The victim who passed away

We were having a smoke after having some yummy and crispy ghee roast dosas from Hotel Aiyyappa on a Sunday morning when an old woman was trying to cross the very busy Poonamallee high road infront of us. We were casually looking at her while discussing worldly problems and a girl on a Scooty came screeching to a halt and dashed the woman and they both toppled. The old woman had misjudged the scooter’s speed while crossing and it was not the girl’s mistake. In no time a group of people gathered and started blaming the girl and asking her to pay the woman. We first didnt react but after learning that the girl was beautiful we were little tempted to do something. Thats when Saravanan shouted

Hey this girl lives in my building.

Yes we had to save Saravanan’s building mate. We all appeared in front of the girl and announced

We saw whatever happened here in broad daylight. Its clearly not the girl’s fault”

I saw the girl having a huge sigh of relief and the crowd becoming a little confused on what to do, and thats when Saravanan just started shouting at the top of his voice and that too in English to save the girl from the situation.

A little flashback here. Saravanan was the person who taught me to talk to girls if I wanted to improve my English. As girls spoke only in English and not in Tamil his funda was that it was a double bonanza to both of course talk to a girl and also improve one’s English. He also taught me that girls always looked for guys who are peteru.

As I came back from the flashback admiring Saravanan’s English dialogues… I felt something wrong. Saravanan was saying

I know she is innocent. I’m the Victim, I AM THE VICTIM!!!!

I nudged Saravanan two three times but he was still in his rage of calling himself the victim. Then I couldnt control myself.

Saravana, the word is Witness and not Victim

Suddenly Saravanan stopped and changed his dialogues to chaste Tamil. I smiled at the girl but she looked the other way.

To be continued…

Coastly Fudd

You bloody Mallus from Kerala….

…is Teju’s reaction with a look which is even worse than the Aparna Looks, whenever I say Fudd kazhikkya.

Me: What?

Teju: Whats this FUDDU?

Me: Sorry Food

Teju: Why cant you pronounce it properly?

Me: Well I say fudd only when I speak malayalam. Otherwise its Food.

Teju: Then why cant you say bhakshanam?

Me: You are right but practically no one uses the word bhakshanam in regular conversations as its tough to pronounce.

Teju: So you took an English word and pronounced it wrong eh… you bloody mallus from Kerala!!

(Teju is also a mallu, but not from Kerala)

Me: Teju I dont know if you have noticed, Malayalis have this strange love and respect for the English language

And I’m right. Most of the Malayalis staying outside Kerala, once they have gotten comfortable with English, they refuse to speak in malayalam. They also consider those who speak Malayalam as very LS. Native Malayalis have very few options for learning good English. Either they have to be in a cosmo city like Kochi or may be lucky enough to have a good English teacher at school. This makes an average Malayali’s scope of speaking English limited to using English words written in Malayalam; like Aappill, Kyamara, Backerry and Jwallarry.

When I came out of Kerala in search of a job I had to force myself to speak in English but got royally ridiculed for mis pronouncing words and the infamous (zimbly poapular) mallu accent. So any Malayali who comes through all this torture refuses to speak any other language, after getting comfortable with English after years of hard work. And thats where the strange love and respect for English comes from. And thats why we got goose bumps and gave standing ovation to Renji Panicker’s dialogues.

Malayali’s respect to English is very evident in his naming convention too. Whatever he names, be it his business or kids, he makes sure that there is a touch of English (class) in it. As a rule almost all mallu non veg restaurants have English names; eg Regency, Volga, Empire, Paramount, Palace, Chit Chat etc

…even if he has no clue what the word, he got inspired from, really meant. Sample these…

Girl Names: Titty, Sissy, Flemy, Prussy, Shagi
Chips Brand: Gays
Business Name: Anal Enterprises

Do you have more?

Aparna – Yesterday and Today

Nicky giving the Aparna Looks
Who the hell is Aparna?

Aparna was an interaction designer my friend Arun worked with a couple of years ago on a project. She supposedly had a very impressive portfolio but if you happened to appreciate her work, she would give you a very dirty “Who are you to say my work is good” kind of a look. Basically Puchcha Bhavam in green Malayalam.

I haven’t met Aparna myself, but after hearing the story, I came up with this term “The Aparna Look” for the “How Low Society” look on your face. My cousin Nicky and I then made it so popular among our friends and family that everyone started using it even though no one knew who Aparna was.

One of the first guys who got The Aparna look from me was Nicky himself. Like say whenever he used to ask me

What time is your train to Kerala?

and I used to give him the look and he immediately used to correct himself

Oh OK Sorry. What time is your FLIGHT?

So what about it now?

The monster I unleashed years ago after creating a lot of damages everywhere has now turned towards me. Yes, lately I have been at the receiving end of the aparna looks from my near and dear for reasons still unknown to me. Analyze this

The other day I was out with Lavina and she asked

Lavina: Umesh did you have a bath today?

Me: Huh yes ofcourse. Why did you ask?

