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Friday, December 25, 2009

The unreliable fellow

December nights in Madras todays Chennai were always cool and pleasant ,
Christmas was looming ahead and in a couple of days it would be there .
This time Jerrys house was always full of fun and frolic .
Jerry for your information was my guitar master

my learning guitar or later classical carnatic music was always a bit half hearted i never had the focus and so were the results ! not that he taught me a lot or I learnt much but he was a colourful personality indeed .
Thus Having graduated
( wrong term ,sorry ,couldnt stand the rigors of being taught the classical way and having no talents would be more true )
from the well known Dhanraj master who taught the likes of Rehman and ilayaraja yours faithfully moved to Jerry ,
unlike the ustad Dhanraj sir Jerry was cool and would fall to any whims of his students as long as he was paid correctly ,
for him music was just commerce and nothing more and nothing less ,thus it was one day he sold my guitar to a politician and I regained it after a valiant fight described in a previous post .
Jerry was an Angloindian ,
this was a community well known in madras of the seventies ,
they were funloving and hard working ( some werent ) ,dressed in english attire and sporting an anglicised accented tamil ,
they were a familiar presence in the collage of the city ,
they were particularly concentrated in certain areas like Perambur ,Vepery ,and some places in south madras .
Many of them worked in the railways ,
some worked as secretaries ,some were western music teachers many would migrate to the U.K and to Australia later .
Jerry was a family man with a cute wife and two lovely kids ,
he was part of an extended family of his parents brothers and also some from his wifes family which included an younger brother 'blazer ' his brother in law was a particulary colourful and remarkable chap and one who had a permanent sneer reserved for his brother in law Jerry .
Christmas time Jerry would organise his famous carol singing and all of us students would troop to his home for a light dinner ,
Jerry by then fortified with his bachanian beverages would be in a sporting spirit to take on the night .
But this day he was a bit uneasy
"dont know what man ?
not feeling well today stomach a bit queesy went to the loo but disappointing results ,have to go for carols too what to do ? "
"maybe if your highness didnt have enough of the poison in your belly it would have been quiter " this from Blazer who never lost an oppurtunity to get adig at Reggie .
"you shut up moron I saw the number of pegs you downed you parasite, emptied part of my rations for the season "Jerry would retaliate .
"Will you both shut up and get going ,we are late as it is "this from Sam a gargantuan anglo working in the railways as a gaurd or something .
Sam sported a virile moustache which had a twirl at its end and in moonlit nights one could be mesmerised by its twirling in the breeze ,
I was particluary enamoured of this natures wonder and its keeper
Sam was also known for his baritone voice and the silent nights would get filled as his tenor rose into the mists of the city .
The motley crowd also had Dileep who like me was a student much older of course studying in a college the difference between me and him was he was not only an excellent guitarist but also a very good singer ,
his forte was hindi music and he belted out kishore kumar songs like hum he banarasi babu as his part of his regular repertoire .
A couple of hangers on like me who had a guitar around thier neck just for the appearance but did nothing with them , except strumming them when caught up with the atmosphere ,only to get cold stares from Jerry who would prompt us by hissed whispers to stop the noise !

so we all would fit ourselve into a contraption called the tempo ,
this was not the one you saw on the roads now, it was more like an autorickshaw and had only three wheels with a snout in the front ,
the driver sitting in the snout while it had a covered canopy of a van like structure behind with 2 long benches not a limousine by any call
one could liken it a cattle class but this description is true cattle class unlike the one our Sasi Tharoor became famous for in his Twitter message .
The junk would rumble and richcochete its way through the empty streets and stop in front of predetermined houses either of students or friends of Jerry and co .
we had a lantern and a Santa too who would start dancing as the songs came tumbling down

the Santa would curse Jerry once in a while of his fate of having to wear a frightful beard sticky and itchy for hours while he lighted a cigarete adroitly avoiding combustion of the hirsute extension .
The songs were nice some of them were soulful like the silent night ,
Jingle Bells would be raucous sung by every one of us as we jumped about and then Dileep would give his famous ' hum he banarasi babu 'and we would all have some wine ,cake and at times if lucky succulent samosas
some money also would get transferred to Jerry and his face would fill with joy this was after all his primary purpose for the whole jaunt .

we would end the whole thing by early dawn and I would tramp home tired but would not miss it for anything the next day

Jerry was really unwell by the time we reached his house that day ,
the tempo had stopped on the way for more than an hour with a problem and Jerry was puffing away his cigarettes ,
all the smoking ,the rich food and the liqour taken found thier toll .

He was a wreck by the time we reached his home he was clutching his abdomen and weeping nauseated and miserable
his wife asked blazer to go call a doctor
Jerry was mumbling dont tell him anything he is an unreliable fellow
and blazer was giving his famous sneer " yes my lord and which reliable person would do this for you ,nice to see you like this you deserve it " and Jerry would give a murderous stare as much possible with the misery he went through .

The night is still fresh in my memories and this christmas I just wrote this post thinking of that unreliable fellow wherever he is today !

Merry Xmas


Nebu said...

As usual an excellent post.
Wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2010.

umesh said...

Good to see you becoming old but young at heart.

The bold 'bald' umesh

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