Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Domani never comes !

When I was at school, Radio Ceylon [Sri Lanka now] used to broadcast popular songs for six hours in the morning and six hours in the evening. Now when I sit with the Chennai map, wow, most of the names of the areas seem so familiar though I have never visited them, because the requests for songs used to come from Royapettah, Mylapore, Egmore, Parry's, Triplicane... places I have whizzed through without knowing them.

Domani never comes! Or tomorrow never comes, was a very popular songs with all those saddlesore Sinatras, as the lovers of country music were called by the real cowboys in US. Amazingly the largest body of popular music in India then was country music. So I grew up listening to heart-broken melodies by Hank Locklin, Dean Martin, Don Williams, Slim Dusty, Neil Sedaka, Patty Page... and hundreds of singers from the 1950s and '60s.

This is what my supplier of AC tells me. I booked an air conditioner on 8th May, selecting him since he is well known to our organisation. It was to be delivered on 12th. Today is 22nd, and I have produced I think no less than three tubfuls of sweat, cursing him in four languages I know fluently. Every time I remind him, he says he is sending it tomorrow...

That fateful day when I jumped into an auto rickshaw to reach T.Nagar, a lady on the phone gave me very precise directions. She made a subtle mistake that cost me dearly. She said I have to reach Natesan Park, after some Dakshinamoorthy temple, and then their office is 'inside' on the left hand side. I did that, and no one out of a hundred souls I stopped and asked new where Park Street was. Thank God, no wag told me it was in London, I was ready to climb up the nearest tree and yell my head off like Tarzan after three pulls on a loaded cigarette.

It's right here, someone told, misleading me away from the actual site, like a lapwing does. That's one helluva smart bird. It goes on screaming Did You Do It? away from its own nest, so that you end up far away from the target. The same thing happened to me. After an hour of searching, I seemed to have walked three sides of a rectangle, several kilometres in all, and finally in a dizzying moment, asked the AC supplier to get me picked up. I had almost reached his office, five more minutes of walk... though from the opposite side.

The formalities took an hour. So on the way back the auto-rickshawallahs here direct descendents of Veerappan, quote astronomical figures. I kicked myself for having left the car at home. Had to pay through the nose, and coming home found every single restaurant closed. Except a fishy looking place that specializes in Arabian delicaces. They had only roasted chicken left, which turned out to be a delight indeed. Had been hearing rave reviews about 'poshte moorg' from my foodie father, though had my own doubts, since the chicken skin is usually for the cat to eat, at home. Incredibly tasty, indeed.

This rhino-hide wearing seller of ACs, made me wait from three in the afternoon to eight in the night, on the fateful day when his driver with my AC and a carpenter were coming. The next day, I rang him up, he had fled the city and the poor lady who answers the phone most unfortunately got the high temperature blast from me. I could visualize her throwing up her hands in the air and implying it's the boss, it's the boss.. tell him.

He doesn't look at the calendar this seller of ACs, and he doesn't realize that I have been reading the newspapers and they tell me there is an acute shortage of ACs in this blessed town. My colleague who recommended him, was tres cool. If I had ordered a split AC, he put it logically, clinically with a sickening precision, I would have got it the next day. What wisdom in hindsight.

Today also the AC didn't come.
Domani never comes.
And yes, amongst my more morose schoolmates, a guy named Wilson whose mother tongue was Tamil and who found English a tough nut to crack, used to sing this song.
"The money never comes..." how right you are, my dad with his wonky sense of humour would pat his back. Quite a philosopher young fella ! Whatever you do, the money never comes...

(c) Max Babi, 052306.


At 6:42 AM, Blogger John said...


This is great man! What a nostalgic trip to the sixties and seventies when country music ruled with the likes of Don Williams, Jim Reeves, Slim Witman, Neil Sedaca. Thanks

I had a hearty laugh reading about your misadventures. The AC man turns out to be an air-conditioning brigand, only he smuggles airconditioners instead of sandalwood.

Do write more, I like your style and humor.



At 6:49 PM, Blogger david raphael israel said...

hah! Amazing about the American country music broadcast from Ceylon!

No idea what a "split" AC is -- but I hope you get something soon.

Though maybe by then you'll have grown used to the heat. ;-)

The only two such singers I have much familiarity with and liking for, are Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline (both superb).


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