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THE LOCKED ROOM

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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.

‘Why didn’t I think of this before?’ he thought.

Without wasting time, he made a plan with one of his trusted aides.

One day soon after, a piercing scream was heard in the bungalow. Inmates rushing to the spot found the aide, lying with what appeared to be foam (from a detergent of course) oozing out of his mouth.

Later, the amateur actor woke up and after one more round of screaming and sweating swore that he saw ‘him’- a venerable old man-long dead, who till now was only figuring in one of the numerous family photo frames adorning the walls.

The wily Govindan took over from there.

 After keeping a considerable portion of his ill gotten wealth in that room, he brought home a rustic exorcist kind of bloke after bribing the latter, to declare the room haunted and that it ought to be kept locked. Anyone opening the room would do so henceforth almost certainly face immediate death.

Though there were many skeptics among the inmates of this house, no one dared to open the room because of an inbuilt superstition. Moreover, Govindan guarded the key to this room very jealously indeed.

Govindan’s idea seemed to have worked.

A few days later, just before midnight, there was a blood curdling scream from the direction of the locked room. The inmates, jolted from their sleep rushed to find the dreaded room wide open. Inside, a stricken Govindan was lying on the floor, struggling for his breath and shivering.

“They are gone, my valuables are gone!’ gasped Govindan to the puzzled gathering, before going into a dead faint.

As the terror stricken inmates looked about the room, they found that the portrait of the ghostly grandsire was now in this room, floating freely near the roof, swinging about like a kite in the air.

Some swore they could see a leer on his 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.