Sunday, July 31, 2005

First Date....(part 4)

Arun felt a little weird, he had never given rides to women before. He knew of friends who would make it a point to drive their bikes through all the pot holes and bumps on the road when they had hapless and well endowed girls for passengers. Arun always wondered if the road contractors specifically designed such roads keeping his friends in mind. But, Arun decided that he was going to be as gentlemanly as possible. He tried his best to avoid the bumps and the potholes but he couldn’t help the speed breakers. Arun felt that he was making a statement here- “Priya, I am not like those fools. I know how to treat a woman.” Priya on the other hand didn’t have time to think about the subtle statements Arun was trying to make through his driving skills. She knew that her bag contained probably the two thickest books she had ever read in life, so she was reasonably confident that it would take care of all eventualities (pot holes/bumps/speed breakers). Secondly, she was thinking about the movie. Priya was trying to piece the story together from the promos and songs she saw on television. She usually was very good at it, but she always knew that figuring out an Indian Film didn’t require the IQ levels of Dr. Einstein.
While Arun Krishnamurthy was concentrating on the road, Krishnamurthy Sr. decided to open the lone unopened letter lying on the table. The letter was mailed 15 days back, which meant that it was lying in Ambujam maami’s house for at least a week. It was from Karan Johar and Mr. Krishnamurthy immediately realized what was going to be in the cover. During Dr. Krishnamurthy’s last year as the principal of NIT he was invited to chair an IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Systems at the University College of London. He traveled by British Airways and happened to have Mr. Johar sitting next to him. Mr. Krishnamurthy was a big movie buff but he stopped watching movies as he felt that today’s cinema had nothing intelligent to offer. Dr. Krishnamurthy didn’t have the time for crass commercial potboilers that has a one man fighting-machine for a hero and a svelte heroine who will break into a wet dance baring her midriff at the drop of a hat. So he didn’t know about Karan and the movies he made until a couple of co-passengers walked to Mr. Johar and chatted with him about his next movie. Arun’s dad didn’t exactly remember how they started talking with each other but he remembered that it was the first time in a long while that he had talked about cinema to anyone.

They had a very interesting conversation on Indian Cinema and Karan was absolutely amazed with Dr. Krishnamurthy’s photographic memory of how things were in the 60’s and 70’s. Gradually, Dr. Krishnamurthy told him that he felt that today’s cinema is very low on substance because film makers traded their movies solely on sex and violence. It was familiar turf for Dr. Krishnamurthy, all he needed was an active listener and Karan didn’t mind doing most of the listening in their dialogue.. Karan was very keen to get an idea of what Dr. Krishnamurthy wanted as a moviegoer. Towards the end of the journey Karan told him about a movie that he was producing that was slated to be released the next year. He also took down Dr. Krishnamurthy’s address and told him that he would send him the tickets for it. He wanted him to watch the movie and let him know what he felt about it.

Arun’s dad thought that Karan would forget about it. So, seeing Karan’s name on the letter brought a faint smile to his lips. On opening the cover he found a neatly written letter from Karan with his address on it. There were also 4 tickets for today’s matinee show of Kal Ho Na Ho at Satyam along with the letter. Karan humbly requested him to watch the movie and write what he felt about it to the address mentioned in the letter. Arun’s dad looked at the grandfather clock on the wall and it showed 2:45. He had 30 more minutes.
Arun and Priya on reaching the theatre were greeted by a red houseful sign. There were a lot of people hovering around the ticket counter looking at the advance booking chart. Priya pitied all those souls without a ticket. Arun didn’t want pity now all he wanted was the familiar sounds of black ticket peddlers shouting “50 for 100… 50 for 100!” Arun became frantic with every passing minute. He couldn’t see anyone selling tickets.

Priya: “Thanks Arun. I am sure I wouldn’t have got tickets today.”

Arun (looking at his watch, he only had 15 minutes): “Priya, no need to be so formal. We are after all neighbours”

Arun decided that it would be of no use for him to stand here and look for tickets. He had to move around the place and scout for tickets.

