Saturday, February 02, 2008

Two-in-one: Bomb Sangam and Bill Bell

SB, you want a Scenes from a Marriage post? I give you Scenes from two marriages. With all the ingredients you asked for. But there's no way I am searching my archives to do that. Instead, what you get a brand new post. Other than for a certain insignificant detail which you will pick up fairly easily, I swear that this is the truth and nothing but the truth. As it happened this morning in your favorite London flat.

Skype call with Amma. Don in the background somewhere.

"Kannamma, I need some money"

"For what?"

"I am going to be a day trader"


"Yes, I have figured this all out. I need to make some money"

"But you said you needed money"

"Yes, to make some more"


"I know what you are thinking. This man has no money. Even if he does, I don't want it"

"I see"

"Now I know how this works. Mom keeps talking to daughter and swindles her. So this is why you keep calling my daughter all the time"

"Who asked you? Can't you see I am talking to her?"

"I can. That's the whole point. I am trying to learn from you"

"Kannamma, why don't you call on the phone? This man won't let us talk in peace"

"Its alright. He will be quiet. So why do you want to do all this trading?"

"I told you - to make more money"

"But you already do something with some mutual fund or something na?"

"Yes, but that is not enough"

"But amma, what do you know about this trading thing? Like what and when to buy and sell?"

"I definitely know more about it than you or your Dad"

"But that doesn't mean anything"

"Oh nonsense. Its all on TV"

"Wait, on TV they tell people what to buy and sell, and people are making money on this?"

"No no, its more complicated that that. There are some bits on CNBC which I have started listening to which are interesting. And then I talk to T aunty here and S aunty in Madras - they have these sources who gives them good tips. Then I talk to Brigand uncle who does these things regularly before making my final decision. I have already tried this out without any real money. I reckon I can make some decent money on this"

"OMG, this is the Japanese housewife thing all over again"

"What Japanese housewife thing? And you know I detest the word housewife. Your Dad loves the word because he can then be the diagonal opposite. The Sangam husband!"

"Sangam husband? Sangam is the opposite of house now?"

"Yes, it is. As you know, your Dad when he is not at work is at the Sangam. There's always some kaviaragam thing or some drama or some fundraising or some new building or something. Ask him whether he knows anything about this house"

"There she goes again. Don't you get any sleep unless you complain to Veena about me?"

"I asked you to not interrupt us. Can you please leave the room? And besides, how come you are here? Nothing happening in your beloved Sangam today?"

"Oh c'mon. Do I say anything about your temple visits and your trading or whatever it is? Is a man not allowed to pursue his interests in this house?"

"But that's the whole point. He doesn't pursue his interests in this house. He is never here. He doesn't know anything about the house. Or his family. Or rather, he doesn't care!"

"Yes, now I don't care!"

"Of course. Who runs this house? Who has to get plumber, and painter, and garderner and electrician? Who has to run and pay the electricity bill and water bill and wait, your credit card bills? Who manages the finances in this house? Do you even know how much money you have where?"

"No, and I don't particularly care"

"Precisely. My point"

"Just because I don't know how much money is there in some stupid bank account...."

"Doesn't mean that you know nothing about the Sangam finances. That will be in your computer as well as in your head. Down to the last paisa"

"You are talking nonsense now"

"You know why I want to make money? And why I am asking Veena for the initital amount? Because I want to save up enough and hire someone with a bomb who will bomb the Sangam building. I will feel guilty if I can take your money for it"

"You want to bomb what?"

"Your beloved Sangam building! Then at least you won't go there"

"Amma, amma, calm down. If I know anything about your husband, its that the minute you bomb the thing down, he will start planning for a new building. And guess how long that will take? You will never see him in your lifetime again"

"Yeah, that is so like him! Muruga! Why am I so unfortunate?"

"Why ask Murugan? He never asked you to marry me, did he? It was all your choice"

"My choice? Do you remember how many letters you wrote me? I still have a dozen forty page notebooks of letters"

"Amma, amma, that's the whole issue, isn't it? When he wrote that, you thought he was in love with you. The reality is that he was in love with the language. And his own writing"

"Et tu, daughter?"

"Ok enough. People, I need to go. As much as I like to sit here and listen to you both fighting, I need to fight my own battles. Tata. Will call tomorrow"

"Tata kannu. Take care"


"What was all that about?"

"Ah! You are awake"

"Yes, I thought I heard your parents fighting"

"So what's new?"

"How come we never fight?"

"We are just boring"

"Yeah man, true. So what were they fighting about?"

"The usual only. New thing is amma wants to be trader so that she can make money so that she can hire some people to bomb the Tamil Sangam building"

"Hmm. Talk about explosive returns on investment!"

"Explosive indeed. Ah well, I dreamt of Chicago last night. I miss Chicago"

"Wait, where did Chicago come from?"

