Skip to main content

A quick tale 213

A mild annoyance

If you asked her what it was about him that irritated her, depending on the time of the day and what she had for breakfast, she would have an answer for you. The way his nose is, she would say some days. Nose is…you would prompt her to elaborate. The way his nose simply is, she would explain but not really explaining. Sometimes she would talk about the way he held his head. And how much it annoyed her to see it. On other days it would be the stubble on his chin. Or the way his slipper flapped as he walked. Or the intolerably infuriating way in which his hair was parted. You don't have to see him or even notice him, you know, someone once remarked. But I've tried so hard to ignore him, she replied annoyed at the suggestion it was she who was seeking him out, but he keeps coming in my way. I see him at the bus stop on my way to work and he's still sitting there on my way back. He even shops at the same supermarket as me. And worse, at the same time. You should see the things he buys…maddening!

Which was why she was surprised when he wasn't there that Monday evening as she piled her shopping trolley with groceries for the week. And he wasn't there at the bus stop the following morning. And not there to infuriate her that evening either. Was it possible that he'd taken ill? she wondered. Not that she was concerned about the welfare of a stranger. What did she care what happened to him. But when he hadn't made an appearance by Thursday, she wondered about alerting someone. But who? The police? And what would she tell them? That the man who used to sit at the bus stop no longer sat there? There had to be a simpler explanation, she reckoned. Perhaps he'd bought a car. Or changed his office. But something told her that it wasn't the case. She was irritated that he would get her so worried and just when she was about to give up, he came back. She overheard him telling someone over the phone that he'd gone home to visit his mother. He really should learn to speak softly in public and not holler for all to hear. How uncouth!


varali said…
I laughed out loud!
And the sad part was that,the person who took over her even with his smallest actions was not aware of her presence, she was a no body to did it matter what she judged!
rt r said…
I am missing your stories of yore...
D M said…
Amazing story, actually.

Slightly frightening, how much you manage to see.

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 …