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Sunday, February 19, 2012


It’s definitely not a good time to be an Indian cricket fan. We’re getting raped by a bunch of kangaroos that seem to be rediscovering their ability to molest bigwigs. Earlier, the men in blue were beaten black and blue by the Poms. The worst thing about being an Indian cricket fan is that, like our politicians, we are so autocratic and arrogant and can’t think of turning to another sport for comfort in times of bad weather in familiar terrain. Not that we’ve been doing well in other sports.  The Indian cricketing team is not the only Indian sporting community that seems to be bad at tests. The Indian weightlifters are worse; they are horrible when it comes to tests, they seem to fail every time, especially dope tests. And do we even have to discuss Indian hockey and tennis?

Unlike the typical Indian fan, I’m a little open minded. I don’t mind looking elsewhere for a reason for entertainment, though I wasn’t left with too many choices. I had to choose between the disastrous Indian sports scenario and the Tamil film-world that seems to be experiencing a dull period now (It becomes quite obvious when critics start raving about a Vijay film). I chose neither and as I started ruminating about the possibility of exploring other options that had never appealed to my mind till date, my eyes started to lose the capacity to stay tuned to what was happening in front of it.

The conductor woke me up and told me that the bus had reached its destination, Poonamalee. Poovirunthaveli A.K.A Poonamalee is a village on the outskirts of Chennai and I had to get down there to take a connecting bus to Tiruninravur, my hometown. My mind found it tough to migrate between the hazy thoughts that had breezed past it before it chose to turn off and the busy and noisy surroundings that characterized the Poonamalee bus stop.  So it did what it was best at. Going blank! It stayed in that state of ecstasy before a storm woke it up.  A storm that woke us all up, all of us whose minds were experiencing a state of blissful nothingness.

It was a scene straight out of a movie: a kudikaara, kodumakaara purushan (a ruthless drunkard husband) walked up to a responsible wife who was selling flowers to address her hunger and to sponsor her husband’s drinking bouts and gave her a hard pat on her head and said,

Hubby (In an “I am cool, check me out” tone): Yei. Kaasedri. (Hey you, gimme money)

Wife: *With a paavam look on her face, looked up, endured a moment of eye contact with her hubby and went about her business again.*

Hubby (With a “How dare you ignore me, I am so cool” look on his face): YEEEEIIII (The message was loud and clear) Kaasedrii.

Two things followed:  The busy, noisy bus stop went silent all of a sudden and a slap that cannot be classified as hard or soft, landed on the wife’s cheek. The wife stood her ground, seemingly unperturbed. The blow seemed to have obtruded more damage on the stability of the inflictor than the inflicted, thanks to the degree of alcohol in the inflictor’s blood.

The hero in me was wide awake by then. He wanted to do a thousand things. Like for example, he wanted to call the police. But then it could become too late or he could end up embarrassing himself as the incident may eventually have a meek ending.  He wanted to negotiate with the drunkard but then some timely Gyaan from Swami Sudarshananda saved him. “Drunkards are the second most idiotic bunch of people on earth. The first are the bunch of people that try to negotiate with them”. He wanted to interfere and settle scores with the drunkard for inflicting violence on women, but then he had already lost trust in the journalists of his age. To make their news story interesting, they could come up with something like, “Brash youth lose life in a tiff over alcohol” or worse, “Angry, drunk husband kills 21-year-old for being involved in an illegitimate relationship with his wife”.  The hero in me wasn’t afraid of dying, but he was very philosophical and was certainly worried about “life after death” and didn’t want his friends to wake up to such headlines!

The worst thing about death is that you will never be given an opportunity to prove people wrong after that.
But the mental chaos finally came to a halt and I put my right foot forward hoping for the best when something happened; something that brought the world around me to a standstill. The drunkard lifted his hand to come down heavily on the woman once again when another force counter-acted at the right instant to prevent the inevitable from happening. I never knew that the paavam-looking poo vikkara(flower selling) woman had such a MAASSS side to her. Or did she? But then, things were surely heating up.

The counter-acting force was strong enough to send the guy down and there he was on the road, his eyes red with fury. His male ego had taken a thrashing and he had to retaliate. He rose up and all hell was set to break loose. He picked up momentum though it wasn’t uni-directional, thanks to the alcohol in his blood again.  He was up and running with a definite plan. The woman seemed to be in mortal danger and there I was, my mind blank as usual! But then, I am talking in terms of reaction time tuned to the order of seconds, so even Jonty Rhodes in my position wouldn’t have been able to do much.

As the guy rose his hand up once more, the woman landed a quite a hard punch on the man’s tummy. Yep, you read it right, HEROINE INTRO!!! TWISTU!!  After that, it became a bit too violent for my liking. The game entered the Kolaveri mode; the woman probably forgot the fact that the guy she was beating up was her husband. One more kuthu on his tummy and then she made him bend down and gave him three more on his back and he finally got the ultimate strike on his cheeks. Down and out. Poonamallee was busy again, people went about their businesses and rightly so. I wanted to go ahead and congratulate the woman but a second thought helped me stay back. I realized that I was on the verge of congratulating a woman who had beaten up her husband, though he was a drunken Baskar(That is not his name. I chose that name because my mom advised me not to use expletives on the internet).

I wasn’t able to conceal my adulation towards the explicit “heroineism” on display but could do nothing but contain my outrageous wish to congratulate her for the same. Once the initial shock left my brain, I started laughing like an idiot. And once I stopped laughing, I realized something. I realized the fact that I had been celebrating reel-life heroes who had landed punches on drunkards on screen all my life and was laughing when a woman did the same in real life. I wondered how idiotic it would be if a woman replaced all mass heroes on screen and for a second, I questioned the rationale behind men doing it.  I realized that both the drunkard and I were dealing with the same problem- MALE EGO. I realized that I had to stop celebrating heroes who were possibly celebrating the biggest flaw in my system; and in that of drunkard’s too. I realized that women were capable of defending themselves and that they don’t always need a hero to rescue them. The hero in me had been beaten black and blue too, like team India, my male ego and the helpless dude on the floor.

Finally, I realized that I had experienced the truest form of admiration towards a person belonging to the opposite sex. I realized that my school boy notions about my dream girl were untrue and was grateful to the universe for letting me wake up to the truth. I am most likely to fall in love with a person like the woman I saw in the Poonamallee bus stop that day; a woman who shatters my male ego and manages to do that consistently to eventually make me realize that this is a planet that houses equals, afterall.
But the most important realization of the day was this: I had finally got my share of entertainment; from a highly unlikely source though!

The incident also brought to my mind a beautifully written song from Mouna ragam:
naan pennaanadhu kalyaanam thaedavaa
oa kannaalan vandhu poomaalai poadavaa
ae ammaadiyoa pen paarkkum naadagam
yaar vandhaalumenna thirumbaadhu njabagam
poovilangu thaevaiyillaiyae