By Krishna Shastri Devulapalli Dec. 12, 2016
On his 66th birthday, Superstar Rajinikanth challenges Cyclone Vardah.
Rajini’s phone rings. It picks itself up, floats, and gently hovers around Rajini’s left ear.
Rajini: (continues to smoke and read The Autobiography of a Yogi) Hello, Rajinikanth here. Who is it?
Voice: Cyclone Vardah.
Rajini: Varda, illiya … enakku eppidi theriyum? (Coming, not coming… how will I know?) This is not a weather channel. This is Thani Vazhi channel, hahahaa. (Throws his head up and does the Rajini laugh.)
Vardah: No, this is actually Cyclone Vardah speaking. That’s my name.
Rajini: What can I do for you?
Vardah: There’s nothing you can do, really. I am arriving any minute in your city. It’s your birthday and all, so letting you know…
Rajini: See that’s the difference between you and me… naan eppo varuven, eppidi varuvenu yarukkum theriyathu. Aana vara vendiya nerathula, etc etc. (No one can predict when or how I’ll arrive – but arriving, I always do … when it is time).
Vardah: Well, anyway, my advice is that you stay indoors. I’ll be coming in at 120 kmph.
Rajini: Kanna, Chandramukhi paathiya?
Vardah: Er… yes.
Rajini: Theatre or pirated DVD.
Vardah: Theatre only. Three times.
Rajini: Remember the fight scene where I create a small storm by rotating my foot?
Vardah: Er … kind of.
Rajini: That was how your father was born.
Vardah: So what are you saying?
Rajini: My suggestion is you stay indoors.
Vardah: Listen, the Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday today. My advice is that you don’t take this lightly.
Rajini: Here’s my advice. The kids have made a cake for me and I’ll be blowing out the candles roughly around the same time. It might be best for you to take another route at that time.
Vardah: Ha! Scared, are you, that you won’t be able to light the candles?
Rajini: Scared, yes. But not for me. For you. That I’ll blow you away when I’m extinguishing the candles.
Rajini: Not at all. Gentle warning… considering I know your father and all.
Vardah: I will cause the sea to rise, I warn you. There will be heavy, high, crashing waves on your coast…
Rajini: Did you see Dear Zindagi?
Vardah: Yes, at a multiplex. Want to see my ticket stub?
Rajini: No, I believe you. In the film, remember when my thambi Shah Rukh plays kabaddi with the waves? Who do you think taught him that game?
Vardah: This is a rhetorical question, right?
Rajini: Smart boy.
Vardah: So, okay, you taught him. But what’s your point?
Rajini: Guess when he saw me playing it?
Vardah: How should I know?
Rajini: December 26, 2004. Rings a bell?
Vardah: Not really.
Rajini: You natural disasters, don’t you have a WhatsApp group or something? Shouldn’t you be in touch with each other, sending videos and all? That was the tsunami.
(Suddenly, Rajini’s other phone rings, floats up, and politely hovers around his right ear.)
Rajini: Hold on no, Vardah. It is my other thambi Akki on the phone.
Vardah: Hurry up. Landfall time is approaching.
Rajini: Well, if you must go. Go.
Vardah (sulks): No, I’ll wait.
Rajini (answering the other phone): Hello, Akki.
Akki: Happy birthday, Thalaivar. Just checking to see if everyone is safe.
Rajini: Perfectly safe.
Akki: Hope there will be no problem for all of you.
Rajini: This is ju-ju-be, Akki. Nothing compared to what we do in Enthiran 2.0. Relax.
Vardah: C’mon. Enough already. How long do I have to wait?
Rajini: (back on Vardah’s line) Sorry… you were saying?
Vardah: Listen, I am going to wreak havoc, okay! Pull out trees, uproot power lines.
Rajini: Did you see Annamalai?
Vardah: How could I? My dad himself was born only during Chandramukhi.
Rajini: It comes regularly on TV. High TRPs.
Vardah: Okay, I’ll watch it the next time, I promise.
Rajini: Sigh. Okay. Basically, kashtapadaama edhuvum kidaikaadhu. Kashtapadaama kedachu ennikum nilaikaadhu. (You’ll gain nothing without hard work. And even if you do, it won’t last for long.)
Vardah: So what’s your point?
Rajini: Basically, dear Vardah, you can’t affect good, hard-working people in the long run. You might cause temporary inconvenience. But the good folk will be fine. Eventually. And the bad folk will lose their stuff anyway.
Vardah: (tired) You spout all the philosophy you want, but I am going to flood your city.
Rajini: Uzhaipaali mugathula veyarvai apadiye muthu muth-aa vanthu tharayila sindhanam. Athu than oru uzhaipaaliku azhagu.
Vardah: I give up, dude. What the heck does that mean?
Rajini: For a good worker, the beads of sweat should drop like pearls to the floor.
Rajini: You, sir, are not a good worker. Your attitude is that of a bad leader.
Vardah: Listen, I’ve gotta go.
Rajini: (shouting out) Aishu, Dhanush, Lata … ellam ready-aa?
Vardah: Ready for what?
Rajini: We are going fishing on a catamaran on the Marina. Idu eppidi irukku?
Vardah: I have a confession to make.
Rajini: Go ahead.
Vardah: Err… I also happen to be the secretary of the All Bay of Bengal Superstar Rajini Fans’ Association. So… Happy Birthday, Thalaivar.
(Phone switches off automatically and floats respectfully back to the table.)
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is the author of How To Be A Literary Sensation: A Quick Guide to Exploiting Friends, Family & Facebook for Financial Gain. His new book, The Sentimental Spy, will be out soon, Cyclone Vardah be damned.