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NANU’S CHILDREN

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“Nanu is unwell. He is refusing to smile,” announced the village milk man to another villager.

The news galloped at the speed of Arab steeds throughout the village.

Soon, a few village elders went to Nanu’s house with grave concern writ on their faces.

Nanu not smiling was kind of a catastrophe in the small village.

The villagers looked forward to Nanu’s gentle smile everyday even more than to the mail he delivered.

“Entirely my fault; I should be hit with slippers for this stupidity!” wailed Nanu’s wife.

“There there,” said one of the elders, “Tell us quietly what happened.”

“It happened a few days back,” said she, “We were discussing this and that. Suddenly I asked Nanu, ‘You’ve been distributing letters everyday, but have you ever received even one? No one indeed to write to us.’

From then Nanu started brooding…and fell silent… and now he is bedridden for the first time in recent years.”

“You have foolishly rubbed in about your childlessness… not to worry, he will be alright,” said the elders.

One of the few things which could erase Nanu’s smile was the thought of his not having children. His wife’s insensitive words had made a deep impact on Nanu.

That evening almost the entire village gathered at the small function hall with bundles of paper. While the school teacher dictated, others wrote furiously.

***

Next morning, a big bundle of letters was delivered to Nanu’s house. For the first time, the postman was literally at the ‘receiving end’.

As the villagers looked on, Nanu, eyes overflowing with tears, started reading the letters written by his caring neighbors.

“We villagers are all your children…,” said one.

“You can call me your daughter-will rush to your side whenever summoned.” wrote a young damsel.

“We want your smile back, Nanu!” wrote another.


…And so on.

***

Next day, Nanu was back at work, his warm smile back on his gentle 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.