Jose my cousin brother was a distraught man. He looked haggard, his face drawn and white and unshaven. He had that hunted look on his face of people being chased by Bank Collectors. Well… I don’t know how such people look but I am guessing here. Don’t be so judgmental now! Jose dropped in home for the weekend and my mom gasped when she saw her favorite nephew looking a shadow of his former self. After she had tidied him up and fed him and fussed over him, we heard Jose’s dukh bhari kahani.
Jose lives in a one room apartment in Chennai. He was a direct placement from an Engineering college into one of the IT companies there. One fine day, he got a call from his long forgotten Kindergarten buddy. Buddy, lets call him Thomas, was trying desperately to get in touch with him.
Thomas: Are you Jose from St. Josephs School?
Thomas: From St. Xavier’s?
Thomas: St. Aloysius perhaps?
Jose: No, Rajagiri actually!
Thomas: Ah! Then you are the Jose I am looking for. I was your classmate in Kindergarten you know.
Jose: hmmm I don’t remember any Thomas in my class.
Thomas: A class in a Kerala school without a Thomas? LOL!!! Not possible!
Jose: What do you want?
Thomas: Well…my younger brother is coming to Chennai for his first job. He needs accommodation for a few days till he finds his own. It will be just a few days!
Jose: hmm I …
Thomas: It’s settled then. Tinto will be there in some time. Bye
Next minute there as a knock on the door. When Jose opened the door a two hundred pounder of a guy walked in with his luggage and deposited the same on the floor with a thud, before collapsing on the sofa.
Tinto: Endhoru choodu! (It is very hot)
Tinto: Please put on the fan!
Jose: err yes! Sure!
Late in the evening as Jose made dinner, Tinto woke up from his siesta and lumbered into the tiny kitchen,
Tinto: Cheta, what are you cooking?
Jose: Rice and Sambhar!
Tinto: Have you any beef in the house?
Jose: I think there is some in the fridge!
Tinto: Would you like some Beef Fry to go with that rice?
Jose (brightening up): Yes!! I would love some!!
Tinto: Great! Make it spicy okay? I love my Beef Fry spicy!
Later in the night when Jose was cleaning up after a dinner of Rice, Sambhar and Beef Fry, Tinto walked in.
Tinto: Cheta where do I sleep?
Jose: I have an extra mattress and…
Tinto: Great! Nice of you to sleep on the mattress.
Tinto: Good Night!
Much later in the night as poor Jose tossed and turned on the mattress on the floor, Tinto got up and woke him up from his misery!
Tinto: Cheta are you feeling hot?
Jose: Not particularly!
Tinto: Then I guess you wouldn’t mind putting off the fan!
Jose tossed and turned and when it became unbearably hot, went to the verandah and lay down, where he slept, swatted mosquitoes covered himself with blanket and fanned himself with a newspaper (not necessarily in that order he says). Around 2 am Tinto woke him up again from the miserable routine.
“Cheta I think I hear a burglar” he said in a fearful whisper. “That’s just the neighbor’s pet monkey” reassured Jose snuggling into the sheet. “No, I swear I saw him jumping to our roof” said Tinto whispering hoarsely. Jose sighed and went out groggily to tell Kannan to stop jumping on the roof and be a good boy when out of the blue a stick ran blows on his back. Not to be outdone Jose lunged at the attacker with the choicest Kung Fu and Karate moves he had seen on TV. A fierce battle ensured with neither the attacker nor Jose really sure what they were fighting for, as the attacker spoke Tamil and Jose is yet to learn Tamil. By the time the neighbors had separated the two, it was dawn and Jose and his landlord beheld each other in absolute disbelief.
By now the landlord was pretty sure that it was Jose who comes sneaking in the night to see his daughter and asked him to move out. Jose cannot imagine ANYONE leave alone himself, running after the landlord’s daughter who looks like an obese Hippopotamus with a cleft palate.
Tinto was then invited to take over as tenant and Jose found another place to live. Peace was restored in Jose’s life or so he thought when the phone rang. It was Tinto.
Jose is back to sleeping on the floor on the mattress while Tinto occupies the bed. There is no Kannan in this house. But the landlord’s has a son called Karthik and a cat called Kummi.
To cut a rather long story short, Tinto has been asked by the landlord to take over the house
And Jose is looking for another house.
( p.s a certain gentleman and his three children have been warned of dire consequences if they so much as smile at someone's nephews plight. For comic relief they use the garden. Which reminds me I need to go to the garden urgently now. Have a nice week folks!)