiped her tears, looked to the floor, and slowly raised her hands, pointing her fingers at something in the distance.

I followed her finger, and realized that she was pointing at another innocent looking, slightly bigger, even dustier trunk in the loft, nestled between a few boxes and some old utensils. I walked to it, and used my fingers to wipe the dust off the initials carved on it, and shrieked.

“That’s Paati’s???”

Amma looked up to me with her red eyes, said nothing and smiled. Everything went silent. I could only hear my Paati doing pooja in the nearby room. I smiled back.

P.S. – Story idea based on a tamil short film seen on TV. Was so impressed, that I thought it deserved a short story.


Filed under Humor, Romance, Stories

Valentine’s Day Special: Short Story: One Love Too Many

Ok, this one’s a fairly old story of mine. But this is pretty close to my heart. And its V-Day tomorrow. Couldn’t think of anything better to start off the blog with. Those who haven’t read this earlier, hope you enjoy it. Those of you who already have read it, well, hope you enjoy reading it again. Its the season for romance, baby. 😉

One Love, Too Many

One Love Too Many

Hey there. How are you doing? My name is Vignesh. Vignesh Narayanan. Friends call me Vicky. Male, 28-ish, and married for almost a year now. I manage a small mobile showroom just off the Vadapalani main road. Well, one of the many that dad owns. I drive an old Esteem and have a truck-load of spare time on my hands. Yeah, I’m exactly the spoilt rich kid types, that you’ve seen on TV. But then, trust me, it ain’t that bad. I understand that you might be interested in listening to a Romantic Story. Well, I hope you can keep a secret, because I am going to tell you one. I love Janaki, my beautiful wife, and my best-est friend, ever. No, that’s not the secret I wanted to tell you. Janaki isn’t the only woman I was/am/would be in love with. This is my, strange, dysfunctional, alleged ‘Love’ story. 😀

I am not exactly sure, if my story qualifies to be a ‘Love’ Story in its true sense. But, I’ll be honest with you. I actually did, (and perhaps still do) love all the women I am going to tell you about. It has never gotten serious, and I think even Janu knows about this. She has never raised an objection, and there has never been a quarrel. She is so sweet that sometimes she just laughs these off. Perhaps it is trust. Perhaps this is what they call true love. What could I do, if Cupid actually uses me for target practice. I just can’t help falling in love.

My mom keeps telling me, that when I was born, some good looking nurse in that small hospital in Kumbakonam, planted a kiss on my cheeks, looked at me and told me that I was one handsome guy, who was sure to have a whole lot of girl friends when I grew up. I must have taken her words very seriously. Oh yeah, I was born a Casanova. I apparently had more girl friends in my LKG than guys, and I, I’m told was absolutely possessive about each and every one of them.

Off late, all this started that day, when I first saw Elizabeth, talking to her friend in that building, near Mount Road. Just one look at her, and I was in love. She looked like an Angel on earth. Her eyes twinkled with mischief; lips curved the right way to show a beautiful smile, and that little lock of hair that kept falling on her face, perhaps as much in love with her as I was. My words can absolutely do no justice to her divine beauty. And, as it happens a lot with me, she did not notice me at all. But I was undeterred, and as most kids of my age did, I kept following her. And it was during this time, that Janu came into my life.

Janaki Gopalan. The unbelievably talented, and insanely beautiful, Ms.Janaki Gopalan. “Gosh, you are beautiful” those were the first words I spoke to my ‘would be’ wife, when we were introduced by a common friend, some years ago. She blushed initially (rather uncharacteristically, as the friend told me later), gathered herself, and hit back at me immediately with a smile – “I wish I could say the same about you, Mr…”

Holy cow. I was in Love. Err… Once again.

Janu was an artist, and an absolute no-nonsense woman, with no time for useless talk, and with a very bright head, firm on her shoulders. And me? Well… I, to put it mildly, was exactly the opposite. I loved books. Oh yes. Especially the big, hard bound ones. They made excellent pillows. However, Janu, sadly, didn’t share my enthusiasm. To her, books were her ‘best friends’ (Oh yeah, that’s what she called them), someone she can go to find solace and peace, when she needed. You know, she could quote Shakespeare as effortlessly as the Bard himself, whereas I used to ask doubts even in the comics I read. Her idea of a movie was to understand the shot picturisation, admire the acting of the lead actors, the direction and all the other artistic elements of the movie, whereas, my idea of a movie was, to sit and drool at the actress/actress’ female friends/their friends, etc.

For some weird reason in this world, atoms and molecules are so precisely arranged, and Physics so strangely schemed, that somehow, opposites always seem to attract. And trust me, I must have been the most happiest person, that Physics is always right. Forget about me, the only opposite I need to get attracted to, is for it to be of the opposite gender. (Thank God, atleast for that) But what was even more surprising, was Janaki seemed to like me too. It wasn’t sudden in any way, and me being me, it did require a considerable effort to woo Janu. I remember it like yesterday, I had parked my car at some spot near Tnagar, and jumped out to walk Janu home, in true filmy ishtyle. We had only met a couple of times then, but always with some of those pesky friends around. This was my ‘once-in-a-long-time’ chance to walk her home that wet evening, and perhaps attempt to indulge in some sweet nothings, just me and Janu. It was beautiful, the faint drizzle on our faces, she, loving the drops of rain kissing her cheeks and her beautiful eyes almost jumping out with joy, and me, just looking at her and loving her love the rain. It was totally beautiful. Though, it would have been perfect, had my car been not towed away for being parked in the no parking zone. 😀

I was head-over-heels in love with Janu, but that did not stop me from being me. I came across the absolutely hot headed and short tempered Priya. Priya, oh Priya. Her anger was very well known. Things defied gravity when she got angry, and you had to hope against hope when you met a fuming Priya, that you don’t come in the way of the flying projectiles. But then she had a very sensitive side to her, that not most people realized and would have been a wonderful companion if only you could understand what really ticked her off.

