Saturday, July 28, 2007

Kaala Paani

Dear Miss Silverine,

I reached Kerala safe and sound. I am so glad that you talked me into taking the plum post of Senior Manager with Kerala Dot Bust Corporation. I feel so important. No one came to receive me at the airport though. But the taxi driver was friendly.
He took to me to the hotel in under five hours. But the good news is that it is in the heart of the town and only 5 minutes away from the airport.

p.s I shall keep you posted of the happenings through regular emails.


A J Singh


Dear Miss Silverine,

Thank you for booking me into an ethnic hotel. Jayashree Boarding and Lodging doesn’t sound too ethnic though. But I have got a premium room says the receptionist cum phone operator cum cook. The room has a nice view of several ladies hostels. I am yet to see a coconut tree though.

p.s. Why do they keep the brooms and mops and buckets in the room? And the cleaner keeps coming in and going out at regular intervals.

p.p.s. how do I tell the cleaner in Malayalam that I don’t like sharing my bed with him?

Dear Miss Silverine,

Been struggling for the blanket with the cleaner whole night. How do I tell him in Malayalam that he should stop pushing me out of the bed?


Dear Miss Silverine,

I have been assigned a house and it is a big relief. Sleeping with the cleaner was giving me nightmares though it was nice of the hotel to provide such personal services. Is this the famed Malayalee hospitality?

Dear Miss Silverine,

The weather is great though a trifle humid and as per your advice I came to work appropriately dressed. Didn’t want people to think I was a fob you know. But my boss was not very happy. Perhaps the red color did not suit his tastes or he is not very partial to Rupa Underwear and Banyan. Next time I stick to a local brand. After all when in Rome etc.

Dear Miss Silverine,

The first day at office didn’t go too well. I greeted everyone in Malayalam just the way you taught me. However I must report that the people here have no manners. When I said, Good Morning patti, they gave me a cold stare.

p.s They are now sitting outside holding red flags as a sign of welcome, just like you told me. I have taken pictures of this colorful event.

Dear Miss Silverine,

I am a little tired today. I think it is the lack of nutrition. They expect me to eat rice with my hands. I tried but the grains kept slipping off my hands. Are you sure eating with spoon is considered an insult in Kerala? Anyways after four hours I managed to get four grains into my mouth and am now living on Coconut water and Bananas. The Kerala bananas stink though.

p.p.s The tea boy slapped me when I called him poda patti. You told me that it is a term of endearment in Malayalam!!! Did I mispronounce it? I am now very confused.
Dear Miss Silverine,

My stuff arrived from Bangalore. There is a group of men outside my door asking me for money. I paid them Rs 10,000/- as you had advised. They were very surprised. I unloaded my TV alone. Kerala customs are very strange.
Dear Miss Silverine,

A little bird tells me that you hate me after that last salary raise of Rs 50/-. I should have made it Rs 75/- since you have been so helpful to me. After all I am an HR with a heart. That’s my motto. “HR WITH A HEART” heh heh
Dear Miss Silverine,

Today I went to the market to buy some provisions. The ladies selling fish are wow!!!! I shall be here for some time.

p.s. How do I say “you look hot baby” in Malayalam? Please SMS me ASAP

Dear Miss Silverine,

I am in jail…..

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Life can be funny

I came to office one day and saw an unsigned message on my Whiteboard. It said...

Call me!

Bewildered I turned around and asked my colleague who had left this message!

"A sardarji..." she replied.

This is the first time I saw a Sardar joke happen right in front of me.

This same Sardar has another legend attached to his name which happened before I joined this company. One day a colleague saw him removing the mouse from his laptop and connecting it to his PC and vice versa several times. On enquiry the Sardar revealed that he was trying to Ctrl+A and Ctrl+C some written matter from a MS Word document on his laptop and then connecting the mouse to his PC to Ctrl+V to another Doc open on his PC !!!

Attention manufacturers: Ever thought of making a mouse cum USB?

p.s no offence to anyone, the same thing happened to a certain mallu gal, namely me. I wrote the status of four programs I lead on my White board. Then I realized that I had got their order wrong. My hand moved to the mouse to Ctrl+C and Ctrl +X to cut and paste the sections as per order. It was when my hand touched the mouse that I realized what I was doing :))

And there is more…

After much selection, rejection arguments and debates, my Dad and my brother M decided on a particular bike as his belated birthday present. My brother wanted a bike with good pillion seating space. My Dad wanted to buy him something safe. (read boringly uncool). Some days back when Father and Son came home with the vehicle my Dad gave this seasoned driver the mandatory lecture (as he was footing the bill) on safe driving and driving the bike at a 40 kmph for the mandatory first 250 kms . He ended the lecture with a tongue in cheek comment. "So now with all that pillion space I guess you can carry your girlfriends around"

To which M replied ruefully: At 40 kmph no self respecting girl will sit on my bike :(

All of us were ROFL while my dad was thoroughly chummified (embarassed).

