Vandi Koothu… Periya Koothu

I have a Merc on two wheels… err… mistake… it’s a Honda Activa. During the times when I rode it on a half empty road in an ebullient mood, I almost felt as if I was gliding. It’s been nearly two years since it entered my life. It’s my baby. The only problem was that I didn’t care enough for it – I just wiped it if I noticed layers of dust on it, and it would be sent for service at the recommended intervals (always, my father would do it, or the two of us would go together).

After we moved to Velachery, from Besant Nagar, I started going to office by MRTS train, and took out the Activa on weekends (taking it to the station (which is 7 min away) everyday doesn’t really count). Dad told me not to venture out into any of the main roads in Velachery, except when there’s very little traffic (Sunday mornings? Late nights? Midnights? The wee hours of the morning?). One Sunday, I went to Sathyam Cinemas, and my Dad assumed I was taking a train, and then taking an auto. Only after I came back I told him that I’d taken the Activa. Needless to say, he got angry. I explained to him that just driving to and fro the station by bike will not prepare me for facing unfathomable traffic jams.

And yesterday being Saturday, I had some plans. I’d just got an expenditure-inducing sum of money – 3 grand at one go is a big deal for the shopaholic-trying-to-undergo-self-induced-rehab that I am. It could’ve made me break my resolution, but I restrained myself, and decided to blow the money purposefully. Of course, I didn’t tell Dad that I was taking the Activa. I took the road which my Dad had continually warned me not to take, remembering a route through which I had come with my family once. I made my way to Kodambakkam through Guindy, Saidapet and Teynampet.

Now the bike comes into the story once again. The traffic wasn’t bad. I could manage. So I went happily. But after 15 min, at a point where I had to slow down, the engine came to a halt by itself. It was near Saidapet – right before I reached Mount Road. The breadth of the road was packed with vehicles. With considerable willpower, I took my bike to the corner of the road, and tried to start it – first with the kick starter and then with the self start button. After a few mins, the engine came back to life. Off I went again.

And did I mention? Three days back, my bike got soaked in rain. The horn got stuck every time I pressed it, and to stop the sound, I had to pull the horn button. A day later, the self starter began makkarpannufying. The bike stopped thrice on the way to the station in the morning. That evening, however, the self starter seemed ok, so I happily, and a bit daringly made my plans.

Now, back to Mount Road. 10 minutes after the Activa’s engine was resuscitated, it lost its breath again. In the midst of a bunch of 2-wheelers, cycles, and autos. And a couple of traffic policemen by the roadside. It took me 5 mins to start the bike again.

Bike dear stopped about 6 times thereafter. During the bits of drama, I had traveled through Kodambakkam, Nungambakkam, and to Greams Road. (I don’t know where I found the ability to stay calm through it all. Thank God, this didn’t happen a year back.) Then, in the parking lot of Cool Club it almost gave up completely. I wondered if the engine had gone to heaven. After trying to start the bike for some 15 min, I called my father and told the truth, and that I was stuck. My Dad obviously exploded in anger. He asked me to push the bike to Didar Motors on Mount Road. I was already bushed by then, and a lunch with friends was to happen within an hour. I asked the watchman of Cool Club if there was a mechanic shop nearby. When he said it was down that very road, I thought I got lucky. I brought the mechanic to cure my baby. After I explained the illness to him in detail, he said that the cause was a battery problem, and that I would have to get the battery recharged. He told me that however, I could kick start my bike, and, smiling at my weak attempts at it, started the bike with a hard kick. Yay, yippee! Engine came back to life.

The mechanic left, and the engine gave up again. Argghhhh!
I had a good go at the kick starter. And Hooray, bike started.

I planned to leave the bike in my office in Abiramapuram, and then go for lunch. I sped off from Greams Road, with a lot of worry, honking and speeding.
And the bike stopped 2 more times in Nungambakkam!

