I went to the movie halls after a really long time and looked forward to the experience. The light on the screen came on and the images began to roll. Not five minutes had passed into the film than a couple of youths in the adjacent row began to behave as flagrantly as white Tata Sumos with ruling party flag on their bumpers do on roads. Catcalls and whistles abounded, but were permissible of course. When they began to loudly throw comments about the hero a wave of irritation and anger rolled over the audience yet no one protested. The hero was coming close to kissing the heroine and these boys hooted, “Yes, yes, go on, just do it buddy, we are all here to support you etc.” I must admit that the thought was funny and a few of us even laughed. But when they got down to literally echoing every dialogue that came on screen, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I chucked my bag angrily on the floor and stormed up to their seats. “HELLO!! What the hell is going on here? If you must comment, by all means do so, but amongst yourselves ONLY. The remaining 300 people here need not be posted on your views. Get it?” I shouted in Tamil and in a voice so loud and nasty that it deserved to be put to use in the Indian Parliament. Everyone froze in their seats except my husband and children who continued to watch the film, happy that their quota of sound bytes from me got exhausted elsewhere. I stood there glaring at the nuisance makers a moment longer than necessary and returned to my seat. Much to my surprise the Tata Sumos stopped at my red signal with their flags down. Some 15 minutes passed peacefully before another group in another end of the hall began to get noisy. I was loathe to repeat my drama once again, but thankfully it didn’t seem necessary for a voice rang out from behind the garrulous boys, “Are you all going to shut up now or shall I call that lady here?” (pesama irukeengla illa anda lady-a koopdava?) And immediately there was silence.
Needless to say I was very proud of myself and all that. Only my husband who was cool and indifferent till then began to get that ‘do-you-all-see-what-I-suffer’ look on his face.
My friend wanted me to accompany her to Chennai University to finish some boring paper work and I resisted because a) I had not cooked anything for the day and b) When I picked up my M.Phil certificate from there in 1995, I swore never to return to that office that was decidedly highbrow to students, a shocking contrast from the sucking up students receive from admin staff at JNU where I studied M.A. Nevertheless I went as my love for her won over my vow. Once there I realised I was freaking hungry. I called my maid Valli at home and requested her to cut some veggies so that I may quickly fix something for myself when I returned. The poor thing must have been on her way out, when I caught her on the phone with this additional task. I came two hours later weak with hunger and my friends’ ranting. “I surely am going to die before my stupid cooker finds its whistle,” I groaned and sauntered into the kitchen and what do I find!!! Valli has made chappathis, rice, dal, karela curry (my favorite), salad, rasam and vadams!!!!!! My god! What a spread and it is not even part of her job profile to cook for me!! Total humanitarian gesture for a hungry soul. Oh! It was not just my body that felt nourished that day.