This doesn’t end here. There is more. The person laughing the loudest at the above incident was my eldest brother G. He is the guy who follows all Dad's diktat to the T while M is just the opposite. When G was in college, after a long day at the lab he was driving back to his campus hostel which is a good one kilometer away from his college. It was then he noticed a timid and shy gal classmate walking towards her hostel. Since it was late G offered to give her a lift till her hostel. Now G has a reputation for being a very nice and decent guy and so the girl agreed readily. Halfway through the ride she tapped G on his shoulder and asked him to stop. When she got down G remarked that the hostel was still quite a walk away and he could drop her to the hostel gate. "No thanks" said the girl. "I think I will reach faster if I walk!"

( Actually the gal got down when she saw a couple of her hostel mates walking towards the hostel on the road. But this became an epic with more and more episodes being made by his batchmates. All of them more outrageous than the other and takes a dig at the fact that he rarely goes above 60 mph.)

Here are some versions of the story that I remember. He refuses to divulge the rest :p :

Version 1:

G: Do you want a drop to the hostel?
Gal: Sure! But only if you let me drive.

Version 2:

G: I can drop you to the hostel.
Gal: No thanks, I will walk. I need to get there before they close the gates.

Version 3

G: Do you want a drop to the hostel?
Gal: Yes.
And she hails an auto.

Version 4

G: Do you want a drop to the hostel?
Gal: Some other time thank you. It is getting rather late.

And many more that I don’t remember.College anecdotes welcome in the comments section :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top katz and a topper of an aunt

Some days back I landed at Frankfurt. Lovely airport! You will fall in love with this airport if you are the type that goes weak in the knees at the sight of massive amounts of steel, concrete, glass and Germans.

My aunt who was supposed to pick me up was already waiting for me two hours before the scheduled arrival of the aircraft. Forgive her her enthusiasm and protectiveness; after all she is my moms sister!

As soon as the aircraft came to a halt, there was a a whirrr of helicopter blades and the aircraft was surrounded by commandos who had descended from the choppers. Before I could say “Oktoberfest” I was whisked off in a private car that was parked on the tarmac. hahahaha I am kidding but that wouldn’t be too far from the description of my aunt swooping down on me.

Before I could walk into the terminal she was beside me hugging me and kissing me (groan) and whisking me into the Airport. Of course not before she gave her dirtiest look at the German hunk who was talking to me. From her looks it would seem he was a criminal. All he was trying to say was "Will you be my subservient Asian wife". From my aunts reaction it seemed like he had just said "Would you like to convert to a heathen religion?” *sigh*.

After that it was my aunt all the way... from collecting the baggage to driving me home all the while chattering away like an mallu stranded on an iceberg dressed only in a mundu. I had this nice hotel booked by my office, but living in the Hotel would mean automatic disinheritance from my aunt’s Will. (She has kept some family heirloom for me you see. She will not disclose what it is but I get this sinking feeling that this is just a ruse to blackmail me.)

My aunt drove through the German roads not once taking her legs off the accelerator and it was then I got the answer to the question that was bothering my Dad for a long time i.e where my brother gets his driving genes from!

My aunt lives in the suburbs with her husband, one colorful Parrot, 56 resident cats and 78 visiting cats of which 34 are here just for the food. The rest fool her into thinking that they love her to bits. My Uncle is a jovial businessman who hates cats.

My aunt had apparently been cooking from the day my mother wrote in and said that I was coming. Like most loving aunts my aunt too was under the impression that I would probably crumple up and die if I didn’t get good home cooked mallu food and then her sister wouldn’t talk to her for the rest of her life. Which is a very horrible thought for her. That would be a lot of ‘shame and scandals in the family’ she would get to know only after it has been discussed to death and not instantaneously as he does now.

Sitting in a German house in a German town on a German table eating Rice and Thiyal and Pappadam from German utensils is one of the queerest things I did. Of course there was the Ada Prathaman served in a German ice cream bowl, but what took the cake was the unakka meen (dried fish) dip topping on crackers (it was yummmmy).

