Friday, September 25, 2009

veena vadan

Beating the Heat
Veena P Koul
“What should be done to avoid drowsiness while driving,” I asked young and smart lady working as computer assistant in my office. It is almost 3 pm that we leave from office for home every working day. Lately I experienced that due to scorching heat I feel drowsy while driving at this time of the day. “Madam, it is very dangerous to drive while you feel sleepy. I have heard people talk of very serious accidents within a wink of sleep,” she exclaimed. “Yes, I am conscious of that and hence am seeking a remedy to avoid sleep a wink,” I replied. Both of us observed calm till we reached the stop where she gets down for her home and I heard her saying, “kindly take care. You may call any of your friends to keep yourself busy and alert.” Saying this she got down and I was left to myself. Suddenly I thought of calling my friend. I dialed her number. “Hello,” I said. “Hello,” she replied almost straining herself to maintain cool, which normally she never loses. “What a hell it is to attend kitchen in this hot weather at the peak hour of the day. Anyway, what is it?” She sounded fatigued and disturbed. I wasted no time in replying, “Nothing dear, carry on.” I drove for sometime again and got reminded of another friend. After exchanging compliments he asked, “What is this noise? Oh I see! You are driving? It is very risky to talk on mobile while driving. Moreover, I am a law-abiding citizen and you too try to be so.” Saying this he immediately went off the line. The bit of his mind that he gave me worked good enough to keep me alert and ensured my safe drive to home. But at the same time I cursed myself for even attempting to call any one while driving. Thankfully, next day my smart computer assistant had come up with a new formula. “What is it?” I sounded excited. Very eagerly I watched her opening her purse and taking out a chewing-gum. “Madam, chew it. This will surely help you,” she sympathised while getting down at her stop. I took one and started chewing it. After a while I got reminded of how people make bubbles out of the chewing-gum, which I had of course never attempted. Could I do it? A strange thought crossed my mind and I started with the process of making one. At the beginning, the exercise was futile but with trial and error method I finally succeeded. I felt happy like a child when I could make easily one bubble out of my chewing-gum, though a small one. Now I tried for bigger ones, as I had seen people with big bubbles around their lips, almost of the size of their face. I succeeded in blowing out some big ones too. While one such big bubble was around my lips, I saw my much respected teacher coming from the opposite direction and watching me very curiously. I tried to bow in respect but only could see a strange expression of surprise on his face. ‘Sir, yes chewing-gum…… sir, I know it is unbecoming of me…… sir, in fact I was … yes sir, I teach my students not to have it, not in class, not in the face of others, yes sir… I understand but this was only to beat heat… No sir, bubbles… yes sir, that is shameful but it so happened… yes sir, we teach our students and we are the role-models for them….. But sir this heat and drowsiness… yes sir, even then. Sir, definitely I should not have blown bubbles at this age, never sir, I should have remembered I am your taught and above all a teacher.’ Suddenly I heard a strange voice from the other side, “Madam, what are you thinking? Are you alright? Should I open the gate for you? Oh my God, you are perspiring.” It was my neighbour feeling very much concerned about me. I suddenly realised that I had reached my home, stopped my car at the gate side, with chewing-gum spread all over my face. I simply heard myself saying, ‘No more tips. Now never.’

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