May 061994
 

I have always complained of my imagination. It was solely responsible for me not getting a job in CBI. I know that I am easy to crack, as easy as an egg. All that the enemy agents have to do is to tell me the beginnings of a gruesome story or do the nails-scratching-on-the-blackboard bit, and I would spill my guts. That is why — despite my deep patriotism, strong physique, and above all, familiarity with the spy world through detectives such as Narsan, Yugandhar and Shadow — I didn’t consider a career with CBI.

It all started in those days when I used to feed my imagination with a liberal dose of Telugu novels. That was the time that I was reading yaddanapooDi, and was making a serious literary analysis of those books. After the analysis I divided the heroes into two classes: One, a strong, silent, and serious personality, commands everybody’s respect, never cracks jokes, sets things right. The other, with a twinkle in the eye and a lilt in the step, always laughs, but underneath he is a capable and sensitive guy. For the reference, think of Rama [the one whom ancient books have been written about] as the first kind and Krishna [the movie actor — just kidding, I mean the hero of Bhagavatam] as the second kind.

I didn’t know which kind I belonged to. Oh, I knew that I belonged to one of the varieties, I just couldn’t make up my mind. Since I lacked curly hair, I thought I belonged to the first kind, but then I was not exactly silent type either, so did I belong the second kind? I never could decide.

While I was struggling with these questions of self-realization, I visited my maternal uncle’s home. We, as a family, never believed in short visits. Consequently, I ended up staying there for a month or so. During that time, I realized myself and came to the conclusion that I was a hero of the third kind. Here is an account of how it happened.

My uncle lived in a small village in Krishna district, near kanchikacherla. It was far enough for us Guntur people to refer to it as El norte [uttaraadi]. My uncle had four daughters, in different age groups, with the last one slightly younger than me. As usual most of their circle was composed of other little girls, interested in playing _gillaayilu_, _chemma checka_, and _tokkuDu biLLa_. Even though I kept myself aloof, after a few days, I started participating in those games, and eventually became reasonably good at it.

One day, those girls decided to take me to the next street. It was a whole new world for me. There were boys playing on the street there! Games like _gOLeelaaTa_!! I could have jumped at the opportunity to play those games, but I had changed by that time. I realized that I was better at the games that the girls were playing and my local hosts were girls. So, naturally, I joined the girls group to play _gillaayilu_.

That must have been quite unseen in those days! Imagine, a new boy in a strange accent, and playing with girls. One of the boys, one the stronger ones, couldn’t bear it anymore! He started calling me all the names he could think of, and he could think of some really nasty ones.

There was only one thing I could do. Faced with superior physical force, I fell back on the most formidable of my skills: The skill that I mastered, the skill that saved me several times from sticky situations, the skill of crying loudly. So, I started crying. Unfortunately the skill didn’t work this time. The bully was not satisfied with the result; he continued to torment me.

Just as I was contemplating on the failure of my ultimate weapon, something happened. I don’t know who started it, my vision was blurred at that time, probably because of the tears. Somehow the girls group, all of them started towards the bully with menacing and determined looks. Small, frail, girls; young, beautiful girls; strong, purposeful girls. He had no recourse but to withdraw.

That was when I learnt that I was a hero of the third kind. The kind that is not afraid to cry in front of women; The kind strong enough to show their vulnerable side to women; The kind not ashamed to take physical help from woman; The kind that is good at playing _gillaayilu_ with women.

–rama
[rama@research.att.com]
May 6, 94.

Glossary:

gillaayilu
The game is played with 11 pebbles. The skill involved is to throw the pebble up in the air and gather maximum possible pebbles on the ground and catch the pebble in the air, all with one hand. Several variations on similar theme exist.
chemma checka
The details escape me, except the song:

chemma checka
chaamanti mogga
aTlu poyyanga
aaraginchanga

tokkuDu biLLa
The objective is to display accuracy and
determination while hopping on one foot.
gOleelaaTa
marbles, indian style game.
 Posted by at 12:45 pm

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