Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXIII No. 13, October 16-31, 2023
The Woman from Madras Musings thinks she is not alone in surmising that parents always – almost always, anyway – tend to side with the hapless bride or groom that has married their dubious son or daughter. (Wo)MMM is told the allegiance stems from a sense of deep gratitude, which she supposes is somewhat understandable in her case. Still, it rankles when the Better Half takes full advantage of this bias. He has become an expert flatterer and conniver, making sure to be found cooking or cleaning up when the Eternals make an appearance. Part of the scheme is to buy Pater Eternal a new wardrobe of t-shirts on his birthday – an expense that (Wo)MMM is chidedfor every year, never mind that she has no hand in this. This year too, PE received a number of tees in a variety of colours and prints. These were promptly packed off for their US trip and (Wo)MMM forgot all about them until last week. Mater Eternal called and went straight to the point without any preamble. After curtly informing (Wo)MMM that she was a halfwit of the first water, M.E. demanded to know why she bought P.E a certain yellow t-shirt for his birthday. What yellow t-shirt, asked (Wo)MMM. Your face, replied M.E before launching into the story.
Turns out that P.E had worn that t-shirt – a bright yellow with a jaunty Star Trek print – on a trip to the nearest grocery store, where it was widely appreciated by one and all. P.E was enjoying the attention when a woman approached him, arms wide open and declaring that she absolutely had to give him a hug. He barely had time to react when he was swept into an embrace in full view of the store. She then turned to (Wo)MMM’s brother-in-law and asked whether P.E was single. Not at all, he assured her. It was a reportedly rattled P.E who returned home where, upon hearing the whole thing, M.E promptly threw out the criminally alluring t-shirt. She had then placed a phone call to (Wo)MMM, fully intending to chastise her for her choice of clothes. (Wo)MMM tried explaining that it was the Better Half who had chosen the tee, but M.E would hear none of it. She rang off with strict instructions that P.E was to henceforth receive tees of ‘plain, boring colours with no print.’
The Better Half was delighted by the incident and was rather sorry that the t-shirt had been dumped so unceremoniously. He went in search of a new piece for himself, but the shop had sadly run out of stock.
It had been bumper-to-bumper traffic for quite some distance, and the Better Half had been chatting away with the driver as the Woman from Madras Musings grew steadily bored. That’s when she saw the Reveller. The gentleman was evidently in, ahem, high spirits. He was in the process of emerging from the sunroof of his car when (Wo)MMM spotted him. First, he stuck out both his arms, hoping to pull himself up; that proved to be a rather entertaining failure. Then his face alone surfaced, grinning all the while. Brief moments passed as he struggled to rise, until he understood that this too was an unsuccessful strategy. He disappeared for a few moments before suddenly materializing his head and shoulders in a burst of triumph. The Reveller then broke out in strange song, waving his hands about. ‘He’s tipsy,’ remarked the driver. ‘There’s a traffic policeman up ahead – he’s going to find himself in trouble if he doesn’t watch out.’ To which the Better Half wondered whether using a sunroof was disruptive to traffic and punishable; to which the driver replied that it was unlikely, unless peanuts were being flung about from said sunroof. Sure enough, (Wo)MMM discovered that the Reveller was attempting to chuck peanuts into his mouth and was missing the target with superb precision. She shifted to the middle of the backseat and leaned in to join the conversation, which quickly devolved into analyzing the pros and cons of a sunroof.
Meanwhile, the traffic was inching towards the junction where traffic police were conducting sobriety checks. (Wo)MMM, the Better Half and the driver watched as the Reveller’s car was stopped at the checkpost; and then let go without much drama. It was all rather anticlimatic, to be honest. (Wo)MMM was expressing her surprise at the turn of events when her own car was stopped. The driver immediately rolled down his windows, declaring both him and the Better Half to be quite sober. ‘That’s clear enough,’ replied the policeman agreeably, ‘but I am rather doubtful about this young lady here.’ (Wo)MMM’s indignation must have showed, for he quickly explained that he found her posture rather strange. (Wo)MMM was, as earlier explained, leaning into the front seat; her elbows were on the headrests and her hands – with no where else to go – were on her own head. It took a moment for her to realize that she must appear odd, but ire got the better of reason. This is how she sits all the time, she declared – a statement that was regrettably a fib and one that was delivered quite unconvincingly to boot. It seemed to amuse the policeman to no end, for he could hardly contain his smile as he patted the car and bade the vehicle to move on.
(Wo)MMM made sure to maintain the posture for the rest of the ride – in hindsight, that was perhaps a rather immature show of rebellion. Thankfully for them, the Better Half and the driver exercised good judgement in maintaining silence all the way.