Louki Lardkumar was on the hunt for anything that would give him respite from the sweltering Chennai heat. He spotted a man about his own age selling elaneer on the corner of the street. He was stretched out near his cart, lying under a tree and pretending that the shade from it's three leaves helped him in any way.
Louki pondered a while before going over. On the one hand he was broke, but on the other hand the elaneer was bound to be cooler than the soup he was walking through, right? Surely the man would see that he desperately needed some kind of fluid intake if he were to avoid the calamity of becoming one with the soup, right? Right.
Louki walked up to the cart, put on his most charming smile
“Fifteen rupees,” said the man, one eyelid opening to make sure there was an actual human being in front of him.
“Yes, no problem.” – charming smile – “One, please.”
“Twenty rupees,” said the man, who was quickly realizing how highly he valued his nap.
“Absolutely, no problem, definitely. I definitely can afford that, absolutely. However you see, earlier today my grandmother –” he stopped, as he realized the man had moved to put Louki's rather voluminous shadow between him and the sun and had dozed off again. Suited him perfectly. He rummaged around in his pocket for a while and pulled out some lint, and what was once a bus ticket that had been washed more recently that he, and made a show of putting it in the man's pocket.
“Here's your twenty rupees, brother” he said loudly to no one in particular, while he grabbed the fullest coconut he could find and wandered off with it looking extremely pleased with himself.
“I'm a genius,” Louki thought to himself as he cradled his coconut like a newborn, “If only I had the money to start up my own business, I'd corner the market in no time,” although he wasn't particular about which market or what business. He spent another five minutes wandering down the road congratulating himself on quickness of spirit and firmness of mind when he decided to take a swig of his newly acquired thengai. He could already taste the elaneer, running down his throat, the mixture of sweet and cool relieving the intense heat even if just for a few moments. With great relish he raised the coconut to his lips.
There is only one course of action when faced with a sealed coconut, and that is to unseal it. He thought about smashing it against the floor in the time-honoured manner, and quickly realized the flaw in that plan. He didn't want his hard earned coconut to feed mongrels. No, they didn't deserve it as much as he did. All they did was lie about all day, while he had been slogging, hard at work. Louki the Workaholic they called him. Well, no one did – but he was working all the time. Coming up with ideas was a lot of work.
“Well, no problem,” he mused, “that lazy idiot is still probably napping by his cart.”
He turned and made his way back at a reasonable pace, eager to get drinking. His slowed down as he spotted a clearly angry Lazy Idiot walking away from him, at a high rate of knots.
“Unbelievable. What a fool! I may as well help myself to another one!”
Louki placed the original coconut on the floor, holding it tight between his ankles and grabbed a second one off the cart. He grabbed the aruval hanging off the side and hacked away at his new treasure until it wet itself. Overjoyed, he began lapping at the small opening he had made trying to get something – anything – in his belly before he slowly melted like warm ice cream.
He had just about managed to produce enough of a vacuum to coax the shy liquid out of hiding when he heard the unmistakable scream of a Lazy Idiot.
“Oi! Who the hell do you think you are? How stupid do you think I am?!”
Louki slowly turned to face a Very Angry Idiot, who was now standing close enough to see the beads of sweat form at the tip of Louki's nose. A little distance away was Other Angry Man, who seemed somewhat amused by what was happening. The Very Angry Idiot was not a tall man, and Louki – who was once described as having the proportions of a fridge – completely eclipsed the man. However Louki mostly consisted of dissolvable fat, a large fraction of which he suspected had dissolved and was getting ready to leave him at that very moment.
Louki took a tentative step back, bringing into view the aruval, which the Very Angry Idiot glanced at meaningfully and took a menacing step forward.
“What kind of a moron steals from someone and then comes straight back to them?” inquired Idiot, Angrily.
“Hm. Ah. Hm. No, anna, you understand, I really needed elaneer and you really needed a nap...”
“And I really need my money. Fifty rupees and I won't ask Dharani over there to get involved.”
Louki could feel liquid fear coursing through his body, finding refuge in his bowels. Surely this Idiot wouldn't hurt him over a measly fifty rupees. But then his patti had warned him about These People and Their Habits. He wasn't about to take a chance, not against of 83 years of grumpily collected and sarcastically dispensed wisdom.
He took another tentative step back, and found Idiot didn't follow him this time. He took another one, putting more distance between himself and the pile of Angry he faced.
“Dharani anna,” he pleaded at the man called Dharani, “please –” and he turned and sprinted the second Very Angry Idiot had looked toward his friend.
Dharani burst out laughing, and looked at Very Angry Idiot and said, “Dei, aren't you going to go after him?”
“Well, he brought my thengai back. He looked like he was going to vomit from fear... although with those types you can never tell if it's just from fear. Let's go get some tea.” he said, as he heard a fridge careening off into the distance.