Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Weekend as Anti-Climactic as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya

Eat this, nitwits (self-addressed, if that is the case)!
Disclaimer: Since I believe there are some wisecracks (in the event that I'm not one myself) who are likely to interpret the piece below as either me describing the girl-in-question's actions as quasi-romantic overtures or as me mocking the girl (for whatever reason), let me categorically state that the sole intention of this post is to be a parody of me and me alone. It is my belief that the girl is just a very friendly type whose actions were good-natured and bereft of any hidden ulterior motives.

This weekend was, surely, one of the more fun weekends in all my 3+ years in the US. Road-trips, however small, are always fun, especially if you're the only guy with a driver's license & you've got a fun gang to go with. Tentative plan was this - Rent car on Saturday, visit the temple in Lemont, Devon-shopping, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya night-show, and on Sunday, leave for an early-morning trip to an acquaintance's place in the suburbs for a 108-Vishnu Sahasranamam-chanting session for his son's birthday, and finally return the car. All the while, having played (chiefly) Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya songs over and over again in the car stereo.

Well, at least, this was how I had envisioned the weekend to go. Folks who follow this blog or my twitter will probably also know how much I've been anticipating the movie all these days and I guess the same could be said of the weekend as well.

So then, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, for me, was rather anti-climactic (and I don't say this because of the ending). Not that I complain - I had more than my share of enjoyment in the movie and wouldn't mind a second visit, had I been in Chennai, just for one reason (the First Love-factor). If my feeling of anti-climax in the movie was primarily because of my expectations from the movie (apart from other very relevant reasons), the anti-climax to my weekend car-rental was somewhat of a parody on me.

So everything actually went pretty well - we managed to cover all the places (just) in time. However, since there was no iPod-Car cord, we had to make do with some 2-yr-old Hindi-Tamil-English CD-collection. After the movie however, there was a genuine compulsion to listen to VTV songs while riding in the car. Also since the Sunday-plan was totally solo, though it was about 1:30 AM by the time we returned home (I had to leave at about 7 in the morning), I meticulously got hold of an empty CD and made an audio CD of VTV.

Sunday morning was easily the highlight of the entire plan. I managed to leave at about 7:15 and the (romantic) setting was near-perfect - a mild haze hanging around, but quite bright. The temperature, by Chicago's winter standards - definitely decent. And a solo car-ride. What remained to be seen was if the CD worked and by Jove, it did! So I set off, to the tunes of Omana Penne and by the time I reached the suburbs, I'd lived up the entire feel. That's when I thought I absolutely had to let my 2 other mates feel the joy too, considering the fact that they'd felt so bad at not listening to VTV songs in the car the prev. night. Since I'd to return the car by 3 PM, I decided I'd leave the acquaintance's house (even if the 108-times hadn't been completed) at about 1, come back home by 2'ish, pick up my friends, go for a 1-hr'ish drive and drop the car by 3 so we could have a little fun together as well.
So far so good, yes? Only so far.

We managed to finish by 12:45, but then, there was lunch+cake-cutting, and I had no heart to leave before the boy cut the cake. Apdi-ipdi it was almost 1:40. Ippo dhan mega-twist. Since my host knew I came from downtown, he asked me to drop this Golti (strictly referential usage) girl who'd also come from downtown.

There are times when a combination of contexts make the big picture entirely different from how it would've been had any of the contexts been true separately. This was one such classic example.

In my case, VTV-influenced solo romance (I was already imagining another solo-ride back home with VTV songs), prospective_shared_enjoyment with Koottaaligal and a desperation to get back in time formed the main context. To this mix, the addition of a Golti girl had ominious signs of a personal comedy. This has very little to do with the girl's looks (not good-looking, but definitely not bad-looking). When we left in the car, I remembered the Ennai Konjam Maatri-setting and realized - never in my dreams did I even imagine such a setting could be so comic. And the conversations that ensued certainly added to the comedy element more and more.

And then, out of the blue, I lost my way. And the feeling that I was going to let down my hopes-needlessly-kindled-by-me comrades increased. So to save last-minute hassles, I decided to fill gas now than later. Stopped at the first gas station. Then I realized I didn't know where the button for the gas-latch was. Can you believe it? I SEARCHED FOR THE GAS-TANK-OPENER BUTTON FOR A FULL 5 MINUTES. And this girl sees me blundering around like a fool. Then I saw some button and pressed it. Wrong move - the bonnet opened. Finally, one punyavaan helped me locate it. It was right below the seat. :-(
Then I swiped my credit card to fill gas. For 1 minute, the machine got stuck. Then I re-swiped it. It said remove the nozzle after lifting the lid. I removed the nozzle, but I couldn't freaking find a lid anywhere there. Again this gentleman helped me out. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to ask him directions and he guided me to I-55 N. Feeling like a total idiot, at the same time relieved, I thought may be we could make it, when I saw the time - 2:47. Holy Cow! Can you believe it? Two Forty Seven! Cursing myself, I cut through the 35-mph zone at about 60 and after 10 minutes, got onto I-55 N. My hopes of dropping this girl somewhere & getting my buddies was out of question, the question now was - Would I reach the airport in time? All this while, the girl was chattering away, having no idea of what tension I was in (nadoola she managed to look at my hand-written directions and say that my hand-writing was like a girl's :D). And somewhere, she asked me my Full name. I was like, what?!!! And then told her my name, since I wasn't in a mood to go into the details. She then said - "Ok, I'll add you in facebook."
I had no idea I could laugh in such a tense situation, but this was hilarious beyond measure. Suppressing my ROTFL, I told her I was an Orkut-loyalist. To this, she replies - "Oh, then I'll add you there. I keep Orkut for my India contacts & FB for US-contacts, but it's ok."
I almost closed my eyes and said - "Aandavaa...epdi epdi?"

So then, the short highway trip was over and I finally reached the airport to return the car at 3:09, escaping the extra-day charge. But wait, the comedy isn't over yet. After figuring out what her options were for getting back home, we were going on the train and I was sitting back & recollecting the entire comedy of errors - thinking how a prospective solo-followed-by-group-romantic adventure became a parody - laughing inside at how weird intros happen, this girl hesitantly asks "Can we exchange phone numbers?" Sethutten, sethutten nejama. :D

When I reached home and recounted this tragi-comedy of errors to my mates, their obvious-initial-irritation gave way slowly to humour until they literally started rolling on the floor laughing. And then, the C'tore guy comes up with this killer line -
"Naamala thedi pona athu nelaikathu....
Athuva Nadakkanum..
Nammala pottu thaakkanum..
Thala keela pottu thiruppanum.."
Not to be outdone, my roomie quipped - "Manasukkulla Golti Golti'ngudha?"

Yeah, some weekend that was. :D

(PS: I repeat, "Golti"-usage is strictly to refer to the girl's identity, there is absolutely no hint of malice intended at the girl anywhere either through this word or through the self-parody. Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Jai Maharashtra. Jai Telengana.)
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