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The credits slide over them and disappear above their heads. Then Hero shakes out his hair and smiles. Elderly Woman blesses him gently while she sinks her fingers into Heroine’s arm and leaves them there. Comedian arrives in an auto and drives Hero and Heroine to their new home. They smile into the breeze like they are destined for a future that involves travelling abroad and speaking English in a casual manner. When they get home, they gaze at the pista green walls, red furniture and posters of shiny Chinese babies. After singing a song about Hero’s milk-like heart and Heroine’s white face, they fall asleep on a bed that smells like burning plastic. In the middle of the night, Heroine wakes up, smudges her kungkumum, places some jasmine petals on Hero’s face and goes back to sleep.

***

Hero wears shirts that match his pants and belts that match his shoes. He drives a pale blue scooter to Office while Heroine stays home to make sambar and chicken. One day Hero announces he is going to America by singing a song about travelling and carrying Heroine around in his eyes, brain, heart and lungs. He leaves the next day and spends the following two weeks with Comedian in a broken shed behind the house. When he comes back, Heroine shows him a seven-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl and says they are his children.

***

Motivational sayings displayed under glass on my grandfather’s desk

***

Elderly Woman dies. Hero and Heroine can’t remember who she is but go to her house for the funeral so Hero can cry handsomely over her body. The male mourners watch him and feel so sexually aroused that they cry with him. Hero looks at Elderly Woman’s possessions and cries handsomely over a desk, which he claims was his grandfather’s. While the male mourners fight over who gets to help Hero carry the desk outside, Heroine pulls Elderly Woman’s fingers out of her arm and stuffs them into the dead woman’s mouth. When they get home, they place motivational sayings under the thick glass of the alleged grandfather’s desk and marvel at what an inspiring man he was.

***

Hero and Heroine’s dashing young son turns into a temperamental, gassy middle-aged man overnight. They spend their days replying to spam mails from porn sites, asking if any of the girls would be interested in an alliance with a fair, handsome groom having god-fearing clean and decent habits. One day, while trying to kidnap college girls, they accidentally kidnap Comedian who is now an old man in tight jeans, sunglasses and a shiny black wig. He tells them that their daughter is working as an architect and living with her partner named Elavarasi, but Hero and Heroine insist that they don’t know who he is talking about. Comedian says he is late for the last shot of another movie but promises to come back for chicken and sambar. He takes the son along because he says there is some attraction in the boy’s personality and walking manner. They all wave to each other, their arms heavy with happiness and hope. Twenty minutes later, Comedian locks the son in the broken shed behind the house and leaves. Hero and Heroine drink hot bottles of sambar and sing an upbeat song about baby boys that are like suns and hearts that turn into kites.

To submit a prompt (a word, phrase, quote or brief idea), mail Kuzhali at kuzhali.stories@gmail.com or tweet it using the hashtag #kuzhalistories.

Write to lounge@livemint.com

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