Month: January 2012

On Cows

The family made a trip to the ancestral village (and many many temples) last weekend. I jumped at the opportunity, ofcourse. It was my one big chance to write that moving documentary on India’s Rural Landscapes, which would eventually pave it’s way into becoming the inspiration behind the script of the next Bharatiraaja movie, and stand as our family’s greatest achievement, and maybe even overshadow 1970s-IIT athimber’s letter to The Hindu. “Did you hear?” they would say in the next family gathering (I say gathering and not get together/function, because ours gossips at deaths too. But not about the deceased of course. We save that for the next death. Keep it classy, people) “She wrote a moving documentary on the rural landscapes of India which eventually paved it’s way into becoming the inspiration for the next Bharatiraaja movie!” 
“Really? How nice. Did you hear Calcutta Paati’s grand daughter eloped?” 
Because you know, only a true achievement would be discussed before someone eloping. 
Unfortunately, the only landscape I got to investigate the entire weekend was that of my digestive system’s since I had (most predictably) succumbed to travel sickness. But, but. During my  fleeting stay in the village I discovered something that could change my life forever. 
Cows. 
Lots of cows. Managing cows. Mooing cows. Healthy cows. Cheese. Paneer. Milk. Ramaraj. Maybe not Ramaraj, but it was definitely something that could change my life forever. Even if it didn’t, it seemed like a pretty great excuse to sell to my father at that time to avoid the heart burn/attack/pain/brain hemorrhage etc of writing CA Final in case I flunked again, which was a very real possibility.  
“Appa, who takes care of all these cows?”
“In the village, I think every one has their own set of cows. I don’t think one person owns them all.”
“Is there a Dairy Farm close by?”
“No, I don’t think so. But considering the number of cows here, and the space available, there should be.”
“I think I should start one. It would be a great alternate career if results aren’t in my favor.”
“Hahahahahaha! Definitely. If you’d known this was what you wanted to do before, you needn’t have studied so much! But let me ask you something, you’re sure you’ll go around telling people that you’re taking care of a bunch of cows?”
“Ha. I thought about this, so I came up with an excellent name for my organization.  I’ll call it Kamalapuram Pasu Management Group. So if anyone asks anything, I’ll be like Oh, I’m the Director at KPMG!” 
My father laughed uproariously for twenty minutes.

“Hehe.” I offered.

“You’re joking only no?”

“Not really.”

And he laughed for twenty more. 

PS: BY THE BYS! Results did turn out in my favour! I’m a Chartered Accountant now! But I still think the Dairy Farm is a great idea.
PPS: Pasu is tamil for cow.

Birthday Bumps

I turned thirteen not too long ago. Fine, close to 10 years ago. I don’t remember much of how I was at that time, which, knowing me, is probably a good thing, but what I do remember is my thirteenth birthday. 

Very clearly. 
My parents had just arranged for what they called a  “small family get together”, which in our family’s case almost always translates into a mini mob of close to 70 people. So there I was, birthday girl, in my orange shirt and super flare grey jeans (I just confirmed that with the photos) which made me look about 2 feet shorter and wider simultaneously, being all happy and birthday girl like and getting a lot of cash from wallet-happy relatives while waiting for more wallet-happy relatives to assemble so that I could cut my beautiful cake. No seriously, it was beautiful. It was yellow, with white frosting and it had my name on it. I was in love. Let me clarify something here – when I was 13, actually, even 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, I had a love-love relationship with food, which explained my extraordinarily startling resemblance to a sintex tank. Then things changed, but more on that later. 
Fifteen long minutes of staring at the cake later, the crowd had gathered, the candles had been lit, a bunch of 3 year olds next to me had started licking the icing off the sides and my mom handed me the knife. I blew the candles out among the awkward singing, when my 6 year old sister started screaming, and it wasn’t just any kind of screaming, it was the kind of high pitched screaming that should be patented for use by ambulances and firetrucks. The crowd became silent. She didn’t stop screaming. And then there were tears. And screaming. 
My mother was the first to react. “Did you stamp her foot?” she asked me. 
Thanks mom. 
“No!” 
“Then what is the issue?” 
“Ask her!” 
“Kannamma. What’s the issue?” 
Sidenote: Don’t you just hate it when a birthday ruining brat is called cute names? 
“Ammmaaa.” She said in between sobs. “She’s cutting the cake! ” 
“Yes, kuttima. It’s her birthday no?” 
“But I want to cut the cake!”
“Your birthday was in January, remember? You cut a big cake no?” 
“Noooo” she cried and started bawling even louder.  
My mother picked her up and tried to calm her down by calling her some more cute baby names and some enthu relatives even gave her birthday money (when it wasn’t even her birthday!). I tried to quickly cut the cake while she was distracted by the money, but there was no escaping her CIA spy camera eyes because the moment I picked the knife up, she started wailing again. 
My father finally decided to intervene. “You have to do something about her voice! My glasses are about to shatter any second.”
“I’m trying! Kutti, you can also cut the cake ok? Let Akka cut, and then you cut. Ok?” 
More screaming. 
“Enough!” my father proclaimed. I was overjoyed. Finally, the brat could be locked up until my party was over. 
“Lavanyaaaaa, let Vathoo cut the cake no? Look at her, she won’t stop crying. Be mature now. You’re grown up no?” 
“But Appaa..”
“Please? You’re a ChamathuKutti* no?” 
And so, the ChamathuKutti, very very reluctantly handed over the knife to the now beaming, evil, little birthday spoiling monster to cut the cake. Like, between the two of us, I’d have rather been the Cut-The-Cake-Kutti than the ChamathuKutti. 
That was in 2002. Flash forward to this Friday, 6th January 2012, when my sister celebrated her all important 16th Birthday. The cake arrived right on time for the party and this is what it looked like.
Moral of the Story : Karma loves only ChamathuKuttis. 
*Chamathu Kutti – Generally obedient and sweet little kid which I totally am, by the way.