Long live the short stories..
It was my 22nd birthday. I am usually lazy to visit temples. Up on my mom's insistence, we decided to put a salaam to Lord Shiva. It was half past 6 in the morning. After having the quick dharshan of Mr. Shiva and his wife, we sat in the temple. I was half-asleep. When I had my eyes closed, mom thought I was in deep meditation. For a moment, she found a great saint in her son. (After all, she knew that spiritual Guru is not a bad option for an aimless and jobless maverick!) Her short-lived happiness vanished soon and she whispered to my ears "Dei erumai-maadu, ezhunthiri da" (Wake up, you beautiful buffalo!)
I slowly opened my eyes.. Just blocking the view of Shiva was a beautiful young girl in lemon yellow saree. Wow, what a beauty! She was tall, lean and instantly attractive! Maybe a mix of Nandita das and Katrina Kaif, I thought! I felt like being in heaven. For a moment, I wondered whether Lord Shiva, like my mom, mistook my nap as meditation and gave a free pass to heaven. The confusion was resolved by mom's voice 'Let's go!'.
I told her, 'Ma, Dharshan is not yet over. Please wait for another 5 minutes.' My mom didn't have a clue of the Dharshan I was talking about and replied 'As you say - it's your birthday' The lemon-yellow-saree's eyes were completely closed and her lips murmured something. I was watching her closely like a doctor examining the patient. She was done with the Dharshan and was preparing to go around the temple.
I told my mom, 'Get up, mom! Let's go around the temple.' Mom said 'You forgot or what? We have already completed one.' I replied, 'Ma, that was for Shiva.. let's do one for his wife' Mom got a little angry, 'You can't play with the rules of the Gods.. it has to be either 1 or 21 rounds. I don't have time for 21.' Like an unhappy kid who was refused a toy in a shop, I thought of playing tantrums. Realized I was a grown up and hence told my mom, 'Ok then, wait for a minute - Lemme finish the last part of the dharshan.' The last dharshan was delightful.
After the dharshan, we went back home. I felt "what a way to start the year". In a single day, I would have thought about her more number of times than my family and friends put together. While I know it was pure stupidity, I felt it was God's signal for something. (Human beings have the bad habit of referring to God for all favorable reasons). I wondered how can I meet her again - Maybe in the temple again? Why not?
5.30 AM, the next day. The alarm clock started blaring near my ears. My dad, who was used to hearing my alarm at 7.30 was perplexed. But as usual, he chose to ignore - He thought I would snooze it. But I got ready and was ready to leave the house at 6 AM.
Before leaving, I informed my mom, 'Ma, Shiva opened my eyes yesterday in the temple. Decided to go to temple everyday.' Mom gave a doubtful look but didn't inquire further.
I sat in front of Lord Shiva and nearly waited for 30 mins. 300 questions in those 30 mins - Will she come today? Will she come alone? Will it be lemon yellow again? Should I talk to her today? Should I propose to her today itself? Should I ask her name? Will someone in the temple realize my intentions? Will Mr. Shiva will get angry for misusing his temple?..... Before the 301st question, the beauty entered the scene. Sky blue was the lucky color that day. It was a simple chudidhar but I felt it was extremely pride to be chosen by the beautiful lady.
I completely focused on the job at eyes - noticed all the tiny little things she was doing. She went to the Nandi statue in front of Shiva and told her wishes secretly into its ears. I felt like telling her "why do you whisper all your wishes to the lifeless bull?? I'm standing here.. a real bull, who can fulfill all your wishes"
I followed her when she went around the temple. She halted and noticed me following. She gave a look and asked "what do you want?" I have never become so nervous in my life. I didn't know what to say. Just blabbered "some viboothi please" (viboothi is the ash Tamilians wear in the forehead as symbol of God-knows-what). She cleared off the viboothi in her hand to the small stainless steel bowl kept for collecting the viboothi. She replied with her sweet voice "you can take it from there" I thought of asking her "Will you die if you let me take it from your hand? Or will I die if you apply it on my forehead?"
I applied the viboothi distinctively on my forehead. (Till date, I had eaten more viboothi than applying them on my forehead!) I was wondering whether I should apply it all over the body like the Axe deo spray. Will this new spray help the girl fall for me? I also wondered - would viboothi ever come in different variants like Chocolate, Musk, Lemon, Spicy Black, Sports, Cool Blue etc. Before I was back from my dreams, she wasn't there.
I made it a habit to visit the temple everyday. For the entire next month, I was very regular. The schedule was very simple. I would go at 6 AM, dream about her for 20-30 mins, follow her when she went around the temple and most importantly ask for "viboothi please". She never got tired of it. She always pointed to the near by stainless steel bowl. It was a bit confusing - Had she not liked me, she would have shouted at me. At the same time, things haven't improved at all than point to the bowl. Stupid it may sound, but I had resolved to speak to her only when she gave the viboothi from her hand - a gesture of she accepting me.
It was Dec 10. The 31st day of my visit to the temple. My hunch told me something substantial will happen today. She didn't come till 7 AM. I went berserk and searched her all over the temple. Around 7.30, I returned back to our usual place in the temple. There she was - a bit late, but she was dazzlingly beautiful that day. I felt I should tell her my intentions today as things have gone too far.
My heart started beating faster. I was already sweating. May be tomorrow? No, I remembered what my dad used to say "Do it today as tomorrow never comes". (Though I never used it for studying) I slowly approached her. Idiot, you should have at least brought a rose - my mind was getting upset. It immediately contradicted itself - Ignore me. I am a little bastard - go ahead and show your heart to her.. girls like a loving heart more than the roses.
I was very close to her. A cute little girl came running towards the lady. The little girl had a beautiful rose in her hair - I was in 2 minds to pick it from her hair and give it to the lady. At that instance the unthinkable happened. The little girl asked the lady "Who is this uncle, mommy?" For which the lady gave a fitting reply, "Who knows? Maybe a mental case.. poor fellow.. but very religious. Likes viboothi a lot like you.."
That day, before I asked "Viboothi please", the lady offered viboothi. I was very disappointed and said "No viboothi please" and never ever applied that ash on my forehead.
While coming back home, I liberally used all the bad words I know, at the makers of Olay, Santoor, Lakme, Garnier, Fair & Lovely and zillion other products which make it difficult for guys to differentiate between married and unmarried women.