Lavina: You don’t look like you had a bath. Your hair is so dry. Ok tell me what soap did you use?

Me: Dettol

Lavina: Huh you bathed in dettol?

Me: Dettol soap ya

Lavina: You bathed using dettol soap? (Aparna Looks)

Me: Yes. What wrong?

Lavina: But why do you use dettol soap?

Me: I got it free with something I bought

Lavina: Huh you bathed using a soap you got for FREE? (Aparna looks again)

I didnt dare to go ahead with this conversation beyond this point

***

Just after the car came out of UB city parking on to the bright sunny Vittal Mallya road I told Teju

Me: Teju, can you please get me the cooling glass

Teju: Cooling Glass?????? (Aparna creeps in slightly)

Me: Yes. Its in the glove compartment

Teju: COOLING GLASS???????? (Aparna Looks)

Me: Wha?

Teju: UMESH, YOU ARE SO PRE HISTORIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: !!!!???? Gulp

***

As we entered Orange Peel I saw the Mövenpick signage and exclaimed

Me: Wow Mövenpick is here

Lavina: What’s Mövenpick?

Me: Ice Cream Parlour

Seema: (Aparna Looks)

Me: What? Isn’t it?

Seema: Its not an Icecream Parlour. Its an Ice cream JOINT

Me: Oh ok. Cool

***

At last it was pay back time for Nicky

Nicky: Hey shetta, I’m going…

Me: For a movie without me?

Nicky: Noooo…

Me: Oh to Pune?

Nicky: Noooooooo….

Me: To Coorg?

Nicky: (Aparna Looks)

Me: OK tell me where

Nicky: To the US. See you byeeeeeeeeee

Aaaaaaaaargh

No Kiya!

Sid got a call on his Nokia 5800 Music Xpress phone, as soon as we all settled around a table at Maharaja’s, for the ex colleagues reunion lunch on that rainy Saturday afternoon.

Jai: Oh wow you have the 5800 now? I thought you had got N95 when you joined

Sid: Yeah. But within 6 months I got this one.

Me: I thought by now you would have got the N97

Sid: If I stay till April I will get an N97

Reji Chettan: Oh so every year you get a new phone?

Sid: Every two years. The one which I get the second year will be my own. I don’t have to return it even if i leave the company

Jai: Wow

Sid: Yes. And if I work for 5 years the laptop will become my own

Me: That’s superb man

Tony: Interesting. In that case if you work for 10 years will Nokia company be yours?

Sid ignored that question and started searching through the menu for some veg starters.

lo(w)gically speaking

After a lot of failed “lets go out” plans, last Sunday Lavina and I could actually get out; the plan being lunch at Fresco’s to start with and later may be just fool around the city. Biby was also to join.

Cafe Fresco’s is a great place to be on a rainy Bangalore weekend. Nice ambiance, friendly people and some great food. Lavina and I reached there early and was waiting for Biby to come.

Lavina: I wanted this to happen for a long time. May be we will never meet again as I’m going away next month. I’ll miss you.

Me: Where are you going? US?

Lavina: No

Me: Canada?

Lavina: No

Me: Dubai?

Lavina: No

Me: Then where are you going?

Lavina: Bombay

Me: Oh OK. Don’t worry we will meet. I’ll be coming to Bombay. I thought you are going somewhere far.

Lavina: (Disappointed by me not getting senti) So what would you like to drink? Beer? I’m in the mood of having beer.

Me: Huh in this cold? I think I will have something hot. I don’t want to spoil my throat.

Lavina: Oh then may be you can have whiskey…. on the rocks

Me: huh. Do you think Whiskey ON THE ROCKS is hot? (LOL)

Lavina: Oh shit. Sorry sorry sorry. Now don’t tell this to anyone. Especially Biby…

Me: (ROTFL) No way I will be telling this anyone. I promise.

******************

4 hours later at Jayamahal Palace. We parked in front of their nicely done up Restobar.

Biby: Wow

Lavina: Very nice. I wonder why we didn’t come here before. Now whats the point I’m going na…

Biby: Very nice. Come we will ask the price…

Lavina: Huh Price? What are you going to ask? The price of Butter chicken?

Me: No. She liked it so much that she wants to buy the place. The price of the restaurant… right Biby?

Biby: (Lauging) no no I meant we will just go through the menu and find out the prices.

We went in. Lavina looked at the menu and started jumping saying its so cheeeeaaappp…

Waiter: What would you liked to have?

Lavina: Uh Ahem Err

Biby: We want to know how much it will be to rent the lawn for a party

Waiter: I will send the manager

Biby: Very bad

Lavina: What happened?

Biby: See its a man’s world.

Me: What do you mean?

lavina: Managers are always men

Me: No there are women managers too…

Lavina: But the word itself starts with MAN right. MANager. Is there a word called WOMANager?

Biby: Forget that. Is there any word that starts with Woman

Me: Yes

Biby and Lavina: What?

Me: Womaniser

The girls loved it so much that they started giggling uncontrollably.

