Monday, January 14, 2008

A tryst with Tampa uncle

Narmada , a young thing in her early twenties was working in a renowned software company after her engineering degree. A versatile woman she had varied interests. She wrote good poems that were regularly published in magazines, adept in playing violin though she learnt it to please her mother and could sing Hindi film songs like a professional in her sweet voice. She had a blog of her own where she posted her poems and thoughts regularly. An extrovert she was friendly by nature and had many friends. Her mom was pressing her to get married but she was not keen about it. She desired to go to US for a couple of years. But her father had retired from service with a meager pension and she had a younger sister in college. Narmada’s earnings were a great support to the family.
One day she saw a comment from someone under name Bard posted in her blog picking flaws in her poem. Narmada felt the comment was a bit harsh and unfair. She wrote back contesting the comments made and wished the critic were gentle in his words. This started a regular exchange of mails initially that yielded to online chat regularly. While Narmada’s profile was known to him from her blog, she had no inkling about him except that he was also in the computer line based in Tampa, US and perhaps elderly as he wanted her to address him as Tampa uncle. But she found his mails and chats very interesting, jovial and educative too. Being loquacious by nature, she gradually was drawn into discussing her likes and dislikes and even her personal problems in office and home. She had told him that she preferred to listen to Sonu Nigam and Shan than play violin, eat Italian pastas and Mexican food instead of the drab South Indian fare and liked to watch Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan along with Hritik Roshan and the inimitable SRK. Tampa uncle seemed a perfect gentleman, vibing well with her youthful tastes and giving proper advice when sought for without seeming to be inquisitive. He gently advised her to learn cooking an art she had been neglecting. She grew to like him much for his gentle disposition and had even sent her resume to him. When they advertised for suitable groom and spread word amongst relatives and friends for a prospective match, she could do little to stop them. She wrote about her plight to Tampa uncle complaining how unrelenting her parents were. To her dismay he advised her to go along with her parents as they knew what is good for her.
In a couple of months they found a highly qualified professional from US through some friend. The young man was based in New York and was expected the next month. When Narmada informed Tampa uncle him about the developments, he was happy for her. He told her that he would also be visiting India soon and hoped to be present for the wedding. Narmada was elated at the prospect of meeting her good friend and mentor.
On the appointed day the young man Vasudevan came along with his parents to Narmada’s place for meeting her. He looked tall, handsome and a bit dusky with curly hair. Narmada too was an ideal match for him. Needless to say, it was a case of love at first sight. After the pleasantries, they went to a separate room to talk and know each other better.Vasudevan broke the silence telling her that he had no questions to ask her and that he liked her very much. He asked Narmada to seek the answers for the questions bothering her. She smiled coyly and said she too had nothing to ask him.Vasudevan smiled at her and said he had one stipulation to make before proceeding further bringing jitters to Narmada. Being qualified he wanted her to work in US as additional income would be welcome. He paused for some time before adding that she must remit fifty percent of her earnings to her parents each month. She was flabbergasted for a few minutes rendering her speechless and wondering how he read her mind. She involuntarily folded her hands doing a namaste and bending to touch his feet. He lifted her and said he was fond of a typical Tamilian food though he liked very much pastas and had a weakness for Mexican enchiladas and cheese quesadillas .When a thrilled Narmada asked him about carnatic music, he confessed his partiality towards Hindi songs by Sonu Nigam and Chitras songs in Tamil. A doubt crossed her mind and asked him whether he knew any elderly gentleman in Tampa.Vasudevan could not contain his mischievous smile and asked her “Are you talking of Tampa uncle and his girl friend in Chennai?” She now knew the whole game and started hitting him fondly with both hands on his chest amidst shrieks of joy. The perplexed parents rushed in to see the blushing young couple holding their hands in laughter.

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