Saturday, January 07, 2006

Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi thu- A prologue

Appan scribbled “Nothing Happened” signed his name on the log book and walked out of the control room. The job of a maintenance engineer at Neyveli Lignite Corporation was seemingly simple when all the German boilers and English steam turbines were at peace with their Indian operating conditions. It was close to 10 pm as Appan walked towards the cycle stand. He was singing “May-ray sappu nokki raani kabbu aa-yay-gee thoo” as best as any Tamilian could. Burman’s latest hit from Aradhana made the entire nation (even the non-hindi speakers) join in chorus when it played on the radio.

Just as Appan was about to get on his Hercules, he saw his favourite security guard, Govindsamy, motioning him to come to his desk.

Guard: “Saar, please sign against your name and collect your mail.”

Appan (in a surprised tone): “Can’t be possible. Is my name written on the cover? ”

The only people who ever wrote letters to Appan was his cousin Chandru and his mother. To his knowledge he has never mentioned his office address to either of them. They usually mailed their letters to his house address.

Guard (looking at the cover): “Yes. If your name starts with A and ends with N, with a couple of Ps and an A thrown in between, then I am indeed fortunate to be among the 30 percent of literates to grace our country.”

Appan (signing his name with an irritated look on his face): “Thanks, nice to know that I am working with people who can read”

Appan snatched the letter away from the guards hands and flipped the cover to look at the “from” address. Appan saw his fathers name written on it. Appan couldn’t remember the last time his dad wrote him a letter.

Guard: “ Has there been a death in…. ”

Appan shot a nasty look at the guard which made him shut his mouth before he could complete his sentence. Appan opened the letter to see 2 lines of his dads handwriting, which over the years had regressed to doctor-esque proportions. Appan, after deciphering his dads letter, crumpled it and threw it into the dustbin adjacent to the guard’s table and furiously cycled away home.

The guard walked towards the dustbin, looked over his shoulders, before bending down to shamelessly pick up the crumpled letter.

It read:

--------------------------Annamalaiar Thunai-------------------------------------
23rd July, 1970

Your engagement with Kathiresan Chettiar’s daughter has been fixed on the 12th of August. Your mother would like you to reach home on the 10th of August. Plan your trip accordingly.

Jai Hind,
Retd. Col. AL. Nagappan


There was a faint smile on the guards face as he deposited the letter back to the dustbin. Mohammad Rafi started singing “Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi thu” in his magical voice on the guards pocket transistor.

(to be continued)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting start!

1:44 PM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

I like it. especially 'doctor-esque'.

6:48 AM  
Blogger optical dillusion said...

lol! another chetti marriage story in the pipeline :)

kumar seems to be having alot of these stories on his mind lately. are we missing something here? ;)

p.s (not the anand kind) - mail to

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

appan's appan ssems to be a bit of an own-trumpet-blower. "retd. col. nagappan"

So dos he alsays write letters like that to his son or are you trying to tell us that he was in the army?

just nitpicking kaka :) . good start. just feeling a bit green with envy thats all. i'll go bury my head again.

1:32 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@ Anon: Thanks. Lets see if the train of thought continues to be as interesting.

@Karthik: Came across the term somewhere :) don't remember where.

@Optical: The Anand Kind is very mad at you over something related to the The Gogna Kind

@Chithi: I have seen some of my grandfather's unused "inland" letters rubber stamped with his name and designation on it. He used to work in a bank.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

For someone who questioned others who used 'To be Continued' on their stories, you seem to follow it diligently :)

Interesting prologue...seekiram next part ezhudhu:)

3:15 PM  
Blogger vetty said...

Just enquiring..
Do you happen to have information or access to information through NCSU's library system for a few articles.
Please let me know. Thanks.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous arun said... the next one da

1:45 AM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@ All: Sorry was a lil held up, will post it by this weekend. I once again apologize for the delay.

@Vetty: whats ur email id, I can email you the details or prithvi has the uname and pwd, you can get it from him as well.

5:21 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

Guess you meant the NEXT

6:19 AM  
Blogger vetty said...

Savior bhaai..
Mail Id is Please mail NCSU details.

Yours is the best blog ever and will be highly recommended (Just thechufy-ing).. but finish Appan's story soon.

To others who are reading this, whats your take on Kumar choosing Appan as the central character's name and something about Appan's marriage as the central storyline? Do you think its happenstance or is dog trying to say something?

5:24 AM  
Blogger Radhika said...

It's been 20 days and we're still waiting....:-)

8:04 PM  
Blogger Partha said...

do u want us to believe u r busy?

7:25 AM  

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