Four specimens

Four specimens

Sita will merely transfer herself from the Chennai kitchen to that of the US.

Till the charm of the US of A started its downswing, most of America’s passengers could be bracketed in line with the four-tier  Indian  ashram system -- brahmacharya (bachelorhood),  grahastha (marital status), vanasprastha (retreat)  and sanyasa  (renunciation). Any midnight, the Anna airport’s departure lounge in Chennai would invariably offer a sprinkling of the four  specimens at various stages of activity.

Brahmacharya: Badri,  a star product from Ivy league’s assembly line flew to India to touch base with a girl shortlisted by his parents. He glances at her snapshot. Shreya is tall, dusky, with eyes plucked from a Jamini Roy’s  painting. He pulls out another glossy. She is Cindy a Caucasian cocktail poured into a  porcelain hour glass. His heart lubdubs alternatively for Shreya and Cindy.  He opens a paperback to put on the backburner the matrimonial decision.

Grahastha: Close on his heels, Giri is busy fielding his running kid Tinku whose  forays can be graphically presented like a Shewag’s wagon wheel. His wife Urmila feels the kid’s bottom on a reflex and reaches into her bag. “You’ve changed a million times  this evening,” Giri growls. “Never thought I should fork out  a fortune for nappies.” Urmila is riled by Giris’s  cheese-paring, in mismatch with his meaty  annual package that delights IRS men. He checks his laptop to calculate the erosion in his savings due to the Tirupati trip for Tinku’s tonsure.

Vanaprastha: Well past seventy, Swami and his wife Sita are bound for Atlanta and Seattle for a six month stint at their two daughters’ places. To douse sibling rivalry, the elderly couple will split after arrival at the hub. Sita will merely transfer herself from the Chennai kitchen to that of the US. But dislocated Swami would miss many like the humour TV channels. Both jointly pray for an ailment-free stay, despite a pricey medical cover to insulate like Karna’s kavacha and kundala.

Sanyasa: The widower professor emeritus is past eighty. His son in New Jersey is insistent that his dad join them. He has fixed up a nurse for him. So, Ravi his son’s friend, is escorting the old man. Despite his age, the man of letters looks handsome, a boon granted against sterling qualities, clean habits  and divine thoughts.

He inclines his muzzy head. “Ram, get up. London flight is departing.” Ravi is puzzled. “Sir, I am not  Ram. I’m  Ravi. We’re going to New Jersey. Not London.” The old man smiles beatifically. “So what? London, New Jersey are just two places like two different bodies for the undying atma.”



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