Arun: “Priya, I need to use the restroom. I will be back in 5 minutes”

Priya: “Oh sure.”

Arun knew that the parking lot would be the best bet to look for black tickets. But there was a slight problem, as Arun wasn’t familiar with the vernacular he forgot the name of the movie. Just as he was thinking of finding a way to get over this latest problem Arun found THE man he was looking for. He looked drunk and shabby but this wasn’t the time or place to be worried about appearances. Arun thanked his stars as he hurriedly made his way to the ticket seller. Strangely there weren’t people hovering around the guy with hundred rupee notes. He was just sitting on the platform by himself with a bunch of tickets in his hands. Arun thought that maybe the guy was charging an exorbitant amount and people weren’t coming forward to buy the tickets.

Arun: “Sir, do you have tickets for the Hindi Movie?”

The guy was excited on hearing the word sir. It was the first time in his 6 years at Satyam that someone called him sir. And, in these six years he knew that these were the kind of guys who could be easily taken for a ride.

Black Ticket Guy (offering his hand): “Glad to meet you sir, my name is Munisamy.”

Arun was surprised as he had never ever seen ticket peddlers to be so courteous enough to shake hands. Probably this one was an MBA drop out. Arun shook hands with Munisamy.

Arun: “Sir, do you have tickets for the Hindi movie?”

Munisamy: “Which one sir?, there are two Hindi movies running here.”

Arun (thinking hard, trying to recall the movie’s name): “Uh…the latest release…”

Munisamy by now was calculating how much money he could milk out of Arun. Hmm maybe 300…. (closely looking at Arun still thinking of the movie’s name)…definitely 400.

Arun: “Can you tell me the names of the two movies?”

Munisamy: “Jansheen and Kal Ho Na Ho sir”

Arun: “Uh which one is going well?”

Munisamy had never ever seen someone come to him without knowing the name of the movie. Munisamy was now thinking of 500.

Munisamy (without batting an eyelid): “Jaansheen sir. Super duper hit. Biggest movie this year”

Arun (wondering whether the movie Priya mentioned had this English Name): “Do you have 2 tickets for er… John Sheen?”

Munisamy: “You are lucky sir. I have only 2 more tickets left.”

Arun felt relieved on hearing that. He looked at his watch; it’s been 10 minutes since he left Priya.
Priya was waiting at the ticket counter for Arun while everyone was making their way into the theatre. Priya didn’t know why Arun took so long for taking a leak. She then reminded herself that it was wrong to assume that people used rest rooms only for leaks. Maybe he must be having troubles with his tummy, poor thing.

Five minutes later, Priya didn’t feel sorry for Arun any more. The movie will be starting in less than a minute and the blasted fool was still in the toilet. She was going to miss the first scene of the movie because of some guy who didn’t have the foresight to use the toilet before coming to the theatre. Just as Priya was cursing Arun to her hearts content
She saw Arun’s mother, stepping out of an auto and there was another man who looked like Arun’s replica but with a lot less hair get out of the auto. Priya didn’t know what to do. Did Arun know that his parents were coming to the theatre? Were they going to the same movie? And the most important question of all, did they know that Arun was along with her here? She kind of felt that the answer to the last question was ‘NO’ because she still remembered the look on Arun’s face when she asked him if it was okay for her to come to his house before going to the movie.

Arun’s mom had a very excited look on her face and on seeing Priya she looked even more excited.

Arun’s Mom: “Yai Priya, What are you doing here? Pa this is Priya, Ambujam’s niece.”

Before Priya could answer

Arun’s Dad (an irritated look on his face): “Sharadha, do you always have to ask such obvious questions. Will she come here to launch a rocket?”

Priya couldn’t stop giggling.

Arun’s Mom: “Priya, you know he is always like this. This is third time he is taking me to a movie in our 30 years of marriage. What is the movie’s name pa?”

Arun’s Dad: “Kal Ho Na Ho, we don’t have enough time Sharadha it must have started already.”

