Wah, he did it. My friend Vaithy could find at last, an eligible girl for his 35+ son, a feat which the IIT Delhi boy could not achieve despite living in America for over a decade. Both the father and the son performed fairly well in the written test held in the girl’s house and also answered most of the questions fired at them, without even wasting time for the formal introduction.
G= girl, B= boy, GD= girl’s dad, BD= boy’s dad, GM=girl’s mom, BM= boy’s mom and GNI= grannie.
The curtain raises up. A well-to-do family’s drawing room. The girl, majestically, reclines on a double sofa, her half-covered legs extending on the drawn-out leg- support, her parents and grannie sitting in an equally relaxing pose , in another one. The boy and his parents delicately occupy the third sofa, hope and fear waxing and waning alternately on their face.
BD: We are grateful to you for granting this interview, despite the busy schedule of Sow: Pushpalatha–
GM (intervening )= ‘PUSH’, please.
BD is wondering whom to push, her or her daughter, when the GM Clarifies: We call our daughter, ‘PUSH’ and her colleagues call her ‘PU’.
B= Naturally, mami. Who would like to get pushed by a gym -groomed girl? Laughs.
GM= You say, Subramanian, that you have been in America for ten years and you address me, mami?
B= I am sorry, It won’t be fair to address you by your first name during our first meet and your surname is not known to me. Bye the by, I am ‘SU’ for my friends though the name given in my passport is —
GM= That is OK. This interview is not for a Visa. She tries to laugh but G, by her eye signal, asks her not to.
BD= My special thanks to you for that half cup chaaya, your cook served half an hour after we came, though a spoon-full of sugar would have been appreciated by my wife KU.
BM= My name given by my father, on an auspicious star, is kunjalamabal . You may, if necessary prune to KUNJA, but no further cut, please.
GM = How do you call your Mrs. at home, Mr. VA ?
BM= VA ? Who is that ?
BD= Me, Vaithylingam. (Turning towards GM, he replies) I call my wife ‘DE’ and she calls me ‘ENNA’
GM= DE and ENNA- Lovely. (Turning towards her husband), why don’t we too follow these novel names?
BD= They are not novel names, madam. That was how my parents and their parents used to address their spouses.
GM= Then, forget.
BM (Whispers to her husband’s ear= Did her parents address each other KA and KU?
GM = ( turning towards BD ) Any more questions ?
BM= All the questions were so far from you. ( giggles ). I am asking my husband whether we may move, if the interview is over.
BD= I think we should, with your permission.
He bends his head towards the hosts, says, ‘namasthe’ and gets up followed by his wife and son .
GNI: = Excuse me ( turning to B ), may I ask just one question?
B = Sure patti.( instantly, he bites his tongue as if it had spilled the most heinous word in the earth and corrects),
GNI= Thank you ; considering my age, could you please call me PAT ?
B= Yes, PAT, waiting for your question.
GNI= I am sure that you are well versed in dish washing?
B= I am, PAT, by your blessings.
He turns towards his father and extends his hand= Dad, that file, please. Let our venerable PAT see the certificates I obtained for vessel-cleaning, cloth-washing, floor vacuum and mopping..
GNI= That is OK. Thank you.
The B group again towards the exit, when the GNI calls .
GNI= One doubt please.
The B group turns back .
B (smiling )= Go ahead with that one doubt, PAT. I mean the second one.
GNI= I am sure that you will be able to handle diapers and baby clothes.
B= Of course. The young man’s reply was so instant and enthusiastic as if his job in America was mainly changing the diapers of babies all these years. He turns towards his father and asks for the certificate= Dad, that file please.
GNI= Don’t worry. Thank you. I know you can handle anything including my pet grand daughter ‘PUSH’.
B= PUSH, PAT?
BM (Whispering to her husband’s ears)= Tell that old woman, that our son can handle her too.
GNI grins and the B group tries to move towards the exit gate, when the old lady calls again.
GNI= Excuse me. One doubt.
B (smiling)= Go ahead with that one doubt, PAT. In fact the third one.
GNI = Are you sure that you will be able to keep awake when the baby cries at night?
