A Tale Of Two Ramesh-es

by Kannan Subramaniam

Life is never dull on the Front Range. Imagine half a state 300 miles across and about the same wide, carrying on its back the Colorado Rockies, majestic mountains with breathtaking vistas, 52 peaks above 14,000 feet, spectacular snow clad ranges, mountain lakes, forests, mining towns of yore, and generously sprinkled with more recent and pretentious yuppy towns of which at least one will find mention in our cover story tonight. Further imagine how there is to be found within an hour's drive or less, abundant fishing, rafting, skiing, all the coffee you can drink and some real wild life. Colorado also has more
*real* breweries than you would want to shake a stick at, though I suspect that such an action would not be foremost on your mind if you were to visit some of them, and find yourself uttering, "Oh my Buddha! Now, that's what I call a brewery!"

When I said 'wildlife' above, I forgot to mention that by this, I mean *all* aspects of life that make it wild, (oh, yes!), besides of course the moose and deer and bison that roam about in our backyards. Louisville is adequately described as a satellite of Boulder which in turn, while having more to offer than Denver, falls into the lot of being one of Denver's satellite towns. Louisville's original claim to fame may thus be summed up as a satellite's satellite, with its own grocery store, gas station, Laundromat and video rental. No more. But this, of course, was before the arrival of Ramesh. And Ramesh.

What are the chances of two chappies named Ramesh, both from IIT, at least one from IIT Madras, both with Ph.d's, at least one from Ohio State, ending up in Louisville, Colorado, next door to each other and founding the now notorious 'Louisville Indian Reservation'? Pretty darned high I would think. So there are no surprises here. Only the inevitable. And all about how fate weaves a tangled but predictable web.

Ramesh hates cooking but loves driving off to Wyoming. On a given weekend, if you reach only his answering machine, don't despair. Instead, alert the helicopter patrol above US highway # 85, past Cheyenne and leading into Rapid City. Ask those troopers to stop that blue Mazda speeding like crazy filled with out-of-state IIT(M) alumni on their way to check out Mount Rushmore. If you draw a blank here, try Yellowstone in the Northwest corner. That's usually a winner, for the bumper sticker on the Mazda reads, 'To boldly go where no Ramesh has gone before'. If this does'nt work either, you may want to check
the other outpost of IIT Madras, namely San Jose, where back slapping parties with the theme 'Bo knows baby oil' are pretty much the norm. On those rare weekends when Ramesh is in Louisville, he roots for Greg Lemonde if it is July and for the Buffalo Bills if it is January. During the time in between, he is usually tearing down the ski slopes wearing that bright bright red jacket which hits you just as you round the bend, and those dark dark glasses tied behind with an orange neon string. If you're not good at seeing through disguises, look for anything and anybody resembling Rajnikanth of Tamil movies fame. And be assured you've found your man.

Ramesh, on the other hand, loves cooking and hates driving. The one time when he drove me out in his jalopy, he apologised that the darned wheels were'nt turning fast enough in spite of his keeping the gas pedal floored and that cars really were'nt what they used to be, don't you know, and that he was going to invest in a bull-whip to persuade his Subaru to transport him quicker. When he is not writing on SCI and getting flamed for posting stuff about Indian Cows, he watches football after hooking on his surround sound system for special effects; which incidentally is non-trivial for the uninitiated, there being exactly 132 remote control gadgets to be fiddled with before the desired effect is achieved. Again, if you reach his answering machine instead of him, try France or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he is not doing any of this, he is either writing endless primers on 'Carnatic Music for Everybody', or deploring the bad luck of the Miami Dolphins in tele-conversations with his buddies in Pittsburgh.

If you try both the phones and are successively asked to leave messages after the beep, do nothing of the sort, and try 'The James Pub' in downtown Boulder; or if it is brunch time, the Golden Buff's. Make sure you tell the waitress that you're looking for the two men who insisted on seeing both the breakfast and the lunch menus.

Ramesh and I discovered The James Pub together. Soon after, Ramesh introduced it to Ramesh. The James is an Irish pub that offers a wide selection of lagers and beer & unique potato dishes ('skins') for their vegetarian patrons. My own favorite is the lemon shandy. Ramesh is of course known to all the waitresses who swoon over him,unable to believe their luck at what just walked in the door, and during the rush hour when all bar stools have each been occupied by at least
67 drunks, and Ramesh arrives, there is no delay in getting the red carpet out and he and his company being escorted to the inner sanctum wherein some rather good band is usually playing Irish fiddles or backwater Mississippi blues. Ramesh's guzzling ability is a by-word all along the Front Range and when they give away the Ferrari to the onemillionth customer, it will no doubt be Ramesh and mention will no doubt be made about his also having been the half-amillionth, and quarter-of-a-millionth customer as well. Heck, he's probably the only one to have made a million visits ever to the James or any other guzzler's-haunt.

Summing up then, life largely revolves around either staying put in Louisville or going all over the place. Occasionally, Super Bowl parties and such are held and on such occasions, some 15 Indians, complete with their needlework and beer bottles in tow, show up and there is much traffic congestion (by Louisville standards) outside the 'Ramesh Reservation'. On yet other nights, Ramesh actually cooks (not the one you're thinking about and getting confused, that one likes to cook; this is the other one I'm talking about) and delivers superlative idlis and sambar (long story behind this, explain another day).
Then Scotch and beer flow abundantly and we settle down to play the game of 'Risk' (board game) and much ruckus results. Sisters-in-law claw each other, friends become foes, dice rolling is rigged (thus suggesting that some of us are, after all, descendants of Shakuni) and the decibels roar through the quiet neighborhood. But all that is a tale for another day.

I'm sure Louisville will never be the same again.

Copyright (?) Kannan Subramaniam