Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kannan's secret ...

Every time Venki mama came home Kannan's happiness knew no bounds. When Amma got married he was just 12 years old. There was a time when mother and daughter went to the labour at the same time, owing to the child marriage times of the past. Venki mama was Venki to Kannan and more a brother than an uncle. 

It was another summer vacation when Venki mama had come home. He was a movie buff and his style varied according to the latest movies of Kamal Hassan or Mammootty. He was in college doing Pre Degree, Fourth Group, and Kannan looked up to him knowing not what that was. He was a singer, did mimicry and was a handsome young man. His style had some influence on Kannan too. But there were times too, when Kannan and Akka had a tough time when he used to bully them, take Kannan's tricycle and ride sitting on top of it in which he would never fit in. 

"Amma ... Venki has taken my cycle again ..." Kannan would wail at the top of his voice
Venki would smile when Amma would shout back from the kitchen ... "Venki ... they are kids ... leave them alone"

Probably Venki saw in Amma his mother too as they were very close to each other, more of inseparable brother and sister. Kannan much later even came to know that he hid under the bed when he accompanied Amma, when she had got married and come to their in-laws. 

Kannan's eyes brighten up when Venki would direct plays for all the cousins to be staged before the family, when he would sing film songs with ease, when he would draw and paint. He too loved Kannan a lot. They would use the tape recorder to record stories from comics and create never heard before audio books in their own style. They would play the LP records and dance to the tunes. Akka was more of a studious type so they would enjoy all that with just the two of them. 

"Paappa" as he used to call Amma as all others at home used to call her,” I am going out for a movie to Mymoon Cinema"

“Here ..." Amma handed a few crumpled notes, which she saved from her daily shopping and hid in the rice box. Venki smiled and took the money happily.

"Amma I want to go to the cinema too ..." Kannan rushed and hugged Amma's legs tightly as a plea...

Venki, to avoid taking him said quickly "It's a horror movie... you will get scared, I will take you tomorrow to Kamal's movie"

Kannan started crying pacified by Amma with a sweet laddoo from the lot Venki had brought from Ammamma. He walked away with a tough face towards Venki, but it still looked cute. A five year old naughtily trying to say with looks that he won’t share the laddoo. 

Venki rushed to the theatre. The white boards had black bold letters. Mymoon in orange letter had the name "Varumayin niram sivappu".

He turned and saw the huge yellow hued poster with Kamal on it, giving a feeling that the hero looking towards him. Huge larger than life cut out of Kamal Hassan waving his hand with red plastic flower garlands on them. Venki transformed to Venki Hassan and adjusted his hair and scanty beard started walking in a style which he thought was the way Kamal would, and thought to himself

"What is someone thinks that I am Kamal Hassan" The obvious thoughts many had looking at the poster.

He saw the queue for the Dress Circle at the cinema and thought to himself. I have enough cash for Balcony... and Mymoon has a beautiful one. Should enjoy this day. He walked up to counter where there were a few people. He looked around and saw young girls, old uncles and many others around him. Being Venki Hassan now, he tried to look away in style at the same time glance the girls. In fact a few of them were looking at him. He rubbed his beard a bit as Kamal would. His happiness knew no bounds, Kamal movie, Balcony, at the newly inaugurated Mymoon theatre, girls looking at him... what more to ask for...

In style he walked into the theatre and the movie started. In the dark he kept looking if someone else was looking at him thinking that Kamal was watching the movie with them. In fact he was watching the movie for the third time, but this time it was special.... alone in style. An hour and a half of the movie passed quickly. Intermission - the huge screen read. He got up retaining the airs around him. He walked out of the hall towards the cafeteria singing

"Sippi irukkuthu muththum irukkuthu kavitha paada neram illadi rasathi ..." the song which played in the movie and Kamal Hassan was at his best in it.

He moved into the whole lot of people stretching their arms towards the person serving coffee and bought a cup of coffee. He got his cup and carefully moved away towards the display wall with a whole lot of vertical glass strips. He looked at it and saw over a dozen of images of himself. He had a naughty smile seeing it and put his hand into the right pocket of his bell bottom pants, which was in vogue then. He had hid a pack of "Charminar" cigarette pack from the world, his personal secret. Took one and lit a match in style. He took a puff and looked at the mirrors to see over a dozen of images of the hero in him again and again. He took a puff and blew it out with his head tilted carelessly. He looked at those images and ... and.... Venki's heart sank. There appeared over a dozen images of Mohan mama, his sister's brother in law, behind him. The world seemed to melt inside him. 

"He saw me smoke. He would go and tell Paappa. Oh no..."

He thought no more. The Kamal Hassan in him vanished. He was Venki again, caught red handed with a cigarette in it. He ran downstairs through the stairs in amazing speed. He would have a promise for India in the Olympics then. His eyes were red and tears started rolling. He ran home in the same speed. Amma was preparing dinner. Kannan was playing as usual with his toy gun on the sofa. Venki was panting... trying to get a breath...

"The movie is over ..." queried Amma 

"Paappa ..." Venki got a breath and replied...sweating profusely. "Come..." and grabbed Amma's hands and went into the kitchen. 

Appa was in the hall checking his account sheets from office. That grabbed Kannan's attention and he held his gun in hand and swiftly moved behind the kitchen door to know what the matter was. 

Still breathing hard Venki confessed to Amma

"Paappa ... Mohan mama saw me smoke ... don't say anything ... I will not do it again ... please"

His tone was apologetic and wanted an assurance that Thatha doesn’t know about it, which Amma would eventually do. Kannan had a smile on his face. He got something to keep Venki from taking his tricycle....may be get him to do what he wants...a secret. Kannan went back to the sofa with a smile, waiting for the opportunity to use his newly got secret. Moments of achievement...


  1. Haha nice one...feeling as if everything happening in front of my eyes...venki rocks

  2. Awesome ....felt like am right in the middle of the house watching all the happenings...