Arun’s Mom:”Priya we have more extra tickets, you can join us if you want to.”

Priya was in a big quandary, and she didn’t know whether to go along with Arun’s parents or wait for Arun.

Arun was happy that everything worked out well. He had the tickets and Priya was going to sit next to him for 3 hours sharing the popcorn. Arun corrected himself; popcorn was something that he couldn’t afford after coughing up 500 bucks for the tickets. Just as he was walking towards the ticket counter he saw two familiar figures get out of an auto near the gate. Arun could see Priya near the counter looking at his parents. Arun hid behind the pillar and tried calling Priya but she didn’t notice his presence. He hoped his parents would just walk past Priya but to his horror that didn’t happen. His parents were having an animated discussion and Priya was a silent spectator. Arun tried to attract Priya’s attention by clapping his hands and this time she saw or rather heard him, he was near the pillar behind Mr. and Mrs. Krishnamurthy. Arun wasn’t very good at sign language but he has had his fair share of sign language news on Doordarshan so he tried his best to tell Priya to wait for him till his parents went into the movie hall. Priya thought he was motioning her to go along with his parents while he waits here. She still couldn’t understand why he wanted to wait here while she and his parents were in the theatre. Anyway Priya was frustrated with all the waiting. She just wanted to watch the movie.

Priya: “Yes Aunty. Thanks for asking. I was waiting for a friend and she bailed out on me in the last minute.”

Arun’s heart skipped a beat when he looked at his Parents and Priya walk into the theater together. He felt like tearing his hair out. He spent 500 rupees on a stupid hindi movie for a stupid girl who had the audacity to dump him even before the date.
Arun didn’t want the tickets to go waste so he tried to sell the tickets back if not for 500 bucks at least 350 bucks. So there were a couple of men standing near the houseful board. Arun thought that these guys were probably still looking for tickets. So he went towards them and told them that he still had two tickets remaining and he could sell them each for 250 bucks. The guys looked at Arun like a saviour and asked him to show the tickets first. Arun obliged and on seeing Fardeen Khan’s face on the ticket with Jansheen printed in bright red ink the guys lost their temper. Arun didn’t know what made them lose their temper but he was pretty much sure that they were using the choicest Hindi expletives to demean him. Then one of the guys told him that if he wanted tickets to Jansheen he could get it from the counter for the actual rate.

Arun felt like a complete idiot. Now it made sense, Munisamy not being hounded with people, Munisamy having a bunch of unsold tickets in his hand. Damn! Arun didn’t have the heart to waste his hard earned money. So he decided to get into the theatre at least for the air conditioner. On entering the theatre Arun could count 8 or 9 other people along with him. There was a note displayed on the screen saying that the Air conditioner unit was having some problems so they would be switching on the fans instead. Arun couldn’t care less after that point. He sat in the hall for three hours and watched the movie even though he didn’t understand a word.

He came back home before his parents and Priya. The house was locked and so he was sitting near the gate waiting for them to come back. After waiting for about 30 minutes his parents and Priya got down from the auto. They all looked very happy and were discussing about how good the movie was. Arun couldn’t believe that even his mom seemed to have understood and liked the movie without knowing Hindi. He was dying to ask his mom about what made them to go to a place that screened Hindi movies all of the sudden. Arun’s parents bid Priya goodbye and walked past Arun to unlock the door.

Arun’s dad: “Dai, you could have cleaned the water tank instead of waiting for us right.”

Arun(fuming): “Is the darned water tank the most important thing in his world?”

Arun’s dad (staring at Arun) : “Sharadha, I want your son to be on his best behavior tomorrow.”

Arun: “ Whats so special tomorrow ma. Are we having the Indian Chief of Army Staff for dinner?”

Arun’s mom: “ What ? We are going to Chaari Maama’s house for dinner not Army maama.”

Arun’s dad: “Dai Arun lock the gate before coming into the house”

Arun: “My name is K. Arun not Dai Arun ma !”

