Thursday, November 23, 2017

the play

My kids disturbed my siesta.

I woke up screaming, "No, I didn't take the chocolate."

"Hey, old man," my son said. He is in that phase now, the life-long antagonism between sons and fathers. I scowled at him.

"So, it was you," my daughter said.

"Don't do that," I pleaded.

"Do what?" she asked.

"Sound like my mother-in-law," I said. I decided to change the topic. "What do you two want at this unearthly hour?"

"It is 4 pm," they said.

"So?" I responded.

"We want a play for the school Drama competition?" my daughter said.

"How many plays?" I asked eagerly.

"One, of course," she said.

"There are two of you," I reasoned.

"We are in the same house," she said.

"You have no idea about us, do you?" my son added.

"I do. You are in the 10th standard..." I said.

"9th..." he corrected.

"When did you fail?" I asked.

"See.." he said.

"I bet you two don't know in which house I am in office," I said.

"Outhouse," my son said.

"You don't have any house," my daughter said. "Come on...the play!"

"Ah! The play!" I rubbed my hands with glee.

I thought for a while.

"In standard 8, I adapted a N.N. Pillai play," I said.

"Aren't his plays a bit crude?" my daughter asked.

"It was hilarious. The crowd loved it. My wife is pregnant...or is it my daughter...there is some confusion about the father..."

"Did they allow that then?" my son asked, totally incredulous.

"I am not sure if it was allowed. We did it," I said triumphantly. I added, "Well, from the next year, they insisted on knowing the storyline before the final day."

", that's when it started," they said.

"In the 9th, it was an Agatha Christie play. I was a lovely lady in a lovely dress...and the murderer too," I said.

"No wonder Ma wears the pants," my son said.

"That won't work now," my daughter said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Anti-women," she said.

"In the 10th, I was a blind beggar, award-winning stuff," I boasted.

"The differently-abled will get hurt," my daughter said.

"The beggars will protest," my son said.

"In the 11th, it was another hilarious play. I was this old man with a daughter in love with a rich waiter," I said.

"Too many negatives...old people...girl in love with money...waiters will want to know why them," she said.

"In the 12th, the priest-convict scene in Les Miserables. I was Jean Valjean, another award-winning stuff," I said.

They were not at all impressed.

"That's a Christian priest, right?" my son asked.

"Hey, he is a nice Christian priest," I said.

"They will think they are being poked at," my daughter said.

"How?" I asked.

"How do I know..won't will hurt their sentiments," she said.

"It wil definitely hurt Hindu and Muslim priests," my son said.

"How did they come into the picture?" I protested.

"Exactly...why aren't they in it, they will protest," he said.

"In France...then?" I pleaded.

"Anything else?" she asked.

"How about the epics? There is that much-adapted story. The orphan who actually belongs to a second-class family brought up by a third-class family..."

My son whistled the tune of 'Sometimes I feel like a motherless child...'

I ignored him and continued, "He goes to a first-class teacher pretending to be one of them. He gets cursed by his teacher. He gets cursed by a second-class person too. Come to think of it, only the third-class did not curse him. He has a more fortunate brother who was only cursed by a scorned woman and then became a transvestite for a year."

"Eeeks," she cried, "too many groups offended."

"Is that a Greek epic?" my son asked.

"Indian, I think," I said. "If it was Greek, the two brothers would have become lovers and developed a new complex. It was  definitely Indian. The fortunate brother kills the much-cursed one, that too via treachery suggested by gods."

"Do you want to get us lynched with gods in negative role?" they cried.

" about Shakespeare? I always wanted to act in one," I said.

"He is problematic," she said.

"Merchant of Venice?"


"Julius Caeser?"

"Men in skirts."

"Romeo and Juliet?"

"Teenage sex."





"I think you should stick to some Aesop's fable," I suggested.

"Those hurt too," they said.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

scene from a first night

"Are you saying you would not have got into this arranged marriage if you had found a girl for love marriage?" she asked.

"huH," he said.

"Are you saying you are in bed with me only because you could not find a girl to fall in love with?" she asked.

"hUh," he said.

"Do you know how that makes me feel?" she asked.

"Huh huH," he said.

"I guess you think it's just logical, use head not heart," she said.

"UhH," he said.

"For me it was love at first sight," she said.

"uHh?" he asked.

"I fell in love when I first met you," she said.

"HuH?" he asked.

"Yes, all heart no head," she said.

"uhh?" he asked.

"You reminded me of a guy I was in love with," she said.

"Uhh huh hhU," he said.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

where memory fails (not)

The place felt like a resort, all fake and great.

Problems started at the reception. The computer had no memory of my booking. The manager, that's what she claimed to be and the rest of the staff could not disagree, alloted a room, a suite she called it. It turned out to be a pokey room at the back, already occupied. The bellboy took me to another. It seemed unoccupied. There was a suitcase in the cupboard. See, only suitcase, no skeleton, he said with a laugh. It could be in the suitcase, I said. He said he was wanted elsewhere. How could he remember that, I wondered.

I went for lunch after a short nap. Have a lovely dinner, the man at the door said. I asked for steak. They got me the season's best vegetables. That's not what I ordered, I said. We don't have beef, the waiter said. Do you think I am the kind who has beef, I asked. But you ordered steak, he argued showing the slip on which my order had been noted. I did not, I said forcefully. A senior person came to the table and told the waiter to get me porridge. Who are you, we asked. How do I know, he said.

At the spa, the lady next to me kept on talking about her grandson. You know, my grandson Appu is a great swimmer, she kept on repeating. The lady on the other side whispered, she never had kids. I could not find out more. Someone objected to me being in the ladies section.

I went to the unisex toilet. Two men were sharing the same pisspot, arms over shoulders and the free hands holding the you-know-whats. A man and a woman were in a stall. They had forgotten to lock the door and also what they had intended to do. The rest were in a messier state. I wasn't sure what I was doing there.

I met an old girlfriend the next day. I pretended not to know her. My bra size is thirty six, she said. Bloody girl was trying to signal to me that she knew me. Long back, I had asked her for that information. I am not sure if that was before or after she got married. No, my dear, yours is thirty four, a lady told her. What a pity. I could have sworn she was my old girlfriend.

I came across my wife too. So, this is where you hide, she exclaimed. Who are you, I asked.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

at the zoo

"What's so special about him?" I asked.

"Trauma, it says," she read the board on the cage.

"He just sits there," I grumbled.

"But, look..." she said.

"What?" I asked, looking at the next cage.

"He has something to say all the time...but he can't say anything," she explained.

"Bah! Postmodern silence, is that what they call it?" I said.

"You are so insensitive," she said with a smile.

"Come on, let's check out the lady in the next one," I said.

"Now, that you wouldn't mind silent," she said.