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Vol. XXXIII No. 21, February 16-29, 2024

Short ‘N’ Snappy

– (Wo)MMM

Wedding shenanigans

The Woman from Madras Musings assumes that she is not alone in dreading the social scenes at weddings. Make no mistake, she is always thrilled to celebrate the bride and groom, especially when they’re good friends; but dealing with the crowd is another thing altogether, as (Wo)MMM was reminded last weekend.

(Wo)MMM had accompanied the Better Half to a friend’s wedding reception. The event was attended by a great many pals whom she hadn’t met in a long time, so it was quite nice. There were also quite a few elders whom (Wo)MMM hadn’t seen in a long time either, which was a bit trickier. As it is often the case in these matters, everyone wanted to test whether (Wo)MMM truly remembered them. They took turns to ambush (Wo)MMM, demanding that she identify their names and place the last time they had met. (Wo)MMM did reasonably well, in hindsight. There were a couple of misses, but she largely managed to recall fond memories that left the elders beaming. The conversation soon turned to the housekeeping skills that (Wo)MMM was expected to have acquired as a married woman – namely, cooking. This is a subject that (Wo)MMM has been coached on extensively by Mater Eternal, so the answers came easily – (Wo)MMM was able to credibly make claims of knowing to cook a variety of rasam, thogayal, vegetable curries and the like. However, that proved to be unimpressive; (Wo)MMM supposed that many other mater eternals had diligently coached their own daughters with similar answers. One of the grandmothers in the audience said as much and asked whether (Wo)MMM knew how to make pasta, pizzas, burritos and the like. That, she said, was the real stuff, the proper deal. (Wo)MMM would later discover that that particular paati had a refined palate akin to her four-year old grandson; but at the moment of questioning was happy to confess that she has indeed baked an au gratin or two which had been well received by diners at the time. This was met with great approval, much to (Wo)MMM’s gratification.

(Wo)MMM came away firmly in everyone’s good books, but another friend – let’s call him Motormouth – wasn’t so lucky that evening. (Wo)MMM had been chatting away with him in what she thought was a discreet corner of the hall when the friend launched into reminiscences of past adventures as people are wont to do in such situations. The conversation soon turned to the groom and his best man, both of whom – or so Motormouth claimed – were notorious ladies’ men in their heydays. Make no mistake, the tales he told were quite dignified and some rather sweet, but left no room for doubt that both men were charmers. That was when a gentleman cut into the conversation out of nowhere. To Motormouth’s horror, he introduced himself as the best man’s father and asked if all his tales were indeed true. There was nothing to it but admit that they were. The gentleman had no reply and simply excused himself – though (Wo)MMM rather thinks she caught the hint of a smile tugging at his lips. Motormouth recovered quickly enough and set off in glee to find the best man.

The bride and groom return to the city in a couple of weeks from their honeymoon and are proposing another party before they return to the foreign shores they work in. (Wo)MMM is likely to give it a miss. There’s only so much excitement one can take.

Graphic Traffic

The Woman from Madras Musings was at a traffic junction amidst concrete wilderness somewhere in the heart of Adyar. She wanted to cross to the other side, but there was little hope of achieving that dream – the junction was one of the many three-way traffic streams that plague the city’s pedestrians, what with vehicles plying from one direction to the other in a merciless stream. There was no policeman around either. A young man who had been standing near (Wo)MMM all along had given up the venture altogether and was engaged in drawing pottus on the women on the posters nearby. (Unable to help herself, (Wo)MMM asked him why he was doing such a thing; to which he confessed that he thought women looked nicer with pottus. (Wo)MMM hastily moved away when his eyes strayed to her own bare forehead.) She resumed watch at the junction, hoping that a lucky opportunity would present itself – perhaps a car would stop the traffic flow while making a u-turn; or perhaps a brave pedestrian would appear, the heroic type that walks boldly ahead with a palm outstretched, paving the way for the rest of his hapless ilk.

That was when the woman materialized beside (Wo)MMM. She was the matronly, no-nonsense sort – she had her hands full with two large bags of groceries and was clearly on her way to attend to a piece of business. She waited for a few minutes at the junction and soon decided that she was having none of it; she began to wave and sign to oncoming vehicles to stop and allow her to pass. So annoyed and harried did the woman look that an auto soon decided to concede right of way. (Wo)MMM made to cross along with her when a car behind the auto decided that it wasn’t going to bother waiting; the vehicle swerved out from behind and zoomed past, narrowly missing the poor woman. What ensued was a steady stream of expletives in the chastest Tamil – the woman held up traffic for five minutes or more as she proceeded to curse the driver, his parents, their parents and everyone else remotely associated with him. After that, of course, she was given full freedom to cross. (Wo)MMM followed in her wake meekly, much like a minnow behind a shark.

(Wo)MMM wonders how other pedestrians manage these hellish traffic junctions. Apart from the one at Adyar, she frequently flirts with an accident or worse at one terrible junction at Alwarpet, too. What is stopping traffic police from making these junctions pedestrian friendly? We shall never know. Until then, we must depend on heroes like the Matron to pave the way.

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