10th of May, 2009 (Sharmila’s wedding) – An unforgettable day for me, Seji and Prajith.
It has been days of planning for Sharmila’s wedding. Planning among the QA and the past QA staff, to ensure that they are present for the wedding of the smallest and sharpest member of the QA team. I started my planning from Monday, the 4th of May. I planned to get my family for the wedding and also extend this marriage trip to include other small pleasure tours for my kids. As usual I planned it out and was expecting a couple of guys from the QA team to join me. I wanted Sreeram and Joji to join me so that they could direct me on the route and the alternatives if needed. Sreeram was playing around the bush and did not give me a definite reply. I wondered why? It would be days before I realized the reason for this.
Joji expressed his inability to come since he had planned some trip to his sister-in-laws place at Malayatoor. So I was left to myself to continue this trip without any solid support. I was getting myself into the groove to move across in Mallu-land, since it is difficult for me to read the boards in malayalam and to sometimes understand what people say. It could have been compounded by the fact that Thrissur people have a different slang which I may not at all understand. So I was ready for the challenge with my navigator, my wife. On Thursday, May 7th, Sreeram confirmed that he is making the trip with the past QA members. I made further enquiries and found that the group included Suma, Shiny and gang. Well, I thought, was that the reason why he was shunting me out. No guesses, he wanted to be in beautiful company. Not his problem, everyone desires to be in beautiful company. No grouse, Sreeram. Sreeram also confirmed Joji’s inclusion. I thought to myself, these guys have done a double whammy with me. So the guys I was counting on had shifted sides. Suma, Shiny, Your presence was magic enough to wean these guys away from me. I have no complaints.
With a day remaining for the trip, I was gearing up for the long haul. On Saturday, May 9th, my wife called me up and expressed the inability to make to the trip and asked me to make alternative arrangements. So I had to make the trip alone. This could have turned out to be a treasure hunt; with the police on a treasure hunt for a Mr. Nobody in the heart of mallu-land. It was then I remembered Seji making enquiries with Ma’am on the availability to make the trip to the wedding.
I talked to Seji and he was ready. I said to myself “Thank God, I have company. Though not beautiful company, I have the sensible, intelligent company. No chance of being lost now in mallu-land.”
Saturday, May 9th saw a turn of events. My daughter angel was not keeping well and she was out of sync. I was the one to keep her company for the night and I did manage to put her to sleep by early morning. By that time it was time to get ready. I somehow waited some more time to really know the fact if anything is wrong with her. I was supposed to move out of my home at 5:30 am. I was now past 6:00, before I decided to move out and pick up Seji from his Kizhambalam home. I reached Seji’s place by 6:20 am and made our way to kadavanthara to pick up another sensible company “Prajith”. On reaching Kadavanthara, I was surprised to see Mr. Tharun with Prajith. As per my knowhow he was supposed to go to Mala and make his way to the wedding from his home. I learnt that Prajith had tried to call me to inform that Tharun is also accompanying us on the trip. I had the previous evening been hunting for my son’s school accessories and could not hear the mobile ring in the not-so-famous traffic jams of Kochi.
We made our way to Guruvayoor for the wedding by stocking the vehicle with bananas, biscuits and water. It was supposed to be atleast a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. By the time we reached there it was already past 10 and more. Prajith and me had planned to visit the temple and take blessings from the Lord before we could meet Sharmila. When we reached there, it became all the more desperate, since both of us had enough reasons to seek blessings. Prajith’s mother was not well and he had wanted to pray for his mother. I had a similar notion to seek blessings for my daughter who had suffered the preceeding night. So I decided to go there for my kids. Me and Prajith saw a huge line and tried to find out the thread process. We walked through ground and between verandah’s and staircases and atlast saw the end of the line for seeking the divine blessings. We joined the line, with doubts writ large on our faces if we could conclude our day successfully. It was then I remembered I had some money which I had set aside for my daughters divine rites. So I rushed back to the car and got them. I rejoined Prajith in the line and made our way to the Sanctum Sanctorium. By the time we had gone through the grind it was already 12:15 pm. Prajith sought out a local phone booth and called Seji to know the status and if we had the chance to meet Sharmila and her better half. Seji jolted us by saying “She has already left by 10:30”. Seji said “Her parents are here and you can meet them.”.
So we went back to the car; I removed my mundu and put on my trousers. We got ready and made our way to meet her parents. We reached the hall, “Panchajanyam hall” and tried to locate her parents. We guessed there were another couple of marriage reception in the hotel and knew it would be tough locating her parents. I only knew her mother from the photograph Sharmila had taken for the engagement. With the image deeply etched in my memory, we set about searching her mother. It took us a atleast 3 sorties in and out of the hotel to finally locate her mother. We immediately latched on to her, like a missile seeking the target and got her to converse. We put across the fact that we got late and we could not meet Sharmila. We talked to Sharmila’s parents for some time and decided to move out.
When we left Guruvayoor, Seji, me and Prajith was thirsty and hungry. After a couple of hundred metres, we saw a fruit juice shop and wanted to quench our thirst with some delicious fruit juice. In the excitement, I left my car keys inside and we locked the doors. As we were walking up to the shop, I remembered, I had not taken the keys. I then tried to open the door with some suspicious techniques that I had learnt from Sujith, the former driver in Cordiant. We enquired with some shops out there for a scale or a metal strip so that I could begin with my task. We got a hacksaw blade and a steel scale but no success, since the door lever was more inset in the Alto than the Maruti 800. Seji finally managed to get a fork that is typically used in workshops. As luck could have it, I was not too successful this day. It normally took a few jabs to the lever to open the door (in 5 minutes). However May 10 was not our day, atleast not my day. I tried for an hour and finally managed to get the door open. Atlast we made it. We had our lime soda and then made our trip back home. By the time we reached Ernakulam it was already 3:00 pm. Another 1 hour to see our home.
Prajith had to go home to meet his mother and Seji had to make another family trip to see the evening through. I dropped them at their starting points and continued on my journey home. Now it was the turn of Seji and Prajith to seek another adventure on their own. I can’t wait to hear from them. It surely was an unforgettable day, where faith preceeded reasoning, faith defied logic and reasoning. Otherwise Prajith and me would surely have met Sharmila and then sought the divine blessings. But the separate incidents of his mother’s health and my daughter’s health saw us shift our focus from our predefined objective of meeting Sharmila. After all we are humans.
Sharmila, We are extremely sorry for all. We are waiting for you to return back. We will be sitting ducks for you to turn on the heat. You are justified in doing just that. The compensation is that we did not totally miss you. We met your parents and had our own small talk with them. That is the only silver lining in the dark cloud on the 10th of May, 2009.