Some good Samaritans kick started the bike for me. After the engine got a new lease of life near The Park Hotel, I made my way to Abiramapuram, praying for smoothly moving traffic and green signals. I made it to office without a problem, and thanked God profusely.

I finished lunch at Pizza Corner, went to an aunty’s house nearby, recounted the story in part for her, while thoongivazhinjufying. I grabbed 10 min of sleep there. I came out, found a mechanic shop nearby and got his card, so that he could come to my office on Monday, give a second opinion, or repair my bike.

Whew… what a day it was! But I’d been an ass for ignoring the problem when it started. So tomorrow I am going to give my bike some tender loving care. And care for it better in the future. Thank you bike, and God for the little lesson.

Vikku Vinayakaram and Party's Lil' Rasika

Today evening I had gone to Taj Connemara to attend a dinner hosted by my Uncle and Aunt for my Uncle’s 60th birthday. They have four grandchildren, between 2-8 yrs of age. I was looking forward to a good time with my nieces and nephew. And to an aural extravaganza, courtesy Vikku Vinayakaram and his sons.

I am a big fan of instrumental music, and sat through the whole kutcheri with my mom. For the most part, it was aural bliss, until my stomach started rumbling. However, I didn’t want to miss any part of the kutcheri.

Vinayakaram and party made some excellent music. They even punched their ghatams lightly for a few moments to create a particular sound. Vinayakaram’s eldest son did an awesome job with the ganjeera. The music was quite experimental however, and would probably not have appealed to many who were present. We felt sad when the hall became half empty in an hour or so.

But some members of the audience thoroughly enjoyed the show – the kids! Apart from my nieces and nephew, Vinayakaram’s grandkids and other kids were there. The younger kids who were 2-3 yrs old loved the musical beats and started waving their hands and jumping to the ghatam rhythms. But some truly unforgettable moments were created by my niece Tara, who showed some people how one should enjoy the music.

Sometime before the kutcheri ended, Vinayakaram’s son was drumming on the ganjeera for a good 5 minutes. While I was telling my mom how one of the sounds he produced reminded me of the thumping sound one can hear inside a moving train, Tara started dancing delightedly in front of the stage, cackling, her face glowing with happiness.

Great rasanai! Young lady, keep it up. Hope you learn to play some musical instruments and sing in the future. Thanks for showing us the way.

Another thought crossed my mind. Maybe Vinayakaram and party should conduct special kutcheris for kids. But will the parents understand and have him play at a kiddy party?

Anyway, I had a wonderful evening. I am hoping to attend more Vikku Vinayakaram kutcheris.

A Peek into Office Behaviour (and some Advice) - 1

This article is mainly for men – a major part of it is about the impact certain types of male behaviour has on female colleagues. Hope you have the patience to read through it. It’ll help you a lot, and save you from trouble.

- Know what is flirtatious behaviour, and what is beyond that. If you don’t like to flirt, great. Stay like that (Unfortunately, if you’re extremely hunky and a good natured person, she may fall for you. So, don’t show interest at any point.)

- Don’t come smelling and looking like you’ve just woken up after hitting the sack after a tired, very sweaty day.

- Don’t wear unwashed clothes.

- If you stare at a woman, she is most likely to notice it. And tell it to a couple of people, at some point. And they’ll start saying things about you (unless she is interested in you).

- Don’t stare / flirt / try to show your interest, if the girl is clearly above your standards (I have to be rude here). Things will definitely go downhill then. Take my word for it. And she’s sure to call you names under her breath.

- When a girl gets friendly with you, and clearly wants to be only friends, DON’T pass comments on her clothes and appearance or say things that indicate romantic interest / flirtatiousness (when anything that you want to say seems like that to you, don’t utter the words). It will reveal your other side, and she will surely dislike you.

- Don’t say gross things like “I will go pee and come” in a loud voice to your male colleagues (my ex-colleague did) in the presence of a female colleague. Do I even have to say what she will think of you?

- Don't burp loudly, or sneeze without covering your mouth

To be Continued