Arun’s mom: “Kanna go and lock the gate da raja.”

Arun’s dad: “Oh sir will go and lock the door only if he is called kanna and raja. Sharadha he is 25 not a 5 year old.”

His mom always had her way of getting things done. Arun was tired and didn’t want to prolong his proxy war with his dad. There was no point in blaming him for the debacle. He just wanted his Seagram’s. The only thing that could give him solace without making him think much. Arun walked to the gate to lock it lest his dad launched his verbal fusillade. Priya stood near her gate waiting for him.

Arun’s heart skipped a beat for the second time in the day. Arun started to entertain hopes of a second innings. Maybe she really did like him or why would she wait for him.

Priya: “Arun, you should have told me that your dad and Karan Johar are really good friends.”

Arun(absently): “Who is Karan Johar?”

Priya(shocked): “What? I thought Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was your favourite movie”

Arun: “Oh oh that Karan. Yeah I really didn’t know my dad and him were friends. Pretty cool eh?”

Priya: “Anyway I just wanted to say all the best for tomorrow. Hope she is the one.”

Arun (clueless): “Who is she? Why should she be the one?”

Priya: “Come on Arun. Don’t tell me you forgot that you are meeting Mr. Chaari’s daughter Kokila Vaani Kujlambal in Mylapore tomorrow evening. Your dad and mom are pretty excited. Your mom even mentioned that she could sing really well?”

Arun felt like he was hit in the head with a sledge hammer. Why did someone always to have spell things for him?

…come home by 6:30…chaari maama….best behavior tomorrow….and finally the death knell what a name Kokila Vaani Kujlambal….

Arun slammed his gate shut and broke into a run to the nearest wine shop. Thats it!!! He needed his Seagram’s now! Priya stood there gaping at a sprinting Arun. She had never ever seen someone run away from her like that.


PS: Extremely sorry for not posting the final part on friday as I promised earlier. Thanks for patiently waiting and reading it. Hope you enjoyed it. And, thanks, Karthik, for the suggestions.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

first date....(part 3)

Arun handed over the phone to his dad and walked into the house. Arun didn't know who Paramasivam was and the name, just like Karan Johar didn't mean anything to him. But, Karan Johar at least helped him get his first date in 25 years. Arun at the very moment felt like a Casanova. Well this was the closest he has ever got to a girl if he discounted all filial relations (mom, grand mom, cousins) and Ashok. Well Ashok acted as his love interest in their second standard school play because none of the girls in the class came forward to act opposite Arun. It wasn't because Arun looked too bad. For a 7 year old he looked pretty okay, a few missing teeth but except for Nivedita all the other girls in class had a few missing as well. The real reason for his unpopularity was Ashok. He scared all the girls in class by saying how Arun had set fire to Sabapathy's tail. No one believed Ashok the first time but Ashok took it as a personal challenge and brought Sabapathy to school the next day to prove that Arun was a major threat to Kendriya Vidyalaya 2nd standard B section. Frankly, Arun didn't know what it was with girls and stuffed animals (dogs/bears/cats/orangutans), even if he had killed a real one they wouldn't have felt so bad. Ashok realized his folly and had a change of heart. He volunteered to play 'Seetha' to make it up to Arun. But what he didn't realize was that made Arun even more mad. Jumping into the well was better than Ashok playing Seetha.

Arun still got nightmares of that play but a little whiskey made him forget the bitter past. But, things now were going unbelievably good for him and what mattered most was the present.If there was ever a mirror in the world that could reflect how happy people felt, Arun could be staring into an unopened bottle of Seagram’s single malt. Arun now felt that Priya could probably make him feel more happier than Seagrams, the very thought of a girl replacing his favourite drink could have been blasphemous to Arun 2 weeks back. But, such was the power women exercised over men.

