I wonder about that for a moment and continue banging. I really need to be out of that room soon. I feel a few more physical exertions and I will be fully awake. Then there is no hope of sleep. I was holding on to that rapidly evaporating 'sleep feeling' for dear life. 20 minutes later: I was sitting on the bathroom floor and swatting mosquitoes. Hoping the loud clapping sound will wake up someone downstairs. My father is trying to work the door with spanner and screwdriver yelling "This never happens to anybody. Only you, so much complications. All the time." 30 minutes later, watchman is called, then watchman's son arrives and asks "yen saar lock podreenga". Really, the only answer I have as to why I locked the door is "because it is there". Finally boy breaks the lock open and splits the door into two.
5:15 AM - I commence kshethradam with hope of first visiting Thiru 'which room' temple, then driving on to thiruvengadam, and then visiting kanchi Varadhu on the way back. My chitthappa is sitting next to me in the car and he has opinions on why amerikka returns are such slow drivers. "Viswaroopam at 6:30 AM. Veera Raghavan waits for no one. Rush rush," he whips me. In North Arcot road I feel poor pick up in the car. I would later be giving interviews to press saying "Naan appove lighta doubt aanen saar". The next time I felt the pick-up lag was when I crossed 'where jasmine resides' Valli. Then it was all fine until we entered the first destination of 'which room' place. We are 2 hours away from Madras. I cross a flyover and the car refuses to budge after that. Everything looks fine, but no matter what gear I put, I cant get off neutral. 30 minutes later, a half-asleep mechanic says "Clutch plate outtu saar. 1 week aagum replacement. Towu pannidunga.. back to madras". The previous day I had withdrawn Rs 15000 from ATM with the hope that I would limit the entire Madras trip within the 15K. Towing car back to Madras: 5K. Clutch plate 20K. New Car rental for remainder of trip: 5K.
After the car broke down and we were waiting for towing to arrive, we decided to visit the temple. Don't ask me why? - Due to variety of circumstances and as a result of multiple back and forth between car and temple - I was in a situation where I was near the car, attired in a panchagajam, angavasthram, no shirt (shirt in temple) and Rs 20 in hand (wallet in temple). I had to go back to temple and I was trying to figure out how to get to the temple with Rs 20. The car had stopped right in front of St Antony's church. As I was standing on the road trying to stop an auto, a brother from the church walked out and stood next to me trying to stop an auto as well. We nodded at each other expressing quick acknowledgement of each other's faith among other things. Non-share Autos in 3rd tier towns are also share autos. The Auto that stopped for us had a passenger inside. The driver agreed to take us to our respective destinations for Rs 10 each. And lo behold! the 3rd passenger was a Muslim Bai with skull cap and the works. So all 3 of us sat and drove. The Bai had to get down first. So the brother and I got down as well to to give way for the Bai to come out. As Karim Bai fiddled with his wallet to pay the driver - we stood the three of us - in panchagajam, white robe and lungi. A casual bystander must've thought we were rehearsing for a remake of a 1980s DD advertisement on religious unity.
Why This Kolaveri?