Letter from a concerned reader | Columns

The case of Mr. Mathrubootham's missing marriage certificate

Respected Madam/ Sir,

What and all adventure happened yesterday. Eleven o’clock in the morning suddenly Mrs. Mathrubootham came and said, “Old man, do we have all the documents?”

I said, “Kamalam, how many times I have said, hundreds and thousands of times, please don’t do half the thinking in the kitchen and then do half the talking with myself. Total confusion only will happen. Please start the story from beginning.”

She said, “Old man, any idea whether all the documents in safe place? Birth certificate and wedding certificate and degree certificate and all? Exact location is known? Better to not take any risk these days.” I said, “Kamalam, can I finish one more chapter of Jack Higgins superhit novel Angel of Death and then look for documents?” She said, “Old man, you do what you want, I said what I have to say.”

Madam/ Sir, have you seen superhit World War Two film Tora, Tora, Tora in which Japanese leader is saying ‘Tora Tora Tora’ and this is codeword for start fighting. When Mrs. Mathrubootham is saying do what you want, it is same as Tora Tora Tora.

So I went to bedroom and opened wardrobe and removed one box. Inside box is files and brown papers covers we are collecting for decades. Madam/ Sir, what and all memories are coming nonstop. School report cards of the children. One old newspaper cutting of one function in Anna Nagar, you can see Mrs. Mathrubootham in the background. Appointment order for Mrs. Mathrubootham first job in Income Tax department. Bank of India certificate for long service of 10 years and 20 years and all.

Then in one other file birth certificates for full family and then photocopy of wedding certificates for all the children. Suddenly all the warm feelings are gone when I noticed one tragedy.

Where is wedding certificate of Mr. and Mrs. Mathrubootham? In the files? No. In the box? No. In the cupboard? No. In the box under bed with marksheet and house loan documents? No.

“Kamalam,” I said, “have you put our marriage certificate anywhere?” She said, “Old man, yes every two weeks I am taking it out of the box and crying and crying like anything. What nonsense you are talking. I don’t know where it is.” “Oh my god,” I said, “I think it is lost.”

Next 45 minutes panic and panic in the house. Both of us looked here and there. Then suddenly Mrs. Mathrubootham said, “Old man we took it for U.S. visa no last year? You are remembering? Man in photocopy shop said madam you are wife of uncle? I thought daughter or grand-daughter. You remember?”

I said, “I remember, daughter is ok, grand-daughter was bayankaramaana over maybe eyesight problem.” She said, “100% it is inside suitcase we are taking to embassy. Where is the briefcase? Oh no, we gave it to Mr. Pratapan for his Singapore trip.”

Immediately I ran to Pratapan’s flat. I said, “Pratapan, where is the briefcase, whether any marriage certificate is there inside?” He said, “I don’t know, I gave it to Mrs. Nalini son.” I said, “Manda shiromani, why you will give 50-year-old briefcase to five-year-old boy.” He said, “Boy is going for fancy dress competition as Mr. P Chidamabaram during budget.” I ran and ran to Nalini’s house.

“Mrs. Nalini,” I said by mistake, “where is Mr. Chidamabaram? Bring him here immediately, no hiding in the house no time for games.” For five minutes 100% pure Tamil abuse came from Mrs. Nalini. Then I did clarification. She said, “What nonsense you are talking my son is returning it to your son last month itself.”

Madam/ Sir, my son is gone to Bombay for office work. Immediately I called I said, “Kanna open the briefcase immediately.” He said, “What suitcase?” I said, “Suitcase with marriage certificate.” He said, “Are you talking about red suitcase from Jambuvan period? It is in the dickie of the car, I think two-three documents are there inside.” I said, “Thank you Guruvayoorappa, finally problem is solved I can keep all the documents safely.”

I told Kamalam, “Briefcase is in the car dickie.” She said, “Who has the car keys?” I said, “I don’t know, are you having?” No. Now we are looking for car keys since morning.

Yours in total exasperation,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 12:36:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/marriage-memories/article30358177.ece

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