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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 14, november 1-15, 2009
Short 'N' Snappy

Awaiting the Monsoon

The Meteorological Department informs us that the monsoon will be slightly delayed but is expected to be normal. This reminds The Man from Madras Musings of the old days when the national media would invariably have a weather report that would predict lightning accompanied by thunder, or lightning, thunder and rain, and nothing really would happen except that the sun would shine in all its glory.

It is already the middle of the so-called monsoon season in Madras and of rain we have had none till October 25th. MMM does not know if it is his imagination, but he thinks that the temperatures are lowering and very soon there will be that nip in the morning air which will mean the end of the rainy season, whether it has really rained or not. And then what would be the upshot? Photographs in the press of the water level dwindling in Red Hills and Chembarambakkam, water tankers thundering down roads, plastic pots near roadside water pumps, appeals for Krishna water, Godavari water and just about any water. The prospect is daunting and MMM has already ensured that he has a stock of plastic pots, each of a different colour, one for each day of the week.

In the meanwhile, the guild of bore-well operators must be conducting special sacrifices, such as the killing of the fatted calf to propitiate the God of droughts, so that their trade can flourish. MMM never fails to be amazed by the way these men speak of digging 300 feet to get water. If they keep going at this rate, they will soon hit magma instead of water.

The authority that deals with roads and highways (if there is one) must also be delighted, for no rains means no water-logging. The Chennai Metrowater and Sewerage Board must be in two minds. While the sewerage side must be delighted, those in charge of water must be quaking in their shoes. Talk of being schizophrenic!

The exact fare

Those of you who read every word that The Man from Madras Musings writes will no doubt remember that it was only last fortnight that MMM had waxed eloquent about the new parking meters that had been installed in Mylapore. MMM has since found that there is a crumpled leaf in this bed of roses. The other day, MMM was in Mylapore at 7.00 a.m. and of the men who assist you in operating the parking meters there were none. The streets were empty, but MMM being a law-abiding citizen decided that he would pay to park his car. He therefore went to the machine and, on finding that he did not have a five rupee coin, decided to pop in five one rupee coins instead. MMM did this only to find that, after a grinding noise, all five coins came right back to MMM like so many homing pigeons.

Not finding anyone in the vicinity from whom he could borrow a five rupee coin, MMM left his car where it was and went off on his errand. On his return he found the parking meter assistant near his car. MMM explained his problem and the man was kind enough to understand. He also informed MMM that he (the parking meter assistant) was to be contacted for five rupee coins, the machine does not function with any other denomination coins.

This would appear to be a severe drawback with this new system. How can anyone be sure that he or she always has a five rupee coin with him/her? There is a slot for credit cards but then do our credit card companies accept transactions of such low values? And what kind of a system is this if a man is always expected to be present to operate the machine and also provide coins of the correct denomination?

SMS greetings

There are those who consider the cell-phone to be a nuisance and the Chief leads the pack. The Man from Madras Musings, as befitting his status as a faithful follower, would also agree. And never would he agree more wholeheartedly than on festival days when just about everyone sends SMS messages by way of greetings. This Deepavali, MMM decided that he would read a couple of them and, having read them, he found them to be so amusing that he decided to share them with all of you.

Conventionally, verbal abuse in comics is usually shown by way of symbols such as +@*%” etc. So what do you make of an SMS that reads “Advance +”+”+; DIWALI” +..+ ”WISHES%” *” *” *”* FIRST WISHES BEST WISHES %**** @****% GOOD NIGHT”? There must be some kind of a Da Vinci code in those symbols, but MMM is fogged.

Then there was the ominous one that said, “Before you become one with the crackers, let me take a moment to wish you a very joyful, colourful and prosperous Diwali to you and your family.” (The message was so long that the sender had obviously forgotten what had been written at the beginning by the time he reached the end.)

There were also short and snappy ones (pun intended), one of which said: “Happy  Diwali to you and your fly”. Now, if there is anything that MMM abhors it is vulgarity…

Anytime is business time for another sender. His message read: “Happy Diwali. For home loans contact...” But this one was even better, though MMM is yet to make head or tail of it: “We wish you a happy Diwali. Stock­market CASH FUT BTST/STBT NIFTY FUT, 8 Weekly Call MCX Go+Si+Cu+Cr If intereste rply YES or NO.”

To MMM it first appeared to be something to do with finance. Later, the chemical symbols appeared to indicate that the sender was a mad scientist. Finally, it looked like a blind date ad or someone soliciting matrimony. The word “intereste” may be a spelling error, but MMM being romantic thinks it is someone with French blood.

A small world

A couple of years ago when a local girl made it big in the American corporate world, just about everyone in Madras began claiming to be related to her. It helped that the girl showed a great liking for the city and its culture and even decided to buy property here. The Man from Madras Musings, however, never discovered anyone who was a direct blood relation. Most claims were far-fetched and involved connections that were several times removed.

Now that we have a Nobel Laureate whose origins lie in this part of the world, it was only a question of time before someone boasted of being related to him. It was therefore no surprise to MMM when an acquaintance buttonholed him recently and whispered conspiratorially that he was related to the Nobel Laureate through ties of marriage, albeit very distantly. Strange that nobody mentioned him before. What was surprising was that there were no further claims of a similar nature. Perhaps the scientist’s stern denial of having anything to do with such social climbers could have been the reason.



In this issue

Minjur desalination plant...
Can Town Hall be...
Tribute to Devadasi...
The Gandhian way...
Historic Residences...
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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