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Vol. XXVIII No. 4, June 1-15, 2018
By the time you read this column by the Man from Madras Musings, the designated peak hot weather aka Agni Nakshatram aka Kathiri will be over. But before you begin to air your winter woollies let MMM assure you that this is not the beginning of Chennai’s long and severe winter, which as you all know is world famous by its mere absence. More often than not, June is hotter than May in our city and here are a few tips on how to make the most and if possible also derive some joy out of it.
1. Remember that summer is also mango season – this segment is applicable to you provided you are not one of those people who dislike mangoes or worse, like them but cannot have them owing to some medical condition, real or imaginary. If you do belong to that category please give this section a miss and go on to the next. If you are the kind that can have mangoes and loves them, then this is where you begin savouring the fruit and move on to the next segment.
2. You don’t have to take steps about your body odour – the whole city has it at this time and what with it also being IPL season, wears those yellow T shirts that are stinky even before wearing. So go on, forget your body odour problems and be one with the masses.
3. This is when you can reminisce about past summers and find a ready audience. That is if you are not one of those people who are forever stating that the present summer is the worst in living memory. You can correct them with your superior knowledge and more venerable age by telling them that this is nothing compared to what happened in 1967 or was it 1968?
4. You can cover your envy of people who speak airily about going off to the hills for summer by sneering that all the hill stations have become a byword for poor civic amenities and are full of garbage anyway. You tell them that to you, your air-conditioned room is the best. Better still you tell them that summer is also a season and the heat is to be experienced and not avoided.
5. This is that part of the year when you learn to look positively at the weather that Chennai experiences for the rest of year. You learn to yearn for December of course but even August appears to be a lot better. As for February, what joy the city was that month!
6. In summer Chennai experiences no cyclones and sudden bursts of torrential rain. So you are least likely to be flooded out of your house owing to Chemparampakkam lake bursting its banks. As a converse to this, you are not likely to find much water for bathing. But then you cannot have the best of all worlds can you. Come on sir, this is not New York. Also if you are worried about body odour owing to your inability to bathe, please see point number 2.
7. You get hot water for free from the taps, between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm. That is if you are one of those lucky people who do get water in your taps during summer.
8. You, who as a true blue Madrasi have been taught to dislike Bangalore from birth, suddenly begin to appreciate that city’s weather. This is also when you look down at distant Delhi and take comfort in Chennai’s temperature not quite touching those heights.
These are days when our citizenry, if not perpetually in a state of elections of some kind, is forever registering itself somewhere or the other. The Man from Madras Musings shudders each time he receives an email or letter asking him to furnish details as per sub section number such and such of clause number so and so of rule number this that and sundry which as we all know was made mandatory due to Act of Parliament. Of course, Act of Parliament by itself is quite an oxymoron in our country. But be that as it may, MMM as he said earlier, is filled with a nameless dread each time something of this kind is needed.
But his travails are nothing compared to what some others are going through. One such is of a dear friend who despite being well stricken in years is young at heart and whose company is a delight. This person went to get his Aadhar (or is it Adhaar?) card registration. All went well till the point where he had to get his fingerprints recorded and lo, and behold, there were none. Apparently you get that way at a certain age. Several tries later, the man behind the computer informed MMM’s friend that there was nothing that could be done, but there were workarounds for such problems of which he would be intimated later. And that was that.
MMM’s pal was surprised to find an Aadhar (or is it Adhaar) card delivered at his doorstep a couple of weeks later. On opening it he found his name there with all other details correct, except for the photograph which was of someone else altogether. He rushed off to the local registry to register concern, horror and whatever other emotion and apply for correction. The officials there went into a huddle and then came up with what would appear to be the correct explanation, which was as follows.
Once MMM’s friend had been turned away because his fingerprints were not readable, the next man to register had turned up. The clerk behind the computer had not bothered deleting the earlier record and had simply uploaded the new man’s photo and fingerprints on to the same. Thus it was that MMM’s friend acquired an Adhaar/Aadhar doppelganger. Last heard, the matter was being sorted out though what that means is not clear to anyone.
All of this of course is nothing compared to what MMM’s chauffeur went through. This was at the Public Provident Fund office where he has an account and on applying for a loan found his father’s name had changed quite inexplicably in the records. He applied for a correction and was asked to come on a particular day and when he duly arrived was asked in a loud voice by the counter clerk if he would like to revert to his old father’s name or make a change in the record to the new father’s name. And if that was not embarrassing enough, was asked to write down the reason for his wanting to make a change of father. MMM’s chauffeur has not yet emerged from this conundrum and if and when he does, MMM will make sure to update all of you readers.