Last year on her visit to Kerala my mom picked up an unusual pet. The dogs at home were ‘foreign’ breeds unlike the mallu mongrels (the canine breed dear reader) that roam the sylvan Kerala countryside she said. So she decided that she would bring something from her native place that would remind her of home. Imagine our shock when the good lady gets down from the car and removes a cane basket from the boot. Then with a mysterious glint in her eyes she walks into the house. After looking at each other in bemusement and wondering aloud about creature she has picked up from Kerala, we hurried inside.
She was in the backyard, gingerly opening the lid of the basket. As soon as she opened the lid, there was a fluttering and squawking and out jumped an enormous ‘naadan’ Rooster. The rooster took to his heels and ran helter skelter as though exercising his legs after the long journey cramped in the economy class of the basket. The four of us i.e. Dad, my brothers couldn’t believe our eyes. Of all the creatures in the world my mom thought of a Rooster????
After our rather dramatic introduction to the rooster, we were told by his proud owner i.e. my mom that she had decided to call him Raja!!! There was pin drop silence after she dropped this bit of info. I could almost touch the wise cracks that were hanging in the air unsaid, but we wisely refrained from clever remarks till later, like when she was out of earshot. Before my Dad could say "So when will we get to taste Raja?" my mom shot down the question with a "Don’t even think about it!" After 30 years of marriage, she knew that this would be first thing that would come to his mind.
The first thing my mom learnt rather painfully was that Raja was a hot-blooded young man, much vaunt to showing off in front of the ‘ladies’ from the village nearby. So it was difficult to keep him within the four walls of our compound. He easily flew to the wall and jumped down for his trysts with the ‘ladies’. My Dad thought that Raja had great potential. He told my mom rather flippantly that if she charged a rupee for every one of his ‘trysts’ she would be a millionaire by the end of the month. The remark didn’t go down too well and further explanations are with held.
The second painful lesson my Mom learnt was that since the time she had learned English way back in the 70’s, the language had changed quite a bit. So when she asked me "Where is the cock?" she couldn’t comprehend the reaction from my brother and his friends lounging nearby. The resultant explanation given by me left her rather red faced. She never used the ‘English’ word again and stuck by the mallu word “Kozhipoovan”.
Raja was a rebel too. He would crow only when the fancy struck him or a ‘lady’ passed by. He refused to wake up the household in the morning. He didn’t quite feel that it was his style. So just when we are having evening tea, he would let out a lusty “Cock-a-doodle dooo” startling us out of our skins. Once he shook the house with his crowing at 4 am. I didn’t know till then that my Dad could curse so fluently even at such an unearthly hour.
Then came disaster in the form of Mr. Rao, who had a clutch of Leghorn layers (egg laying birds) in his yard. Mr. Rao was an organic farmer and his brood was totally bought up on organic food. Raja in all honesty felt he was a very "organic" fellow and the result was disastrous. His "organic" trysts were soon discovered by Mr. Rao, who gave an earful to my Dad in very "inorganic" language.
Soon it became apparent to my Mom that she would have to curtail the love life of The King of good times or spend the rest of her days in various lower courts. My brother thought "Tandoori Raja" would be an excellent idea in curtailment. My mother told him rather sarcastically that if "Tandoori Raja" was a sure fire cure then she wouldn’t mind trying "Tandoori Son" very soon.
Finally after much conferring with our Vet, my Mom decided to build an enclosure to keep Raja’s libido in check...err I mean Raja in check. He is right now in his brand new enclosure and not too happy about it. And if I stay here another second, his loud protest crowing and clucking will drive me nuts. I have been so ready since early morning to go to the airport for the evening flight.
See you folks next week. Take care. I am off to Simla :)