Have anyone seen a Devil?

Oh, come on married men, please put your hands down.

Those who believe in God has to also believe in Devil. During our school days we are facinated by Gods and Devils. At temples Gods were introduced to us. But we dont talk much about Devil. Parents generally used Devil to scare us and make us eat or do home work or to behave ourselves or some simple things which we would have anyway done, if we were explained patiently. So there was always a curiosity to know more about Devil during our school days.

Vedaranyam was a small village where I lived 3 years, between my ages 10 to 13. When I was 13 years old, I thought myself to pursue the quest for Devil. My accompliances were Subha (my 10 year old sister), ‘anni veetu’ Dhurga (11 year old neighbour) and another Dhurga aka ‘dhillu’ aka ‘paanai’ (7 year old grand daughter of our house owner).

I am obviously the team lead. Subha was included to handle internal affairs. In case mummy finds out my quest, I should not be the only one to get scolded. So she was to handle Home Ministry. Dhurga was the bold girl in our street. Once she chased away 3 kittens just by shouting at them. Moreover she had been living in our street since her birth. So she was included in the team to handle the public, in case of trouble. She was to handle Ministry of External Affairs. Dhillu was an innocent little girl. She was given the post of Secretary. She has to carry out the things we say (which we ourselves were scared to do). So the team was ready. Now we need the plan to meet Devil.

Devil is God’s enemy. So if we make ourselves enemy to God, we may befriend Devil. ‘Enemy’s enemy is our friend’ logic. We thought of breaking an idol of God or jointly curse God. But got scared to fight with God. Moreover we were awaiting our haly yearly exam results and this would not be the right time to fight with God. So we immediately dropped the idea.

We thought to outsource the process of meeting the Devil. But we were short of funds. We had only 3 rupees 85 paise. We coud have struggled to manage further 55 to 60 paise but not more than that. More than fund, the required talent was a trouble. None of the people we knew in our school had this talent. One guy from our next street claimed to be expert in the process. We sincerely had doubt in his talent and he charged 10 rupees for 2 meeting with Devil. We did not recruit him. Due to the lack of talent, in affordable price, this plan too was dropped.

Dhillu gave an idea that an old unused isolated building in our street was haunted by 5 Devils. We plan to wait there till late night to meet atleast one Devil. By 6 pm we went and sat in the portico before the building. We waited late till 10 pm. Nothing came to the building except 1 pig and 7 piglets chaced by 2 dogs, 426 mosquitoes (i still suspect this count made by Dhurga), 5 lizards (Dhillu counted this – her count is always 5, for anything and everything) and a few more animals and insects. We got hungry and sleepy. So we came back home. We realised that the building was really abandoned, even by Devils.

When everything goes wrong, management books say to conduct a review meeting. We called for one such ‘review meeting’, at our neighbour Natraj anna’s home. Natraj anna was doing Diploma in ‘current and wires’ at world best college of our district. Atleast thats what he was telling us. We sincerely do not recall him associated with any books or studies. By the way, our review meeting was to start by 7 pm. Me and Subha assembled at exact time. Dhillu was eating something and came 10 min late. Dhurga came by 30 min late and apologised that she got stuck in traffic (?!). The meeting started by 7.30 pm. Before I start my welcome address I realised someone standing behind me. I turned around thinking it to be Devil, but it was Natraj anna. Even before he said anything, Subha declared, “Karthik wants to see a Devil”. As a Home Minister Subha perfectly did her job and got me into trouble. Natraj anna blinked for a moment and said “I will show him”.

Natraj airlifted me from the meeting and placed me in the front bar of his Atlas cycle. Drove me straight out of the village. I was in wonder about what he was doing and worried about abruptly ending the review meeting. He dropped me in a big ground. And started back alone in his cycle, leaving me alone there. He said, “Wait here. You will get your answer”. I casually looked around the ground and shouted at Natraj, “What place is this?”. Natraj shouted back, “This is cremation ground.” And he disappeared around the corner.

I was standing alone and it struck to me that its already dark and late in the evening. I was sure of meeting a Devil here. I was scared and no more interested in seeing the Devil. I started running from there towards my home, shreiking aloud. I had a feeling that Devil’s were following me, to catch me and eat. My shreiks would have awoken even those Devils that would still be sleeping till then. Shreiking continously I rushed through the hutments and dashed into my home. I was not in a mood to know about Devil, any more than what I have experienced.

