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In the beginning they came in the form of gentle allusions. I did not pay much attention to them. Slowly they started taking on the size and shape and feel of the red bricks I am wont to throw (in my mind of course) at people who annoy me. So I had to sit up and take notice. Oh well, I will get down to it one of these days, I thought to myself. The next time it happened it caught me totally unawares.

There we were at my cousin’s place relaxing as of an evening talking of this and that when the conversation as sometimes happens in my circle, went the way of my blogs. Ahhh! Now that is one topic I am really fond of. Koyi shaque??! Oodles of oil was the post under discussion and there was much laughter happening when all of a sudden, the Lord & Master who had been a trifle silent till then, cut in.

“You know, she writes about everything that we do…”

The ‘we’ here of course meant the L & M and the pair of monkeys errrr…. I mean sons.

“She has even written a blog about what I did to her beautiful nose

I didn’t see where this was going, poor soul. Eager to know I nodded my head encouraging him to go on.

“But has she written about what she has done??”

What?? What had I done?? I mean I keep writing about a lot of stuff. If there was something that hasn’t been written about, I am always happy to rectify the lapse. So I looked at him expectantly and impatiently to be enlightened as did my cousin and his wife and their daughter.

“To me..” he added making those flapping ears of my cousin to sharpen and freeze in anticipation of more in the form of juicy matter to come. It was as if he smelt blood. This seemed to him just the thing he needed to pull his Chechi’s sciatica ridden leg. Sigh… They are all the same. They want to pull my leg and how.

“She tried to kill me once!” stated the L & M dramatically, breaking the silence and electrifying it..

Did your collective jaws dear readers just drop with a thud to the floor?? Mine didn’t. Instead I burst out laughing because I realized what he was talking about. Yes, the very same thing which the Lord and Master had been at first gently alluding to and later dropping hints as big as red bricks about. Now all of a sudden they had taken on the shape of a medium sized boulder.

The leg-puller cousin of mine had a look on his face of pure joy. This was a gold mine. The next time there was a family gathering for the annual festival at our ancestral temple he pointed to me and gleefully asked those gathered around the dining table,

“Do you know what she did to Chettan (elder brother)??!!!”

Ahh there he goes. I rolled my eyes.

“Tell them, tell them! Or should I??” he asked cheekily.

I sighed and decided to reveal all. And this is what happened.

This must have happened about nine years back or maybe it was ten. Anyways it doesn’t matter. The L & M, the Lt Col, had exhausted his annual leave and was all set to return to his work station. Gods had to be propitiated before any journey starts. Popular wisdom entrusts the responsibility of removing obstacles in your way on none other than Lord Ganesha. And the same popular wisdom says that the best way to appease Lord Ganesha to do the needful is to break coconuts in his temple.

The day of journey dawned bright and clear. Off went the four of us, the L & M, the sons, senior and junior and moi for darshan of the Lord at the Pazhavangadi Ganapati Temple at East Fort, Trivandrum.

As soon as one alights at the temple premises the vendors beset you insisting that you take either a karuka maala or a jasmine garland for the Lord. The coconut sellers call out in strident tones for you to buy coconuts to break and remove any vighna (obstacle) in your path. No they don’t mean the traffic jam at peak hours. These are more important matters. If you ignore the whole lot of vendors and walk towards the temple, be prepared for piteous looks (ahh, little does she know of our customs!) amazed looks (omg look at her gall, going to the temple without buying anything for the Lord!!) In short its premium guilt-instilling time this walk from your parked vehicle to entering the temple gates.

That particular day everything went smoothly as we walked over to the entrance to the temple with the boy from the coconut shop in tow carrying a gunny sack full of coconuts. Once inside, the coconut breaking ritual began in earnest. The L & M closed his eyes said his prayers and taking a coconut out of the sack raised his hand, brought it back and threw the coconut that the hand held with force against the rocky surface built expressly for the purpose. The coconut broke neatly in two. Ahh, my six footer is not only tall, but strong and knows to throw as well. Once the devotee had begun the ritual, the boy from the shop chipped in and started to help the L & M. There were many more coconuts to break. There were a lot of others around breaking coconuts in a similar manner, some a few, others hundreds. Each one finds the right place and time to throw in that rush. It is really amazing how they manage to do it.

I stood in the sidelines watching. Soon L & M turned to me and held out a coconut. You break this one, his eyes suggested. Ummm.. errr… yeah, I maybe a heavy-weight champion in terms of kilograms. But when it comes to strength I am somewhere in the ‘very poor’ grade. Having three Martians in the house has been no help either in shaping me up. They do the Queen’s bidding when it comes to the hard work and all I have to do is do the lighter work. Hence when I have to break a coconut before the Lord, I have to take a deep breath and give it all I have if the desired result of a coconut broken in two has to be achieved. Besides, they say its bad luck if the coconut doesn’t break.

So taking a deep breath and giving it all I have, like the L & M I raised my hand, took it backwards and giving it everything I have, brought it forward and down, on to the L & M’s head who chose just that moment to rise from his bent position where he was picking the next coconut to break.

I stared horrified.

The sons stared horrified.

Onlookers stared horrified.

The L & M blinked his eyes and shook his head.

“Are you alright??” I asked. I know, that was a tame question and that too after hitting him on his head with a coconut with all my force. But you must understand I was in as much a shock as the L & M was.

“I am okay” he said, though I could see he was in pain.

“Are you sure??” I asked again anxiously.

“Yeah sure” he replied, rubbing his head a little.

Soon he dismissed it and went back to breaking the rest of the coconuts. My L & M the strongest! Within an hour he boarded the train to Bishnupur. I don’t know by what miracle he was saved that day from getting even a tiny cut or a bump. Perhaps Lord Ganesha came to our/his rescue. But then, wasn’t He also the one responsible for the fiasco??

There, that is now done. I biff you on the nose and you make a story out of it. You biff me on the head and you keep it a well hidden secret had been the L & M’s complaint all along. Well, now that I have confessed all, I hope the L & M is happy! 😀