Monday, February 16, 2009

my dear army officer

my thatha (grandpa, mom's dad) - a perfection demanding, brisk walking, british english speaking, melody songs loving, hindu crossword cracking, arithmetic wizard. but the icing - a very very short tempered man.

to give you an essence of the shortness - when he is tempered, a crying child in the next house will freeze, put a finger on its mouth, and put one on its mother's.

as a kid, i admired him for his knowledge, but avoided the army officer. i had to keep my radar sharp, lest i would have to undergo a smartness and sharpness check by the officer, which i used to fail consistently.

periodically, he would set a trap for the evasive kid, capture me, make me sit, and teach me wren-yuck-martin. those doses of grammar sucked, and the homework he gave, zapped my energy. even multiple cups of maltova was not enough to re-energize. (amma should have given me coffee then!)

i rejoiced when my parents moved to madras, away from thatha's 'guantanamo bay' - madurai. thatha-payrun (grandson) meet ups reduced, and even when we did meet up, grammar was not on the agenda.

years have rolled.

now, when i turn back, i notice that the little impeccable qualities, crossword solving prowess and peter-english that i possess have their dues to the seed implanted by my dear army officer.

today is his thithi (death anniversary - 9th). in his remembrance, i raise a cup of coffee to him, without any sugar in it, the way he used to drink it.

why is it that the scent of a person is more palpable when he/she is not around ?

i miss you thatha.

Monday, February 2, 2009

cow can fly

"c..o..w...cow, c..a...n...can,", actor1 reads out from a hand written notebook.

"cow can fly", repeats actor2, a second grade school student.

"wait a second! cow can fly? no it cannot be", said actor1.

actor2 gives a look of an inverted exclamation mark.

actor1 confidently says, "this is wrong kanna (dear). there must be something else here as 'cow cannot fly'."

"no!! cow can fly. my teacher told me."

"cow cannot fly. you might have noted down incorrectly", kindly said actor1.

an offended actor2 objects, "no....cow can fly. my teacher told me so."

"cow does not have wings. it cannot fly. let us rub this...", said a bit less kinder actor1.

"NO....cow can fly..... my teacher told me so. do not rub it", says actor2, and grabs the rubbing hand of actor1.

"ella pa (no dear)....let us change this."

actor2, now an angry actor who is almost in tears - "don't.... rub..... my..... teacher told me", and starts crying.

actor1 continues rubbing the almost indelible pencil writing about cow's flight.

the crying actor2 presses hard on actor1's hand, and pleads, "no. my teacher will scold me, don't rub."

actor3 intervenes. "amma, leave it. let the cow fly today." the actor turns to the kid, "dei! ask your teacher tomorrow and correct it. if your teacher still says 'cow can fly', let us all go to her house and watch the cow take off."

actor2, the little-dear-incorrigible brother of mine, was relieved and was all smiles.