Magix 'n' Curses
..the argument continues

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From riches to rags

Siddharth had it all. Cars, real estate (with a capital R! No poramboaku valaichu puttings..), a very high paying job, a loving wife, two gorgeous German Shepherds, loads of good will and a lovely secretary. To top it all, the wife and the secretary were good friends. "What more could a man want?" was the chief refrain of all those who knew, admired, and even envied him.

But he knew what he wanted. A child. He and Deepthi* were in their late 30s, and were not getting any younger. They wanted a kid, and fast!
*(yes, his wife. What did you expect? A baby with his secretary? Coming to think of it, why would he want an almost 40 year old secretary?!!)

Siddharth decided to take a break from work. (It pays to be the boss of your own office) He entrusted his staff with all the responsibilities and told Deepthi that they were going on their second honeymoon. He'd already chalked up the itinerary, a 3 month trip to all the honeymoon destinations, from Switzerland and France to Darjeeling and Lonavala. Ambience does matter! (no pun intended)

"It - in - ary.. I - tin - ary.. I - tin - rary.. I - tin - er - ary... Aargh! How do you pronounce this damn thing?", Siddharth spat. "I-tin-uh-rer-ee", Deepthi, looking up from her laptop, said with a smile - the kind of patronising smile that one usually gives to a baby monkey as it struggles to peel a banana, "Seriously! How do you call yourself a globe-trotter?" Siddharth raised an eyebrow, "Ok, Miss Know-it-all. Stop rubbing it in."

Deepthi got up to pack her bags and exhorted him to do the same. "It takes me hardly 15 minutes", Siddharth grumbled, as he got up to pack. His gaze fell on Deepthi's laptop screen as two words caught his attention. "Dictionary.com" and "Itinerary".

Three months whizzed by as the couple had fun in every conceivable way. (Pun intended this time!) A massive suite in Paris, a cottage in Switzerland, a room with a breathtaking view of Venice, a restored building in Rome, deluxe accommodations in Darjeeling, Shimla, Nainital, Lonavala and Ooty, they experienced it all. "Ambience", thought Siddharth for the hundredth time, "it always does the trick."

They were back in Chennai, and a month later, realised nothing had changed. Deepthi resigned to fate, but Siddharth was distraught. The doctors had given them a clean chit. What could be wrong? Siddharth wanted one last shot. He knew he was resorting to desperate measures when he booked a cheap hotel in Mahabalipuram. Deepthi gave in to his demands.

The long drive along the ECR helped raise his spirits a bit. He had started to sing along with the music player. "Aaaaasshhiiqqq Banaayaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa", he hollered, as Deepthi smiled and wondered who was worse - Himesh Reshammiya or him. They were passing through Kovalam when something caught her eye.

tere bin suni suni hain baaaaaaaaahein"
"Err.. Sidd?"
teri bin pyaasi pyaasi nigaaaaaaaaaahein"
tere bin bin asar meri aaaaaaaaahein"
"tere.. err.. sorry.. enna?"
"Inga oru kovil irukku. Pogalaama?"

Siddharth wasn't an atheist. He wasn't a regular temple-goer either. He couldn't find a reason to fuss and consented. He looked for a place to park his car and hoped the music player and tyres be intact when they return.

It was a newly constructed temple, and Deepthi entered her Bhakthi Pazham zone. This greatly amused Siddharth and the corner of his mouth curled upwards in mirth as he saw his wife smear a great deal of kungumam and move her lips rapidly in prayer. Deepthi caught the expression and raised an eyebrow as if to ask "what's so funny?". Siddharth shook his head and whispered "nothing!", as he continued to smile at his wife who had a big red circle on her forehead, fresh jasmine on her hair, and a t-shirt that said
"Too Hot To Handle".

As they walked back to the car, Siddharth ate a little bit of prasadam, and almost choked - as respect stopped him from spitting the prasadam out, and the taste, from swallowing it. "This is bitter!!!", he spluttered, his eyes welling up as a result of the assault on his taste buds. "Murungakka Kesari", said Deepthi, with a twinkle in her eye, "It's a speciality here!"

Less than a year later, they had a baby boy. And without any thought to the amount of ragging their child would go through later in life, they named him "Kovalam", honouring the place that made it possible.

[the story hasn't even begun yet! :) I love build ups, I really do. To be continued...]