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

Vol. XXXIII No. 15, November 16-30, 2023

Short ‘N’ Snappy

– (Wo)MMM

A cat-and-mouse game of carpools

The Woman from Madras Musings had just put her feet up to enjoy a movie when Mater Betternal walked in thoughtfully. It transpired that Pater Betternal had just sent M.B. a text message, requesting her to be ready with a flower in her hair in precisely five minutes, for his car was even now waiting to make a turn at the LB Road signal less than a minute away. M.B, of course, took that to mean that he was just now packing up at office and would leave from the Mylapore establishment ten minutes later. She flopped down on a chair beside (Wo)MMM and merrily put up her feet, too. It was a good 20 minutes later that M.B. chose to go down, but she was surprisingly bang on time – she stepped out just as P.B was pulling up to the gate.

You see, this business of picking people up is always a cat-and-mouse game. Each fully expects to be kept waiting: the picke-upper imagines that the car awkwardly idling on the sidewalk with a pile-up of irate commuters stuck behind, while the picke-uppee foresees an annoyingly long wait near the gate made worse by humid weather and hungry mosquitoes. So alerts to be at the ready are sent much in advance; and the passenger, much the wiser having been fooled before, pads a generous amount of time to the deadline and instead of hurrying up, slows down. The better half’s friends never fail to amuse (Wo)MMM in this regard: more earnest the message, greater the scam. If one of the gang claims to have ‘already crossed’ a certain temple or park, it can be taken for granted that the claimer is just stepping into the shower. (Wo)MMM’s friend seems to have cracked the problem, though. She’s ensured that the husband’s mobile phone has its location-sharing enabled so that she can track his whereabouts online. It does seem to be a neat solution – he’s hardly ever kept waiting and she’s always ready and waiting just as the car turns into their lane. (Wo)MMM made the suggestion to the Betternals, but it was curiously turned down. Turns out they like the thrill of the game and keep scores to boot.

What’s in a name?

The Woman from Madras Musings had just found a comfortable spot on the sofa after a series of acrobatics when the bell rang. It was the landlady, wanting help with sharing a number over What’s App. (Wo)MMM’s landlady, it must be said, is of the innocent sort – she frequently drops in requesting for help with her TV or phone, though (Wo)MMM personally feels it is a listening ear that she seeks. The Better Half has a soft spot for her and (Wo)MMM herself rather enjoys her company. So she was quite happy to invite her in for a couple of cookies while the problem was fixed.

Sending a number over What’s App is rather straightforward, and (Wo)MMM thought it wouldn’t take too much time. But twenty minutes later, she found herself still trying to locate the number of one Mr. Nagaraj. (Wo)MMM tried all variations and browsed through the entire contact list, but Nagaraj proved to be surprisingly elusive. She finally voiced her concern to the landlady. ‘Oh,’ she replied lightly, reaching out for another cookie, ‘I have his number saved as S.’ It turned out to be exactly as she said – his number was saved simply as the letter S, much like the intriguing nickname of some espionage agent in a Graham Greene novel. (Wo)MMM took a moment to reflect on the oddity of the choice before forwarding the contact to what must have been a very confused recipient.

As always, it was the Better Half who took the strangeness in stride. He has this wonderful quality of making the bizarre sound most reasonable, and this was no exception. ‘Maybe it was S for Snake,’ he offered. ‘Naga-raj.”’ (Wo)MMM had nothing to say to that. Why not, after all? Why ever not.

Bad ad

It was a dozy, heavy-eyed Woman from Madras Musings who was suddenly woken up in the backseat by the blare of a horn at a traffic signal. She was jolted awake quickly enough though, because what she saw was this:

(Wo)MMM rather felt like Gulliver meeting his first Brobdingnanian. It took some time for her to realize that the man was not in fact a giant tourist snapping pics on his mobile but a very large ad plastered along the length of a bus. The commuters must have made note of (Wo)MMM’s considerable alarm, for she heard an outburst of chuckling from above, much to her embarrassment.

The advertising executives whose idea this was must pat themselves on the back, for (Wo)MMM is unlikely to forget the ad or the brand anytime soon.

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