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I am not sure I am doing the right thing by making this matter public. Till now he was all mine (and why the hell does MS Word think I should use ‘mines’ instead of ‘mine’ here?!), my very own Lord and Master. Sigh, all that will have to change once this little matter which until now only a very few were privy to, becomes public. Once it is known, he may very well be snatched away from right under my nose, …..errrr, figuratively speaking of course, for as everyone knows, at five feet nothing, I am the one who is always ‘under’ noses. Soon, the Indian Government will hear about it and step in with restraining orders against any who think they can merrily snatch him away and instead snatch him away themselves. They will probably then go on to declare him to be National Property or some such and keep him securely locked, under surveillance at all times. When the news spreads further, countries across the globe will get into the act and try to beg, borrow or steal him. *sob sob*

I guess by now my readers have a sneaking suspicion that the hot Indian summer has got to me, cooking the till now perfectly functioning mass of gray cells and damaging it enough to turn me from an all’s well that ends well sort of person to an extremely paranoid one, in spite of the watermelons I hog to keep the system cool. Right?? Well, whaddya know, if you think so you are WRONG!

What has happened is that, more than a quarter century of married life later, during which time I had absolutely no inkling about it, I woke up to the realization that the L & M is the modern equivalent of the Rain Man. Yessir, you heard right, the Rain Man is what I said. But no, he definitely does not paint his face in vivid colors and jump around with spear in hand mumbling mumbo jumbo like the more traditional of the rain men. He has a personal rain-cloud that seems to have taken a fancy to him and showers on him its bounty without any invocations needed. Nee pokum idamellam nanum varuven (Wherever you go I shall follow) goes a Tamil song and summarizes the philosophy of the rain cloud as regards the L & M and in spite of the fact that the L & M does not go Vaa, vaa, vaa (come, come, come) to the cloud, that is exactly what it does.

“It’s raining in Kochi!” he’d say over the phone and I’d look at the clear sky outside in Trivandrum and sigh. Its stifling hot and there is not a cloud in sight. But the day the L & M reaches home, it would miraculously start raining. Sometimes it rained only in the part of the city the L & M was in. He would return home all drenched and cursing his bad luck. When this had happened one time too many,  his disgruntlement grew and that too in leaps and bounds. One day fed up with this unwanted attention of the errant cloud he told me,

“It looks like I am the Pink Panther!”

I did not get the connection. I was not quick enough probably because I  had been thinking of the next blog to write.

“Pink Panther?? Why Pink Panther??” I asked him.

“Don’t you remember the cartoon, where there is this dark cloud that follows Pink Panther and drenches him each time he steps out??!”

Oh yeah, of course I remembered. I found it funny, especially so when it happened again and again making the L & M mad and madder. But it also made me go green with envy.

I am the one who lovvvvves rain and the stupid gray cloud had eyes and rain only for the L & M who was not fond of rains anyway. The injustice of it rankled, not that it did any good. The little (or full grown adult?) fiend of a gray cloud was least bothered that we were displeased with this show of partiality on its part, though for very different reasons. A couple of years back, the rain cloud even found its way to sultry Chennai, where the L & M had gone to attend a meeting, and without much ado had rained on him, thereby giving the Chennaiites reeling under the hot spell of summer some respite. Such was its obsession with the L & M.

Recently we found ourselves in sultry Chennai. The heat was oppressive and seemed to be the chief topic of conversation with just about anyone you met. While being driven to the hotel the cabbie made small talk about the same. He asked us about the weather back home, if it had rained etc. We spent the day in our air-conditioned room, not venturing out till evening when Kannan, Jayashree and their daughter Dyuthi came by. We all soon escaped to the cool confines of The Opal, where the L & M and I were treated to a fabulous dinner by them. The topic of the Pink Panther, not the cartoon character but the human one, and his personal rain cloud came up and the story of what happened during the L & M’s previous visit to Chennai was related to Jayashree who was hearing it for the first time. She immediately turned to the L & M and entreated,

“Please, please stay in Chennai for two weeks at least! We badly need rain!”

Hmm… Something gnawed at my heart. Recently the rain cloud seemed to be giving L & M a wide berth. Was it my presence that was stopping the rain cloud from raining on the L & M  in gay abandon as before was the doubt niggling at my heart.

The next day Govind dropped by. The L & M talked to him about summer rains in Chennai. No chance at all of rain any time now, Govind replied with conviction. Soon Sankaran too joined us at the roof-top restaurant The Pinnacle. Neither the breeze nor the ice cold nimbu-pani lessened the oppressive heat. We were glad to escape into the air-conditioned coolness of the Opal for dinner with Samvit a little later.

Dinner over, we walked out of the cool confines of the restaurant with Samvit, to find that there had been a a shower, enough to make the sidewalks wet. Now it was Samvit’s turn to hear about and be impressed by the Pink Panther tale. My phone beeped just about then and I glanced at a message from Kannan which read, “Pink Panther ki jai ho. It rained in Annanagar!” Oh wow.

Early next morning a look out of the window revealed cloudy gray skies and falling rains. Heaven! By the look of it, it had been raining for quite some time too. Chennaiites must be a happy lot, I thought to myself. But, did they know from whence came the blessing they were enjoying?? My phone beeped on my return to a Trivandrum with a cloudless sky. It was a message from Samvit thanking Pink Panther for the rain. A while later, I opened Facebook to find a message from Jayashree, “ Shail, I do believe in Pink Panther magic now. It rained…” (And from Jayashree’s message comes the title of the blog. Thank you, Jayashree.)

Now that the secret power that rests with the L & M has been revealed, do you think I was over-reacting?? I know, I know. I could have suppressed the news and not given it greater publicity by blogging about it. Sigh, the greater public good and all that you know. One cannot be selfish and keep greatness to oneself, can one?? But there is still that niggling doubt in my heart. Since the time the L & M has moved back to Trivandrum, the rain cloud has been a bit recalcitrant in bestowing of its bounty and when it does, it makes sure that every other locality has good rainfall before it finally, almost as an afterthought, condescends to rain over the area where I stay. Need you ask?? It rains a-plenty where the L & M has his office and he returns drenched, to a dry home and a wife staring at the sky with longing much like the proverbial vezhambal. I am pretty much sure now that the rain cloud doesn’t like me and has spread the word to its cronies in the sky. Sigh. I only hope the Trivandrumites don’t get to hear about it.

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