Saturday, May 26, 2007

Part I : Love Blooms Yet Again?

(First part of a two part love story. I have deliberately used Tamil slang at places where I feel it helps the narration. To the readers not conversant with the language, you really are not missing anything, it is mostly swear words anyway!)

Ravi
, Ranga, Mukund and Shekhar, short respectively for Ravichandran, Ranganathan, Mukundan and Shekhar were sitting at Main Street, the restaurant at the Ground Floor of Residency Towers. Main Street offered one of the better buffet spreads in Chennai but that was not the reason the four bosom friends were meeting up there. The bill was placed on the table. Mukund took it and meticulously scanned it, and then nodded his head to indicate that they had been billed correctly. The four of them paid up their respective charges and then Ravi declared abruptly, “I won’t tip!”.

“Why won’t you tip? These people make very less money you know.”

“Then tell them not to take up this job. Tell them to learn a computer language. As far as I am concerned the job scene is so damn good, if they came here they were getting into it knowingly. Heck, tell them to start a small scale industry for all I care, the government doles out loans. But I am not going to tip.” Ravi said defiantly.

“You don’t tip at all?!”

“I do if they are special. But this waiter wasn’t special. He refilled our beer pitcher only twice. When I am here I want my pitcher refilled four times.”

“Arsehole Ravi, you didn’t ask him to refill the pitcher. And trust me, the last thing you need is a refill of beer.”

“Hey hey, what I need is not the point here, rather what I want. He didn’t ask me if I wanted a refill.”

“But these guys make minimum pay and in India, you know how it is. The minimum pay doesn’t cut it!”

“It may be that waiters may be one of the groups the government fucks in the arse on a regular basis. Forward a petition, I will sign it. But one thing I won’t do is to play ball!”

At this point he looked at everyone triumphantly having delivered that rare, definitive statement which makes it clear to everyone who has won the argument.

Sadly, all this happened in Ravi’s dream. In reality, the other three looked at him incredulously.

“Who said anything about tipping? None of us ever tip! I hear these star hotels make huge margins anyway.” Ranga remarked.

Mukund guffawed. “Poor Ravi, ever since he saw Kill Bill I and Reservoir Dogs back to back in my house, he has been on a Tarantino fantasy trip!”

“Is he your latest crush, lover boy?” teased Ranga.

“Why don’t you guys play ball and indulge me. Once, just once for all that I have done for you”, he complained.

Shekhar, who until then had had a placid countenance, exploded.

“You want a fuckin’ Reservoir Dogs trip. Well, you don’t have the right to a Reservoir Dogs trip because you are a fuckin’ braindead, gay, blustering nincompoop! In fact, you are so stupid you could be a goddamn bastard son of Arjun Singh, for all I know! Didn’t you know you have to wear shoes to Bikes and Barrels? The ten year old kid next door knows that, but you, you don’t, you faggot!!! If you hadn’t forgotten to wear shoes, we will be in Bikes and they may have played Stairway to Heaven, a small chance but definitely not a zero chance. Instead of that, because of you and your Nike Floaters, I have Maamis to the left of me, Paattis to my right and I am stuck in the middle with you!”

Mukund and Ranga were laughing like hyenas.

“Dude, how was I to know that Bikes would have a raid yesterday and therefore, become very strict today! I have got in before with these!” Ravi protested.

Shekhar wasn’t in a mood to let bygones be bygones. “Maiyiru, The raid was for 21 and above. That manager gave a bloody cock and bull story about why shoes were necessary when glasses broke. I have been there six times and nothing has broken. It is just a blind custom dating to the Raj when the English would have used this as one more way to discriminate against Indians. Not only are you stupid, you are as gullible as a first time visitor to a brothel. You are a faggot!”

Shekhar unplugged was a treat. He didn’t speak so colourfully until recently. Till then he had been a quite person. However, his new job in an investment advisory firm brought him oodles of money and he all of a sudden seemed to have acquired a put on Wall Street air. Actually, it was a wannabe air he put on mainly by imitating characters from books like Liar’s Poker and watching movies like Wall Street. However, everyone seemed to love it and he had then gotten used to throwing in a F word every three words.

