Red or Green Iyer?

"Red or green" quizzed rajaram iyer's roommate manish. Was he talking about the suit he would be wearing for his marriage reception rajaram wondered. Rajaram knew that Manish was a fan of the hindi phillum star govinda but to choose between a red or a green suit he opined would jeopradise manish's marriage. Manish was 32 with a balding pate and was close to setting a record of being the oldest marwari to get married. Rajaram felt it was his duty as a roomie to make manish see some sense and prevent what looked like a sure shot harakiri. While rajaram was mentally formulating a plan on how to place the other sensible options on the table, manish repeated impatiently "Iyer, Are you taking the red channel or the green channel?". Rajaram was releived that the discussion was not about suit colour but still did not understand what manish was implying.

Manish and Rajaram were taking the same flight back to Chennai. While Manish was a marwari from washermanpet, rajaram was a vadama iyer from the brahmin stronghold of mylapore. Manish was determined to make his wedding a lavish affair and had splurged quite a bit of money. Rajaram mentally made a note that the next time someone asked him for an example for an oxymoron he would say "Marwaris splurging money" . Rajaram was stunned that the world's biggest kanjoos had spent a fortune on four Sony Handycam's. Only later did rajaram realize that Manish bought one for himself and the remaining were to be sold in the Burma Bazaar black market. Manish had done some complex arithmetic and figured out that he would essentially be getting his camcorders for free by doing this. So long story short, he wanted to know if his unsuspecting volunteer for the camcord transport was planning to take the green channel or the red channel at the chennai airport.

Rajaram the novice that he was did not think there was anything to debate on that. He was going to take the red channel and frankly declare that he had 2 camcorders in addition to his own digital camera. After all if there was duty to be paid it would/should be borne by the marwari he mentally reasoned. There was a brief altercation where manish tried convicing the adamant brahmin that green channel was the way to go. Rajaram won the debate and was proud that he had converted someone into the path of truth and nobility.

They landed at 10:00PM to a balmy 38 degrees celsius at the International Airport in Chennai. There was a mad scramble to get out of the Indian Airline aircraft. Manish and Rajaram decided to join the melee and run for the immigration clearance. Once they had gotten the entry stamp they went through X-ray machine. Rajaram was a little jittery and beads of sweat appeared from nowhere. Manish on the other had was  and was crooning some govinda tunes. The X-ray machine clearly revealed two camcorders, 5 cordless phones and two digital cameras. His box was a Mini Fry's electronics store. The customs inspector took his hand and applied a chalk piece mark indicating "E" which we figured stood for electronic goods. Rajaram got the previleged "E" as well. Next stop was where they had to decide on taking the red channel or the green channel. Manish then did something that was a total shocker. He took some saliva and erased the "E" from his hand. He winked to iyer and signalled him to do the same. Rajaram quickly distanced himself from manish and did not want anything to do with him. What if the security camera had caught this and considered him Manish's accomplice? Rajaram scurried into what looked like the Red channel. Iyer then looked around but manish was nowhere to be found. Rajaram then saw a lungi clad guy wheeling a 62 inch television through the green channel. It seemed to him that he was the only person in the red channel. The devil in him appeared and nudged him to go green but the angel in rajaram was overpowering. He went forward to counter A where a bored customs officer started questioning him. The customs officer then asked him to go to counter B since electronics was dealt there. Counter B did not have a customs officer. When rajaram mentioned that the officer said that he would be back and that he had gone for lunch. Rajaram wondered who would have lunch at 11:30PM. Should that not be dinner he thought. Only later did he realize that the officer had indeed gone for lunch at noon and had not returned for what would be close to twelve hours and counting. He then heard a whistle in the form of a Govinda tune from far. It was Manish standing near the airport exit waving to say good bye. He then said cheeesee and gave a final wink to the security cameras. Iyer continued his endless wait for the officer in counter B.


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