It had been 2 days since the wedding fiasco had happened and Subbu had had to lie through his teeth that his Bio paper had gone well. However, school was not due to start for another 10 days however and this was the reason for his renewed exuberance, having already forgotten about how guilty he had felt for lying to Appa. “Today I am going to Venky’s place and we will ride our cycles near his house for the whole day”, he announced to Amma. She surveyed him and decided there was nothing violent or idiotic about his decision, but said nothing. Empowered by the lack of protest from Amma, who normally always poured a bucket of water on his well laid plans, he continued, “Who knows? Maybe we will stop by Venky’s appa’s bakery and have some veg puffs. “. Amma did not take kindly to this next plan of action and promptly said, “Dei, do you know what oil they are using? Don’t eat anything from outside.”. “Then we will have sponge cake and salt biscuits”, he bargained, confident that neither of his new objects of desire had any oil in them. When Amma had nothing to say to this argument, he felt victorious and strutted back to his room to read a novel.
He was soon lost in the world of wizards and witches and did not stir from his cozy armchair for close to two hours. When Harry had finally walked towards Platform 9 and 3/4 with Ron and Hermione, he closed the book and sat for a minute. Then he rushed to the hall with a brainwave. “Amma”, he said,” Can you buy me a diary?”. “A diary? For what?”, she enquired. “I want to start maintaining a record of what I do everyday. Tom Riddle also had a diary Ma.”, he said. “You have your school diary no?”, she asked. Subbu frowned at the lack of understanding Amma was portraying. What if Tom Riddle’s amma had also asked him the same question? He would have never been able to store a part of his soul in it. He gave her a cold stare and without further explanation walked away to make Appa the same request, all the while thinking if he should call himself The Heir of Iyer or The Heir of Sundaram. That would depend on whether his father agreed to buy him the diary or not. “Appa?”, he called meekly, poking his dad on the shoulder as the latter animatedly watched an exciting match of India vs SriLanka. “Appaaa”. Clearly Mr.Sundaram was questioning all his life decisions and regretting having a tiny dependant member in the family because it reflected in his exasperated “Yennada?” [What, boy?]. Subbu repeated the request he’d made of his mother, but Appa was not in a state of attentiveness, because he had immediately yelled “Oh you idiot, how did you miss that shot!” and drowned Subbu’s request in the process.Subbu loved cricket, but at that moment he hated the 22 players on the field on that tiny 21 inch box more than anyone else in his life, maybe even more than Veerappan. He wondered for a second if he should repeat himself, but recognising the futility from the madness in Appa’s eyes, he thought better of it, took his cycle and rode out the gate to Venky’s house. On the way he saw Murali uncle at his shop watching a tiny TV on a shelf near the counter. “Hi Murali uncle!”, he called as Murali uncle’s gaze lifted from the TV and focused on Subbu. He had also been watching the same match Appa was. Subbu immediately gave him a disgusted look in response to the “Hello Subbu!” he received and pedalled away from a confused Murali.
He knocked thrice on Venky’s door, each time with increased force, before it was answered by a distracted Gopi uncle, Venky’s father. Gopi uncle’s torso faced Subbu, but his head was turned in the opposite direction. Subbu peered through a side to match his line of sight and closed his eyes momentarily. The same idiotic cricket match that had thwarted his one desire in life (He always referred to his current desire as his “one desire in life”) . Subbu muttered a hurried hello, eager to get away from the vile person’s presence. But he was told to sit on the sofa along with him because Venky was busy with something at the moment. “Busy???”, Subbu wondered. He felt an immediate sense of inferiority and shame that he was not busy himself. It was all Amma and Appa’s fault. If they’d got him a diary, he would have been busy as well chronicling his life in said diary while also pondering how he could save a part of his soul in it. He had also wondered if it had to be a soul that required preserving or if it could be something a little more tangible, like a nail or a strand of hair. “So Subbu”, Gopi uncle asked,” How were your exams?” . “This question again”, Subbu cursed internally. Why did the man want to make small talk? He was perfectly happy with his thoughts about objects to preserve and what kind of stunts he would try on his cycle with Venky. But he had no qualms about lying to this man who he had no obligation to, so he said “Great uncle!”, his previous feelings of shame now washed away by a sense of pride at having impressed Gopi uncle, which was evident by the wide smile he gave him. This happiness on uncle’s face may have been induced by the six that had just been scored seconds earlier on the screen, but that did not strike Subbu. “Good, good”, he absently remarked and his gaze returned to the screen which was considerably bigger than in the Sundaram residence. Subbu returned to his reverie and a few more minutes passed in silence. “Subbu!”, a voice came from behind him and he went running to it eager to escape Gopi uncle and any further incriminating questions he may have to face.
“Dei Venky! What kept you so busy? Do you know how much mental torture I’ve had to face in the interim?”, Subbu exaggerated with a pained expression on his face. Venky replied with an equally grim expression – “Amma said I had to complete a whole chapter of Shakuntala Devi Maths problems da. Otherwise she wouldn’t let me watch the cricket match today. Let’s go fast, I think almost half of it is over.”