Just as Arun was about to enter the bathroom he heard his dad call out for him. It must be the water tank Arun thought to himself. It was 1:00 and Arun had just about enough time to shower and eat lunch. Cleaning the tank was something that Casanova Arun could not accommodate in his schedule at this point in time. But, Arun just like any other average Indian wouldn't dare say that so bluntly to his father's face. So Arun picked up his phone on the way to the terrace and set an alarm so that it would ring in 2 minutes. On reaching the terrace, Arun found his dad waiting with a towel tied around his head. His dad had 2 packets of chlorine, 2 torchlights and 2 scrubbers laid down on the floor

Dad: "Dai Arun will you come back from your office by 6:30 tomorrow evening?"
Arun: "Yes pa, that’s what I thought too. We should clean the tank tomorrow evening. It would be a lot cooler."
Dad (glaring): "Dai, we are cleaning it today. I want you to come by 6:30 tomorrow because I want you to meet someone
Arun: "Who pa?"
Dad (Arun's phone ringing): "Broker Paramasivam wanted us to meet Mr. Chaari's family in Myl.."

Arun's dad halted midway as Arun after struggling for a few seconds finally managed to pick the phone out of his pants

Arun:"Yes Sir, Ok Sir."
Arun:"No problem sir."
Arun:"I will be there in an hour sir."

Arun hung up the phone hoping that his dad didn't find out that he was faking the call. Arun summoned all the acting skills that was imparted to him in second standard to pull that stunt off.
Dad: "Dei, who was that on the phone."
Arun:" My Boss pa. He wants me to help him out in the office something urgent came up."
Dad (in an astonished tone):" Your boss wants YOU to come to the office to take care of something important on a Sunday afternoon."
Arun(sweating):" Yes pa, do you want me to call him up and tell him that I will be there an hour later after I am finished with the tank."
Dad: "We can clean it later. Work is more important and besides that to have your boss dependent on you at such an early stage in your career augurs well for your future."

Arun felt relieved and a little guilty. This was the closest he had ever got to a compliment from his dad in the recent past. But, the fact that he got it for something that he fabricated robbed it of its charm.Moreover, his micromanaging boss wouldn't trust Arun to switch on his computer by himself. Anyway considering the current circumstances, living with some guilt seemed far more attractive than scrubbing concrete.

Arun(making his way to the stairs): Ok pa. I need to be there in an hour.
Dad: "Dei Arun what about tomorrow?"
Arun: "Yeah tomorrow, what about tomorrow? (suddenly realizing) Oh tomorrow 6:30 dhaane, sure pa."

Arun's father was feeling very happy even though he didn't show it. He hoped that Mr. Chaari's daughter was a perfect match for Arun. Arun was feeling just as happy, or perhaps even a tad happier than his dad but for entirely different reasons. Arun had a quick shower and was searching for the perfect deo/cologne/perfume to spray. It was a pretty important decision because according to the most recent issue of Debonair some French researchers have found out that women usually tend to like men who smelt nice. So the easiest way of getting to a woman's heart is through her olfactory and Arun was going to trust Axe for this momentous occasion.

Just as Arun was walking out of his room to the dining table with the deo in hand, the Axe commercial was playing on Sun TV. It was the commercial where a dozen women swoon over the Axescented Man. Arun's parents had a very disgusted look on their faces on seeing the ad. The digusted look soon gave way to a disapproving look on seeing Arun with a very similar can in hand.

Mom: "Arun kanna, is that the same spray they were showing on TV?"
Arun(desperately trying to hide the black spray can): "Uh..yes Ma, its Axe but its not the one they showed on TV. This is Axe Tsunami and the one they showed on screen was Axe Phoenix."
Dad (glaring): "They also showed that it’s available in Voodoo and Tsunami. I am pretty sure that they will retain the same ad director Arun. I don't think they will rope in Bharathiraja to give an earthy feel to Axe, now would they?"

Arun was wondering how Bharathiraaja would make an Axe commercial for a minute. The very thought cracked him up.

Mom(to Arun’s father): “What kind of names do these people keep sunami..peenix ? Mysore sandal soap and Nycil powder (looking in Arun’s direction) seemed to work well till last year.”
Arun: "The Chennai heat no ma..."

