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The Domestic Olympics


Team This post has been published by me as a team member of Tiger Trails Team for the SUPER 4 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

It’s a wonderful morning in Suburbia. The Summer Sun is only just up and the stage is perfectly set up for the Weekend Edition of The Domestic Olympics. A very warm welcome to all our dear readers who have joined us from all corners of the world. We are coming to you live from a random household in Suburbia, the venue for today’s games. I am your friendly neighborhood Commentator, and this is The Domestic Olympics.

We’d love to have included a logo for the games, but our players keep adding a new ‘ring’ to the games each day. Jokes aside, this one should be one hell of a Tournament. The Domestic Olympics is one of the oldest sporting events on the face of this planet. There are many versions of these games, played everyday across the world. Our players today, in a way, symbolize all the married brave Men and Women of the planet, who fight it out each day to co-exist. Here’s our tribute to all of them.

Here’s a quick pre-game analysis of our players.

Previous games have seen Her routing the competition by relentlessly overpowering Him in the games and winning quite comfortably. Will today’s result be different? I have a gut feeling it would. So without further delay let’s start off with the Tournament. Here we go…

Waking

And we’re off. The alarm goes off sharp at 6.30 in the morning to kick off the contest. He and She are fast asleep and the annoying alarm attempts to bring them out of their dream world. This is tense… Both of them reach out to find the alarm, but fail. They prod each other to find and shut it off. But both are unmoved. The alarm continues on with its annoying cacophony. This is the real test, to see who can withstand it. Nothing happens for a while, and then… she relents and wakes up. Is this His break? She seeks out the noise maker, hits the stop switch, sees the time, and with a realization that she can have no more of her sleep anymore, wakes up. She tries to wake Him up, but he doesn’t move. She switches off the AC, draws the curtains, and turns on the light… But He sleeps… He wins the first event 1-0. 😀 He is off to a flyer.

Fetching

This event involves our players to fetch the sachets of milk from the gate along with the day’s paper. A relatively easy sport compared to the rest of the games, this is usually made difficult by the sleepy, half-paralyzed state our players usually are in after the first game.

He totters out of the bed making immense effort to reach the couch in the living room. He switches on the TV, when She yells at Him from the kitchen to ‘fetch’ it. He tries to drown it out by increasing the TV volume. She makes an appearance, and pulls out her best move. Hands on hips and a mean stare directed at Him. He switches off the TV instantly. But in a swift move, He clutches his stomach, distorts his face, looks at the toilet, looks at Her, and pleads with an almost choking tone, “2 minutes?”. Nice… He deftly avoids the task, dashing into the toilet, staying there for the next half hour or so. She shakes her head, and goes on to complete the game. He wins this handsomely. 2-0 to Him. 🙂 He is on a roll.

Cooking

He used to excel at this sport in his college days, and when he was a bachelor. But ever since He graduated to being a husband, his skills at this event have waned down considerably, to a point where he now lacks them in good measure. She, having lost out at the first two events, wants to win this one real bad.

She orders him into the kitchen, and asks him to help her out. Helping out, usually means, running the food processor, cutting vegetables, lighting the stove, making rotis and so on. Clearly cooking is not His forte. The jar of the food processor is loose, and the tomato pulp spills out to the kitchen wall. Oops, that’s going to come back to bite him sometime in the future. 🙂 The cut vegetables, hardly look cut at all. She shows him how one slice of his can be further cut down to four more slices. He doesn’t care, he tells her that he’d rather be watching TV than being an ‘overhead’ to her. He burns the roti to prove his point and almost scores 3-0. But She is onto him in a flash. She tells him, that it doesn’t matter if he burns the food, because he’ll have to eat it anyway. A smart move. I think that has scared him. She opens her account impressively. But He still leads 2-1. Closely fought out this one.

