Christmas 2009 found me in my niece’s house. It was a beautiful family affair with ten adults and eight children.
The celebrations began with drinks and starters. That company of adults consisted of maximum- two -pegs and teetotaling young men and women below 45. I mention this just to tell you in advance what followed was not the upshot of inebriation.
By the way, it was a bitingly cold winter day – at least for me who just landed from the warm weather of Trivandrum. Even indoors, I refused to divest myself of my jacket and the other warm outer garments that could be discarded by a seasoned New Yorker. Bundled up in the warm clothes which not only hid the beautiful salwar suit I had on, but also made me look terribly close to a female mallu version of ST. Nicholas, I sat there among my children, my nephew and nieces and their spouses, feeling good.
Being the oldest in the company, I was the grand old lady – and was genuinely enjoying the status and the attention I was getting by virtue of that status, when someone casually mentioned OBAMA and made an off the cuff remark that he can start packing his bag to go back to Illinois in 2012.
And then all hell broke loose. Well No. Not hell really. Can’t call it that if I want to revisit that hell once in a way to get recharged!
Three groups were formed instantly. Pro Obama (PO), Obama critics (OC) and Fence sitters (FS). I belonged to the last ‘cos I didn’t didn’t know the kuttans of US politics.
The PO launched into a eulogy of his health policy. The OC punched holes in the eulogy. The FS s threw their bit in.
Decibels were on the rise.
The OCs felt Obama’s one year in office did not scale up to his rhetoric.
The POs launched into an explosive defense. Fusillade in the respective directions from the Fence Sitters and high precision bomb from the lead PO. All at once.
Decibels rose still higher, and with that the temperature in the room.
I pulled off my jacket and threw it on the empty chair near me.
And the OC struck the POs Achilles heels.
‘What about the 30, 000 additional troops to Afghanistan?
BOOM!! It came close to the first Pokharan test – not the failed one, mind you.
Splinters, shards, radioactive heat –
I stripped off my sweater and threw it on the jacket.
My nephew noticed my action and saw the approaching danger of an uncomely disrobing, and he warned others. They paused for a second, condescended to indulge in a perfunctory laugh and resumed.
Then somebody threw in Israel. Obama was the only gutsy president ever to blunt talk to them. A huge volley of protests followed.
My muffler joined the sweater and I noticed my poor nephew wiping his forehead.
And then everyone was talking – no. outshouting each other. Israel, Afghanistan, teleprompter, audacity, book, insurance. The shouting match reached a pitch that generated a heat level that made me stand up.
My nephew got alarmed, and he blew the whistle.
M’aunty is contemplating what next to discard, he yelled.
That did it.
The ‘revelation that was at hand’ brought them to their senses. No Obama was worth the nightmarish vision, they decided.
Soon the temperature cooled and we proceeded towards the table where a sumptuous spread awaited us.