Arun's dad interjected him before he could complete his sentence.
Dad: "Your boss must be mighty pleased. Wish my students had the basic decency to brush their teeth before entering their class rooms."

Arun couldn't really tell whether this was one of his dad's veiled witticism's. One thing was sure; his dad now was beginning to have doubts about him going to the office. He had just enough time for lunch and he really didn't want to worry about his dad when he should be thinking about wooing Priya.

Ambujam Aunty had a very relaxed Sunday morning. She practically kept track of the time through the different programmes running on TV. Priya didn't want to attract undue attention to the fact that she was going out for a movie with the boy next door. So she just told Ambujam aunty that she was going to Kal Ho Na Ho with a friend. Priya never liked to lie she was just merely letting Ambujam aunty to reach her own conclusion. Thankfully a very young and charming Kamal hassan helped Priya’s cause by distracting aunty from questioning any more about the friend. Priya told her aunt that she would be back by 7:00 as soon as the movie gets over.

Arun reached the Kwality ice cream shoppe 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. Arun was standing outside the shop but decided to walk in on seeing that the shop was Air-conditioned. Arun entered the shop and sat on a chair waiting for Priya. The shopkeeper walked towards him and asked for his order. Arun let the Shopkeeper know that he didn’t like ice creams and was waiting for a friend who might possibly order an ice cream. The shopkeeper looked at Arun and then the door, very clearly expressing his displeasure. Arun chose to ignore the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper didn’t want to create a big scene but he still wanted to get the better of Arun so he switched off the air conditioner. Priya walked into the complex and was waiting near Arun’s bike in the car park before Arun could think of his next action in the cold war that was developing between him and the shopkeeper. Arun saw her through the window and walked out of the shop hurriedly. Priya looked lovely in a blue chudidhar and it even matched the blue shirt that he was wearing. Arun somehow had a gut feeling that said that she was the one, even the colours they thought of matched.

Arun: “Hi.”
Priya:” Hi, did I interrupt you? You could have the ice cream we still have an hour.”
Arun (turning back to look at the shopkeeper): ”Nah, we can have it at the theatre. The ice creams there are way better than the ones you get here.”
Priya:”Oh okay. So lets leave then.”
Arun started his bike and was waiting for Priya to get on the bike. Priya put a book bag in between the backseat and Arun before sitting on the bike. Priya held tightly on to the steel bar behind her seat for support. Arun didn’t even notice the bag until she sat down. Arun realized that women were very careful unlike men and never let anything to chance. He wouldn’t be surprised if she had some chilly powder in her bag. A slight disappointment but nonetheless a back seat with Priya and her bag was better than an empty back seat.

Note: Guys, I don't know why this is spanning out like the Mahabharath, I hope I can finish it by next week. Really should commend Rowling for managing to write so much and so well.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The first date....(part 2)

Arun's father now slowly began to piece together his son's maniacal drive for cleaning his bike with the balcony door. He turned back expecting his son to be shamelessly ogling at the girl but by then Arun went into the house to escape his father's attention. Cleaning the water tank was not the foremost thing on his mind right now, his grey cells were now working overtime to recollect marriage broker Paramasivam's number. The first thing that he was going to do on getting back from the tea stall was to call Paramasivam and the next thing on his agenda was to clean the darned water tank.

Arun resurfaced out of his house as soon as he saw his dad turn the corner of the street to the tea stall. If not for his mom, all his hardwork over the last weekend would have gone waste. Arun had to admit that his mom making horrible tea had its own advantages. Arun's father was used to having really good tea at the college canteen for the last 30 years. His first post retirement day started off on a very bitter note with a cup of his wife's steaming concoction and she even came up with a fancy name for it- "Tea". Ever since that day Arun's father didn't mind walking to the tea stall in the adjacent street for his morning cuppa.

