Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Generation gap

Venky, get up everyone’s coming home” he heard his mom’s voice waking him up in the morning. He tried his best to pull the covers back to his head, but alas, his mom was quicker. She pulled the covers from him, and made him get up. He got up yawning and grunting, while his mom pushed him to the bathroom and said “get ready soon; they will be here any minute”.

Restlessly Venky a.k.a Venkataraman got ready and came out to the hall hearing noises there. When he entered a two year old ran up to him and shouted “Venky Anna”. While his aunt came up to him and cried “oh, look at Venkata, evalo perusa valrnthutaan (how big he has grown), I still think he will be a small child, how silly of me” and patted his back, while the two year old clung to him. His aunt looked at him pointing to the child said “you indeed remember juju don’t you, Aarti’s precious daughter, you must’ve seen her as a baby”. While his aunt’s daughter Aarti came around and said a ‘hi’ to him and carried away her daughter. While her aunt was still nagging him saying “doesn’t juju look cute…. She is a beautiful child….” While Venky just muttered to himself ‘juju, nice name indeed for a child like a name one keeps to ones’ pet’.

He saw his grandma approaching, he went and touched her feet like a nice little grandson and said “how are you Patti (grand mom)”. While his grand mom pinched his cheek real hard and said “Venkataraman aa ithu, (is this Venkataraman), hmmm…” and analyses him from head to toe and says “konjam satha podanum, vayasu paiyan ippudiya olliya irrupan, paru killa kooda mudiyalai (he has to put on weight, is this how a teenage boy be thin, see I can’t even pinch him)”. Venky just responds as “Venkataraman illa Patti Venky (it’s not Venkataraman it is Venky)” and just stands there at his place and is thinking how thin he is, indeed he had an athletic body, he did not find him thin, but according to his grand mom he guessed she will accept him as healthy if he is fat as a teddy bear!

He then said he had to get ready for college and left the place and went to his room, only to find it in a big mess. His whole room was upside down, the two twins (Aarti’s first twin sons) were now repairing his guitar. He fled to them and pulled the guitar away from them. Twin no.1 demanded “Venky Anna. Give it back”, twin no. 2 said “we are trying to fix back the wire that came out”. He looked at his guitar in horror, not a wire, many wires were dangling down. He shooed them away from the room and drooped on his bed with his hands on his heads. His mom entered and asked him to adjust to the people in his house, and even more alarmed him by saying that he had to share his rooms with the twins. If he couldn’t get along with this, his mom further made him frustrated by saying that, “Venky come home on time for this one week, no hanging out with your friends late in the evening, ok, please Patti (grand mom) will not like it if you come home late”. He kicked the floor and went to get ready.

He had put on an open shirt with a t-shirt inside, seeing him his grand mom came and buttoned the shirt up to his neck making him choke and in the process advising of proper clothes that should be worn to college, and she put some ash on his fore head, saying he must believe in god. He almost spoke back while he caught his mom’s pleading look, he just left. Once outside he unbuttoned his shirt and sped away on his bike. On reaching college, his best friend Varun joked at him “What Venky, looking all religious man”. Venky just grunted and said, about his relatives at home, Varun said “man, that’s going to suck having them for a whole week, and so are you not coming to Kitu’s party, she will kill you if you are not there, she will fret for a whole week saying what a useless boyfriend she has got, who can’t even attend her party.” Venky said “well it won’t become as worse, that then, she would have to dump me, oh my god, I promised her I will take her to a movie today (groan) and did I tell you that life sucks”.

How could you do this to me Venky, I’ve been waiting to watch this movie, and you just say ‘sorry I can’t make it today’, now… now…. I don’t need any explanations. Don’t tell me you can’t make it today because of your relatives, such a lame excuse, you hoped I will fall for it, never…. Just go Venky, I am so disappointed” Kitu stormed out of the room. Venky just looked back at her helplessly, and said to himself ‘just for a movie she is mad, what will happen if I tell her I can’t make it to the party too…’ while Varun came in and said “probably, she’ll kick your ass man”.
When he reached home, the air was filled with a delicious aroma; his grand mom was making sweets. When he went in, his grand mom came to him and stuffed his mouth with a big piece of ‘mysore pak’ telling him she made it for him. She even joked “china vayasula nee, thirututhanama Mysore pakka eduthu sapiduva, ithuku unnoda thatha odantha (when you were small you used to steal this Mysore pak and eat it, your grandpa was a part of the crime)”. Venky just said “athu china vayasula Patti (that was when I was small grand mom), now I don’t like it much” and went to his room.
His whole room was a mess, he couldn’t say anything, and the twins were messily sleeping in his bed, he just went and sat in his chair and was messaging Kitu, pacifying her, and using all techniques to woo her, while suddenly he jumped at the voice of his aunt, she came into the room and was asking him to take his coffee on the table. Seeing him engrossed in the cell phone, said that “ennada (what da) all the time you are doing something with that phone of yours…. Hmmm… I can not understand this generation kids, my time wasn’t like this…” and left the room.