"The movie yesterday[1]. Such lovely shots. Chicago in summer. Chicago in fall. UChicago. Hyde Park. I want to see Hyde Park"

"It's just a 15 minutes walk actually if you are so particular"

"Very funny"

"Yeah yeah. Just because you saw a movie which has Chicago in summer. They should have shot that entire movie in the winter"

"Didn't matter. I miss the snow too. What's winter without snow?"

"That's why you didn't go to Chicago for your company meeting in Jan"

"That was because of the Horsham project"

"So you say"

"Bill, Bill....oh God, come here, quick"

"What happened?"

"Someone's sneaked a gun into our living room. Some sort of machine gun. Come look"

"Trust the Don's daughter to say that"


"Nothing darling. Most people in this world of ours would identify what you are seeing as a violin case, that's all"

"I know that stupid. But what's a violin doing in my flat?"

"What's an AK 47 doing in your flat?"

"I don't know but isn't it more likely than a violin?"

"Is it?"

"Wait, what's a violon doing in my flat? Did you get it last night?"


"Whose is it?"




"Where did you get a violin from?"

"You remember that musical instrument store off Marylebone Rd?"


"From there. I did some research and figured out the model I want"


"What do you mean why?"

"Well, why did you get a violin?"

"Why would anyone get a violin?"

"I don't know about anyone but I know you and that's why I am asking you. Why did you get a violin?"

"Because I am learning to play it"

"You are?"

"Well, haven't started. I start next weekend"


"Yeah. I have always wanted to play the violin"

"How come I never heard of this before?"

"Perhaps because you haven't known me for my entire life?"

"That's possible, yes. So what happened then?"

"What do you mean?"

"Your story. You always wanted to play the violing..and then?"

"I met this woman on the train who is a violin instructor"


"We got to chat and she told me that she runs classes and I said I will join"

"Where are these classes?"

"At Canary Wharf. She lives there"

"Bill, you are a darling. You found your banker mistress!"

"I am afraid not. This is just a violin instructor"

"I see. So she is teaching you to play the violin in return for Math?"


"Are you teaching her Math?"

"No, why would she want to learn Math?"

"Well, she must be expecting something in return, no?"

"Yes, of course. The way these things work, you usually pay money and they teach you stuff"

"This might come as a surprise to you but actually, I happen to know how these things work"

"Then why are you asking vague questions?"

"Because you don't have money?"

"Oh, that way"

"Yes, that way"

"Its not that much also"


"Well, £25 an hour"

"No darling. That won't sound that much to you. Not when you are not making money"

"You know what? I am sick of this"

"Sick of what?"

"This only. Money all the time. We wonks also have lives you know. Like the movie yesterday. Some of us wear contact lenses, some of us date, some of us play in a rock band and some of us need to learn to play the violin. I can already do the i sonata on the viloin if you want"

"Even I can do the i sonata. I know what's imaginary, thank you"

"Ok ok, you know. The point is I need to do things in life other than Math or Computer Science. Like play the violin. And you need to fund this. See, you can even tell you friends how cool I am"


"Yeah. The point is I am like that geek chap in your Chicago movie yesterday"

"No, you are not"


"Darling, if you looked like Jake Gyllenhaal, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now, would we now?"

PS: SB, in case you were wondering:
Family = Amma and Don,
Friend = Bill,
Love = Chicago,
Me = Me,
Like = Jake Gyllenhaal.


[1] Proof. Warm and fuzzy, a little chick-flicky but the Chicago shots, and the presence of a geeky Jake Gyllenhaal made it all worth the £2 rental.

8 comments: said...

Bomb Sangam and Bill Bell?

nmouse said...

Believe it or not, that is actually quite reasonable in London, where £15-20 for half an hour is the norm. Actually, do make sure £25 is for the hour. Cheaper rates for beginners may be found under the tutelage of students at Marylebone's RAM or South Kensington's RCM/Imperial. If you're only 15 minutes from Hyde Park, you might even walk to either of those.

zedzded said...

cool! Next time we travel, Bill and blackmamba can have a jam session with their violins and djembe.
[BM was seen hopping flights with a violin]

Veena said...

nmouse: Thanks for the info. RAM is about a 5 mts walk from home! Do drop me an email if you know anyone who is good. And yeah, know £25 is reasonable by London standards but that's besides the point no? The point is Bill doesn't make enough money to afford it even it was £10 an hour :(

Zedzed: Oh no! You do realise you and I are going to have to listen to this jam session?

Tabula Rasa said...

black mamba has a djembe?! me too!

Space Bar said...

good thing you clarified at the end. :D

blackmamba said...

TR: yay! so now do you get to go on that beat-up VW bus with you all? :)

nmouse said...

Veena, I'm afraid there's no one who's there right now that I could recommend personally. Did Bill have his lesson yet? How'd it go?