Arun resumed his weekend chore of ocassionally cleaning the bike while stealing glances at Priya who looked absolutely ravishing in a spotlessly white chudidhar. Arun was now wondering how he was going to make his first move. Would it be wise for him to call out her name and wave a hi? What if Ambujam aunty decides to waltz in while he was chatting with her? Just as Arun was working out the different permutations and combination of how the scene might unfold, Priya opened the gate with a letter in hand and was walking towards him. Arun was now shamelessly ogling at her. Priya flashed her trademark Julia Roberts smile and Arun somehow managed to mutter a hi.

Priya: "Hi(with the smile still intact), The postman dropped this in our house, but Ambujam maami told me that this person...uhhh (looking at the label on the envelope) Mr.Krishnamurthy lives in your house."

Arun: "Oh yeah, thats my dad. Thanks for dropping it by."

Priya: "No problem. Interestingly, the from address has Karan Johar written on it."

As Arun didn't know a word of Hindi, the name Amitabh Bachhan didn't mean much to him and so quite understandably Karan Johar just drew a blank look from his face.

Priya: "You don't know Karan Johar, the director, the guy who made Kuch Kuchh hota hai?"

Arun: "Oh...Oh that Karan..yeah ofcourse I know him. That's like my all time favourite movie."

Priya: "Yours too (the smile was getting wider and wider)"

By now Arun wouldn't even mind saying that Karan Johar was his third cousin if it could make her smile.

Priya: " It couldn't be the same Karan could it? "

Now this was tricky and Arun didn't want to complicate things by lying again. He now had to google Karan Johar to find out who the guy was and rent the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai DVD (with English Subtitles). The last Hindi movie he saw was Kamasuthra and that too because they didn't release the tamil dubbed version on DVD. And, the movie before that was probably Aasthaa.

Arun: " I dont think so. Do you know the Tamilnadu Under 15 softball team captain is also Arun Krishnamurthy? We Indians have a small pool of names to choose from I guess."

Shit, now why did he have to screw things up by talking about the softball team captain and that too under 15. He somehow had to regain lost ground. All he needed was an opportunity.

Priya (a little perplexed): "Oh is the kid that famous?"

Arun: "Uh not really. Its just that..uh.uh...." (Arun couldn't think of anything to say and Priya constantly looking at her watch was not helping him one bit)

Priya: "I better get going, I have been trying to get tickets to Kal Ho Na Ho for the whole of last week, let me try my luck today. Probably I should just buy it in black."

Ah, Arun could see a glimmer of hope here.

Arun: " Oh what a coincidence, I happen to have two tickets for the matinee at the Satyam complex and my friend bailed out on me in the last minute. You could come if you want to."

Arun, just took a chance with Satyam. Mostly all the Hindi movies run there. Arun was desperately hoping she would say yes. But if she did he would have to shell out atleast 300 bucks to get decent tickets in black.

Priya (this smile was so wide that could even make the National Highways blush) : "Oh I would love to. Thank you so much. I will be in Satyam at 2:30pm. Is that okay?"

Arun was thanking the heavens once he heard that but he was not quite finished yet.

Arun: " I could give you a ride to Satyam, we are after all neighbours."

Ashok (Ambujam Aunty's son) would have burnt him alive if he'd heard that. Arun made Ashok cough up 35 bucks for petrol last week when they went to Mahabalipuram. He still remembered himself saying "Machaan, petrol is petrol is petrol. I don't even give my mom free rides" to Ashok.

Priya: " Oh that would be super. So I will come to your place at 2:20."

Arun could see his dad with the paper in hand at the corner of the street. He had to get into the house as soon as possible.

Arun: ""

Priya: "Ok then you can come to my house."

His dad was anyday better than Ambujam aunty. He could imagine Ambujam aunty giving a brief character sketch to Priya once she comes back from the theatre or even worse before they start for the movie.

Arun: "How about meeting at the Kwality ice cream store behind your house at 2:20. I have some work in Harrington road so I could just pick you up on the way."

Priya: "Kwality 2:20 sounds good. Thanks once again"

Arun cannot afford to wasteone more minute. He knew his dads eye sight has been failing offlate but 75 feet is still a big risk.