Anyway, the last comparison of Ravi to a first time brothel visitor and the comparison to Arjun Singh’s bastard son tickled the slightly inebriated Mukund so much that he fell off the chair laughing. The sight of the scholarly looking Mukund lying on the floor convulsed with laughter caused quite a stir. Waiters rushed to help him up and Ravi, looked at the spectacle with a chuckle. He turned around to be greeted by a sea of mildly surprised and disapproving looks. Amidst this sea of disapproval he caught a bewitching smile. A half smile actually, but no less bewitching. He winked hard as if that would help to reduce the intoxication and he turned in all directions. He was a normal man, in fact, below average in many respects but he had a gift. He could spot a babe. And that smile was not that of a babe’s but that of something more, a Goddess. An ethereal Goddess, he thought to himself.

Hard work can be a rather capricious master. Sometimes it pays, sometimes it doesn’t. Today Ravi was in luck, as he spotted his Goddess. And worth the effort she was. She still had a lingering smile on those full red lips. More strikingly her lustrous liquid eyes seemed to have lit up because of this commotion. She resembles Sreedevi at her peak, Ravi thought. Sreedevi, definitely, but Sreedevi with a perfect figure hugging black top with a plunging neckline that tantalizingly stopped plunging just before the cleavage. Beautiful and elegantly glamorous, our heroine was.

Ranga had not used the lover boy taunt earlier without a reason. Ravi fell in love, and out of it , frequently. His “crushes” in fact seemed to sustain him, so much so when he had run out of girls, he had had crushes on the teachers. Therefore, falling for a Sreedevi look alike was par for the course for Ravi. However, Ravi made a resolve that this was going to be his woman. Come what may! He had never resolved anything, but this one he was going to achieve.

While all this was going on Ravi’s head, Mukund had sheepishly paid the bill. He was back in Chennai on a break after his MS before heading back to US for obtaining his PhD. Actually, Mukund had changed from a prick at school, to the now super cool intellectual, Zen in the knowledge that coming second did not mean the end of the world.

But enough digressing, we are not interested in Mukund or Shekhar or Ranga. Our hero Ravi tottered out of the restaurant, the picture of the Goddess imprinted in his brain. The others were chattering on as they waited for the car to come, but Ravi seemed in a different world. He snapped back to attention when Shekhar said, “Hey Ravi! Enna aachu? You seem zoned out!” Ravi smiled and said, “Machaan, I think I have seen my Goddess! You wouldn’t believe it but there was this girl who looked just like actress Sreedevi…”

“Two tables to my left…” Mukund interrupted

“And that figure hugging black top.” Ranga completed.

Ada paavingala, why didn’t you tell me?” Ravi demanded.

Mukund looked about as if to see if anyone else would say what all the other three thought, but seeing that no one else was ready, he did it happily. He said, “You are a nice person and all that but when you see a hot girl, you completely lose it, my friend. You stare at her and open your mouth and close it like a fish gaping at something.” The others imitated him for effect and all four burst out laughing. Actually the description was quite true. The Goddess was used to people staring at her; in fact, she was used to admiring glances and people fawning over her ever since she was that high. But even she was taken aback by The Gaping Man.

As Mukund got into the driver’s seat and the others settled in, he remarked, “By the way, I have seen her at the place I take my French classes. I think your Sreedevi's name is Latha.”

Ravi almost jumped in the back seat.

Dei, intro podu da”, he begged.

“Hey, I just said I have seen her. I am taking a class in French, but she is just at the library for most of the morning. I am assuming she is an advanced student or is a researcher of some sort or maybe just an ardent lover of the French Language.”, Mukund said.

Ranga looked at Mukund. The prey was waiting to be killed. But before that it had to be fattened. Ranga said dismissively,”Hey you have had a crush on everyone. I am sure this is also one of those. Sleep over it.”

“No Ranga. This time I am determined. I have never set my eyes on anything before, now I have set my eyes on her and will achieve it!” Ravi said determinedly.

“Not true. Once you did set your eyes on beating me in Math in 10th Std. You failed quite miserably if my memory serves right!” Shekhar said and everyone burst out laughing.

“That was my immaturity. Now I will say only things that I will do and do things that I will say!” Ravi remarked in the manner of that famous Super Star of Tamil Nadu.

