Published in Deccan Herald on 20 May 20 2017
Speed breaker Dive Biryani
Brig A N Suryanarayanan
My friend, Colonel M, a humorous paratrooper, recently underwent surgery for his back, which has only exacerbated his problem. Despite that, he narrated two hilarious incidents about himself: BS (Before Surgery) and AS (After Surgery).
I would have liked to use his humorous words, but the fear of rejection for number of words forces me to use my own. This is the BS, named by him as above.
A foodie, like Bumstead in Blondie comics, driving by a newly opened restaurant on a Saturday, he enquired if biryani would be available the next day, it being ‘no-cooking-at-home’ day. An affirmative reply gave him a sleep full of dreams with an inviting and aromatic hot biryani and accompaniments. An hour before lunchtime, he left on his errand by car.
When he did not return even after an hour, concern, worry, and near-panic, in that order, hit the Lady of the House (LoH). When he did come belated, all those feelings changed to shock, utter disbelief and horror, in that order, for the LoH at his ghastly sight. Bloodied from nose downwards, still dripping blood and in a red-stained shirt and pant, he entered and calmly said like a good paratrooper: ‘Hi. The biryani is safe. Let’s eat first; I’m OK.’
Now, let us rewind. After buying the items, neatly wrapped and tightly guarded in his left hand, he was cautiously crossing the road to his car. Though there was heavy traffic both ways, a speed-breaker to his immediate left gave him confidence. One half crossed, he observed an auto-rickshaw approaching threateningly! Typical Bengaluru scene, you say? Assuming it had to slow down at the speed-breaker, he moved ahead.
Everything then happened in a blur: auto-rickshaw didn’t slow down but zoomed ahead, bumping into the paratrooper. Used to such unexpected situations, he reacted instantly with a swimmer’s dive, landing nose first on the speed-breaker, flat on the road. But, the goodies in his hand were held up, not once touching the ground. That was the one-handed speed breaker dive! It soon turned into a typical Indian spectacle with a huge crowd gathering to watch but none to note the auto’s number.
Though bleeding profusely, he wanted to get home with the packets still held aloft and intact in his left hand. ‘How can you delay and eat a cold biryani?’ A passerby who recognised him from the previous evening, drove him home. When he reached, shock, sympathy, and clean-up followed and then they gobbled up the Speed breaker Dive Biryani.
The Biryani eaten, mandatory tetanus, clean up, X-ray and Band-aid (hairline nose fracture, no stitches) and bandage on the face followed. Net result, he became unrecognisable to his own grandson who ran to his mom in sheer fright at the sight of Dadaji! To avoid painfully answering the very first question, ‘What happened to your face,’ M mailed to close friends the gory details, giving me this story!