I am planning on writing a book on guys. No, no... it is not a book on 'how to snare guys and keep him in 10 steps' kinda books. But the kind of book that makes a guy less of an alien to girls.
I grew up in a house infested with guys. That was two batches of friends of my two brothers and some gate crashers. Till today we have no clue as to who the gate crashers were. In fact we came to know of this phenomenon at a family dinner the other day.
Dad: And Suman...it must be almost 20 years since you met G (eldest bro) right?
Suman: Yes! But I am not his friend.
Dad: Then you must be M’s ( second bro) friend.
Dad: hmmm then how do we know you?
Suman: I was walking by your house one day and saw your dog. I stopped by to pet him and aunty came and made me wash my hands and sit for dinner. Since then I come here regularly.
Dad: Ah! Some more chicken son?
We had boys all around us. In fact I am sure I saw one of my brother’s friends when I first came into this world.
"Uncle come see what came out of aunty’s stomach!!"
Ha ha I am kidding, but I am sure my Dad would have rushed to the hospital with at least a dozen boys in tow as leaving them in the house would be more destructive than leaving a running unmanned bulldozer in the house. And people who would have noticed a man rushing into the maternity ward with several small boys in tow, would have shaken their heads in exasperation and pointed their fingers at my Dad as an outstanding example of the failure of the country’s Family Planning policies.
If there was an Earthquake in Bangalore, most people would grab their two kids and run out of the house. My folks had it a little more difficult than others. They would have to look under the beds (sulking boys), water tank (chilling out boys), garage (taking the car apart but dunno how to put it back boys) kitchen (snacking boys), kitchen cabinets (collecting cockroaches boys) kennel (teasing the dogs boys) Outhouse (sneakily trying out cigarettes boys) trees (climbed up but dunno how to climb down boys) etc. etc etc etc The only place there were no boys in the house was my room. Most 8 – 12 years olds treat little girls like vermin.
If we were invited for weddings, the card specifically said, Mr & Mrs Philip and “their” kids. People realized soon enough that mentioning the word family would mean that the Philip family would outnumber the guests 1 - 10 out of which 8 people would be very dirty, very unkempt and very uninvited guests! My parents usually attended weddings alone so that one of them could baby sit the house to ensure it is not burnt down by the time they came back from the wedding.
Meal times in my house were interesting. Guys eat only meat! Period. And the ones who didn’t were soon converted with or without their knowledge!
Venu’s mom: What is that thing Venu ate at your house yesterday? I searched the whole vegetable market but no one had Shahi Mussalam!
My mom: err umm it is out of season at the moment. Will let you know when it comes into season.
Venus mom: Ah! Appadiyaa!
Venu's mom waited many seasons in vain and then forgot all about it and blamed her son's subsequent conversion to pure non vegetarianism, to Kalyug!
Side stepping the vegetarian parents and maintaining good parental relations was a task more daunting than ballet dancing on a tight rope!
Mrs Srinivasan: Mrs Philip, what is that bonda you packed for G’s lunch the other day? My son says it was delicious!
Mom (cursing G) : err that is called Potato Kabab!
Mrs Srinivasan: You must give me the recipe!!
Mom: I am so sorry I can’t. It is a secret family recipe handed over from my great grandom you know!
Mrs Srinivasan: I understand! I wouldn’t part with my secret Lemon Rasam recipe either! Heh heh
Mom (nervously): heh heh *whew*
Since corporal punishment was banned in the house via my Dads diktat, my mom had to take her frustrations out on the then cat called Amminikutty!
Mom: I am so mad at those boys. One day I will land in a mental asylum because of them!!!
Mom: How long can I keep side stepping peoples questions!!!
Mom: Soon people will stop talking to us!
Mom (breaking down): I can’t take this anymore!
Mom (brightening up): Thanks Amminikutty! You are such a great help. Here is a piece of fish for you!
Amminikutty died of feline obesity soon after but not before my Mom had learned to better control her feelings with Valium.
There were certain rules in the house for my brothers and their guests. No swearing. Water bottles had to filled up and kept back in the fridge after use, no littering and no troubling their host’s sister and her friends (and thus the cockroaches collected had to be set free).
Dad: Rajesh! How many times have I told you that you that you cannot put Cockroaches in the girls room!!!
Rajesh: But Uncle you told me to release them!!
Dad: You make sense son...so I won’t thrash you! Sigh.
Now having two sets of boys in the house of two different age group had its problems. Especially since the age difference between the two group was three plus years. The elder group members (EGM) considered the younger group members (YGM) essential vermin as they were easy picking as child labor for their various activities. As a result, the younger group earned quite a lot of money in my house, fetching stuff and polishing bicycles and telling lies on their behalf.
YGM to Dad: See I got 50 paise for cleaning Vinods bike!!
Dad: Good! So you must be making fifty paise per bike everyday? You will be a rich boy at the end of the month!!
YGM (proudly): This is my whole month’s salary for cleaning all the bikes!
The EGM’s however underestimated their slave’s capacity to hold fort for them.
Dad: Where are the big boys Anil?
Anil: They are studying!
Dad: And what are they studying
Anil: They are studying some girl’s pictures behind the house!
Dad: $%@&!! err I mean thank you!
We girls were also entrusted with special errands by the EGM and made quite a lot of chocolates out of them!
Dev an EGM: Tina, will you give this note to Anita in 8th A tomorrow?
Tina: We are not allowed to go to the High School!
Dev: Please!!! I will give you a Chocolate da!
Next day while Tina and me chomped on the chocolate wondering how we could get past the Primary School gates and reach the High School, Anita walks past!
Tina: Dev gave this for you!
Anita: Thank you! Is he your brother?
Anita: Then how do you know him?
Tina: We deliver notes for him!
Dev spent many a day hoping for a reply and then resigned himself to rejection. This was his 657th rejection and Tina and me became a beacon of sorts for the high school gals…a beacon that says, here comes the girls who deliver notes from losers!
Atul (another EGM): Anju, will you take this note and give it to Sheela in 9th B?
Me: What is this?
Atul: err just some Maths homework!
Next day, while Tina and me chomped on the chocolate wondering how we could get past the Primary School gates and reach the High School, who but Sheela’s Maths teacher walks past! No prizes for guessing what happened next, but Sheela and Atul spent some quality time in detention...alone and the entrepreneurial talents of two budding Courier tycoons was very tactfully, nipped in the bud.
Now with experience this rich and varied, I am sure you will all agree that that my book will be a definite best seller!