Rattling adventure

Rattling adventure

When you start hearing noises more than the creaking of wood and more like someone actually walking your floors at night, you are either living in a haunted house or there are uninvited nocturnal rodents plundering your dear house and heavenly kitchen. In our case it was the latter and it was not until last Thursday that I had started to notice what a messy guest I had inadvertently housed.

For the drawers that kept warm clean towels were now smeared with yellow pulses and defecation that if not realized looked more like burnt cumin seeds. I could almost puke at the thought that I had infact thrown a couple by the splash of the hand thinking it was my tempering rendered to chutneys and curd rice that had found a way to splutter haywire. If that was not enough, the vessel scrub was shredded to bits and plastic boxes gnawed to contention.

But then the little rascal was nowhere in sight every time, I’d get into the shelves. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I had seen a flash of tiny pink tail and gray fur scuttling to darker corners in my yellow pulses shelf. And I had not given a moment for the numbing shock to sink and shrieked the hell out of morbid fear and equally advent indignation. My hygiene obsession had indeed taken to unwanted hospitality and I was truly hurt.

For someone who had guffawed over a daily dose of Tom and Jerry and had watched a valiant appa enter battle grounds with a broom and a screaming amma jumping on the stool, this wasn’t new but it definitely wasn’t fun! Talking of which, Tom is truly the depiction of a foolhardy human disposition to handling the house guest. N and I had fared no better and even Homer Simpson would have considered farcical what we attempted next.

A fortune cookie was promptly placed in the top drawer now devoid of the soiled towels. We waited until the prattle of hungry eating be heard. N assumed a tin and knife, whereas I held the broom like pointing it in attack from a creature bigger than me and waited in ambush almost six feet away from the circle of attack. No sooner had the drawer been pulled to reveal a feasting Stuart, N had attempted trapping it in the tin; I had screamed again sending the tin, the knife and a pair of beady black eyes on gray fur flying down to the floor and the spectacle ended with Stuart heading under the dishwasher and N fuming at his machismo under attack by a screaming wife.

If only we hadn’t enacted Tom and Jerry, the bothersome resident would have stuck to the shelves and eventually trapped. Instead, we had now let him loose to roam the house and touch anything he pleased. Anyone involved in this game would agree that the most frustrating part is the ineptness of a human attack and the agility of a smaller being throwing challenges at you.

We decided to do what is normally done through patience and wit. (No knives, tins, ropes or such). We headed to buy traps and offer him a feast. Though he hadn’t budged on Saturday night, I had successfully bribed a warm brownie into trapping the gate-crasher last night. The four hours of scrubbing shelves and disinfecting them was no easy task. And not forgetting to mention the packets of expensive pulses and load of plastic boxes trashed for fear of poisoning. For I had always sympathized with Jerry all this while, I sure got to know who the true villain is. It definitely isn’t Tom!

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Musically yours ARR

Its a long one, I must warn!

It was love at first beat on a sultry afternoon in Trivandrum. I was ten and training for a cultural fest appa’s office organized for the employees’ families annually. We were a group of unruly kids, with two left feet, shaking our booties to ‘chikubuku rail eh’; we were literally marring any attempts the racy number and a sexier Gautami had stirred in the youth that summer. For us it meant aping prabhu deva, yelling the lyrics as we disco-ed and understanding a phenomenon that would grow faster than we did – A R Rahman.

Roja was my first tamil movie in a theatre and it was not until years later that I realized the essence of the movie and its lovely direction. To me, it was my first audio cassette and the treasure of songs it contained. I clearly remember getting Goosebumps listening to ‘tamizha tamizha’ and the kindle of patriotism that the music created back then. I had clearly turned a fan and Rahman was too good to be true.

The elderly were quick to counter the Rahman fever shunning him as another passing cloud of different music genre. Every time, I’d hear someone say that, my heart would sink and I would secretly wish Rahman would never falter; he would never let us down. And I had been right. The little shelf beside my study table grew consistently with cassettes rendered by the maestro, songs I would listen to until I’d know every word by heart and every tune like a rhyme. This had included some coldly received and quick to vanish albums like super police, one 2 ka four, Udaya and Gangmaster; I was unmoved. His music was one that grew on you.

