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Let's Check the Pulse(s) (standard:humor, 841 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 24 2010Views/Reads: 1638/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A funny story about freshmen at a univeristy campus.
 



Let's Check the Pulse(s) Subba Rao 

Abid was a graduate student at a prestigious educational institution
established well over a century ago on the banks of a sacred river. He 
is Muslin in predominantly Hindu student community. But this didn't 
bother either Abid or his friends since he was considered as a dove. 
Abid though Muslim attended Hindu temples and Churches with his Hindu 
and Christian friends though he preferred attending Hindu temples over 
Christian churches because only at the temples at the end of prayer 
session, a highly buttered sweet dish prepared with cracked wheat was 
offered to the temple attendees. Dark skinned and thin built, Abid's 
command on languages including English was impeccable. With no regional 
influence on his accent, he could be from anywhere in the country or 
even outside the borders. Abid was pursing research in Entomology or 
science dealing with Bugs. His research work was on mating habits of 
mealy bugs. He said he liked mealy bugs because they were quite and 
worked undersides of the leaves, sapping the plant juices and in the 
process making a defensive white wax like material for their own 
protection from predators. Was that a good reason for choosing one bug 
over another? One would think working on attractive Ladybug would be 
more interesting. Veera in short for Veeraraghavan was from South of 
the country. He was Abid's side kick. If Veera were not to open his 
mouth and speak out, he could be mistaken for a person from up North 
because of his very fair skin. With heavy emphasis on pronouncing 
letters like ‘R' and ‘T', made him readily recognizable as a person 
from South. Whether he spoke English or any language for that matter, 
it pretty much sounded like his native language since his speech 
pattern was the same. It was a tradition on the campus for senior 
students to show the new comers the town attractions that include good 
eating places, places to congregate to watch girls, temples that serve 
free food and other places of interest including market places. In the 
evenings Abid would gather the new arrivals to the campus particularly 
those from the South for a chat and a short tour of the town. Among 
many temples in town, one or two were selected for a quick visit on 
bicycles for blessings and more so for free edible offerings. As usual, 
one evening, Veera rounded up few new comers to his room for Abid to 
address them. “To day we are visiting Hanuman temple and then we are 
going to old town to check the pulse(s),” announced Abid. “Whose pulse 
we are checking and why?” asked Juggernaut, a short light weight from 
South with no knowledge of local language at all. “Follow and learn, no 
questions,” it was Veera's turn for leadership. After a quick visit to 
the temple, the small student group with two students sharing each 
bicycle was headed for old town, spearheaded by Abid and Veera. On 
turning into a narrow, winding and dusty street, one cannot ignore the 
strong pungent odor of frying mustard oil emanating from the road side 
food shacks. Dismounting from the bicycle, Abid made an announcement 
“This is the pulse market also called ‘Dahl Mundi' in local language.” 
Juggernaut with his fellow freshmen looked around only to see brightly 
lighted shops with several gunny bags opened at the top with its sleeve 
folded down to expose its content; beans or also called pulses in all 
colors from bright yellow split peas to red kidney beans to cow peas or 
black eye beans and many other varieties of legumes with colors ranging 
from white to black and in between. “Now check out the pulses,” ordered 
Veera. Juggernaut and others started checking the pulses in the open 
gunny bags with their fingers to get a feel. “Not in the bags you 
fools; look up at the buildings,” shouted Abid. All the buildings were 
two or three storied with dimly lighted balconies attached to the 
windows. The students stopped meddling with the pulses and gazed at the 
balconies protruding from the buildings only to see women waving at 
them. Some just sat on stools in the balconies and others stood waving 
their hands as an invitation to come upstairs into dingy upper floors 
on the store front. Veera smiling with his gum line exposed made a 
pronouncement “At the pulse market, in the shops downstairs money 
change hands for protein rich pulses and money changes hands upstairs 
to rev up your pulse.” The ladies were still shouting and throwing 
their hands in air inviting the students to come upstairs to have fun. 
Apparently, the pulse market is also the red-light district.  A rare 
combination of commodities market in holy city known for miracles. Abid 
and Veera with difficulty steered the unwilling students to ride behind 
them waving back their hands to the women on the balconies. Since then, 
Juggernaut and the other new arrivals at the campus understood a whole 
new meaning for the expression “Let's check the pulse(s).” 


   


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