Spit Take Society

Foreign objects

Illustration: Sreejith R Kumar  

When Ambujam mami walked in wearing her scarlet kanjeevaram mask with the zari trishul motifs, I knew it was bad.

‘This is totally unacceptable,’ she said, her face just a shade less fiery than her mask.

‘Has Sri Vegan been ordering samosas from Buharis, mami?’ I asked, thinking of her herbivorous Labrador that wasn’t allowed to order anything other than masala dosai from Sangeetha’s.

‘Far worse. My phone has been hacked. By that Pega-something-thingie.’

‘What?’ I said. ‘But why would they? More importantly... er... who would?’

‘What do you mean who? Foreign powers, that’s who!’ said mami.

She paused, giving me the look she gave Sundaram mama when he came home with 20 Tic Tacs stuffed in his mouth.

‘You are aware that my daughter in New Jersey is on the verge of unveiling her magnum opus ‘Hidimbi Parinayam,’ right?’

How could I not be? Mami had sent me the motion poster, the teaser to the trailer, and the third look of the forthcoming megabudget fusion dance ballet, with her daughter in the eponymous role, and mami billed ‘Creative Producer’. And insisted I forward it to everyone on my phone.

‘Yes,’ I gulped. ‘But what’s that got to do with your being hacked by foreign powers?’

‘You’ve heard of that vixen, Amrutavalli, right? She runs that sidey dance school in California. Former student of Pankajam’s — actually part of the first batch — at her Nritya Canyon School of Bharatapudiyattam (NJ’s Only School of Indian Fusion Dance).’

I shook my head.

‘Well, the ingrate is putting up a dance ballet called ‘Dakini Kalyanam’. One week before my daughter’s performance. And it has the exact same concept as our ballet.’

‘I still don’t get it,’ I said.

‘You’re hopeless,’ mami said. ‘Which is why you’re still languishing in Besant Nagar when even our istriwallah Marimuthu has got his green card. Don’t you see the hand of foreign powers?’

I ignored her jibe.

Arré, can’t you see this is an attempt by that diabolical double agent Amrutavalli to malign my daughter’s reputation. Just before my daughter is awarded the Natya Gandabherunda award instituted by the Semi-legal Hispanic Gardeners Society of New Jersey?’

‘I guess,’ I said.

‘Remember, the same thing happened two years ago, just before she was awarded the Bhava Parakashta Natya Samayochitani by the East Coast Parents of NRIs Dedicated To Grandchild Welfare Association.’

‘What happened?’

‘The organiser was hospitalised. After eating the badam halwa made by my daughter at the pre-award dinner.’

‘I don’t get it.’

‘It was poisoned, fool,’ said Ambujam mami. ‘By that Amrutavalli woman, who hacked into my daughter’s phone, and slyly added an ingredient to the recipe my daughter was using that nearly killed the man. Award was cancelled. And my innocent child was saved only because the DA’s nephew learns mridangam from my son-in-law.’

‘I still don’t get it,’ I said.

‘Putin, you gnanashunyam, Putin!’ Ambujam Mami spat out. ‘With the possible involvement of Kim Jong Un and Meryl Streep. That’s who that Amrutavalli is working for, my sources tell me.’

When I continued staring, mami continued. ‘This is an attempt to bring disrepute to the patriotic NRIs of USA, I say!’ she said. ‘Sundar Pichai, Priyanka Chopra, my daughter — these foreign powers are unable to handle the glory coming their way. And they’re using a turncoat like Amrutavalli to achieve their ends. I am not going to let that happen.’

‘What are you going to do, mami?’

Mami gave me a look that would have made MN Nambiar go ‘Mummy!’

Margazhi is coming, no?’ she said. ‘She won’t know what hit her.’

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 6:24:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/of-double-agents-and-patriotic-nris/article35621676.ece

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