(If you have not read the earlier post please do so before proceeding any further)
The thing about characters is that they remain characters – and spice up my visit to Kannur. Mind you, ‘spice up` is not always used in the positive connotation.
Since the movie ‘Vishu Visit` is yet to release, I will only relate some memorable instances.
I will start with my father-in-law – my favorite relative. This man thought (actually still thinks) that I am an ardent devotee of God. Initially, there was no problem. I was son of God (my father thinks he is God), and there was no problem in visiting temples and doing pujas. But it becomes an issue that can take major proportions, when you are asked to stop playing cricket, take a bath and visit the temple at 3 p.m. in searing heat because somebody called Kunhikannan Kutty is playing the nadaswaram. If only I had not been alert, the next day, he would have dispatched me to the temple because Muraleedharan Menon was playing hide-and-seek.
This issue did take major proportions – Major Karunakaran came to know of it and was upset. Upset that I did not have the courtesy to chug along an 85 year old Army Major, at 3 p.m., along a 2-kilometer dry stretch of un-metalled road to listen Kunhikannan Kutty play the nadaswaram. General-ly I would have ignored such people…he was after all only a Major.
Rekha`s father finished his diploma from ITI way back in 1965 and was immediately absorbed in its Engineering services by the Kerala Government. I wonder if the Kerala Govt knows this because from the way my father-in-law squints when he says this…I have a feeling he is lying.
If the Major was obnoxious with his stories of the Indian Army under British rule…this Engineer is abhorrent, abominable, annoying, awful, beastly, big mouth, bitchy, blue, creep, crumb, cussed, detestable, disagreeable, disgusting, dislikable, displeasing, foul, funky, gross, hateful, horrid, insufferable, invidious, loathsome, mean, nasty, nauseating, objectionable, odious, off-color, ornery, pesky, pestiferous, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, rotten, sickening, stinking and unpleasant.
Major Karunakaran was not that bad a man, after all. He gave me Rs 100/- on Vishu day. They call it Vishu kanni (It is a gift from the elders in the family on Vishu Day). I call it pittance. I mean…how long can these guys keep giving Rs 100/- notes? Don`t they know Rs 500/- notes are readily available?
The Major, like all Army officers also lives in the past. He wanted me to prove that I was a capable youngster and that Rekha had not committed any blunder by marrying me. Here are a few things he wanted me to do to prove myself –
1) Give him his Rs 100/- back
2) Take him to the temple when another dude called Balan Nambiar came to play the Chenda
3) Climb a mango tree they had in the backyard. The things I had to carry along were four bricks, a Kinley water bottle, three Parle-G biscuit packets, the plastic gun that I had bought Achu from the fair and the ten bullets that came with it.
4) Catch a squirrel that had made a cozy house in his easy chair, and thus tickling his back whenever he sat on it.
Since I could not achieve any of the above mentioned, I was declared unfit for duty and dismissed from the forces. Just that Rekha would not allow me to leave. I have to mention here that Major Karunakaran is an expert is fart-attacks.
With my father-in-law upset with me because I did not share his passion for music and the Major having deserted me…I had to rest content with a six inch monster (called Achu). No, I am kidding he is taller than that.
I lost five games of chess to him and in the end had to shell out Rs 150 for a cricket bat. I knew he was a District champion, but what I did not know was, he was left handed. Not wanting to lose, I had asked him to play with his left hand…but as luck would have it…he turned out to be left handed…and kept on winning. Lot of time was spent on the cricket field (that`s the small area Rekha`s father hadn`t planted a tree on). Wonder why Pinky, who was standing as the wicket-keeper always laughed when I got out. Achu was not a great bowler…but I would always get bowled….sometimes the stumps would be found among the coconut trees. Once, we also found them floating inside the well. For those in Chennai, a well is something that you can draw water from…hope you know water…the colorless, odorless, formless liquid?
The smart dude that I am, I realized I was being cheated by these two wonder kids (I call them so because their teachers wonder if they will ever pass the final exam). But pity, I could not scold them or beat them…for every time I raised my voice I would see Chandrashekaran Nair, standing there analyzing my every move. I would just bend over, and pat the kids on the back and say: “Nice cheating. This one is better than the earlier trick. Keep it up,” and go on to fetch the ball from among the tapioca shrub.
In the last scene of the movie …I am walking into the sunset looking for a ball hit by Achu for a six.
Foot Note: Like I said, the five days were full of fun-filled activities…that I would not resort to again. Rekha is actually looking out for July 3rd – that`s her father`s 60th birthday. Wonder, what all I will have to endure during that visit. The silver lining is…the tang tin is over, the mangoes season would be over, I won`t have to buy a cricket bat (it would still be around), I know Achu is left handed, Major Karunakaran`s farts would have driven away the squirrels from his easy chair and Pinky would have finished her finals so no questions on peptide bonds and amino acids.