He rushed to college the next day; Kitu was in such a bad mood, when she heard that Venky was not coming to her party tomorrow. She wasn’t convinced with his excuses. She did not talk the whole day, however hard Venky tried. At last he gave up, and sat dejectedly during lunch. Varun was goofing around as usual in the canteen area, trying to woo the first yr girls. Then noticing Venky slumped in the chair, he went up to him and hit his back jovially, telling him problems came and went. And Kitu was just in one of her bad boyfriend phases, she will get over it. Then, Venky made up his mind, no matter what he is going to make it to Kitu’s party tomorrow. He did not care of his aunt or his grand mom or the messy twins.

he went home determined. He told everyone at home that he will be late tomorrow; he did not care if they had a puja at home. He needed to go to his friend’s party. Even his mothers pleadings that he has to be there tomorrow, as his father has gone out of station and the puja needs a male member of the family fell on deaf ears. He wasn’t willing to change his mind. His grand mom said something about how children now-a-days are becoming very irresponsible and careless and said she completely disapproved the behavior of Venky. Venky just shot back saying, he did not care what she said.

The party was a total blast the next evening. Venky was having all the fun he could. When he was dancing with Kitu, his cell phone vibrated… he saw the display and cut the phone. When Kitu asked him who it was, he just replied ‘home’ and went back dancing. After a few minutes the phone vibrated again. He got so frustrated that he gave the phone to Varun and asked him to tell he went somewhere. Then again after a few minutes, the phone which was now in Varun’s hand vibrated again. Varun said maybe he should take the call. Kitu agreed with him, she said it may be urgent.

Venky grunted and took the phone. He heard his mother’s voice all panicky. She was almost crying over the phone. She asked him immediately to come home, saying between sobs that the screens in the hall caught fire. They were doing this puja and the twins were messing around with the match box, no one knew it and they had accidentally set the screens on fire. She did not say more, she was sobbing hard. Venky panicked, and transferred the message to his friends. The all rushed to his home, he was all sweaty when he reached there. An ambulance had come. He rushed inside; his mom came and hugged him. “Oh Venky…look what happened. Juju got injured…..what we will do”. His aunt was crying badly in one corner. He heard that his grand mom has collapsed. He felt terrible. He felt guilty for what happened. They rushed to the hospital, and miraculously juju recovered, and his grand mom was alright. His friends consoled him; still he did not feel good.

He went to his grand mom’s room the next night and asked her to forgive him. He blamed himself for whatever that happened. He said he mustn’t have gone to that party. He must have remained home. He then broke off. He was crying like a child. He said he couldn’t have bared it if anything had happened to her. Hearing his cries, his mom and aunt came to the room. They tried to console him it wasn’t his fault that it happened. They must have understood his needs that he needs to spend time with his friends too. It was there fault that they had been careless enough to let the kids play with the match box.

His grand mom just smiled and said “onnoda thappu illa Venky, anna onna mattum therinchuko, nee evalo importance unnoda friendsuuku kudukuriyo, athula pathiyavathu unnoda vetiku kudu, naanum unnoda vayasa thandi thaan vanthiruken. Ennaku theriyum ippo unaku ellame friends thaan, nanga ethu sonnalum onnaku thappa than theriyum, aaparum purinchikuva, ippo poi paduthuko (its not your fault Venky, but know one thing, how much importance you give to your friends give at least half of it to your family, even I was your age once. I know now for you everything is your friends, what ever we say you will find it to be wrong, you will realize it later, now go and sleep)”

He looked at her through watery eyes and went to bed, making a resolution that he will never hurt his family again, by his senseless behavior.

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