Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXI No. 24, April 1-15, 2022

Short ‘N’ Snappy

-- (Wo) MMM

Moot Point

Is it just the Woman from Madras Musings or has the number of animals on our city roads increased after the announcement of that animal catching task force? Or perhaps the news article incepted the subject into (Wo)MMM’s mind. The city truly does feel like an urban jungle with animals catching you off-guard at almost every turn.

Cows are particularly ubiquitous, it seems. They seem to have no compunction moseying alongside cars, crossing roads when they please or stopping to chew cud at traffic junctions. There was a time when (Wo)MMM used to delight in seeing these creatures but that was when she was around five years old or so. They simply don’t evoke such charm when you are sitting inside a car, wondering how to navigate around them. Dogs, on the other hand, seem to have a better sense of traffic rules. The pater has appreciated civic-minded dogs on many occasions when he spots them patiently waiting for the traffic to abate so they can cross the street. No, dogs are not a problem when you are inside a car – they sometimes are when you’re out of it, though. Many friends have assured (Wo)MMM that animals, particularly dogs, are lovely animals who mean no harm; but (Wo)MMM, having been chased by an entire pack of street dogs on two separate occasions tends to take these earnest recommendations with a large cup of salt. (Wo)MMM’s street has recently been adopted by such a tribe. Thankfully, they seem to be hostile only to their own kind, not the humans they share the area with. On the other hand, it makes for a rather lively neighbourhood. The nights are particularly noisy; from the din (Wo)MMM imagines that each faction regularly launches surreptitious attacks on the other, instigating a full-blown territory war each night. It’s gotten so bad that friends have been scared to walk home from dinner at (Wo)MMM’s.

The animal sighting (Wo)MMM thinks a lot about though is the goats in a quiet corner of her neighbourhood. This herd is joyous and carefree, like youngsters at a pop festival. They bleat and skip around the roads in the sweetest way, scaring people on two-wheelers. Sometimes they clamber onto parked cars and dance upon their bonnets. It’s true, they do. Look at the picture alongside.

Our city belongs to its animals as much as it belongs to us, no doubt. (Wo)MMM wonders how the authorities will solve this particular problem.

To mask or not to mask, that is the question

Well, that is a bit misleading, perhaps. The Woman from Madras Musings exhorts readers to continue to wear their masks in public and practice safe social distancing. The title of this entry alludes to the very specific instance of wearing masks in a car with the spouse.

Remember the time (Wo)MMM and the better half were collared by a traffic policeman for not wearing masks in the car? It seems to have left the better half rather unnerved. (Wo)MMM thinks he took it rather personally when he was asked to pay a fine; she suspects there’s some pristine record or the other that has been tarnished forever, the way he’s been carrying on post the incident. All you have to do is take a step towards the door and he shoots up like a man stung by a particularly hungry bee. ‘Mask!’ he yells automatically and chucks a whole box of the stuff at the hapless person by the door. Let (Wo)MMM tell you that if your reflexes aren’t quick, you are liable to get a bump or two on the noggin. It makes brushing one’s hair quite a nuisance.

Mind you, both parties concur that wearing masks around each other in your car feels unnecessary given that (Wo)MMM and the better half usually laze around each other at home like the scene from that famous nature documentary depicting walruses upon an ice floe. No, the debate is on whether the policeman at the next traffic stop is likely to stop the car and charge us for being unmasked. The better half, feeling that a precedent has been set, feels that the odds are higher against us than for; (Wo)MMM feels they are not, given the throngs of unmasked who seem to merrily go about their business unchallenged. The upshot of all this is that each car ride has now become twenty minutes or more of suspense. Every time the car approaches a traffic junction, the better half gets a wild, panicked look in his eye. He gropes for his mask and hurriedly puts it on while (Wo)MMM invariably rebels. A variety of situations have played out this way – the better half wears a mask, while the (Wo)MMM eats a sandwich; or drinks lime juice; or is on the phone; or is wearing chap stick. Contrary to the better half’s fears, the policemen seem to think these perfectly normal things to do in the privacy of one’s own car. (Wo)MMM is happy to report that the car has not been stopped a second time – thankfully, or she may never hear the end of it.

Yours or mine?

The Woman from Madras Musings and the better half managed to resolve a three-month quarrel this week. The fight was over a green t-shirt. It is a lovely tee, with stripes across the front and made of the lightest, loveliest cotton, perfect for the Chennai heat. (Wo)MMM staked a claim to it on the grounds that it was gifted to her by her parents; the better half contested the claim by arguing that it was gifted to him by his parents. Neither relented. (Wo)MMM is sorry to say that both parties stooped to rather ungentlemanly measures to keep the tee out of the other’s hands. They raced each other to the laundry and hid it at the back of cupboards; contrived to hurriedly take a bath early in the morning and wear it before the other; (Wo)MMM even tried hiding it at the mater’s house for a spell.

One fine morning – a pleasant day of success for (Wo)MMM as she managed to wear the tee before the better half could get to it – the better half suggested meeting for lunch at a hotel close by. (Wo)MMM went feeling rather smug, for she hadn’t had the chance to see the better half before he had left for office that day. She walked up to the table only to find the better half sitting at the table with a ghastly, self-congratulatory smirk on his face – he was also wearing the green t-shirt. It was as they gaped at each other like idiots that it dawned upon them that there were perhaps two blasted t-shirts from the same company, given that they were each wearing one. It transpired that both sets of parents had, in a remarkable coincidence, chosen to buy a t-shirt from the same company, of the same colour, size and design. What were the odds?

(Wo)MMM and the better half rather sheepishly reconciled over lunch. Now all they are quarrelling about is which one looks better.

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