By the time the heady aroma wafted towards his nostrils, Swami was already up and about. It was a proud day for the Subramaniam household, and for the many generations that had carried the Subramaniam family name.
Swami couldn't believe his eyes when the appointment letter arrived a week back. It wasn't that he had performed badly during the interview, he was just too simple a person to believe that he was capable of greatness.
Swami was as devout as most devout brahmins go. It was not surprising to watch him pray fervently before opening the envelope and then praying afterward, only to thank God for his good fortune and promising to visit the temple nearby, for every day of the following week.
As Swami emerged from his bath, the smell of talcum powder and bath soap almost nearly overpowered the scents from the Puja (prayer) room, if only for an instant. He looked at his neatly pressed, clean white shirt, and his father's red tie. He also looked at his shoes extra hard to check if he could see his face grinning back at him. He had spent most of the previous night trying to polish the shoes to make them as shiny as possible.
"It's a shoe, not a mirror!"
There was nothing abnormally unique about Swami, nothing unusually weird that might pass off as cool or strange. He was a typical, run-of-the-mill brahmin boy that many parents in Madras once had, before losing their sons to nicotine, alcohol, girls, late night parties, pre-marital intercourse and social circles.
For instance, Swami had just two pairs of jeans, both gifted to him. One was given to him during Diwali, and the other was bought for his birthday. And he neatly pressed them every time, before categorically placing them in the 2 shelves that held all of his clothes.
He had a few friends. Well, they were technically not his friends, for they were unlike him. They were the sort that would look at women lecherously, make snide remarks, pick up quarrels with random people, drink on the street with the money stolen from their parents during the weekend, etc. But they were the closest he had to friends, and so Swami had to make do.
Of course they made a lot of fun of him, mainly because he was an outcast, but they seldom crossed the line, because Swami was as helpful as he was obedient. Whenever it came to money for cigarettes, whiskey, bribes, bail, etc, the guys always counted on Swami.
"Swami, you are so simple! What are you doing here in this dangerous city?"
"Haha! Simplicity Swami! That's what we'll call you."
'Simplicity Swami' wolfed down idlis and sambhar as quickly as his mouth, and mother permitted. He had to take the blessings of many elders in the neighbourhood, as well as drop in to see his uncle and aunt on his way to the work. He wanted to make it to the office a good half hour earlier than he had to, because he was the kind of person who always tried to make a good impression on people.
Most importantly, there was nothing to deter the foretold path his future ought to take. Stones had been cast, parrots had preached and palms had been read. Swami was going to live his life to the fullest, in the best of health, make lots of money and find his bride.
His mother was clearly overjoyed, because even as Swami was saying his goodbyes, she was already planning his marriage, and mentally making a note to call the marriage broker the following day.
And that's how Swami came to gaze up at the 100-storey, glass encased structure that would soon become his home away from home for many years to come.
That of course, will be a different story altogether......