Quite often you find yourself in the trauma of deciding whether it's his Clooney-esque eye crinkles or the lopsided smile that is sexier. Just as when you are about to settle for his smile, you notice his salt n’ pepper hair. And that’s when you finally decide some things are better left undecided. But then there are days when he walks around with his hair and moustache so black, that you’d wonder if he reproduced the Pantone black in exact colour percentages. This happens only once in a while when his petite, younger looking pretty wife insists on coloring his hair. Speaking of his wife, she at times gets pissed off when the otherwise religious husband of hers, sits on the couch with his accounts book during the family prayer, trying to tally numbers. But most of the times, he makes her blush with his poor, innocent jokes or the way he takes credit for the delicious food prepared by her. And sometimes by helping her with the dishes. But it is when he happily spends a sunday at the general hospital with the security guard of their apartments, who met with an accident, she finds herself falling in love with him. All over again. Probably for the nth time.
Most likely to be seen running around, knocking on every apartment door, collecting funds for the family of the garbage man who passed away or for the security guard at the hospital, he sometimes goes to great lengths with the whole 'helping others thingy'. And no wonder, the residents, especially the stingy ones flee at the very sight of him, and for those who find it hard to make both ends meet, he’s a nightmare. Every single time the doorbell rings, their hearts pound and during month ends in a particularly faster pace and there are times when they won’t even open the door. Because if it’s him at the door it has to be for some monetary help and nobody, almost nobody can say no to him, seeing him striving to make things better, not for him, but for others, bringing Jesus Christ’s ‘Good Samaritan’ to life, by all means. And if at all someone appreciates him, he cringes and says ' these are the duties of the ‘General Secretary’ of the residents' association'. He might not have realized this, but all his life he’s been living for others. Back in the 80’s too, when he was in the U.S., as seen in photographs, resembling Michael Caine a lot, a dorky yet sexier version of him, with thick glasses & yellowish brown shades, wavy hair and 12” inch bellbottoms, he was the same. Not even when his 23 year old, nutty-fruity daughter complains “daddy gives everything to everyone” does he realize or is even aware of his truly selfless existence.
Not too often you come across people like him, who, despite a busy schedule, finds time to go on evening walks with his son, an annoyingly handsome 27 year old chap, discussing his career and love life, pausing in between to get a Coke from Bread World. And to ask his rebel, still goody-two-shoes daughter when she comes home late “in which part of the world were you today?”, pulling her legs, or even better, to drop her wherever she wants in mornings on the way to work in his blue Maruti Omni while carefully driving in an uncomfortable silence. And to get chocolates for his 15 year old, tomboy, couldn’t-care-less daughter who accompanies him after work all the way from the gate till his door, carrying his briefcase. Once he’s home he just dumps his stuff, making the room messy, drapes a lungi and rushes to the kitchen. And starts making his signature ‘aval nanachathu’ aka brown rice flakes sweetened with jaggery & grated coconut or ‘dosa’. Neither the overt sweetness of ‘aval’ nor the hardness of ‘dosa' stops anyone from having it, not even his elder daughter who finds daddy’s dosas extremely hard. Partly because of hunger but mostly because she knows "daddy might feel bad if you tell him it’s hard". And boy she’s so damn right, even at the slightest mention of the hardness of his dosas, he gets upset, that ever-present smile slowly fading from his face and you will be so fascinated to find at 55, this man can be so vulnerable, yet so irresistible.
Uhm, she… she likes to stay out of the picture and watch his life perfectly falling into place. Told you it’s an unusual love story.