And then there was Kayal, the gorgeously traditional Ms.Kayal Vizhi. She was truly, a refreshing ‘sight’ for sore eyes. An oasis of the classic ‘paavadai dhavani’, among the sea of jeans and churidaars. She was everything a guy looked for in his lady love. A pretty face, a shy smile, and a voice so sweet, that she almost sang every time she talked. I would have fallen for her, when a radical antonym of Kayal, grabbed my attention.

And then, enter Divya, who could give Kareena Kapoor and her size zero, a run for their money. I fell hook, line and sinker for Divya, when once while talking to a friend of hers, I guess she just totally forgot what she was saying, when she saw me looking at her. Ok, I agree, I am not exactly ‘Imraan Khan’ material, to have warranted such a speechless reaction, from an absolutely stunning lady like her. But then they do say Love is blind after all, don’t they.

But, in spite of all these distractions, I just could not stop thinking about Janaki. A few months after our first meeting we had become pretty good friends. I began planning my days with her in mind. Running your own business had certain perks, that my friends in the IT industry never seemed to enjoy. I had a lot of time, after business hours to pursue my ‘other activities’. By this time, Janaki had totally understood my interest in women, and she never seemed to mind or turned jealous, which brought with it, both, a sense of relief and a whole tinge of concern if she really liked me that much. 🙂 Our mobile bills followed the inflation trend, and as time went on, our parents, slowly but surely, kind of smelt what was cooking. I was beginning to contemplate the option of spending my life with just one girl. And obviously, I wanted that girl to be Janaki. And then one warm September evening, when I was walking Janaki home, I popped the question all of a sudden. I never intended to be so abrupt and so sudden, but I guess it just came out. I asked Janaki if she would marry me.

Now if this was the movies, there could have been 2 distinct possibilities. 1) the heroine would have nodded her head in coy affirmation, and hugged the hero and broken into an impromptu song and dance routine in the Swiss Alps. Or, 2) the heroine would have looked at the hero and 2a) Slapped him, and insulted him before the entire public, or 2b) Pitied at the hero and said “I never thought of you like that, let’s just be friends.” But then, it wasn’t the movies anyway. She just stood there for a few seconds, and then burst out laughing like crazy, with me standing there looking at Janu, wondering if she indeed was mentally unstable as I had thought of earlier, because she has already shown signs of liking me. Then Janu, got in control of herself as we reached her apartments, looked at my serious face and said, “Oh my God. You are serious?” She went in, and I felt absolutely stupid at myself. I swore that if Janu ever talked to me after that incident, I would never ever pull off something like that. I vowed, never to talk about what had happened that day.

She was absolutely normal the next day, and I decided to leave it at that. A few weeks passed, with me ogling at Freeda in the meantime. Then one day, when I was driving Janu home, she asked me in a very matter-of-fact manner – “Were you serious that day?”

“Which day?” I quizzed her, although being perfectly aware of what she was talking about.

“Do you really want to marry me?” She asked, and then I finally realized, that there was a God. There was finally traffic from the other side as well.

I will save you the embarrassment by not revealing the mushy emotional dialogues that we exchanged that day, and by just letting you know that Janu and I got married a few months later, sans major opposition from our parents. And 11 months down the line, we are loving every bit of the wedlock that we got us into. But if you are tempted to believe that marriage has refined Yours Truly, or has tamed the Casanova within, then I can’t tell you how wrong you are. I still am the same old Vicky. There is still the occasional Shalini, the very rare Sita, and the tomboy Kalyani who grace my life, week after week.

Yet, there was something common in all these beautiful ladies that I’d known. Something so enchanting, and so mesmerizing, that when I look at them, I forgot myself. It was those beautiful blue eyes. Beautiful, blue, eyes, that made me fall in love all over again. Now you can’t hold that against me now, can you? I wasn’t a roadside Romeo. I was in fact, a connoisseur of all things beautiful. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is my love story.

Well then, I’ll see you around. I have a date again today. A date that I’ve been on, week after week for so many months, sitting in the front row of some auditorium and drooling like crazy watching a play.  My blue eyed sweetheart Janaki is on stage at Alliance Francaise tonight. Apparently she is playing a hilarious, shy, Brahmin, wife, travelling to America for the first time. You should see her; she just floors the audience with her sense of comedy. But frankly, all she needed to do was stand there and smile, and I would have given her a standing ovation until my hands turned purple and broke off.

Janu’s character in this play is called Bharghavi. 🙂 And as I had been doing it all along, in the line of Elizabeth, Priya, Kayal, Divya, Freeda, Shalini, Sita and Kalyani, the characters that Janu has played on stage, I’m in love with Bharghavi now…  😉

*** THE END ***

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Filed under Romance, Stories