Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Vasishtar(Visitor) Visa!


“Make it fast Arunthathi, we are going to be late for the pickup”, yelled Vashisht standing outside their bathroom.She has been in there for close to an hour wrapping up her saree and drying her hair. They had to rush to the New York airport to pick up Sambar Podi, Rasam Podi, Aavaka Oorukai and Mormolagai through Air India. Oh, did I mention, Vashisht’s parents were coming along with those items as well.


“Can you stop yelling for few minutes? I cannot be in and out in 5 minutes like you do. It takes time for a woman” came the reply with a decibel level that was not appropriate to human ears.
Img courtesy - This blog

“ Arunthathi, can you increase the size of your pottu(bindhi)? I have to use a microscope to spot one on your forehead”. Arunthathi calls Vashisht ‘old school’, but him being her husband, Vashisht was not allowed to comment on what she does. But today was an exception, as she has to face Lokanathan, a ‘pottu evangalist’.She also had to trade in her low-waist jeans for a traditional pattu(silk) saree. She knows the next 60 days are going to be an uphill and she wanted the right first impression.


“Welcome mama and mami, did you find it difficult to make the connection at Frankfurt airport?” asked Arunthathi with her trademark (fake) smile

“The Asian vegetarian food had nothing but raw greens. I need some rasam badly. Can you make me some good rasam when we get home?” asked Meenakshi betting high on Arunthathi’s culinary skills.
le “So Vashisht, How is the economy nowadays” started Lokanathan. It has just been a 20 hour flight and he talked to Vashisht every single day before he boarded the flight. Somehow the moment he touched down, his eagerness in US economy was on par with Ben Bernanke! “What are your views on Obama’s policies, Vashisht?  I heard he is giving the state of the union address today” he continued.

“Forget about his Views da, is there any good News son?” interjected the curious mother, Meenakshi.

“Amma, please. It’s just been a year since we got married” hushed Vashisht.

“Krishnamoorthy’s grandson is also in New Jersey. Can we go and meet him this weekend? ” Lokanathan continued. He always had this idea that Indians living in the US are somehow familiar to each other and it was totally possible to pin down an Indian just by his name.

So he made statements like -
“Dai Vashisht, I heard that Raghavan just came to the US. See if you can go and meet him?” and something like “Can I give some parupu podi for you with Gowri? She is coming to New Jersey to do her MS”

The concept of country/state/address were non-existent with Lokanathan. Vashisht is used to it by now and did not bother to respond with sarcasm.
Image Courtesy - The Hindu

In preparation of their arrival, Vashisht’s house went through a laundry list of changes. Moving to two bedroom, hooking up a SUN TV connection, re-dusting his pancha paathram and pooja shelves to name a few.

"Dai Vashisht, today is Aadi Velli. I made your favorite paal payasam. Have it before you rush to work" compelled Meenakshi. Vashisht couldn't ask for more. His cereal mornings now became a Idly/Dosai morning, and yes - no Rajma chaval anymore. Meanwhile Meekankshi’s mega serial evenings saw no change 7000 miles apart.  That was not the case with Arunthathi tho. He couldn't make her favorite Dhal makhani for dinner anymore. The Adai/Aviyal overtook Aloo Tikki as a predominant evening food.

“Hello Vashisht, this smoke alarm has starting making loud noises.  I am not sure what to do.  Can you come on video chat” the requests for online help were plenty and continued during Vashisht’s work hours.  

3 weeks in, now Lokanathan had made twice as much friends in the community than Vashisht had made in his entire life.  "Vashisht, lakshmi from unit 503 is a very nice lady da.  They are from Thirupathi.  They wanted us to come over for dinner this Saturday.  And oh, Rajdeep from #212 also invited us for his 2nd sons 3rd birthday party this Sunday"
Lokanathan had officially take over Vashisht's weekend calendar.  He was not complaining with the free food at every party.  But the pressure on Vashisht and Arunthathi kept building for the good news with several enquiries from other parents at the party.  After all food doesn’t come for free!


“Vashisht, this is great da!  The views from the top of the empire state building is breath taking.  Let me take a selfie before your mother walks in.”  Lokanathan was exited holding the phone to his face.”

"Forget about the views pa, we have some good news!  Have some sweets pa. “

Meenakshi barged in hearing the news from behind.  “See I told you.  There was something fishy with today’s plans.  I am so happy for you Arunthathi.  Oh my god, I am going to be a grand mother at this young age of 65!.  Give me your phone, I need to call like a million people to convey the news”

They truly were on top of the world! 




Vashishtar Who?
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