Cleaning

Trying to make amends for his loss in the last round, He starts off cleaning in style. He dusts off a little spec of dust on his 32 inch LCD TV, cleans off the remote and settles down on the couch, proclaiming a successful completion of the event. But She has other big plans. She hands him a feather duster, a Vacuum cleaner, a mop and points to all corners of the house. He is devastated. He argues that weekends are for resting. She just does not listen. After all She has a perfect record in these games. So He goes about, with a long face, dusting, vacuuming and mopping the house, under the strict supervision of a smiling Her. And there’s the equalizer. 2 all folks. This one’s going to be tight.

Eating

After the first few ferociously fought out contests, we reach a more relaxing Eating round. The burnt rotis that He had made along with some delicious gravies made by Her have been served. Having been warned that He might have to eat the rotis he would make, He managed to do a decent job in the Cooking round. Except for a few black, burnt rotis, the rest of them seem fairly edible. But what’s this? In a wonderful exhibition of sportsmanship, She takes pity on Him and declares that He wouldn’t need to eat the burnt ones after all. He is happy. So happy that he gobbles up half the food on his plate, before She has even finished serving. And soon enough, Her hands are on her hips again, and the stare is back. He is told to eat slowly. He frowns. It is against his nature, but right now that doesn’t matter. He has only 2 choices now – food or no food. And he cannot afford the latter. She takes an amazing lead 3-2.

TV-ing

This is His favorite sport. He was born for this.

He turns on his full HD, LCD TV, connected to his 5.1 Home Theater, and finds that the match is on. He grabs a can of his favorite drink and a big bag of chips and sits himself in front of the big screen. This is the perfect way to unwind, after going down consecutively in 3 previous games. He puts his leg up, sips his drink, and is about to say “What a life…”, when She comes in. She smiles at him (oh no, that’s a sign of impending doom) and asks him if she can watch the rerun of Indian Idol? He tries to explain that it’s a very crucial match, but She says, its her favorite singer’s turn. He tries to protest, but that sad, dejected, frowning face of her’s, makes him give up.

This is his favorite sport alright. But that doesn’t mean he can win it always. 4-2 in Her favor.

Laptop-ing

With the TV round gone down, He has nothing more to do than to go to his dear old laptop. With the live match now being a distant possibility, the live scorecard is what He will have to do good with. He checks his Facebook page where a friend has posted an interesting video. He plays it, only to be interrupted by Her. He thinks She wants to check out her farm on Facebook, and proclaims that Facebook is down. But oh no.. That was a googly there, She says the sound from the video is interfering her show on TV, and asks him to get his headphones. He quietly acknowledges. And then when she sees how beautiful the guy on Indian Idol is singing, she gets excited and yells out to him. But He is on headphones and can’t hear her.

So a frown, a stare and an angry yell later, the laptop is turned off and He has no other choice than to watch Indian Idol, with the permission to check the score for a few seconds during the Commercial breaks. 5-2, she’s winning today as well. Can He stage a comeback?

Shopping

They are at a Super Market shopping for groceries. He goes straight to the snacks section and picks up a trolley full of snacks. She shakes her head, picks a couple of packs from it, nd sends him to keep the rest of them back. Ouch. That would’ve hurt. And she picks up packets of groceries from the shelf like a scientist picking up chemicals for a life saving experiment. She picks three different brands, compares prices, looks at offers, and then keeps all of them back saying they don’t really need that. Boy this is real slow. He is losing his patience and it shows up on his face. Will he lose it? Tense moment guys, anything can happen here. Wow. This is a masterstroke. She cools him off by buying him a pack of his favorite drink. He is happy and She continues with her shopping. This is going to take a while. Let’s break for commercials.

Alright we are back. This is a totally one sided match today. 6-2. And She has won it.

Movie-ing

We are reaching the business end of the games, and we have the Movies event to go. Our players have settled into the couch and have decided to watch a movie at home. This should be exciting. He pops in a no-brainer action flick and sits back. She protests almost immediately and the DVD is got rid off. Next is a Bollywood Rom-Com suggested by Her. He agrees at the prospect of watching the ‘hawt’ actress on screen, and possibly ogle at an Item Number. The movie continues, but He is slowly getting bored of it. The actress does not have too much of a role and is mostly fully clad. Oh no. Poor Him. He protests now, and another change of DVD is on the cards. After intense debate, a horror movie is agreed upon, and is soon popped out after She gets scared in the opening scene. And finally a classic movie is played, and He has no other option but to agree. After all, She, although being his competition, is also the love of his life. 7-2 it is then.