The next day my friend Ashok was talking to me, “NVK, I know you were looking for Devil. Yesterday I saw one, running out from our village’s cremation ground. It was small, may be our height, was shreiking like crow and running like a mad dog. You aware?”

Within few days Ashok was credited for seeing a Devil. I was just happy that he did not identified me as the Devil.

22-June-2010, 11:00

RPL House, Mumbai

“Sir, today’s special is Kadaam soup”, Kiran, the canteen boy of my floor, was declaring to everybody.

Mr. Kadaam was suspiciously looking from his cabin. He looked a bit nervous and I noticed a streak of fear in his eyes.

Our canteen generally issues the menu for the week. That includes breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and juice of the day. Soup is generally kept as a surprise. The soup of the day is declared by the canteen boy, every morning. We get mushroom soup, tomato soup, vegetable clear soup, manchow soup, hot & sour soup, etc. But Kadaam soup? This was something new.

Chicken soup have chicken, similarly for tomato, mushroom, vegetable, etc. Manchow soup is an exception, where Manchow is not the ingredient. I believe Manchow is a place, somewhere in China. This too I know because all Chineese restaurants have this soup in their menu. Given the above, what can you expect in Kadaam soup? This had troubled Mr. Kadaam. Is he going to be served in the soup today? He is a man with sharp financial and business acumen. But today he is scared.

Kiran was unbothered and kept on declaring Kadaam soup at every desk and cabin in our floor.
Many ordered the soup without even showing any interest of what it contains. Because, some were too occupied with work, some with personal work, some on phone, some on internet, some following share market, some just want to know what it is, some just want to spend time drinking the soup. But many ordered the soup.

I was confused. I called Kiran to my desk.

“Kiran, what is Kadam soup”

“It is soup of the day sir”

“Yeah, I know. But what it contains?”

“Soup sir, soup. It contains real soup”

Now Kiran got on my nerves.

“Yes yes. But what is kadaam?”

“Sir…!!!”, Kiran was expressing surprise, “Don’t you know kadaam?”

Now I started to get confused. Am I wrong starting the discussion? Or am I asking a completely stupid question?

Mr. Kadaam was closely observing our discussion, from his cabin. Obviously, its the matter of his life.
“Kadaam, pista,…..”, Kiran continued. It splashed on my brain. I was no more listening. Its ‘Badaam’. As simple as it is. Kiran was continuing “…. blah, blah, blah. Its very good for health”. He finished with that explanatory punchline,
“Kaaju sir. Its kaaju”

I relaxed my temper with a deep breath. I also recall hearing a deep sigh of relief from Mr. Kadaam’s cabin. He is not going to be cooked in the soup, atleast today.

I explained Kiran that its not ‘Kadaam soup’, but its ‘Badaam soup’. He called the chef and the canteen owner for confirmation.

15 minutes later, I was watching Kiran cancelling Kadaam soup and taking order for Badaam soup at every desk of my floor. Surprisingly some (predominantly, subordinates of Mr. Kadaam) cancelled the soup.
I did not order. The discussion was more than sufficient for me.

After our college days, to be in touch, we created an email group in yahoo and named GoldenIT@yahoogroups.com

Initially there were mails running across. Slowly it reduced and reduced and reduced. It had been silent since some time. I wanted to again throw a little stone in the silent pond which I am sure won’t create a splash but certainly create a ripple. And there were ripples. The mail I sent to the group is below. By the way, the spelling of ‘Whether’ was intentionally kept as ‘Weather’ to attract further attention and it did attract a few.

—–

To: GoldenIT@yahoogroups.com
From: nvkarthik@gmail.com
21-June-2010 19:27

When everything is silent,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Silence or deafness…

When everything is dark,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Darkness or blindness…

When everything is black & white,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Black & white or color blindness…

When everything is beautiful,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Beautiful or you are in love…

When everything is sour,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Sour or you have fever…

When everything is tasty,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Tasty or you are hungry…

When there is no e-mail in GoldenIT,
You can’t differentiate weather its
Inactive or you have just kicked out of the group…

Makkale… Respond to GoldenIT and assure me that the group is alive… More importantly, that I am (still) not kicked out…

Note: Upon no response, I will send another ‘kavidhai’ e-mail… Beware…