Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXII No. 24, April 1-15, 2023
The Woman from Madras Musings was lounging about on the sofa when a brooding and surly better half emerged from his man cave. A couple of gratuitous arguments later, it transpired that he had to go to the airport to pick up one of the Betternals. Make no mistake – he was quite looking forward to receiving the pater familias; it was the thought of having to drive through the city airport that had put him in such a bad mood. Readers of this column may remember that the better half has seldom come away in cheer from a trip to the airport – something or the other invariably goes just wrong enough to darken his mood. (Wo)MMM offered to go along this time, hoping that her luck would be good enough to offset his own. Alas, lackaday, woe was him – this time too, the Chennai airport got the better of the better half.
It all began with bumper-to-bumper traffic at the airport entrance and only went downhill from there. The crush of cars was worse than usual, to be frank – there seemed to be some sort of confusion about the movement of vehicles and people were trying to change lanes willy-nilly. It didn’t help that the better half had to also contend with a black dog that had decided to welcome airport visitors with a series of scintillating stretching exercises – the animal seems to be a resident of the airport, for it was rather impressively unconcerned by all the cars and honking. The better half managed to ease himself into a toll lane with much grumbling, where he was afforded a brief joy – the fast tag operation which usually gives him grief worked without complaint this time and the boom was raised to let him through. Upon which he promptly took the wrong right turn and found himself trundling past the pick-up spot instead of the arrivals gate. There wasn’t much to do but to go to the exit toll where it was discovered that the tolls were up to their usual mischief, after all – this one refused to recognize the fast tag on the car, which prompted the toll operator to ask the better half for a physical token which he didn’t have since the first toll had worked. (Wo)MMM leaned out and put on her most charming smile to explain the situation to the operator, who saw reason quickly enough. “How long?” he asked, flashing her a smile of his own. On learning that they had been inside for less than five minutes, he allowed the car to pass through. Whereupon a rather black-humoured better half negotiated a path to the entrance toll a second time and honked his way to the Madras Coffee House outside the arrivals gate where the Betternal was waiting quite happily, wearing a pair of coolers and a cap. The suitcase was loaded into the boot and the car set off to the exit once again where (Wo)MMM’s old friend the operator let her pass with a gentlemanly wave – it had only been another minute, after all.
The ordeal having come to an end, the better half was in much better spirits as he drove the group back home. The car had covered almost half the distance when the Betternal received a call from the airlines. An agent informed him – quite politely – that he had picked up someone else’s suitcase and his own was waiting for him at the airport. It transpired that a Famous Actress had been on the same flight as him. “She was gazing at me in such rapt attention that it would have been rude not to look back,” explained the Betternal. “That’s probably why I picked up the wrong suitcase.”
(Wo)MMM ended up driving to the airport this time and what do you know? Everything was as easy as pie; even the tolls worked perfectly. The exit toll operator was delighted to see her and greeted her as an old friend. Such is life.
They say that each person has seven doubles in the world and the Woman from Madras Musings rather thinks that there is truth in the whole thing. She has been mistaken for someone else on so many occasions that it is hard to brush the theory aside. So has the pater; his encounters, however, are more glamorous for he is regularly mistaken for an as yet unidentified tv star. He has been stopped at the beach and in grocery stores by enthusiastic fans, who shake his hand and compliment him warmly on his extraordinary acting prowess. The pater – never one for self-doubt – has always accepted their admiration with great grace, and invariably offers to take a selfie with them to their delight.
It happened last week, too. The pater, dressed to the nines in tennis garb, was hurriedly making his way to the car when he was stopped on the road by an ad crew. The ad director – a young woman who had just started an ad agency – was effusive in her praise for the pater, who consented to glow quietly as she told him how fantastic he was. It was only when she pressed forth a request to star in her ad campaign that the pater did a double take. She was to shoot a dog food campaign and now that she had seen him look so wonderfully charming in his tennis clothes, she simply could not think of casting anyone else. The pater looked about shiftily. Sensing that her proposal was in danger of rejection, she said that she had located the sweetest puppy for the shoot and that he could play with it. (Wo)MMM rather thought the pater would rise to the bait, but prudence reigned after all. Could she get in touch with his office, his details are probably online? This was enthusiastically accepted and the pater hurriedly wished her goodbye, explaining that it was growing late for his tennis match.
(Wo)MMM thinks he will correct erroneous fans next time around, though the mater is not so sure.
The Woman from Madras Musings was heading to the auto stand at the end of the street when a gentleman – one of a rather boisterous pair engaged in animated conversation – rammed straight into her, making her drop her bag, phone and all. Judging by the circumstances, (Wo)MMM did not doubt that the accident was innocent; she was about to assure him that no harm was done when he spoke up. “No problem,’ he told (Wo)MMM with an air of great mercy before resuming his conversation. You could have knocked (Wo)MMM down with a feather. A snort of laughter ensued from her, entirely unnoticed by the culprit, of course – he had already turned the street corner up ahead, not having bothered to help pick up her things.
Pingback: Chennai History in Bits - Madras Heritage and Carnatic Music