But, then he would always come back and sweep you off yet again; He would render heart wrenching, foot tapping and mind blowing music; Indra, Bombay,Duet, Rangeela, Kadal Desam, Kadhalan, Indian, padayappa, Jeans, Sapney.. It was the era he had been unstoppable. It was the time when teasers on TV literally were teasers and I would have to wait until the cassette became available at the then huge store ‘sangeet sagar’ in the center of a busy secundarabad. I would impatiently wait for appa to return from work with the new cassette and finish up my exams, so that I could play the songs on my little sony player in the labyrinth of my room. It was a time of bliss and an extended love affair with the music and the maker of it.

By the time, I had submitted myself to wonders like alaipayuthe, Lagaan, Boys,yuva, taal.. he had continued to amaze. But I had grown over childish love. I was judgmental. I would pick tunes that sounded like old numbers. I had found other quarters to share the warmth. A shelf that only held Rahman’s collections now harbored others. There were many making music in his adopted style and may be even catching up. Yet Rahman sold; but now he sold as the brand ambassador, of (a)typical styles, consistent deliverance and artful recycling; Baba, Boys, New, kisna, Meenaksi, Enakku 20 Unakku 18, Varalaru, kadal virus.

He did win me over many times; But now I would be hooked to certain songs in the album; I had lost patience to let the whole thing grow on me phase. Our relationship was stale now. I knew how much to love and how much to let go. I was almost beginning to accept that he was as human as us all. He had made some noise with Rang De basanti, ATM, shivaji. It was now all about, listening to most of the album and letting go of not even worth ‘grow-able’ on you ones like the ‘uru koodai sunlight’ or some of the extra saccharine ones of Jodha Akbar.

Amidst this sea of transformation, I had never given up. Not once. I would always ensure, I do a run of the songs and a second time and then pick the best. I’d say its Rahman after all. When Slumdog millionare had come by, I loved it. I knew Rahman has done better, but this was totally worth the recognition he got now; for all these years of hard work And when the golden globes were bestowed upon this modest shy person, I could not have been happier; for he deserved every bit of it.

But last week, a vintage Rahman was back; the one who had swooned Roja and Bombay into us. He had struck a heavy chord with Delhi6. Every song a true love, emanating innovation and variety, I sure turned into the ten year old again. I felt he had his heart and mind at the same place when he made this music. My cousin remarked that the album was her suprabatam these days. It only made me smile to wonder how much ARR had turned into a household name and we didn’t even realize it.

I cannot say Rahman is timeless or applaud him as the Mozart. For, I am just the addict, who has been picking up pieces of the aftershocks he leaves behind.

Sleepless

Its a little more than one am on an icy Friday morning. I am wide awake engulfed with thoughts, memories and what not? I sit here listening to the house cringe to the bitterly cold outside; the windows ablaze with icy moisture and I warming to the luxury of night socks and down comforter.

The scene outside is nothing but a canopy of trees sans leaves, abandoned and wiled to battle the weather for a better spring in the waiting. The envelope of snow and its carpeted whiteness makes the night seem a shade brighter. The moon is nowhere in sight; just a grim sky etched with clouds and a few houses as shadows at a distance.

It’s a silent night nevertheless. All I hear are the occasional creaking of wood and the snort -like snores of N beside me. It reminds me that the houses in this part of the world are as living as the people in them; where the wood breathes, survives, wears and dies.

Such nights have been rare. I have always been the peaceful sleeper, the morning person; and if not sleeping, I’d be busy busting my ass to clear an exam or panicking for an assignment submission. Or if it were the 13th of December a five years ago, I’d be finishing up my phone calls with the world far and near, from every friend of the past fifteen years, many of who wouldn’t recall a friend called DD now; And then I’d sleep tight with a smile of contentment. Or as the unripe teenager, I’d be giggling into my pillow with my best friend beside me; Or on even rarer nights finishing up the last dance to leave the party.

But it is not one of those nights. Its a night I have been sitting up to type; for stopping the thoughts that are racing past; of mundane memories of an era bygone; of bus numbers, previous home addresses, school buildings and names of roads walked or ridden; as if I was so grotesquely bored that I had been rewinding life in its bare details.

It is a night when I have no silent tear to shed; no secret crush to swell my heart to wake; no deadline looming; and no phone calls to wait for! And yet I lie awake to the perfect ruin of a winter sky, a tinge of purple in the air and the distant rumble of a heater; all in the wee hours of a sleepless Friday morning.