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   Chapter 2 Behavior is precious

Aberration By Sundaram Characters: 8365

Updated: 2020-12-29 05:50


I'm tempted to reprimand some guys for their attitude remains incorrigible. I've noticed an officer under whom I was working for some time. He was neat in dress and tidy himself with body spray etc. Once we happened to share a room in a star hotel. The official work was over and we prepared to check out the next day. I moved out first leaving him to pack up and quit. After several minutes he never budged and I returned to see what he's doing. It's disgusting as he pulled out a bed cover and polished his shoes. He suddenly replaced the bed cover as if nothing had happened. I'd have never seen him polish if the door were not kept ajar. Imagine if only the caretaker of the hotel had seen the nasty scene! In villages, they used to have a big mud pot hung in front of the temple where the festival was scheduled to take place. People used to pour milk into the pot so as to bathe the idols on the occasion of the festival. People carried the milk in closed containers and opened them only at the time of filling up the mud pot. The mud pot was tied at a height on to a mast and it's practically not possible for the onlooker to see if milk was filled. In one of the villages it happened during the festival of the village goddess, there was no milk at all in the overhanging pot. What an aberration for everyone thought-"What if I don't pour milk and who'd make it out?"Once I had been to Delhi, the capital city of India on official work. A colleague also was there on my trip to Delhi. On his suggestion, we preferred to stay in his uncle's house. His uncle was a government servant and his house was in R.K. Nagar. Since it's my first visit and I had no fluency in the local language, I accepted the offer. His uncle was an Ex-army man and now he served in the Fire service department. They had allotted a palatial government residence to him with menials. Our program was to attend a refresher course in Okla Estate starting the next day and to last for a week. It made us have a night's stay in my friend's place as our arrival in Delhi was late in the evening. And Okla Estate wasn't near. It seemed my friend paid a visit to his uncle after a pretty long time. He was engrossed in exchange of family wellbeing with his aunt. I was offered a comedy show playing on the T.V. I watched the show and simultaneously looked about the house. There were many photographs hung on the wall of the drawing-room. His uncle looked smart in his uniform. The things and objects in the drawing room were neatly arranged, right from the sofa sets, teapoy, and wall-clock to door mats, everything evincing the art of interior decoration. "What'd your friend like for dinner?" I heard the lady's voice near me. She was a tall lady quite elegant and suited to be the military man's wife. Though they lived in Delhi for a long time, she wore only a saree and not the north Indian dress like churidar or Salwar kameez. "Mam I'm not particular. What Sekar may get I'm happy with that."The lady replied: "He said he wants rice and rasam. This he said because from tomorrow you may not get rice but only bread with butter or chapatis with dal in Okla Institute where you're assigned for a week's refresher course." "Indeed, " Sekar said and he continued, "For people who're not used to Delhi food, it may look delicious for a couple of days. But then it'd be a testing time.""Well, engage yourselves. In the meantime lemme go ahead with your food of rice, rasam, and snake gourd poriyal." She vanished into the kitchen. "Despite the military service, my aunt and uncle prefer and love only vegetarian food. Their only issue is a boy and now an engineer. He is married and settled in the US, " Sekar said. At eight thirty the aunt served the food for us. The rice was quite good and rasam too. The poriyal was so delicious. She served copious curd. The dinner was over with a cup of badam milk. I thanked my friend and his aunt. "Thank you, mam. I haven't eaten such nice food in recent times." "Call me aunty. Here in Delhi all vegetables and commodities are sold fresh and at subsidized rates. When you cook with fresh vegetables, the taste would be rich and palatable.""That's true

aunty, " said Sekar and I in unison. Sekar told me later that Delhi being the union territory of India, there's always a subsidy in rates. But then they take away sizable money from your wallet towards rent etc. "Both of you can go upstairs and sleep. You can meet uncle in the morning for he just rang to inform his late coming owing to pressure of work."Bidding good night to aunty we went upstairs. The bedroom was well arranged. It must be a guest room with twin cots, flexible mattress, pillows, and bed covers all neatly washed and kept. Tired over the long journey from Madras we fell asleep even as we discussed the refresher course to be attended the next day. "Good morning Sekar. How're you? Your aunt said you came up yesterday evening.""Hello uncle how're you? It's a long while since you visited Chennai. And here's my friend Sundar. We two are deputed to take a refresher course in the Okla Industrial Institute for a week starting from tomorrow."The attached bathroom door was ajar. I said, "Hi Sir."I was halfway through brushing my teeth and I was right in guessing the figure of my friend's uncle. He's gigantic, cleanly shaven, and partly bald. "Hey friend don't spit on the bathroom floor. You can spit out to your guts in the washbasin. Right?"I said meekly, "I'm sorry sir." "It's okay. Isn't it proper to use the right thing for the right purpose?""Well, boys come down when you're finished. I'll join you for breakfast."The next day was spent in reaching the venue of our refresher course and enrollment. Then followed the course and the routines thereof. At the end of the course, we packed off and reached the New Delhi railway station just in time to board the Tamil Nadu express bound for Chennai. That was my trip to Delhi for the first time. Though in subsequent years I visited the Indian Capital a number of times the first trip never ever goes into oblivion. In a number of ways the first visit to Delhi shaped my day to day activity. It may sound trivial but it served a social policy. How many households leave the bathroom in such a way that the next man who enters the same bathroom doesn't frown? It's a pleasure to see a neat and clean bathroom. My friend's uncle, the military man at Delhi had told me how it'd be disgusting to see a bathtub half-filled with dirty water. That water when collected in there during the process of someone's bath. And far more awkward would be the appearance of the plastic mug that's left thrown into the dirty water in the tub. One could see a film of gel-like thing sticking to the mug as a result of constant contact with water or soap water. Don't try to ask me if I was caught while in Delhi. I only cut a sorry figure when I was confronted by Sekar's uncle while I was brushing and spitting inside the bath room. What sanctity will it serve to follow these bathroom codes? Definitely, it'd be a healthy way and a cordial way of reception to our visitors. Perhaps that might be an armory for those who want to shun their unwanted guests! If someone is aware of this code but if that someone still insists on repetition then that's the aberration. This is more so because such someone is definitely not that filthy back in his home. He'd be meticulous in keeping his premises spick and span. That derisive attitude of people towards others' property is despicable and no salvation of clean India. The aberration rests with politicians too. The true economy will prevail wherever there's steadfastness in policies and an equalitarian treatment to people. The people in Delhi could buy a liter of milk for ten rupees and the same one liter cost twenty rupees in Chennai or Bengaluru. The reason they say is Delhi is a Union Territory and the rates of essentials and other commodities are subsidized for the benefit of people living in Delhi. I've no idea what rate they collect for a liter of milk now. The one thing I remembered during my visit to Delhi I record here. In contrast the daily rate of dearness allowance paid to government employees visiting Delhi those days was three hundred rupees whereas the rate paid at Chennai was one hundred rupees only. India could never be a Utopia.

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