My aunt is a slim and feisty lady who looks like a Gucci model if Gucci had models for its seniors collection and is always on the go. She is very active in the local community and during her free time she conducts "Indian Cookery" classes. She actually convinces the Germans that "thawed cut vegetables cooked in coconut milk from the can is Golconda Quila ka Kuruma" and "canned baked beans mixed with one teaspoon Curry Powder is Shahi Nawabi Rajmah" and Chicken cooked in Tomato sauce is Chicken makhani. (This piece of information remains with me till I die or she gets to be disinherited by my mom. Apparently my mom has kept some family heirloom for my aunt you see. She will not disclose what it is but my aunt gets this sinking feeling that this is just a ruse to blackmail her. Like sister like sister. )

The proceeds from the cookery classes goes towards realizing the single most important mission in her life besides getting her husband to like cats...and that is entering the Guinness Book of World Records for feeding the most number of cats!! (The last is a possibility, the former an impossibility.)

A word about these cats while we are at the topic. Unlike our Indian cats, these guys are 7 feet in length and weigh a ton and if a Royal Bengal Tiger ever saw one of them, he would cover his eyes with his paws and go “mommmmy”. It would then promptly go extinct due to sheer shame.

p.s On my last day of stay the Parrot looked at me and said “Chechi." That's when I realized that the colorful parrot was actually my cousin brother Chacko and not a parrot that can talk Malayalam! No wonder he looked askance at me when I went “Polly Polly, Pretty Polly, Polly wanna Cracker?” I cant believe I did this to him. I didn’t recognize my own flesh and blood!! I am mortified :(

But I must admit that his yellow and green hair looks rather colorful in the dull grey of Frankfurt. Now if he would only lose his pink pants and leather jacket I firmly believe he will look human.

His other two brothers were in Kerala for the vacations. Apparently they need to go away from the house from time to time or their mom would start chasing them with a Flea Collar calling “Kitty kitty, here kitty, come and wear this nice Flea Collar mommy bought for you”.

But it was a nice trip and really great meeting up with my aunt and even greater that I left Frankfurt without a flea collar around my neck *whew*

Auf Wiedersehen Frankfurt!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Joys of being an underdog

"Cheta I want to tell you something" I said to my brother. M looked up at me warily. Something is always amiss when I call him "cheta". It is a precursor to "I hit someone with a bike" or "I jumped the traffic light and got fined." I get full attention from the diligent cleaning of his bike.

"There is something I need to tell you" I started. His eyes widen like saucers and he croaks "you spoke about this to anyone???” I nod my head to indicate a 'no'. This is bad news for him, because only when I am in real trouble do I go to him surpassing the Lower Court (eldest bro), High Court (mom) and Supreme Court (Dad) hierarchy in my house.

"There is a guy in your life!!" he said springing up like a Jack in the Box. Judging from his expression it looks as though I have just said "cheta I am gay". In fact I think he would have heaved a sigh of relief if it had been that. Like most elder bros he dreads the day I will say that I have a guy in my life.

"errr hmmm!!!" I squirm. I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath. “Ok tell who the f*&%r... err... I mean the guy is, NOW!!!!"

Silence from my side.

I can see him battling homicidal tendencies and fratricidal mania.

He tries a new tactic and asks with pseudo kindness through gritted teeth" Ok tell me , who it is, is it someone I know?"

I nod affirmation. I can almost hear him think... " Hail Mary give me patience full of grace or there will be a double murder in my hands today the Lord is with thee, I don’t want blood on my bike tires blessed are thou amongst women but if I take him some place lonely and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus patience I pray for patience....."

So what is his name?
I promise I won’t lose my temper *grrrr*
I swear I won't over react!!! *growl*
That is not even funny!!!
Seriously that is the name. Dad bought me this PDA and I came to tell you that I don’t know how to operate it.....

*if looks could kill then I would be wearing white robes with a halo on my head and playing some awful music on the Lyre since I don’t know how to play the Lyre. I would of course be sitting on cloud 456 where I have been banished so that the residents of cloud 9 do not have to hear the awful music I would be playing till eternity.*

ps. lots of things happened here which I cannot elucidate but I am so thankful to my PT teacher for teaching me to run really fast.

Lesson for the day for autocratic elder siblings: Don’t jump to conclusions and if you do, make sure you carry a parachute...or you can run really fast!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

This day that year!

