Jun 28, 2010

Ramaiah and Julie. T (Act II)

Read Act-I here.
Act-II: A Revelation.

Ramaiah slowly sipped the extra sweet tea at the local tea kadai, seated across Bangarappa and Mayandi. Try as he might, he couldn’t get the girl out of his mind. “Macha, ava yaaru, endha ooru, yethuvume teriyadhu, enga poi thedarathu?”, Bangarappa reasoned, taking a long drag on his bidi before offering it to Ramaiah. (“We don’t know who she is, where she lives... how do we search for her?”). Ramaiah sighed wistfully, realizing that in a village where people hid their daughters in their homes till they got them married off, chances of sighting the girl of his dreams again were pretty slim. For in spite of the villagers’ best efforts, he and his gang knew the names, ages, and approximate vital stats of most of the local girls, and he was sure she wasn’t from his community. Every local girl her age would visit the local Vinayagar kovil, and there wasn’t a girl in the village whose thanni kodam hadn’t been toppled over by the gang before the elephant idol got any abhishekam. There had to be a way. Somehow. Anyhow.

There are certain inexplicable instances when Life seems to hand you a little gift out of nowhere. Some call it divine intervention, some, little coincidences. Nobody knows for sure. As Ramaiah polished off the last molaga bhajji on the table and was about to crumple the paper, something caught his eye. “You are born a sinner. Let Jesus lead you to salvation”, it proclaimed, beneath the photo of the local preacher who everybody knew only as Father. But what had held his attention was not the headline or the Father’s mug, but a picture captioned “Join our choir group.” Or rather, a particularly cheerful face leading that choir. A face that he had fallen in love with in a single glance. A face that had haunted his dreams and rendered him sleepless for the past week.

“Enna maapi, Shakila padama?”, Bangarappa asked, seeing his friend gazing intently at the piece of paper. (“What bro, photo of Shakila?”). Ramaiah didn’t respond. His usually sharp mind had gone a bit numb, reconciling to the fact that the object of his affection was, gasp, a Christian! Maybe, he can talk to his father and convince him. It would be difficult, extremely so, but then, wasn’t he his father’s favourite son?

Mayandi snatched the paper from him, glanced at it, and at once, his hands started shaking as he screamed, “Dei, venaam da. Idhu yaaru theriyuma?” (“Hey, forget it. Do you know who she is?”).

Ramaiah shrugged.


“Nice name...”

“Julie Thomas Arputharaj”

Silence. Stunned silence. Ramaiah’s world had turned dark. Very dark.

All thoughts of convincing his father evaporated in a flash. No, he would be thrown out of the house, cut up in two pieces. Madasamy Mudaliar valued his family honour too much to allow such a blasphemy. His head reeled.

“It... It can’t be...”

“It is. I know her brother, Jacob. Semma rowdy. He knocked out two of my teeth just for looking at her in the street once.”

“Oh, but you told me you fell down a ditch and broke it?”

“What else could I have done? As it is, your families are at loggerheads. If I had told the truth, there would have been another round of unnecessary fighting. I’ll have my revenge when my time comes, I don’t want families to go to war for me.”

“I’ll tell you what, all these Christian girls look alike. Let’s go check out whether she is the same girl”, Bangarappa broke in at last. He hated to see his friends so downcast.

“What do you mean, go check out? Are you out of your mind? If they come to know who we are, they’ll bury us in the cemetery next to the church!” Mayandi spoke in a strange voice, mixed with fear and excitement.

“I’ll go. You two stay here. I don’t want you guys to be in any danger because of me” offered Ramaiah.

“Twenty years of friendship and you think we’d let you go alone?”

And the three friends hopped on to their motorcycles and sped towards the church. 
(to be continued)

Jun 26, 2010

Ramaiah and Julie. T

In which I pretend to be Mani Ratnam. And adapt a well known story, and tweak it as I want! Now to get Aishwarya to act on this script!!! Though I’d prefer Asin :)


Ramaiah tucked in his stomach, conscious that dozens of admiring eyes were fixed on his bare torso as his sweat glistened in the sun amidst all the dust. As a strapping young lad with rippling muscles and from being the son of one of the richer families of the village, he was used to being the centre of attention. But his eyes sought only one face, only one pair of bright eyes amongst the crowd. Ah, there she was, Rasathi, laughing merrily with her friends, oblivious to his searching looks. Ramaiah gave a sly smile as he caught her eye, before he was violently thrown up in the air, a sharp pain shooting through his ribs. “Never take your eyes off the bull”, his father Madasamy Mudaliar’s sharp advice rang in his ears as he fell on his back amidst loud shouts of concern. The annual jalli-kattu was delivering more than the usual thrills and the villagers couldn’t get enough of it, the government’s ban on the bull fighting be damned. After all, this was a place where centuries of tradition held more weight than modern inconveniences like the law of the land.

