Our European Communications Head is a formidable Englishwoman called Mary (not real name). Impeccable English, stiff upper lip and aristocratic family to boot, the only Indian she likes is me. In fact the only non English person she likes in this whole world is me.
Whenever she calls for a conference call, the agenda and timing will be crisply laid out in the email and she doesn’t tolerate anyone joining the call late. If someone is late she just reschedules the call, after a few impeccably tailored barbs at the late comers that have made many a late joiner attempt suicide in sheer humiliation.
Into this picture comes Avarachan (not his real name), a sales executive, who was scheduled to join me and Mary in the call to discuss some global collateral his boss wanted made. Just before the call, Avarachan developed diarrhea and had to rush to the toilet. Mary started the call and decided to continue when I messaged her over instant messenger (IM) about Avarachan's plight. Mary may be a stickler to schedules but she is a kind person who understands such “emergencies”.
Minutes later Avarachan joined the call panting as he had come running all the way from the toilet. He decided to apologize to Mary over IM.
Avarachan: Good afternoon Madam, I am sorry for joining in the call so late.
Mary: No problem John.
Avarachan: Thank you Madam. I ate something that did not agree with me.
Mary: Ok! Let me conduct the call now.
Avarachan: I think it was the mutton. It was a bit off.
Mary: *Ignores him*
Avarachan: Have you ever had Mutton Biryani?
Very nice at Andhra Palace near our office.
It could have been the Paneer too though.
Or the heat.
Yes, it must be the heat that gave me indigestion!!!!
I have a delicate stomach like you English people heh heh
Mary: John, please join in the call.
Avarachan: I am in the call only. Anjali will speak on my behalf.
The raita was also stinking. Must be bad curds. But bad curds don’t give you stomach upset no? What do you think?
Mary: No idea! I....
Avarachan: ...do you British people eat curds? We call it moru in Malayalam and Dahi in Hindi.
Mary: I am sorry; I do not have time to chat.
Avarachan: No problem, you keep talking!
Avarachan: You married? How many kids?
I have three. All boys. Naughty fellows heh heh
Elder fellow is just like me. He gets stomach upset very quickly! When we went to Malayatoor last year, he was having full stomach upset after eating some Ice Cream!
Mary: Bleddy hell!
Avarachan: So what does your husband do? My wife is housewife only.
If you come to India, I take you to Hyderabad Delight. You must taste the Biryani there.
Avarachan: Don’t worry; I will see to that you don’t get stomach upset. I know all the good restaurants here.
Mary: Anjali could you please tell John to stop messaging me!
Avarachan: Btw you know any good home remedies for stomach upset? I think I need to go to the toilet again! These allopathic medicines are so...
According to Mary’s colleagues who sit next to her, she was seen rushing to the toilet to throw up. The call was rescheduled and Avarachan attended it in time this time.
People in the office are not convinced though. They are sure that like every cunning mallu, Avarachan deliberately got it postponed so he can join in time, the second time around. No one knows for sure, but Avarachan is keen to chat with her again. I told him that British people do not like to chat. Avarachan was disappointed but has decided to honor the ‘custom’.
When Mary heard this news from me, her colleagues report that this normally taciturn lady jumped up in the air, let out a whoop and danced around the office in sheer joy shouting "hurrah!!'.