B= PAT, what a question? Is keeping awake at night a problem for a computer boy ?
He turns towards his father and asks for the file . The senior wide- opens his mouth,
wondering whether his son was working as a night- watchman in the USA.
GNI= That is OK, Thank you.
BA= Thank you PAT. Do we have your permission now to move ?
GNI = (Turning towards GD)= you have any questions?
GD= Just one (turning towards B ) You do Sandhya, at least twice a day, right?
B= What a question! The one who doesn’t perform that sacred duty in a foreign soil, is he worth to be called a Brahmin?
Giving no chance to anyone to ask any more questions, B pulls out from his bag a small copper vessel, collects water from the tap, squats on the floor, while his father watches, worry, anxiety and surprise overflowing his eyes, as if before him was a fast approaching tornado or tsunami .
B sips three drops of water, one after the other, with grace, from the hollow he managed to produce in the right palm, maneuvering his fingers. No problem. Jai Bajirangabali! In the next operation, he successfully touches his right and left cheeks with his right thumb -no problem again. He knows which is his right thumb. Next, touches both eyes with right ring finger. Success again!. He knows which is the ring finger; there is a ring there. Then comes the damn confusion. Three more fingers are left and he simply doesn’t know which finger should touch where. He looks at his father, not for help but wondering why that head, which has carried loads and loads, was slowly sliding.
With a leap and cry, ‘Appa’, he holds his swooning father on his hands, places him on the floor, sprinkles a few drops of water from the copper vessel on his face. The father opens eyes, winks innocently at his son, G’s party comes running to help BD.
The GNI, GD and GM praises B, while G, who never uttered a word, approaches B elegantly, shakes his hand and coos :
Well done Subramanian Vaithylingam Govindarajapuram.
B: But, PUSH, this interview is not for a Visa!
G: It is. For entry into the kingdom we are going to build for ourselves. Yes, you are my dream boy, Su! We are going to live together as man and woman.
BM: Boy !
GNI : Yes, Kunj, men are boys till they get married and women are girls till they cross eighty-five.
( She turns towards G )= Push, announce the result please.
G= OK, guys, Here we go. ( turning towards B)=:
1. SU, you have none of the skills grandma mentioned but without a wink, you tried to prove that you are an expert in every thing and went to the extend of producing certificates you never had, nor you could have had— 2 marks.
2. You had the foresight to carry with you a copper vessel, perhaps even without your dad’s knowledge and the courage to perform sandhya , though you have lost track of the procedure long ago. —- 2 marks
3. When you missed the fingers, your dad pretended to swoon in order to help you out and you had the presence of mind to gasp the opportunity and come out of the pit you had dug for yourself —- 1 mark for you and 1 for your dad .
4. You were cool like a cucumber when grandma threw questions after questions, when you were about to leave and answered each one, with a smile on your face — 2 marks.
5. With these admirable traits you could easily fool me in life, I thought first. But when I found that you don’t know even your own fingers in the palm, I was convinced that I have nothing to fear from you. Your IIT Delhi, Colombia MS, 10 years US experience all become insignificant when you fail to know your own fingers.- No educated, working woman can ask for a better husband than you– I can easily win over you. —- 2 marks.
GNI= And you called me PAT more than once though every time, your tongue was itching to call me ‘Patty’
— – 2 marks.
So, how many marks total 10/10. You win our PUSH’s hands.
B= Thank you for that push, PAT. Now can we push out? They all laugh heartily and the B group exits.
B= Dad, she did not announce the marks for written test. Shall I go and enquire?.
BD = Keep quite. If that old girl puts some minus marks, we will be in trouble.
At the gate, the watchman Karuppuchami asks B= Sami oothumo-you smoke?
In no mood to answer any further questions, they moves towards their car.
Before closing the car, BD walks towards the watchman and whispers into his ears,
“En payyan onnaium oothuvan, on thathavaiyun oothuvan-my son will smoke out not only you but your grandpa too”
Having poured out his anger on the watchman, the poor father boards the vehicle and shuts the door with a bang.
The son smiles.
“We won dad”, he proclaims.
”Yes, we won, son”, the dad responds.
The car moves and the curtain falls.