Ramaiah staggered to his feet, taking deep breaths to reorient himself. He fought the urge to turn to Rasathi, to see if she had a look of concern, to give her a reassuring look if need be, forcing himself to concentrate instead on the pair of horns that was angrily trying to tear him apart. His friends, Bangarappa and Mayandi, had kept the bull distracted while he was down, but he could see that they were tiring too. He let out a piercing roar and deftly side stepped as the horns and hooves missed him by inches. In a flash, he had grabbed one of the horns while the bull swung its head madly, trying to shake off both the maddening effect of the strange concoction mixed in its morning feed and the foolish lad clinging to its horn.

His hands ached, the red mud stinging the bleeding cuts on his palms. But he hung on. He hadn’t given up when Rasathi, more stubborn than this bull ever can hope to be, had firmly declined his advances claiming she wanted to remain a spinster and dedicate her life to the local temple. “Who do you think you are, Avvaiyar?”, he had raged, alternately pleading and shouting, to no avail. He strengthened his grip on the bull, hoping his heroics would impress her, little knowing that bull fighting men stood little chance against rakshasha fighting gods.

A violent struggle ensued and he scarcely knew how, but he had mounted the bull and clung on to its neck while more villagers came in and finally calmed it down. While he was being feted by his friends who were now carrying him on their shoulders, his eyes searched the crowd again. And fell on a face so beautiful that he had forgotten all about Rasathi even before he was carried on to the stage for a brief felicitation by the panchayat members.

The face in question, belonged to a girl clad in a simple black dhavani and standing far away from the crowd with her friends. For Julie Thomas, the lovely daughter of Thomas Arputharaj, was well aware of the deep seated casteist prejudices in the village which wouldn’t allow her to take part in the festivities. The sole reason why her forefathers, too far back to remember now, had jumped at the chance to be ‘converted’. While the missionaries went back satisfied for having saved some souls, the oppressed folks had been too focused on keeping themselves alive to worry about such higher aspirations. Of course, they had prospered steadily over the decades, and Thomas Arputharaj was now one of the wealthier men in the village, but they knew they weren’t welcome at the village well or inside the temple. But Ramaiah wasn’t aware of who she was when he had decided who he was going to share his life with after that one brief glance.

What he was only well too aware of was the century-old rivalry between his family, the Mudaliars, and the Arputharaj family. The Arputharaj folks had been servants for generations in the Mudaliar household, long before they had even acquired a surname. Abused and tortured, treated as untouchables, but needed for the dirty tasks of cleaning up the household, which the upper castes considered too beneath their 'pure' selfs. Somewhere, a hundred years ago, someone had revolted, emboldened by the missionaries promising them a live of dignity, a life where the god was a shepherd who didn’t discriminate among his flock. From being never allowed inside a temple to being put up in the front row of a church was a dream. And the Mudaliar household, fuelled partially by the loss of underpaid servants, and partially by the jealousy at how the lowly servants had prospered to become their equals, economically if not socially, had nurtured a rivalry that had involved 14 murders on either side at last count. 

(to be continued)

Jun 22, 2010


I was happy, with not a worldly care
Until you merrily walked into my life...
Your lively eyes returned my undying stare
And suddenly possibilities seemed pretty rife

I never got that thing called mush
Until I had this inexplicable crush!
And I still just can’t explain how
It grew into this strange feeling called love...

My heart SCREAMED, but you wouldn’t hear
And I couldn’t speak out of some hidden fear
I’m pretty sure you knew perfectly how I felt
But there were differences that just wouldn’t melt

I pleaded with you “please let’s give it a try”
But your stubbornness just made me cry :'(
You almost turned me into a love-struck teen
Sadly wondering “what might have been...”

My reasonable head keeps up a losing fight
with the heart that says “I may still get you”
But I just remind myself, every day and night
That I really ought to start... to forget you...

Jun 15, 2010

Rains, Fucking Rains!

High waves on the sea :)

Flooded roads :(

Refreshing smell of the earth :)

Blocked nose thanks to a seasonal cold :(

Streets that look like they had a washing down :)

Muddy slush on my shoes :(

Piping hot bhutta, chai, pakora :)

The inevitable stomach upset :(

Cool, drowsy mornings :)

Having to get out of bed for office :(

Babes with the just-out-of-shower wet-hair look :)

My wet hair standing like a porcupine's back :(

For every silver lining reason that people seem to come up with for loving the rains, I believe I have a dark cloudy counter argument for HATING them!

Jun 7, 2010

Mark this day...

Mark this day as the day I decided to let go of my infamous juvenile 'jokes' that appear funny only to one person (ME!) and turn to more serious topics...

Mark this day as the day I decided to stop living a ruinous, unhealthy lifestyle of booze and meat and pot-bellied glory and start dieting and exercising...

Mark this day as the day I decided to go from being messy and dirty to being neat and organized...

Mark this day as the day I decided to stop wasting my time on stupid TV shows and chick flicks and start reading intellectually stimulating stuff...

Mark this day as the day I decided to grow up...

Mark this day as the day... er, wait!

Let's wait for a few more years for such historic things to happen... 

For now, please put your hands to your foreheads (hard!) and wail "Oh no... he survives yet another year! If there exists a God, surely this demon wouldn't have been foisted on the earth in the first place!"

But such is Life... and mine started this very day twenty seven years ago...