Skip to main content

A quick tale 84


The box was locked and the keys jangled from a string that hung around the old one’s neck. The box was marked ‘culture’ and the only one authorised to open it was the Honorable Mr. Vulture. Its contents were ancient, sacred and could not be tampered with. For they contained the rules that the citizens of the land to live by.

No climbing doors. Must jump 32 times every second Tuesday of the month. Every dog must be accompanied by a piano on 2 legs. Never, repeat, never ask a crow where he is headed. Yogurt to be consumed standing up always. Like I said, the culture box had diktats that decided how one must live.

Of course there were groups of people, mostly young, who rebelled, asked questions, got together in secret and broke the rules. Like not wearing a balloon on their heads on Fridays. And talking with their eyes open. But when the authorities came down on them, their clandestine activities were exposed and the guilty shamed. The public were warned to uphold the culture rules otherwise they would suffer a similar fate.

Every now and then, a new rule would be added to the already confounding mass of regulations. No one knew who came up with it. There would be a ban on the word ‘it’ on the 1st of each month. And people had to remember to point but not say the word. But everyone agreed this was their great culture and you must never mess about your legacy.

note: I wink and nod at George Orwell


catch 22 said…
This post reminds me of the book "Anthem" by Ayn Rand.
apu said…
Ammani, brilliant. You have surpassed yourself :-)
apu said…
btw, Am linking you on my blog.
interesting....this reminds me of a stupid article on chennai that i read yesterday ->
kaaju katli said…
Love your edgy ones. Excellent and you know that woman!
WA said…
This is my favourite one so far, love it.
Anonymous said…
Animal farm ...
Anonymous said…
love ur stories
chinna kavidai
Aarthi said…
Reminds me of my college
Aarthi said…
Reminds me of my college
Echo/Lavanya said…
what a neat parallel! kudos.
S m i t h a said…
wonderful! :*
"may we all live in interesting times"
Anonymous said…
cool allegory

You May Also Like

Guest blog by Chinna Ammani

Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…


Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.


Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!


Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …