Clouds in the Summer Skies

Our parents were too simple to be attributed a highly developed sense of humor. Also they did not possess premonition to figure out how things would turn out later. On these counts we must let them out for giving us names that we are not. So we have a Ram ogling at a neighbor’s wife; a Sangeetha closer to Swahili than to music; a sad Santosh, a sick Kushal or a Subhashini foul-mouthed to shame a street-walker…

It’s the same with Trupthi. Stay with me for a minute, you’ll know what I mean.

‘I’ve never tasted tea like this in all my life, Trupthi. Tell us from where do you get your leaves.’ from me calling on her drew a ‘Believe me, this isn’t half as good as the Darjeeling tea brewed by my mother in my school-days.’

With another neighbor, ‘The biscuits are nothing like I’ve tasted. What’s the M-sauce, Trupthi?’ was met by ‘Aarrey, you should see how these turn out when butter churned from buffalo’s milk is used. I had to use butter from cow’s milk this time.’

On one occasion,

Ordering a dozen green bananas from a street vendor, Trupthi enjoined him to pick a bunch that would keep for a day or two, not overripe or gone black on the underside.

‘Not one would be, behenji. Kindly check it out if you wish,’ as he handed over the goods.

She lifted and turned the bunch carefully and her face dimmed.

‘What happened, behenji? Anything wrong? If you didn’t like this one, I’ll get you another.’

‘No, No. It’s just as I wanted.’


‘I was wondering – I must find something else now to give to those cantankerous crows.’

At first we put it down to faux modesty. Before long we figured the deprecation was not faked and the unhappiness real, turning our irritation to sympathy for her and finally into amusement for us. We went as far as to wager on when would it be that Trupthi sees the vast blue summer sky never mind a cloud or two.

It was this birthday party.

Trupthi wore her pearl-necklace – her husband had procured it from Hyderabad when he had gone there on duty. Fabulously lustrous, it was neither a choker nor hanging down like a garland around her neck. The larger pearl strung as a pendant silently accentuated the beauty of the strands on either side. The pearls were uniformly sized and without blemish. Fit for a princess.

The necklace drew unbridled admiration and womanly envy from many at the party. Was she flushed with unalloyed happiness and exhilaration at wearing a piece of jewelry so beautiful?

Well, yes, for a while. And then the inevitable cloud appeared to mar her sunshine.

She could not forget her husband was overcharged for the necklace almost to the extent of twenty percent.

Trupthi is by no means a rare specimen. I’m sure you’ve your own collection of them.

And what do you have at the other end? I know what it is and I’ve been there. Let me tell you:

I remember visiting a neighbor some years ago in his newly purchased flat at Thane. He was excited about everything – the quality of construction, the amenities, the location and of course the price-tag. With all the innocence of a kid showing off his toys, he took us around the housing complex – there was this surrounding wall more in the making than done, a bath-tub sized swimming pool unashamedly baring its water-less bottom, a clump of overgrown bushes showing up as landscape, a lone slide and a sand-pit as the children’s park, an elevator that was in no hurry…At least twice we were nearly tripped by rocky outcrops jutting out of the ground.

Finally he took us into his flat and the bedroom and slid open the vast french-windows to reveal a breath-taking view…it was shanties all the way to the horizon testifying to the economic divide in the city.

But wait a minute, that wasn’t what he saw in his mind. His eyes and hand were pointing to the hills, a forest of trees, what appeared like a swamp-land and home to flocks of birds, all hazy in the unobstructed distance.

Of course, we said all the right things and came away.

Well, back to Trupthi.

Cloud 1 anjali_97_1017201130007123

It was a naming ceremony at a neighbor’s. The ladies had gathered, gracefully draped in variously styled sarees. Trupthi’s Kancheevaram was hogging attention.

‘Trupthi, you look like an apsaras descended from Indra Sabha in this saree. Never seen one like this in the shops here.’

It was quite close to the truth. For a moment, she was speechless at this unabashed admiration from me.

She recovered quickly, blushing as a bride: ‘Yes, I know. It looks good. This was bought straight from the weaver’s loom. It was made to order for a customer and he did not pick it up for some reason. The design was never run again. That’s why…’

‘The guy must be an artist of class to come up with an inimitable design like this and then dumb not to pick it up. Anyway, lucky you!’

There she was glowing in a designer-saree that truly looked out-of-the-world.

Just when we thought she might have found her peace this time, it had to happen.

The glow on her face suddenly fell by a couple of notches.

‘You know, I missed telling you it was actually a double-loom where two saree’s could be woven at the same time. So, friends, sadly this isn’t one of its kind as you imagine – there’s the second of this pair with someone out there.’

That’s when we gave up. No more wagers.


What do those Sanskrit names mean? Ram is the revered Hindu god, an exemplary monogamist. Sangeetham is music. Santushta is happy contentment. Kushalatha is well-being. Subashini is sweet-tongued.

And Trupthi is satisfaction/contentment.

Apsara is a damsel from the Heavens. Indra is the king of gods and Sabha is his court.

Kancheevaram is known for its rich hand-woven silk saree’s with wide borders of jari (thread of silver or gold).

Behen is a sister.
Credits: Images from the net, mainly to show off the grace of saree’s.

Disclaimer: All named characters are fictional.


4 Responses to Clouds in the Summer Skies

  1. Kannan says:

    Great to see again your inimitable style of penning your keen observations in of human nature. Sense of Humour is not in Indian’s genes. We have to develop it with help from writings such as yours.


  2. Sharmishtha says:

    i have met my share of trupthis too, i wonder which category i fit in hee hee. 🙂


  3. Sharmishtha says:

    loved the story, the ways you described her nature is fantastic and funny


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