Arun: " No problem. We are after all neighbours."

Priya:"See you."

Just as Priya went into her house his father was 25 feet away from him still face stuck to the paper. Phew that was close.

Arun's dad folded the paper neatly and put it on Arun's bike.

Dad (looking at the letter in Arun's hand):"Hmm...did the postman again drop off the letter at the opposite house."

Arun (nervously): "Yes Pa. I think he is new and still not used to the house numbers."

Dad: "Hmm yeah. So did she just give this one letter?"

Arun (sweating): "Who pa? Ambujam aunty...."

Dad: "And since when has Ambujam aunty started wearing White chudidhars?"

Mr. Krishnamurthy was just letting him know that he might be old but he still hasn't lost his touch. Arun had to admire his dad, there were not many 60 year olds who are still sharper than their 25 year old sons. Damn, 75 feet and still good.

Arun(defeated look): "Yes pa, just the one letter."

Arun's father took the letter from Arun.

Dad: "Good. So Arun, have you finished cleaning your bike?"

Arun: "Yes pa."

Dad: "Ok can you give me your mobile phone I need to make a call to Paramasivam and after that we can start working on the water tank."

(to be continued)

Monday, July 04, 2005

The first date....

Arun was cleaning his gleaming new black Honda CBZ outside his house on a typically very hot and humid Madras winter morning. There was a very good reason for Arun slaving a good two hours on his new motorbike when he could have watched Sourav's India play Pakistan at Multan on the telly. Arun was keeping his fingers crossed, well it wasn't beacuse of the Indian cricket team, for a change an Indian victory was a foregone conclusion. Arun was keeping his fingers crossed because of the girl who was visiting Ambujam aunty who lived opposite to him.

Arun came home from his office very late a week back and he impatiently knocked on the door fully expecting his mom to open it with an irritated look which sort of conveyed " Did you really have to knock on the door when the mother in law is mercilessly torturing the new bride to death on Sun TV?" But, unexpectedly there was this girl who Arun had never ever seen before open the door with such a big smile on her face that could even put Julia Roberts to shame. Understandably Arun was rendered speechless for a few minutes before Arun's mom made the introductions to break the ice. Arun got to know that her name was Priya, she was from Coimbatore and she was Ambujam aunty's niece. She was here to spend her college winter break. Ambujam aunty and Arun never got along very well ever since the day he set fire to sabapathy's tail (her dog). Only if Arun had behaved himself, he could be at Aunty's house talking to Priya over a hot cup of coffee. Beautiful women make men repent for their past mistakes. Maybe setting fire to a dog's tail is a little more than a mistake.

So Arun that very weekend had painstakingly pretended to clean his bike a good 4 hours just to find out the girls every day routine. So if all the effort that he put into cleaning his bike the last weekend paid off she would walk into the balcony facing his house with her coffee in hand in about 5 seconds. Will she or won't she?

5...4...3...2...1 he heard the gate creak and his dad walked through it with his Hindu and was standing right behind him. Arun immediately shifted his focus from the balcony door to the spotlessly clean steel mud guard (it could easily pass of for a mirror). Arun's dad was a retired principal and there weren't too many things that could escape his discerning eyes.

"Enna da Arun, is everything okay with Ambujam Maami's balcony door?"

That knocked the wind out of Arun. Arun gave his dad a sheepish smile and immediately put on his 'I don't know what you are talking about' poker face.

"Why pa, did she ask me to come and fix it? May be I should call our carpenter."

Arun's father glared at him,

"Maybe you should shift your attention to things in our own house. I noticed that you have this new found affinity to keeping things clean (looking at his reflection on the mud guard and grimacing at how much hair he has lost over the last year). Maybe we should start cleaning the water tank once I get back from the Tea stall."

Arun's father then gazed at the balcony unable to figure out what was going on. And, at that particular moment the balcony door opened and there she was standing with a cup in hand.
(to be continued)
Free Site Counter
Website Counter