The very name brings wonderful memories...Memories of a distant past, buried away under the ugh..laundry, office, piles of homework and bills. I met her first the day after my wedding. She was standing under the neem tree and i looked at her from the balcony. She was a beauty- all milky white and shining. But i took instant dislike to her, as husband dear was neck deep in love with her! A trait every man develops right from his diaper days, i learnt that later. They hold their wives only second to their first loves...In this case, i was burning with envy as i saw husband dear wiping her sweat(!), caressing her as if she were some delicate piece of jewelry. Grrrrrr! Men and their maniacal pursuits...
The first time we went with Bhagyalakshmi was for our return marriage from my husband's hometown to my own. It was a scenic six hours drive and i was happy to have Bhagyalakshmi as our company. L and her, they both were in perfect sync as we traversed mile after mile after mile. Tired, i closed my eyes for a nap. The dull voice of Bhagyalakshmi reverberated throughout the journey. I woke with a start when there was a loud thud and a boom. Hoping nothing serious had happened, i looked at L who was on the driver's seat. In a swift action that could put Jamed Bond to shame, he jumped off the car and opened the bonnet. I waited with bated breath as minutes ticked by slowly and night crept in. Still no news from L. He was busy inspecting the car's belly in the middle of nowhere on a deserted road. A nice start for honeymooners!
Bhagyalakshmi was finished or so i thought. The impending danger of a newly married couple stranded on an alien terrain started daunting me. A cat moved aside and i trembled, still no sign of L who was studying the mechanics of the car. Good that he is a mechanical engineer, i chuckled to myself. When L finally rolled over from under the car and climbed in his seat, i could breathe in peace. Thank God, we are now going to start and keep moving, i thought. My subconscious mind kept inhaling meat cutlets, chicken curry and yummy kheer. Heady with the hallucinated aroma of hen and goat waiting for me on a platter in Mother's place, i looked longingly at L. His long fingers were clutching Bhagyalakshmi's hands as he kept whistling a latest song. Only later did i notice that L always whistled when he was tense. He was still holding on to Bhagyalakshmi... I was seething in anger, looking at his relaxed profile.
A car that was broken down, husband holding hands of Bhagyalakshmi and his wife me, seated beside him, fully tense. Mr Cool aka L, let out a small laugh and said in a baritone fit of a college lecturer- " There is a problem, i don't think the car would move an inch, i need to bring mechanic from nearby town". Town? Now where the hell we were? Somewhere near Kovilpatti, i could guess. Despite my pleas not to be left alone with Bhagyalakshmi in the moon less night, L assured me of coming back with help as soon as possible. He had left me locked with Bhagyalakshmi and left in a passing vehicle towards the town. There i was, married one day earlier, stuck with Bhagyalakshmi in the dark night. That was when i dared to look at her closer. Flicking on the light, i inspected her. She seemed quite battered, old, but in good shape. I switched off the light and started watching out in the dark.
|Glow worms in the dark:)|
Mesmerised by the army of glow worms swarming all around and the tail lights of vehicles plying on the potholed highway, i kept my sanity by talking to Bhagyalakshmi. She was a patient listener, kept silent throughout my angry blabbering on how irresponsible L was, leaving his new wife on the road in the dark. She seemed to understand every word i said, in silence. It was two hours later that L turned up with a mechanic on tow, his distant relative who lived nearby, a standby vehicle to move on and FOOD! Good God! Food was here! Gobbling the food without a word, i watched Bhagyalakshmi leaving with the relative and the mechanic, as we continued our journey in the cab. The look i threw at Bhagyalakshmi then was of longing and mutual understanding as we had grown fond of each other in the couple of hours together, alone.
One of her best quality was, when she was off mood, she refused to budge!!! And she always chose midnights. Once, three of my maternal uncles who came to attend our house warming ceremony had went to the railway station with Bhagyalakshmi to pick up another uncle. Three a.m. and Bhagyalakshmi decided enough was enough. She refused to move and stood still. No amount of prodding, gentle pushing and talking to would help. She stood as a rock. Finally, it was four uncles pushing her along the road in the wee hours singing "Yelelo...ailasa..."!!! The entire household broke into laughter welcoming the gang back...From then on, she was to us, trouble with a capital T. She failed us at the most inopportune moments and places and L had to coax her to move by ahem...drinking petrol, all the time from tubes.
That was when i went crazy mad with anger and yelled at L to leave her in her place- his sister's house. We left her after a long trip at her sister's place. One last look at her, i was filled with pain. I would be missing her, but she was proving much difficult to keep. Wrought with sadness and heart ache, we left her and took a bus back home. It has been nine years since we left her and now she is no more with my sister-in-law. Bhagyalakshmi has moved to a new household now and may be torturing some poor male, who would be drinking petrol for her to move on! Whatever, she taught me how gentle and cool headed L was! Miss you Bhagyalakshmi!!! And love you!!!
|Here is our Bhagyalakshmi!!!|
p.p.s.: L named the Maruti Omni Bhagyalakshmi, because he loved the taxi Rajinikanth had named Lakshmi in the movie Padikaathavan!
p.p.s.: Though we own a much bigger sedan these days, i still crave for a journey in Bhagyalakshmi!!!