I spend my hours in a limited geography, dovetailing all my energies on single point of study to go beyond the usage of my limbs for acquisition of knowledge. Sometimes those social straight jackets beckon me; a dear friend who dreamed of celebrating his 21st wedding anniversary in a top notch club hands over the invitation. My emotions are mixed. 21 years of married life, quite an achievement, but the party in the club celebrate is a bugbear for me. Then comes the dress code Collared shirt and shoes. I try to wiggle out gently slipping in the weirdest of stories, his resolve to have me takes a new dimension and it persists. I refuse to make a jotting of this event on my red book of 'dos and donts' planning the eleventh hour launch of 'great escape.com' .
Sunday evening, Iam promptly reminded with a call as unto a pop up window on my laptop, and literally pushed to attend the event. I relent.
The only black decent shirt, pressed and preserved gets out the shelf, but I skip that labor of shaving as its evening after all and my dark skin tones and my black shirt are sure to cover up my facial flaws. Can an evening at a club cannot happen without what is known as the 'bottle breaking ceremony'?, and so I need to take a chauffeur driven vehicle, from the wide range of choice available to me yet Iam left with no choice but to plonk myself in one of those ubiquitous auto rickshaws. Its costs money and clean Rs150 bucks for a 10 km ride.
My trip had some wisdom of the auto driver added up to mine while we conversed on the economic scenario, the stingy upper class, some politics thrown in... To my surprise the roads were quite deserted and my drive, as unto a hot knife on butter, smooth and fast hit the destined place - the hallowed portals of the ‘silk stocking’. Now the rows of fancy cars on the parking lot overflowing into the road sent me a momentary daze as I was accosted by a thin 'beedi like man' on the gates who enquired of me my purpose of the visit. ummm.. haa I really did not know the name of the member... as I decided to stand in the gate and call from my friend and wait. The call was not going through hence I waited in smoke of burning coconut shells that were used to smoke the mosquitoes away.
Now my time of conversation began with Security staff on duty. I probably asked the most potent question to start the conversation - How are you? and Goodwin (name changed) took over as preacher with verbal dysentry. He started with his life in a hill station working for the TATAs along with his wife, all expenses met with a meagre salary, picking tea leaves and then his decision to quit the job to cover his loan taken to buy 3 cows (that died) and an auto rickshaw for his younger brother (who cheated him). His logical mind decided to take a VRS and clear up his debts and land up chennai with his family, and he hates it. Not an hour passes by without my fond memories of my days in Munnar, he said... moving him to tears as he lit his beedi.
I consoled him he was not very amused or impressed, and our conversation took a turn to silence, as I walked down towards the main road to take a look at the statue at the entrance. The statue was of a man. Mr K Kamaraj, once the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who was barred from entering the club for violating the dress code. The club rules stood straight refusing to bend and apparently the statue was stationed at the gate as a fly in a spaghetti for the creme de la creme of Chennai to have a unavoidable glimpse of the backend of the man who was denied entry.