“Okay. Let us say you somehow get to her, then somehow make her notice you, then somehow make her fall out of love with whoever she may be in love with, then make her fall in love with you… assuming you could do all this, why would her parents agree to this? Maybe they could get a liquor baron’s son or an industrialists’ son, why you?” Mukund remarked, traces of the old prick resurfacing.

“Because she is in love and love is blind”, he declared.

“More like she is blind”, Ranga guffawed.

“But there is one line of attack. Her nose and chin seem to suggest that she is from Tanjore. I am from Tanjore. That is a link already!”, Ravi brightened.

“The way she bends her right hand seems to indicate her father is a highly protective IPS office!” Shekhar guffawed.

“And Murphy’s Law suggests that the she will be your gothram, so you will end up back at square one!” Ranga remarked and all including Ravi burst into laughter.There was a silence for sometime.

Then Ravi admitted,”Yeah, you are right. She must have some multi-millionaire boyfriend already. I am a sales person for an industrial refrigeration company. What are the chances?”

Shekhar cut in,”Hey we were just pulling your leg. Give an earnest effort. We never know how these things work out! And I completely support you on one count. You work hard, you study in a free merit seat and get a job and all that, and someone lazy fat ass comes on his father’s money and beats you to it! That is so fucking unfair. I have always held inheritance is the root of inequality. Fuck, I think the government must slap a 100% tax on inheritance.”

Mukund said, “A communist in capitalist garbs eh?! It is a complicated issue quite out of the bounds of slightly drunk, sexually frustrated young men. Speaking of inheritance reminds me of that incident at school. We had some old man talk to us on “Moral Issues in the Modern Age” and in a particular section he went on and on about how money does not matter and we will not take it with us when we die and so on. To this, Ram – I think he is going to complete his MBA - quipped, “Then write your wealth in my name when you die!” There was a minor commotion in the back benches due to this and he was hauled up by the teachers later on. How funny that was!!!”

The conversation meandered on. However, Ravi had left this conversation quite some time ago.

He was in a French town. His lady love had sent word through her trusted pigeon that her father was keeping her in the Castle as she was refusing to marry the Prince he had chosen. Knight Ravi des Tanjore quietly swam the crocodile infested moat at precisely midnight of a full moon day since he had seen on Animal Planet that crocodiles surely were fast asleep at that time of the night. Having crossed the moat successfully, he climbed across the daunting castle walls and skillfully scaled the walls of the fort using the dense ivy growth, to the room where the Princess, nay the Goddess, was waiting for him. After opening the window the conversation went as:

Goddess Latha: J'ai une brûlure à démanger dans mes régions basses!

Knight Ravi: Umm… oui oui!

Goddess Latha: M'embrasser passionément chevalier juste d'O et éteindre le feu de la passion!

Knight Ravi: Huh?

Seeing that he didn’t know any French, she grabbed him and their lips locked by the moonlight…

(End of Part I)

9 comments:

Shankar said...

wow!!!! incredibly written .... when will the part 2 come up???? the best is the style of conversation which is so close to our lingo .... makes it a very smooth read

Vishwanath said...

Was a nice way to go about man;
Blog machi blog..

Ashish said...

"Maamis to the left of me, Paattis to my right and I am stuck in the middle with you!” Nice reference... love the QT shag :-) Nice read da...

Btw... any antidote from Dr Middle to cure blogger's block?

Guthi said...

LOL, awesome that was.

crumpledbrownbag said...

blog updates mister middle!

themiddler said...

@shanks

Thanks. That was the intention of using the Tam words. English is at the end of the day a foreign language and it is challenging to bring the Indianness maintaining the grammar. Hmph...

@Desba

Thanks. Now fallen back into my lazy ways :(

@Aziz

For you, just write da. It WILL flow!

@Guthi

Thanks!

@crumpledbrownpaperbag

Hey! Nice to see you here. Been very caught up with pending social engagements :| Will update by mid next week. (Hope!)

Anand said...

Okkali! Finish it!

themiddler said...

@duck

err.... I know only to letch da. Slisha caught up on what happens later. Have written a rough draft, but it doesn't cut it :(

it's baille said...

good one da..
bastard son of arjun singh..too much
inheritence is the root of inequality..too too much
..the whole story sounds familiar ..for some reason..bikes not gettin entry...same gothra..from rgs i guess...nicely co-related da..too too too much