September 24, 2016 1 Comment
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October 27, 2014 1 Comment
‘As they say right, money goes with money,’ I said without a tinge of envy.
‘How do you mean?’
‘I hear Harish’ sambandhi (bride’s father) is a politician here. And you know what that means.’
‘No, No, you don’t know Varadan Sir. He’s not like others. People here like him, respect him…I’ve not yet had the occasion to see him.’
We’re a bunch of class-mates from school, gone different ways later in life. But we do try to meet up on happy occasions such as this wedding of Harish’s son. Coming in a little early at the wedding hall, here I was ‘gupping’ with Raju, a cousin of Harish and a pucca local.
‘It was entirely due to his herculean efforts, the newly laid trunk road segment now passes through our town. Coming from Chennai, it is now Pudur to our Vaeppakkam to Medu and through to Trichy. Why, you must have reached here taking that road. How did you find it?‘
‘Yes, it was very convenient. Saved me a lot of time and bother as I didn’t have to change buses at Pudur and all that. You know what, Raju? I had always thought it was most logical and shortest for the road to go this way to Trichy. I’m glad wisdom finally prevailed. So what is the big deal about Varadan Sir making it happen?’
‘Oh…there was a hare-brained plan almost finalized to run this road some twenty miles to the east punching through Kollanpatti completely bypassing Vaeppakkam again.’
‘So he succeeded in bringing to you more noise, fumes, drunken driving and possibly accidents not to speak of a host of law and order problems?’
‘Consider the enhanced connectivity and convenience brought by buses plying this way. Faster movement of goods, easier access to Trichy. You saw those eateries lining the trunk road and a few lodges…vehicle repair-shops? All generating good number of jobs. You would have also seen a good number of peddlers on foot busy selling flowers, cool-drinks, biscuits and toffees, balloons and toys and what-not at the bus terminus. The road and the private/public vehicles on the road have added a totally new dimension to commerce in this small town. We would have lost out all these had they bypassed us. Whatever you said is a small price to pay.’
‘I was kidding, my friend. I told you I found it very convenient. It is well-established better connectivity means better services and more commerce. But tell me why were they planning to bypass you incurring a lengthy and meaningless detour via Kollanpatti?’
‘You know, initially this was the route the highway guys had planned when the project and funds were sanctioned as part of the state’s initiative to improve connectivity through incremental efforts.’
‘Then what happened?’
‘Some crazy guys from here went up to the District HQ at Trichy making a hue and cry about the planned route overrunning their agricultural land argued for shelving it or finding an alternative. The authorities buckled and redrew the lines completely missing Vaeppakkam. When Varadan Sir got wind of it, he took it up with the babu’s. He fought it out for nearly a year to get the original plans restored. And it took another year to construct the road. ’
‘How did he win?’
‘Well, I don’t know how he managed it – he must have compiled a strong case for it.’
Just then quite unexpectedly a voice said: ’I can tell you what happened if you let me…’
The voice belonged to a stranger, probably in his mid fifties clad in a spotlessly white dhoti and kurta, seated couple of rows right behind us within earshot. He had the manner of being important belonging to the bride’s or the groom’s party.
‘I don’t mean to butt in. I just happened to hear your talk…you see there’s nothing else to do here with no one around yet. Besides, I happen to know…’
In smaller towns, a chat on a public figure cannot remain private.
Unsolicited, he jumped right in and told us all resistance was finally won over by the simple expediency of quadrupling the compensation payable to the affected land-owners. Even this solution was at Varadan Sir’s suggestion.
My opinion of Varadan Sir, the politician, moved up by a few notches.
Our stranger-friend suddenly lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper: ‘Would you know not a blade of grass grew on that land?’
We chorused: ‘So it was a mere drama played out by the land-owners for a higher compensation for their land that didn’t…?
He looked around and hushed us down: ‘There were no land-owners save one collecting the wind-fall compensation. ’
Seeing no light on our face, he continued: ‘You must have gone to see puppet shows? In there do you know why Rama fights the ten-headed Ravana?’
We didn’t see the connection: ‘Why? That’s the way the story goes.’
‘No, it’s only because the puppeteer so pulls the strings and arranges the fight. It is entirely another matter why he does that – yes, because the story goes that way.’
Now it dawned: ‘OMG, you don’t mean the whole thing was stage-managed from the beginning?’
He nodded with a smile seeming to say ‘Dumbos, now you got it.’
Is life like those TV mega serials or the other way around?
Raju was properly hurt at the insinuation: ‘No, my friend. If you’re implying Varadan Sir was behind it, let me tell you all this compensation from the government – must be small change for him. In fact he has enough, I hear, to compensate the government.’
Precisely at that moment the marriage party of the bride entered the hall for the finale.
