The placement section of the university had been busy and ensured all the kids got reasonably good jobs.
Roshni,Ranjith,Sneha,Iliyas,Varadarajan &Jenny were the most popular and sought after in the placement interviews,not only because of their brilliance but also because of their talent.All through their Engineering ,it was always who the best all round performer was.This never divided them but brought them closer.
Finally it was the three pairs,Roshni & Ranjith,Sneha & Iliyas,Varadharajan &Jenny who emerged out of the college into the big bad world ready to take it by its horns.
By choice they decided that each of them will join different organisations,but will ensure their togetherness as friends.As loving pairs,they thought this would be the best way to test the old saying,seperation will make the heart go fonder !What a way to test it.
With Roshnis,Iliyas & Varadarajans family being very staunch in their beliefs,they were also not sure how they were going to face the future but were determined to succeed.All belonged to Chennai.The break after their final was long and they were meeting often exchanging notes on their future.As Sneha would be the first to leave and join her job in Bengaluru,they decided to have a get together.
In one of the evening meetings,Jenny got a brilliant idea of inviting the family members too for the get together ,so that it would not only bring them all together but also give an oppurtunity for the youngsters to judge their reactions.When Sneha said she wanted to ask Iliyas parents point blank,he could give only a smile.Ranjith was tempted to say the same & so was Jenny.But they thought they had time.The date was fixed as last sunday of the month.
Mangayarkarasi,was 21 when she got married to Ratnavel Pandyan.Coming from down south,again conservatism was dominant.She was now 26,and still had not given birth to grandchildren for his parents.This was nagging them both ,but didnt know how to handle it.Both being in police,their job was also exhausting which left them with no energy for being together & to understand each other.Besides the pressures of job had led Pandyan to vices,including drinking.The only way was to go the IVF way,Manimeghalai,a fellow constable,told Mangayarkarasi( Arasi ).With great difficulty she persuaded her husband to accompany her to the doctor.Entire route ,he was mumbling that only she had the problem and that he was perfect.At docs place,it was clear who had the problem,and Arasi pleaded with the Doc ,non verbally thru her eyes ,not to disclose the fact.The Doc ,in a jiffy understood the matter and handled the issue in the most sensible manner.She never conveyed her diagnosis,but just insisted both needed to come at least twice a week,even if seperately,it was ok.
It was last sunday of the month and Doc conveyed the good news to her and she was bubbling with joy.It was 11 am and she rushed home,Pandyan was away to nearby district on escort duty for a minister.He would be back only by evening and had told her not to call since the minister was of nasty type and that he would call when he had time.Arasi prepared all nice things,mutton briyani,kaadai,Parotta,Kari meen in kerala style which Pandyan just loved and not forgetting the payasam with jaggery.
Leaving everything near the Aduppu,(Stove )Arasi left for the police station and from there for her rounds near the subway since it would need all the police personnel to control the vehicles and the maddening crowd near the jewellery & Saree shop for which that area was famous for.Besides a Brand new shop called SWARNAPURI was inaugurated just two days back.
Swarnapuri,as the name suggested was the brainchild of a political bigwig,who ensured his building violated every rule in the book.A 10 storied building,wherein he allocated the first five floors to restaurant,a mini theatre,jewellary shop & ofcourse the silk saree shops.Every floor that way was self contained shoppers paradise.The top five floors was a star rated hotel,and the basement,2 storied below the ground level, a huge carpark and a centralised utility centre with aircons,generator,laundry to the hotel and gas supply to each restaurant.
The hotel in the complex ensured foreigners never had to leave the complex and simply buy ,buy & buy only.
Arasi: Enna Kader bhai,sowkyama.( Kader Bhai,How are you)
Kader: Nalla irukken Ettamma,(I am fine ),by the grace of Allah
This Swarnapuri has really brought in good business for me & if it goes on like this I will be,God willing,be able to go on Haj with my savings soon.Today itself I have sold 200 balloons and I have orders for 200 more.Cant you see upstairs in the third floor restaurant 100 children are celebrating a birthday party.