All this birthday thingie has put me in a severe thinking mode. So that is a lot of grey cells squeaking in protest at the unaccustomed work. Serves them right too. All play and no work makes silverine's grey cells a dull bunch of grey cells. Which is a horrible thought especially when my aim is to be a scintillating conversationalist and brilliant raconteur and some other big words in the dictionary.

Growing older has made me very philosophical. I mean I am growing everyday like everyone. My cells are as amorous as anybody else's and are copulating and multiplying with the zest of an Indian population. But then one day when your folks put a cake in front of you and say “tadaaaaaan time to celebrate one years achievement of your cells” you are faced with questions for which you have no answer. Like why am I here…. when I should ideally be at a Hawaiian beach with a Cocktail in one hand and John Abraham in another? And other deep questions like why the heck do we celebrate birthdays? I can imagine our parents celebrating our birthday because they are proud of producing a little legacy that looks like a shriveled uppumanga (mangoes preserved in brine). But why should I celebrate my birthday? I didn’t do anything naah to come into the world? What I am trying to say is pure and simple. I DONT WANNA DO ANY WORK ON MY BIRTHDAY!!! :p

Talking of shriveled uppumanga I could never understand the fuss people make of new born babies!! Do you look at a shriveled uppumanga and say "soooo cute”? Besides unlike newborn babies, shriveled uppumangas don’t cry and poop and pee 24 hours!! And it can be used in a variety of ways when the wife is not talking to you like as a neat bread spread!

The year I was born was a momentous year. Several events rocked the World and humanity in general and it's repercussions are felt even today!! It was the year...

…the CBI sent their sleuths to Bangkok, Amsterdam, Hawaii, French Riviera etc to crack down on people indulging in some harmless fun. The sleuths never came back. The post mortem report said that they had died of “Debauchery” whatever that means. Many politicians on “Educational Tours” have also died of same mysterious ailment brrrr Of course I was too young to be an informer those days and point them to the kingpin, a certain Alexis living in the CET Men’s Hostel.

…when Mathew looked at the cute little gal in the neighbourhood and uttered his very first words to his mom. " Amma I won’t pee in my pants anymore. It is so uncool!". (Of course he didn’t see his mom and the cute little gals mom doing high fives behind his back).

…when Shruti's parents were growing more and more amazed to see their precocious daughter growing up to be a sensitive beautiful girl with a flair for words.

…when Brijesh's folks had already discovered what a bright and socially conscious son they have.

…when Angel Doc's parents were proudly waiting for their beautiful daughter to finish medical college and wow the medical fraternity with her …blog!!! I mean besides Mind Curry and Angel Doc how many docs do you see who write so beautifully? ( Wokay as of today I am sticking to Homeopathic medicines. Old jungle saying: “An enraged doctor is more deadly than a swarm of angry bees though not as deadly as a swarm of African bees”)

….when Jiby's parents were secure in their knowledge that their son was going to become a Priest and perhaps even a Saint at Loyola. (His poor folks dreamt of free boarding and lodging at the Vatican and perhaps a dip at the centrally heated Papal Swimming Pool and some quality time at the Papal Summer Palace after their jaunt on the Papal Luxury yacht on a tidy stipend from the Papal Bank. The jaunt on the Papal Luxury yacht was hurriedly removed from the itinerary by his mom when she came to know that the ladies in the G String bikini on the Papal Yacht were not an Order of Nuns as she previously thought.

...when Kusum's kindergarten teachers were debating if Arsenic or Potassium Cyanide were the quicker way to get rid of her. err...they were not planning to poison the irresistibly cute but naughty little Sindhi gal, but consume it themselves you see!

…when Di looked at her mom and uttered her first word: >:D<
Her mother said: Ente Ammme!! What language is our child speaking!!!
To which Div said: =((

Unknown to them their gardener, a certain Yahoo Chan had observed the whole conversation. He left the job soon after and went on to become a millionaire.

...when Flaashgordon's Dad and Mom were making their son vacuum the house blissfully unaware that their son would be a renowned Hindi maestro who would drive Hindi pundits to collective suicide but not before they tried every trick in the book to eliminate him.

…when Iyer Education’s appa, fed up of complaints from moms of little gals he promised to take “I, Iyer Iyest” was searching for him to give him a sound spanking!

( This post is a humble acknowledgment of the stars of this post for this!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thank you...

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you dear friends...I cannot describe how overwhelmed I am and grateful to have you guys as my friends. Thank you!