Some men from the party rushed to the side of our stranger-friend:
‘Sir, we were looking for you all over the place. Something to be done here? Tell us, we’ll take care of it. Today your place is by the side of your daughter, Varadan, Sir.’
Varadan, Sir? Bride’s father? The man we were talking about?
Before joining them our stranger-friend turned around and winked at us: ‘Sorry guys, I pulled this on you. You gave me an entry that was too hard to resist. My apologies again. Do stay back for the wedding till the end and bless the couple. Wont’you?’
We nodded weakly, looking redder than a ripe tomato. Luckily I didn’t think I said anything scandalous about him beyond his own account.
He left us standing with ‘And Raju, thanks for standing up for me. I appreciate it.’
I received a ‘I told you so’ look from Raju.
I was on my bus ride returning to Chennai, my eyes on the rural landscape rushing past and thoughts swirling in my head. Quite naturally I went back to the chat with Raju and Varadan Sir. A rogue thought entered my mind: If a story is so plausible with no loose ends, might it be the truth? Told perhaps by the man’s vanity? You know vanity sometimes is more potent than any truth serum.
The line of thought did not persist for long, dissolving into the cute distraction the child was in the seat in front.
PS: babu’s = bureaucrats, pucca = completely, purely, gup = talk with no serious purpose, Rama and Ravana are from the epic Ramayana, Dhoti and Kurta = men ‘s wear.
Credits: Images from thealternative.in (international-folk-festival-yakshagana-ancient-art-puppetry-lives), openclipart.com (Highway gsagri04), R. K. Laxman‘s cartoons and the net.
August 3, 2014 1 Comment
One evening, sitting in the bar George asked his 40-year-old buddy Johnny something that he had always wanted to ask:
“How come you aren’t married?”
Johnny: “I haven’t found the right woman yet.”
George: “So what are you looking for?”
Johnny: “Oh she’s got to be real pretty, – a good cook and house- keeper, and she’s got to know how to handle money, a really nice and pleasant personality is a must -and money, she’s got to have money…and a home, a nice big house, is what she has to have.”
George: “A woman like that would be crazy to marry YOU.”
Johnny: “Oh, it’s okay if she is crazy.”
Credits: raykiwsp.wordpress.com. Image of the actress Sheena Shahabadi is from the net.
May 28, 2012 1 Comment
A seven-year-old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama today when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.
The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law requiring that family unity be maintained where possible.
The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her.
When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.
After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.
After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the England Football Team, whom the boy firmly believes, are not capable of beating anyone.
PS: You could substitute in your favourite team and sports.
A poor vagabond, traveling a country road in England, tired and hungry, came to a roadside Inn with a sign reading: “GEORGE AND THE DRAGON”.
He knocked. The Innkeeper’s wife stuck her head out a window. “Could ye spare some victuals?” he asked.
The woman glanced at his shabby clothes and obviously poor condition. “No!” she said rather sternly.
“Could I have a drink of water?”
“No!” she said again.
“Could I at least sleep in your stable then?”
“NO!” By this time she was fairly shouting.
The vagabond still continued, “Might I please…?”
“What now?” the woman interrupted impatiently.
“D’ye suppose,” he asked…”I might have a word with George?”
Kid’s views on marriage
How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids – Derrick, age 8.
What do you think your mum and dad have in common?
Both don’t want any more kids – Lori, age 8.
Is it better to be single or married?
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them – Anita, age 9.
How would the world be different if people didn’t get married?
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there? – Kelvin, age 8.
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. (Edward Abbey)
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. (Dr. Seuss)
Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. (Pablo Picasso)
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)
Self-pity is the worst kind of self-indulgence. (Kayaar)
Talent grows its own legs and wings. (Kayaar)
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts. (Khalil Gibran)
A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires. (Paulo Coelho)
Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master…can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone…see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. (Yes, this is from the SF guru: Robert A. Heinlein!)
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can. (Nicholas Sparks, At First Sight)
Sources: Credits to OyiaBrown (http://oyiabrown.com/category/humour/jokes/), another one from Ray Mitchell (raykiwsp.wordpress.com), Rajiv Chaudhry, openclipart.org (ibuteb, professordenis, mathec), brainyquote.com, goodreads.com and Wiki.
September 5, 2010 5 Comments
pitch-forked from a private garden
on to a road not journeyed for
a travel unchronicled –
a nervous nineteen, aware by half.
a strand of fragrant jasmine,
the rustle of the bright blue cotton,
eloquent eyes in shy smile,
innocent of harshness.
the slender fingers in trusting clasp,
the world could do whatever,
the days never the same –
a parade of unfading freshness.
what…straying thoughts of a graying sixty+?
well…just straight thoughts of an incurable,
blessed with a magical vision to see
the girl jumping out, ever so often,
of his dear…
(straight thoughts, for a change!)