Arasi: very good kader bhai. Muniyamma ,what are you upto?Enna indha vayasila balloon vechhittu vilayattu.( What, you are playing with balloons at this age )
Muniyamma : 100 molam of jasmines I have already sold and I thought I will help Kader bhai to meet the demand of Balloons. I have never seen Kader Bhai so excited all his life. Avanga oor kovil mela avvalavu bhakti Kader Bhaikku.Enakkum punniyan kidaikkattume. ( Kader Bhai loves his temple so much. adds jocularly,let me also get his Gods blessings )
Arasi almost felt like sharing her good news too,but decided against.She wanted it to be shared with her hubby first.She was worried &disappointed that he had hadnt called her yet.
Roshni,Ranjith,Sneha,Iliyas,Varadarajan &Jenny spoke to their respective parents and convinced them to be a part of a grand get together.Jennys parents & Snehas parents took the lead in cooperating with their children,for their kids had already confided about the objective of the meeting.They took it in their way and assured they would play a vital role in convincing other parents.On friday night it was decided they would meet for dinner on Sunday evening.Only Roshinis father said he wouldnt be able to make it and had left town on Thursday.
On sunday evening,all the members of the families trooped into the restaurant and occupied the vantage seats to enjoy the evening.Some knew the actual reason for the meeting,some didnt !The kids had their sheepish smile ,and were excited that their future would be known soon.Soon the dinner became noisy and full of laughter.
Bashas bedding store one of the oldest shop in that area had resisted all temptations of modern times and continued to exist among the dazzling buildings.Basha,a God fearing person ,firmly believed God would guide him properly and never got enamoured by the developments & money offers to buy over his place.
Basha : vaa,jaani,enna romba naallukku appuram vare.( Welcome Janni,you are here after a long time)
Jaani was his classmate and they studied together upto college.Both their families also were close.But Basha had not met Jaani for past few months and was excited to see him.
jaani : ille Basha,velai romba adhigam( I was busy with work) & therefore could not make it
Basha : appo oru phone aachum panni irukkalaam ille.( At least you could have called me )
Jaani : You know Basha, I dislike phone & mobile and hardly use them
Basha : come on friend.After you have walked in ,at least ten times your phone has rung.But why dont you pick up the calls.Is it somebody who has given you a loan or you have another family set up.
Both had a hearty laugh.Only jaani knew the real reason.10 rings and all the 10 floors had been covered.Yes swargapuri had been booby trapped.
Basha & Jaani came out of the shop and were standing and watching the tamasha around.It was time for jaani to activate the master timer and move out of the scene.He knew the damage would be so heavy that Bashas shop wouldnt escape the effect. He wanted his friend to escape.But obviously he could not spell it out.
The party in the of the kids, was going on full swing and jennys / Snehas parents took charge of the evening and gently breaking the news to other parents.Some were shocked while some simply wanted to walk away from the scene. Roshini very much wanted her father to be around and she knew he would never say no to him.
She was blankly staring out of the window.
Jaani : basha ,vaa tea kudichuttu varalam ( lets go and have a cup of tea )
Basha agreed and started locking up the shop.
Basha : With this Swarnapuri around I dont think anyone will come to my
Jaani : thought to himself,dont worry Basha,it wont take away your business
Roshini suddenly realised it was her father and Basha uncle walking across on the road.She literally leapt up and started waving out, hoping her father would glance up.She screamed to her people that her father must have returned to attend the party.All of them stood near the glass window and somehow wanted to grab his attention.
Meanwhile jaani pressed the button on his mobile activating the sequence. In two minutes flat he had to be away from the scene.
Roshini called her father on his mobile.She would use it very rarely since she knew her father never liked mobiles.
Jaani was surprised his home mobile rang & that too from Roshini. He was puzzled but nevertheless answered.
Jaani : yes child, anything urgent ?
Roshini : yes Papa, I know you would make it for my sake from the tour.I am so happy
Jaani: but child,where are you.How do you know I am back
Roshini : come on ,papa, you wanted to give me a surprise but I caught you. Just look up at swarnapuri second floor.
Jaani lifted up his head. Lined up on the second floor were all his family members along with his only daughter. Her classmates & their family ,all waving out to him
It was too late. In the next few seconds, as his eyes welled up with tears,all of them,including Arasi,Kader bhai,muniyamma.....became part of history & of course statistics !