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Renu woke up in a cold sweat on hearing the alarm. She was thankful that her nightmare had been disrupted by the faithful alarm. She had been dreaming that a snakes and ladders game was going on in which she was the coin moving up the ladder, and sliding down a cow instead of a snake.

Hearing some commotion outside her fourth floor apartment, Renu idly opened the door to have a look. There seemed to be some house warming ceremony in progress in an apartment on the same floor. Loud mantras were being hurled by energetic purohits to discourage bad spirits and drive away ghosts. Suppressing a yawn, Renu was about to close the door to start her daily routine when she saw her in the yet dim sunlight- a healthy well built cow.

It seemed to be Renu’s day for cows. She had been sliding up and down a cow in the nightmare and now here was another one in flesh and blood, brought obviously for the housewarming.

She looked at the cow with trepidation. The cow also glared right back. The poor animal had every reason to be upset, having been rudely awoken and dragged up four flights of stairs in the wee hours, but it was quite unreasonable to hold her responsible for its misery, thought Renu, unaware that the cow was seeing red in her flame colored maxi.  That was the last straw for the much harassed cow.
The cow was now scratching the ground with its forefeet, a cow’s battle-cry equivalent of the conch or trumpet, used by humans. Within seconds, before Renu could bolt back inside, she charged at full speed.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..,” shouted Renu as she took off at jet speed in the corridor, wondering even in this predicament how her flat feet could be so fleet footed. Though she had the initial advantage over the cow in the race, Renu found herself cornered when they reached the end of the corridor. As Renu looked for escape options, she could have sworn that there was a triumphant ‘got ya’ type of grin on the cow’s face. Then she spotted the elevator and pressed the button .But the moment the doors of the elevator opened, in rushed the cow, before Renu could react. As she gasped in horror, the doors slowly closed, with cow inside.

Even before Renu could recover from the shock and collect her wits about her, she saw a fat,silk sari clad woman approaching , obviously to the elevator. The sari was rich red in color.

The silk mami looked haughtily at the Renu. Her nose crinkled in contempt at the maxi clad Renu.This woman, who was probably on the way to a wedding was quite obviously pleased with her own rich appearance.

When Renu,still speechless in shock, tried to block her way, Silk sari asked impatiently, “What do you want?”

“k..kkk…kkkk!” said Renu, helplessly. “What do you mean, “kkkkkkk…. Now move out of my way!” said mami and pushed the button.

“Cow!” roared Renu finally and just had time to see Silk sari’s face which had reddened on being addressed as cow. But Renu, who knew what was coming , didn’t stay back for any more explanations. She fled from the scene, to avoid scenes of blood and gore and having taken shelter in her flat, watched the proceedings from a safe position.

“Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!……..” shouted a now familiar voice as the silk sari lady ran at jet speed, past Renu’s flat, her precious sari now hitched up very unladylike. The cow, which had suffered the additional ignominy of being shut up in a mini chamber, was now in a very bad mood indeed.

But Renu couldn’t help admiring the fat lady. If Renu’s flat feet were fleet footed, so were Mami’s fat feet. She ran up and down the corridor, screaming at the top of her voice. The priests, who had just finished driving away the spirits were appalled that one was probably missed. Silk sari , however was giving the cow a run for its money and would probably have won all the rounds, but alas! She slipped and fell over some cow dung in the corridor. As she got up trying to salvage her pride and her precious sari, the owners of the apartment where the function was going on, came running to her rescue.

All ended well like in Holly and Bolly wood movies. The militant cow was whisked away, after its hurt feelings were assuaged. Silk sari mami,who had missed her wedding feast was invited to lunch by the house warmers ,(after washing and changing, of course). Renu got herself a new friend that day.

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Govindan was facing the problem of plenty.
A very large ancestral house.
Relations of all hues- in dozens-living as a disjointed joint family, of which he was supposedly the head.
Huge quantity of valuables, including cash and jewellery-which he found hard to safe guard from the greedy cockroaches calling themselves his relatives. Try as he might, he could not dislodge a single one among these detested people for fear of offending either a brother, a sister, mother or his wife.
He tried hiding the stash at different places in his ancient thirty-two roomed bungalow and changing places every few days… but was shit scared that someone or other would find out.
Thus, among plenty of other things, he had plenty of angst also.
One day, Govindan got a flashy idea after watching a Malayalam movie about a haunted room in a large house like his.


Ah! It’s started to beautifully rain, So it’s time for me to feign, An infection, cold or any pain, A day off, with sympathy to gain.
But alas! spousey says, ‘Off to work! You lazy, cunning little jerk, Calling in sick to watch buxom ladies twerk, Watching your lusty channels, with a daylong smirk.’
But when she says, ‘If you still be insisting, I will rope you in for housekeeping,' I look out, sigh, ‘The rain, it seems, has stopped, My leave plan for today is hence dropped.’


Returning home from work that day, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the painted vase sitting prettily on a side table in the hall.
“Mynah!” shouted I, addressing my eleven year old daughter, “How did this come here?”
“Som bought it for me,” said she, quite simply, leaving me dumbfounded.
“But you hate him!” I said, referring to my new boyfriend whom she detested.
Som had come into my life recently, two years after Mynah’s dad died in a freak accident. He was only 40 then- I was 38.
Mynah shrugged and said, “But he likes me, it appears. That’s why he got it when I told him you refused to get it for me.”
I was left still wondering at the turn of events as her tantrums on seeing him were still fresh in my memory.
Two days later, Som came home during the weekend. He too merely shrugged when I complimented him on winning over Mynah. “Girls like things. You can keep them happy by indulging in these simple things.”
I really hope it stays that way, I thought, hoping to marry Som …