In between all of amma’s packing and our hunt for large suitcases, I am feeling a bit tired. Buying boxes to take to America is very expensive. T Anna very generously sent the tickets. It would have been nice if he would have also sent some money for the luggage and thermal-wear that amma needed to buy from Naidu Hall. Appa suggested that we borrow a suitcase from Nagam Akka, who had gone to Moscow during the 1980 Olympics (or sometime before I was born). In what was widely believed to be the most vulgar display of wealth by my extended family, a giant red box was procured. Later, the box accompanied the globe trotting Nagam Akka, along with her three-stoned diamond nose pin across several countries.
When I was younger, it fascinated me because, it was so large that perhaps, the dwarf sized Nagam Akka would herself fit into it. We used to hear so many Moscow stories from her, it was fascinating. And when T Anna told me that Nagam Akka was actually a cosmonaut, in my naiveté I believed him.
S and I dragged the box to our third-floor apartment. It looked as old and worn out as Nagam Akka did. Surprisingly, the number-lock still worked.
888, amma whispered, lest the household help were to hear us.
Podis are being packed. Will she get past with all those concoctions through security, we wonder. Will she get lost at some big American airport, S wants to know. Will T Anna not even come to pick her up, I wonder briefly.
What will you do there for the entire day, Indira Maami wants to know? You need to develop some hobby, she tells amma firmly.
Fifty five years and two cities later, Amma will set her feet out of Tamizh land for the very first time. That requires some help from the good Iyer gods.
Tomorrow we will go to the Vadapalani Kovil and break some coconuts, so that we can ward of any possibilities of the evil eye.
I have realized that going to a foreign land for the first time is like being a first time mother. Everyone has an opinion on it and suggestions on what you should do.
Amma says that while she is there, I should email T Anna everyday. I should tell them everything. What I cook, how quickly the rasam podi is getting over, if S is eating well, if Appa is going for his walks, if Paati is eating figs, if Thatha is going for a walk in the terrace, if G Periamma is feeding us anything, family gossip, neighbourhood gossip, Madras gossip and so on.
One can’t help but wonder why she is going at all?
I will write emails, I promise for the nth time. We fold several Garden saris that she is carrying. For the last few months she has been saving her Garden (that is a generic name for any sari that is made with polyester like substance) saris.
One can’t wear them in Madras, she announces.
Don’t forget the emails, amma reminds me again.
She also tells that S to email. Amma doesn’t trust me with emails. Apparently T Anna and M Manni both complain about the time-lag in my emails and the taciturn tone when I do write. I don’t like emailing very much, probably because I was a late bloomer when it came to the Internet.
T Anna was the first person to introduce the computer and the possibilities of the Internet to us. There was something mildly putting off about his Isaac-Newton-apple-just-fell-on-my-head tone, which left me a little cold.
G Periamma was the first relative in our family to have a PC with Internet. Every other day, I was sent to Periamma’s house to type out some email to T Anna, which had some hurried instructions written by Amma on a copy of Aval Vikatan or The Hindu.
I resented T Anna for the walk that I had to do from Boag Road to Tirumalai Road.
Finally, G Periamma got a new computer with a faster processor, and her old one, we inherited.
I opened my mail-box twice each day to read about T Anna’s tough yet happy life and also his alleged culinary prowess. Nobody else emailed me. And so, losing passwords was my favourite hobby.
Over years, I acquired some friends who were email worthy, but I am easily bored and quickly lose in touch with them. I am sure when they get married, they will find me. And that will do.
However, things are different now. And I do get mails from Blog readers. I am not sure if they are Bloggers. If they are, it is very likely that they email from an id that screams SPAM!
firstname.lastname@example.org says that, he/she loves me.
email@example.com says that, I need more sex in my life. Wait, he (I am certain actually) says that I need sex. The more prefix would suggest that there might be something already, which he confidently dismisses as an unlikely event. Glorious Tamil sex, he recommends.
I will be happy to give any of the ladies his contact details.
firstname.lastname@example.org asks me as to why he doesn’t feature on my Blogroll. He (again I am sure) goes on to say that I am being anti Madras by featuring two Bloggers who have Bengloor included in their url.
Thank you for opening my eyes.
email@example.com wishes to let me know that, she is ashamed to share my gothram. If she knows of any single boys from some other Gothram, she should get in touch with amma.
firstname.lastname@example.org also complains. She talks at length about some North Indian cricketer and compares him to me. And me to him. She proclaims that I am a bad advertisement for Tamizh Penns across the world.
Several other people wish to know if I am the sister of a certain Tamizh Penn blogger (who is my favourite), the daughter of a male blogger (whom many are obsessed with), a software programme written by a particularly clever blogger (whom everyone loves), and so on.
All of it is mildly amusing. Of course, I never reply to these emails. I mean, I am the biggest proponent of equal opportunity hate. And like she rightly points out, this is the only thing I ever have to say.
However, whether Bloggers email or not, what I do know is that, they talk. They talk to other bloggers. They talk to your colleagues. And some of them talk to amma.
Therefore, I find myself in a somewhat unhappy situation, that of being selectively anonymous.
I have chosen to be anonymous and would like it to stay that way. And now I am a little tired of people trying to out me. It is boring, silly, pointless and is mostly annoying.
And therefore, I can’t help but feel that -- between this, that and everything else, I am all Blogged out.