Dec 28, 2011

A Sherlock Fan’s Christmas

Before directly entering into the Christmas tale that I have in store for you, let me first inform you a story that my sincere bike also will be delighted to see it shared with all my friends . Following 20,000 kilometers, and 30,000 kilometers, my bike surpassed the boundary of 40,000 kilometers. Very proud moment, huh? Here is the photograph of the unique moment.

Now to the story. Please don’t expect anything thrilling in its content motivated by the title. This post is all about letter writing. This Christmas I received plenty of letters. Not emails, or SMS texts, but neatly handwritten ones; and they were love letters. 

Commemorating Christmas, at office, we had a funny event called, secret friend. You also can pick a friend from many lots, just the way you are picked up from the same lots. Then you can start writing letters to your friend keeping your identity concealed. Similarly, you also will be getting letters from the person who is supposed to be the one picked the lot on which your name was written.

I did not get any letter from my friend, since that person was away from the office, as I came to know later. But, lately someone assuming the name Jerry, began to write letters to me. Tom & Jerry together make a good familiar combo, don’t they? I wrote replies, and I was getting replies from Jerry promptly. While that cat and mouse game was on the go, another letter appeared in the letter box addressing me. This time it was from a person with a fake name Annamma.

Annamma is a traditional Syrian Christian name. It is originated from the common Christian name Anna. You will not find an Annamma anywhere in the world except in Kerala. Nowadays, this name is so rare in Kerala that you can find only elderly grandmas bearing the same name; because modern people name their children with more modernized versions like Anne or Annie. 

Annamma’s was a pure love letter. The letter expressed the writer’s wish to touch and caress my curly hair. I first suspected a boy who sits close to my seat behind the letter. However, I replied inviting her to come and caress my hair, and I had assured her in my letter that my hair was properly washed with shampoo, so that her finger would move through the curls with ease. I expressed my hairs’ intense wish to get caressed by her fingers. It seemed to me that Annamma was got scared reading my letter. Anyway, she didn’t write anything after that.

The letter from Annamma was made popular in my workplace by my colleagues. It seemed to me that the anonymous Jerry was got demotivated seeing the popularity of the letter from Annamma. But, suddenly one day, I got a letter written in Hindi, from a never-heard never-known girl called Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari was very flirty. She addressed me with such nice terms, like sugar candy, honey, and the names of some unknown eatables that taste sweet. Though not fluent in Hindi, I replied her with the help of my colleagues in the same punch and manner. When she asked me for a Taj Mahal, I offered her a full moon itself. When I asked her about her religion, since marriages between people of same religion are more likely to happen in the conservative Kerala society, she expressed her willingness to convert to Christianity. When she looked a little worried about my well known alliance with Annamma, I consoled her saying that Annamma was just my friend, but Meena Kumari was my everything.

Through the gap created by Meena Kumari, Jerry also popped up its head. Though was inactive for sometime, he (or she?) again continued writing letters. 

In the end, everything came into light. Meena Kumari, Jerry, and Annamma confessed to the crimes that they committed on the gift exchange day. Surprisingly, all were girls! Before the revelation day, Jerry was caught through my deduction method, which was partially influenced by the Sherlockian techniques. I identified her through her handwriting and the way she writes. Anyway I was very much thankful to them for the love letters they wrote, because I hadn't received anything of such nature previously.

Everything finished. No love letters now. But still you see a forsaken lover wandering through the corridor where letter boxes were placed earlier, hopefully searching for any new letter that came late, from any of those girls. 

Note: The title is inspired from Agatha Christie’s, ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’

In Picture 2: Second portion of a love letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven on July 6, 1806. The letter was addressed to an unknown woman.

Dec 7, 2011

The Forgotten Playmate

Nineteen Nineties. The place, as I envisioned, is where one can be in the ambiance of the suburban pastoral beauty, while having the nearest town just a call away. There you see kids in uniforms walk in a sympathetic haste through muddy roads, and you hear the giant bell of the nearby church toll intermittently.

Our protagonist is a small girl of the house, who had been celebrating her tender age under the care of her parents and the love of grandparents. The elderly people at her neighborhood were also not stingy in showering unfathomable affection upon her. Though she never felt lonely in the nearness of her dear ones, what she loved most was the occasional visits by the little kids from a distant place at her favorite neighbor.

Those kids used to be there on visits at their grandma, especially during vacations. She made good friendship with them, and it became a habit for her to wait for their visit during the long holidays. Once they came home, they used to involve in several games, like, hide n’ seek. Imagining the shades of the big mango tree at her patio as the kitchen, and treating mud as rice and coconut shells as pots, they had mock cookery practices. When the grandma of that house went to the feast of the church with her visiting grandchildren, clinging on the wrinkled palms of that elderly woman, she also had accompanied them.

Years passed by. Our little girl grew up. The changes happened to her during the passage of time, made her aware of her womanhood. Just like any other girl from Kerala, she also had to censor her movements, behavior and interaction with the opposite sex. When finished her college, she went to India’s Garden city, Bangalore, for higher studies. 

Bangalore, as always, was a dream. There in that big city, she found the meaning of freedom. For the first time after those long forgotten magical childhood days, she felt that she was liberated. Finding herself walking even in the late hours through the pavements of the city, she enjoyed that kind of freedom, reserved till then to the male category only. But alas, soon maturity overtook her sense of freedom.

She returned to her native place after the studies, and later found a job in a company in Cochin. It was the same company, where this Blogger also joined later. One day, as part of new appointments, she happened to interview a young guy. Despite of his timid nature, she found him capable of doing the tasks; but his candidature was rejected by some other means. A few months later, he was interviewed for another profile by some different people of the same company, and he was selected.

Several days after his joining, one day, he showed up at her desk, and asked,

“Do you remember me?”

She said, “Well, you were there for the interview!”

He said, “Apart from that, don’t you think we had met before?”

Though she had found some familiarity in the hesitant nature of the boy, she couldn’t recollect in what way he was familiar to her. She admitted her failure.

He breathed slightly, and after a pause, said in melancholic tone, “We used to play, during vacations, when we were children, on my visit with my sisters at my grandma’s house. We used to play hide n seek, under that giant mango tree, beneath which, we had cooked rice of mud in coconut shells; we used to go to church festivals, with my grandma…”, he searched for words.

She stood still electrified, while taking time to identify the youngest one of the neighboring grandma’s grandchildren.

One day, desperately thinking about the topic for the next post of Vanity Moments, this Blogger met her. During the normal conversation, he asked her to contribute a topic. When she reminded him of the story of her Ouija board experiment, which she told him a few months before, he encouraged her to tell another story, since he had already written enough number of horror stories.

And, then she started to tell him the story of her forgotten playmate from the beginning.
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