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VANI GROWS UP.


The old man was groaning in his restless sleep.

“Selvi, Selvi…Selvi!”

“There goes appa again!”

Raghu sighed as grandpa continued sobbing for his long lost daughter. This had been going on every day, every night, since…Selvi’s death.

Raghu had tried everything under the sky to convince his sightless, deathbed dad that Selvi had long since passed into the unknown…he and his gentle wife were now guardians for the seven year old Vani- Selvi’s only daughter who was in Boarding in a nearby school. Her occasional visit did cheer up grandpa a bit, but he still had not accepted Selvi’s passing.

 Selvi’s husband had abandoned her promptly on learning about her fatal ailment.
***

After 3 years….

Grandpa, though, practically blind and still critically ill, refused to give up his ghost. Some said that he was still waiting to see his beloved Selvi.

Raghu and wife were the epitome of patience, though they were also sad that they couldn’t bring peace to the long suffering appa.

Then one day, Vani breezed in from her boarding school after a long gap and hugging her grandpa, shouted, “Thatha!”

As her uncle Raghu and aunt watched in amazement, thatha suddenly shot up from his bed, and hugging her with all his might shouted excitedly, “Selvi! Selvi! How long I have waited for this day, my dearest daughter. You have come at last!”

“Stop calling me ‘thatha’, you mischievous one!” continued Grandpa, believing really that it was Selvi who had come.

As Vani was about to correct him saying, “Thatha, I am Vani,” Raghu quickly signaled her to be quiet.

Later that day, Raghu and wife exclaimed to their niece, “Lovely one, now that you have grown up a bit, your voice has become exactly like your poor mother’s!” Let poor thatha believe that his Selvi has come back.”

That night, thatha didn’t groan in his sleep. He passed away with a contented smile on his wrinkled face.

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LINGUA-WOES

A Tamil gentleman nearly got clobbered when he appreciated the food served for lunch at his Telugu friend’s place.

The poor guy innocently said ‘Pramadham’ which means ‘Excellent’ in Tamil, but unfortunately means ‘Danger’ in Telugu!

‘Tamasha’ means ‘light stuff’, ‘Comedy’ etc in Malayalam, but beware if you use it flippantly with the Hindi speaking people.

Indiscreet use of this word- which means a street dance or something in Hindi- is not received kindly by them.

The simple word ‘Avasar’- which also is a Sanskrit root word- means ‘Occasion’ in Hindi; ‘Avasaram’ means ‘Requirement’ in Telugu; ‘Opportunity’ in Malayalam and ‘Hurry’ in Tamil!

There must of course be several such examples in the various languages ‘spooken’ in our delightful India.




RIGHT WRONG

Seeing her eyes glow in excitement,
Obviously though she has it all wrong,
I rush to grab the correction opportunity,

Till I have another look at the gleam in her eyes.

Hell, I think, let me be wrong a hundred times over,
If only to preserve that glorious joy,

Rather than prove her wrong
And watch her enthusiasm wither.

THULABARAM

There is, in the Lord's Abode in Guruvayoor,
A common balance for weighment of offerings.

It's called Thulabaram.

Only, it is anything but common.

A priest there is entrusted the task
Of weighing the offerings you committed
To Lord Krishna.

It may be a few kilos of some vegetable
Or fruit, grains or sugar or what you will.


But it got to be necessarily what you committed!

For,

Have seen with my own eyes
The priest struggling to weigh
A couple of kilos or maybe three
Of a certain vegetable, think it was yam.

But it simply wouldn't balance, though he
Kept on heaping the yam on it!

Then, on the priest's asking,
The devotee said he had thought
Of a different vegetable, maybe raw banana,

But had settled for yam since he couldn't
Get the banana.

The priest quickly removed the yam
Asked the devotee to be back
With the vegetable committed!

Only then, the priest said with conviction,

The weighment would happen.