We had been at Bangalore for a few days.
The grandkids are ecstatic. We play some cricket and some more football in the hall much to the annoyance of Putter and Bahu. Playing cricket and foot ball within the house is taboo.Not that they do not do so themselves with the kids when they are free and are in the mood and have the time within their hectic schedule and the kids are also free from their school going routine and have finished their voluminous home work. Bangalore does not leave much scope for all this to take place together I find.
Oops, the ball has fallen plumb on to the Dell Laptop of Putter. Fortunately, no damage to the Laptop, which holds lot of Putter’s hard work and well, play. He is livid with anger, and slaps his two sons. I protest, vehemently. Putter admonishes me, not to interfere in his dealings with his kids and spoil them.I remind him that, he never, well practically so, suffered a similar indignity, when he was young. He readily concedes but adds that, it was because, he never gave me sufficient cause and scope to be disciplined so. He is by and large correct, but when I add this provision “by and large”, to the case of my grandkids, they are no better or worse than Putter, and I reiterate so.Putter sighs, resigns and buries his head again into his Laptop.
Next day. I wake up a bit late, finish my morning ablutions and sit down with the Bangalore edition of the “Times of India” . Bahu brings me, my first cup of coffee for the day. It is piping hot. I am savoring it leisurely, and am going through reports
about the increasing incidence of road rage in the city.
Oops ! What is this, scalding my chest and belly? The cricket ball has fallen plumb into my liberal coffee mug and the kids grin sheepishly. I do not show that I am in pain. Putter looks up from his Laptop, growls and looks with concern at me and finding that I am in no great discomfort, smiles a “serves-you-right” smile. I ignore that and get up nonchalantly to have a change of clothes.
In the evening, Putter is taking us along to the temple of the mammoth monolithic Nandi, the bull- vehicle of the Lord of the universe, Siva. He is affectionately called the Dodda Basappa. The mighty bull-dad.There is also the temple of Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Siva of similar proportions in the same campus. He is called Dodda Ganapathi, loosely translating to,the mammoth chieftain of all celestial forces It is mandatory to invoke and propitiate Ganesha before anyone takes up any important enterprise, venture, adventure or any complex work. Ganesha is a playful God, easy to take offense and easy to please and is venerated,but like your own precocious and prankish kid. You can find a photograph of a statue of Ganesh that I have found in the. Disney Land ,Los Angeles which I snapped some time in 2007 somewhere below within this post
Putter turns the car into a very short street which links two busy roads. Suddenly,there is a screech of tyres and a bike and a car halt in front of the car which Putter has braked to a halt. Putter realizes that the fickle traffic authorities have turned the street into a oneway street since he last passed through it.He offers his apologies to the vehicles in front an requests them to give way so that he can pass through. The car moves away, but the bike fellow is uttering some obscenities.
He climbs down and approaches Putter’s window threateningly.Putter rolls down the window apologizes and tries to reason with the fellow to leave way. The bike-rider removes his helmet and spits on Putter. He is clearly drunk but blames Putter to be so instead.Putter is indignant and calls him an idiot. He challenges Putter to climb down into the street to settle the score. Putter is indignant and prepares to alight from the car. It takes some time for us, others in the car, to realize what was happening, because the street is dark, but then we realize what is unfolding and I remember with concern, the recent ghastly incident wherein a driver was stabbed when he stepped out when so challenged. I caution Putter not to get down and raise my voice against the rascal. A policemen notices the commotion and approaches the car. The ruffian quietly climbs on his bike and rides away. Putter explains to the cop the position, the cop nods and goes away. Mrs. informs me that she forgot to take leave of the Ganesh, who resides in Bahu’s room of worship, before starting on our trip out.
It is quite late in the night by the time we return home after worshipping the massive
Ganesa and Nandii.
The kids are slightly sleepy, but still insist that I recline betwixt them and read a story. I pick a book at random from their collection of books and comics and there is a story of how the elephant got its trunk and read the story to the children.
The elephant did not have a trunk in the good old days but just a snout like a pig. One day some other denizen of the forest described to it a strange creature called crocodile which resided in a lake in the forest. Curious, the elephant goes to see the
gator. The gator is in the water barely visible in the muddy water. The elephant begs the gator to come out so that it becomes clearly visible.The gator in turn asks the elephant to come nearer to the water and bend his head down so that he can see him clearly and the elephant does so. The croc lunges up and catches hold of the snout of the elephant. The elephant struggles a lot and at last frees himself from the croc with the help of some other animals friendly to him, but alas its nose has meanwhile elongated into a trunk. She is ashamed at first but then finds it highly useful and distinctive. The children are drowsy, but take in the story with some effort.
Next day is Satur day, a holiday for Putter.All of us are on a trip to Mysore, the erstwhile capital of the Karnataka state, when the Wadayar royal family ruled the state.
We visit the Chamundeshwari temple on the Chamundi hills in the morning and also do some shopping. Putter buys a Mysore silk saree for Mrs.I find that it costed the heaven and I protest.
In the evening, we take the children to the famous Mysore zoo. The children are delighted to ride in the open van and see all the exotic animals. Lo, there is this chimp hanging upside down from a tree branch. A crass fellow throws a twig at him. The chimp jumps down and calmly walks in the
direction of the perpetrator of the mischief, turns around, bends on his knees and shows him his butt
and walk away.
The chimp is clearly steeped in the culture of the subcontinent. It is grave insult for some one top
,deliberately show his bare rump, (no skivvies even) to someone else .
The van moves on. There is something looking like a big pig, but it has a snout which it is able to move this way and that. Putter explains to the children that it was a Tapir, an ant eating mammal. The kids ask me how it got its strange snout. I am at a loss. I debate whether to bore them with the Darwin’s hypothesis. But then I have a better explanation. I tell the kids that it was also another small elephant which accompanied the bigger one to look at the crocodile. It was caught by a smaller croc but could wriggle out before much harm was done. The kids understand.
Now we see some serpents and pythons and approach the crocodile enclosure.
I caution them, not to bend down to see the croc, lest the croc…. The children laugh, envisioning themselves as midget versions of Ganeshs. Putter smiles and says, “Pappa, you are incorrigible.”