Skip to main content

A quick tale 193

My aunt has diabetes

You see, that's the trouble with people you know slightly. Those you know well, you can sit and talk for hours. And those who are strangers, you can ignore completely. But those inbetween, the ones you sort-of know, as a passing acquaintance, they are the ones who are most difficult to handle. And I was stuck with one such on a train journey.

She was my aunt's neighbour and I had met her a couple of times before. Very very briefly. But no sooner had I settled down in my seat than she started wondering aloud where she knew me from. Once we had established our route to acquaintanceship, we then carried on talking about our mutual link. My aunt. After I had told her about my aunt's recent widowhood (at which she tutted duly) and her ongoing struggle with diabetes and weight (more tutting), there was little to do. So I asked her about her family and if she had any aunts that I may have lived next door to. Now there was even less to discuss. We fell into a merciful though somewhat awkward silence.

Later when she bought coffee from the vendor, she offered to buy me a cup. I said I didn't drink tea or coffee. And when I brought out my lunch packet, I offered to share it with her. It appeared she had already had her lunch. More silence ensued during which I wondered what to talk about next. I asked her if she had seen the latest blockbuster movie. It seems she didn't watch movies. She wondered if I listened to classical music. Only movie songs, I replied. After enquiring about interests in cricket and politics, I realised we had exhausted all possible topics of civil conversation. Religion was too personal and I didn't know her well enough to enquire if she had any illnesses she would like to discuss.

Our ordeal came to an end when the train reached its destination half-an-hour later. Finally, as we got off the train, I insisted that we stay in touch. I gave her my number and she duly took it down. My number had an extra '0' in it and she jotted it on piece of scrap paper.


apu said…
i have to say, i enjoyed this one very much. and a substantial QT from you after some time.
Anonymous said…
"any illness that she would like to discuss"

LOL!! Niceness ammani.. I reiterate, u should think of publishing ur QTs. I would buy!!

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 …