Before marriage I was of the belief that one person can never crowd one`s world. Apparently that`s false…and unfortunately I learnt that after marriage. I will try to be subtle here and not name the person who has crowded my life.
Since Friday last (21st July) my life has taken a turn for the worse. My family from Madurai – which includes my mother, two sisters and brother-in-law – is here in Chennai.
The Pandiyan Express was sharp as usual – it crept into the Railway station exactly at 5.45 a.m….time when the warriors of night were losing a pitched battle against the warriors of day. Through the battlefront, I saw my family getting down from the train…four of them. All heavily armed…with suitcases, bags, parcels, and stainless steel containers for murruku and adirasam. From afar, I counted the pieces of luggage…there were 18 in all….not including my family members.
As I walked towards them, I felt like King Porus (Greek for the name Puru)…the King of Paurava…who had surrendered to Alexander the Great only after his whole army was destroyed. Believe me, I am a man who fights his wars with drops of adrenalin…the moment my body stops secreting adrenalin …I lose the war. It doesn`t matter if I have Rekha standing behind me or I have the US Army which is now trying to control Iraq, with me.
“I thought you will be leaving in four day`s time?” I asked.
“Your brother-in-law will leave early and the rest of us will stay back for a week or so.” It was my mother. She has a way about her that forces you to keep quite for at least ten minutes after she delivers a sentence, lest you kindle an erupting volcano. I kept quite.
I have always had trouble handling relatives who believed in the age old Indian tradition ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’. For those of you who don`t know ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ means – Guest is God. Scary huh? For me the three words have always meant a marketing campaign started by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Even as my thoughts raced, both my sisters said in unison: ‘How much we wish we could stay in Chennai forever!”
My brother-in-law pierced a spear in my heart by saying: “I have already started loving the Chennai air. Wonder if I should call up office and extend my leave.”
In life there are moments when you gain points by arguing (like in a NDA, CDS, IIM, IIT Group Discussion) and there are moments in life when you gain points by keeping quite. I kept quite.
We could have got a porter. My mother spotted a man in red and shouted: “Coolie!”
“Excuse me?” The man in red looked confused.
“Come here. I want you to move these pieces to my son`s car outside. By the way, how much will you charge?”
“Madam, I think you are mistaken. I am not a coolie….I am just wearing a red shirt.”
Even as my mom stood their dumbstruck wondering at the latest fashion in Chennai, I had picked up the bags and started walking towards the car.
When we reached my Swift, my sister exclaimed: “Wow, you got a car!”
I am not good in math so could only do a rough head-count of the number of people who turned their heads to see us…some 87 of them. I even overheard somebody saying: “The way the girl shrieked, I wonder if he has actually stolen the car.”