The hot kisses and the embrace of my fair lady

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: In good old Saraswathipuram, just off the huge drain that cuts across the area along the 4th main road, stands a provision store popularly called ‘Shivannana Angadi’.

The owner is a man called Shivanna, a genial bloke who should rank as one of the earliest entrepreneurs in the area because from the time he opened the store, the monsoons have come and gone 40 times!

And it was at this ‘Shivannana Angadi’ that we boys would buy the odd knick-knack. And it was also this ‘Shivannana angadi’ that served as a watering hole to most of the area’s jobless.

One man—his employment status was unknown to me—was a regular at the ‘angadi’. His name was Radhakrishna. A tall, big built man with an expansive paunch, he walked our streets with a certain imperious gait. To me he resembled the Kannada actor, ‘Tiger’ Prabhakar.

One summer evening, we boys were at the ‘angadi’ wanting to buy something when an elderly gentleman came up to the store. "En Shivanna, yaava rice ide pa," he began.

Even before Shivanna could begin reeling off ‘Bangara Sanna’ and the rest, a booming voice said, "Almanac"!

Radhakrishna was a die-hard punter. And anything sounding remotely like race—like rice—would automatically propel him at rocket speed to reel off the names of horses!

Thank god, he didn’t select ‘My Fair Lady’, or 'Ever Lasting Embrace’, or ‘Hot Kisses’ or some such weird-sounding horse for the old man!