Power-Down

And as the movie chugs on towards the climax, reaches the final part, there is a power cut. Now this is a new twist to the tale. What is He going to do? Will She go wild now? But wait. What’s happening there? They drag their chairs to the balcony under a splendidly silver moon. The gentle cool breeze seems to be carrying romance in the air. And He and She are sitting there embraced and enjoying every bit of the moonlit, night. All the competition of the games seems to have gone away. The cut throat screams of one-upmanship seem to have been replaced with gentle whispers of “I Love You.” She tells Him that she was sorry to make him work today, and promises to do all the work herself tomorrow. He says that He doesn’t want anything at all, than to be with her tomorrow. Wow. That’s cute. This calls for a point for each of them. The scores are now 8-3.

I’m just getting news that this renewed love between our competitors has lead to the announcement that there will be no more competition going forward. He and She, in a carefully worded announcement have declared ceasefire. They will not be competing anymore.

So would this mean that there would be no more games from tomorrow? Are we witnessing the last edition of The Domestic Olympics? Will all this excitement cease to exist henceforth? Well it looks like that. Here’s wishing our dear He and She a wonderful future ahead.

Before we go, let’s talk to our players. He, what do you have to say about your performance today?

He: “Well I started off real well. 2-0 up against her is a rollicking start. But I failed to capitalize on that momentum. But all’s well that ends well. It was a delight to lose to my sweet-heart. Full marks to Her. Love you.”

Commentator: “That was sweet. She… happy?”

She: “Oh Yes, its always been. It was, is and will always be a delight to win. I mean He is a sweetheart…”

He: “Will always be…? Darling I thought we will not be competing anymore?”

She: “Oh yeah yeah. My bad, darling… Love you. So like I was saying He is an absolute sweetheart. He almost shook me up when he took a 2-0 lead. But then winning has sort of become a habit now. 🙂 But darling, I must say the burnt rotis were truly hilarious.”

He: “Hilarious, darling?”

She: “Oh yeah. In a cute sort of a way. I was hoping, you would learn it after all these days, but…”

He: “Oh ho ho.. hold on, I did it on purpose, dear ma’m.”

She: “Agreed.. But even if you had tried, it would still have been burnt, my dear.”

He: “Oh yeah? Atleast I don’t put my hands on my hips and stare to get things done.”

She: “Of course… You’d rather hide in the toilet, isn’t it?”

He: “That’s it. Me letting you win, is going to your head?”

She: “Excuse me… Letting me win? You are crazy.”

Commentator: “Err guys…”

He: “I am? Let’s see. Tomorrow, the games continue.”

She: “Sure about it? Can you survive another humiliating defeat?”

He: “We’ll see who loses. Bring it on…”

Commentator: “Aww Come on guys… That was unsportsmanlike…. Ouch! That hurt…. Why are you guys hitting me?… Oh no not there… Time out guys…”

That’s one painful way of bringing the games to an end. The Olympic Night ‘fights’ will continue into the night, and I’ve decided not to play peacemaker. But the good news coming out of this commotion is that the games will continue tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, and the next games should be super fun.

We wouldn’t be meeting next time, because frankly I’ve had enough. I do hope someone with a strong voice and stronger bones, meets you in the next edition. This is your dear commentator signing off. We would like to thank our sponsors for helping us bring this to you. Hope you had as much fun reading this, as much we had presenting this to you. Good bye. God bless.

— x —

This was an excerpt from the Tiger Trails Magazine – The Sunday Roar. Click on the Cover below to enlarge. Click to read the Magazine.

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Filed under General, Humor, 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.

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Filed under Humor, Romance, Stories