Letter from a concerned reader | Columns

Such complicated things

Respected sir/ madam,

I am sure you know. But just to remind you I have two sons. Both are good for nothing but at least the elder fellow is good for nothing in the United States. The other fellow is not only in India but also spends the whole day sitting in front of his computer doing working from home.

What is working from home? Utter fraud and chicanery. It is like Indian Railways increasing speed of train by five kilometres per hour and saying congratulations to all Indians this is now express train you can reach Nagercoil four hours before you left Chennai Central.

Sir/ madam, whether you understand how humiliating this is for parents like myself and Mrs. Mathrubootham? Whenever we go for some family function or just for evening walk in Anna Tower Park, friends and relatives will come and ask ‘So what is he doing these days?’ For two or three years we said he is writing novel, he is preparing for admission in Caltech, he has fractured both hands and legs, and all.

What you can do in retirement age but suffer in silence?

Two days back, this same son suddenly walked into the living room and said, “Appa, come with me I need to buy new formal long pants.”

I said, “Son, you think about it carefully, maybe you want to practise with my old pants first? Can you suddenly wear formals instead of usual NCC type shorts and step outside the house?”

Mrs. Mathrubootham laughed in the kitchen secretly, but then she came out and shouted at me for making fun. Not one person in this family can be trusted.

So we went to a department store nearby where my son discovered that his waist has increased to 38. Sir/madam, you may be thinking, ‘Mr. Mathrubootham, your son is showing sign of jobless growth!’ Ha ha. Good one, but below my standard.

Just as I was relaxing on a bench near the men’s trial room, my son came running out and gave me his phone. “Look appa,” he said, “they have started Supreme Court hearing on right to privacy.”

“Ok,” I said, “best of luck to all.” This and all too complicated for me. But he insisted that I read all the latest updates on the case on Twitter. So for 40 minutes I sat and read one million updates from the Supreme Court. I did not understand a single thing.

Sir/ madam, I have to make a confession. I do not understand a single thing about Carnatic music. I like listening to it for sometime and can sing some popular numbers. But otherwise I know nothing. Big zero.

Sometimes I will be sitting at Ganga Sweets and Mrs. Mathrubootham and some friends will start discussing this and that about classical music. “Oh this is Simhendramadhyama ragam, oh this Gourimanohari ragam.” Then suddenly they will ask, “Mathrubootham, what is your favourite ragam?” and I will say, “Matamaritanandamayi ragam.” Then everybody will laugh and Mrs. Mathrubootham will also laugh in public, but when we come back home she will sing one Mathruboothammardanam ragam.

Sir/ madam, Supreme Court and all is exactly the same thing for me. I don’t understand a single thing. My son will say, “Appa they have habeas corpus the comptroller and auditor general for Maneka Gandhi versus Barcelona, this will end in Section 4 Paragraph 8 No Parking On Sundays. What are your thoughts?”

But I have no thoughts because I have left the shop and I am looking for an auto. Some things are just too complicated for me. Please let me go.

Yours in exasperation,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 4:11:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/such-complicated-things/article19434834.ece

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