Lavina: Umesh this is your best till date

Biby: This one has achieved a cult status

By then the MANager came

Manager: How can I help you

Lavina: Whats the rent for the lawn?

Manager: Ma’am we have stopped giving the lawn on rent.

Biby: But how is that wedding happening there now? (Pointing at the wedding preparation happening on the lawns)

Manager: That was booked long back. But now we have stopped taking bookings.

Lavina: Ok then how much was it when you used to give the lawn for rent?

Manager: 1.5 lakhs

Lavina: Ok thanks. Lets go

It was one barrel of unlimited fun last Sunday.

Survival of the “fittest”

It took quite a long time after the last mallu meet for all of us to meet again at Aranya Bar last week. In between Shreyas got busy with his marriage and there was deadly work pressure on all of us which made us skip many of the dates. But last week as Tony got a short breather from his iPhone app development, we decided that we will make it to Aranya, come what may.

As usual after relishing on all the possible chilli starters (Chicken, Mutton, Fish, Egg and Peanuts) and a couple of rums, whiskeys and breezers we were fit enough to swear at all our possible enemies. The most unhappy was Tony even after successfully deploying his very first iPhone app for a leading media conglomerate in the US. We asked him about his problems.

Me: Tony why do look so unhappy? What is your problem?

Tony: Enikku veyya, I’m tired of this iPhone thingy man. I’m going back to Kochi

Shreyas: And do what?

Tony: May be I will work in the paddy fields

Reji chettan: Very good. And how do expect to make a living out of it?

Tony: Then what? Now a days people are giving me sleepless nights. They think I invented the iphone.

Shreyas: But don’t you think it’s true? You are the only one who has created an iphone app in our company

Tony: No I’m not talking about the app. I’m talking about the phone itself. They behave like I invented it

We all laughed at this

Tony: The other day someone had a problem with the address book on the phone and asked me if I can fix the issue. What the hell?

Laughter once again

Shreyas: Well at this rate that day is not far when saakshaal Steve Jobs will come down to meet Tony to ask his doubts about iPhone’s features and bug fixes

Tony joined the laughter this time. Then he took a quick bottoms up, shook his head vigorously, tossed a spoonful of peanuts into his mouth and asked

By the way, who is this Steve Jobs? Is he a job consultant or something?

The laughter stopped instantly. We really didn’t have an answer for that.

Gift kara de

While pouring almost every sauce on the table on to the bland noodles which we ordered at Aromas of China Teju said

Teju: Happy birthday in advance

Me: Thanks

Teju: So what are you gifting me?

Me: Huh?? Gifting you? I thought the birthday was mine!

Teju: Yeah I know, but let’s have a change this time. You can get me a Louis Vuitton bag.

Me: (Digging deep into the noodles) Yeah definitely

When the lunch got over, along with the bill came the fortune cookies

Teju: Hey see what I got… “Your popularity increases once you express your desires.” I always wanted to be famous. So why don’s you get me a Louis Vuitton bag?

Me: But see what I got. “Forget the entanglement of love, but forget not to practice charity”. So no gifts. I will do some charity instead. What say?

Teju: Right. But don’t you know that charity begins at home? So why don’t you get me a Louis Vuitton bag?

I’m kinda becoming proud of my wife’s sense of humor

My specs appeal

Around 90% of my 6th standard classmates in Abu Dhabi, used to wear specs. It was one of my biggest ambitions then to get a pair for myself as I somehow thought that it would make me more handsome. (Oh btw my other ambitions included becoming a bus driver). I used to borrow my friends’ glasses to wear them and make myself happy at least for the time being as it was not something which I could easily force Achan to get.

But that day as usual when I wore my friend Rupesh’s specs and looked around, I felt something different. I looked at the calendar on the wall and the letters seemed clearer than they used be. I took off the glasses and looked again and they became a bit blurred; a difference which I couldn’t figure out earlier. That was the moment I was waiting for all those days. I ran home and told Achan that my eye sight has become poor and I immediately need to get spectacled and he promised me to take me to the doctor that weekend. I got really disappointed at this coz I thought Achan was giving excuses. So after two three days I told him that I’m having difficulty in reading too, which was a lie. Achan took me to the doctor and was found that I’ve a minor short sight. And that’s how I got my first experience of getting a pair of glasses.

In college I was one of the few lucky guys who had a motor bike to go around but my only problem was that I didn’t have sun glasses to sport like others. Once again I used to try out my friends’ sun glasses to pose for photographs etc but I really couldn’t use it as my eye sight had further got deteriorated by then. So having a pair of sun glasses and showing it off to the girls was my biggest ambition then. The then Ottapalam Circle Inspector Mr Pushkaran had a major problem with riders with sun glasses on; he used to catch all of them and fine them left right and center for some reason or the other. There were these hideouts of Pushkaran from where he jumps in front of you all along the road from college to home and hence my friends were afraid to sport their shades while riding. And I used to be happy about it. That didn’t stop me to tell my ambition to Achan once again and he obliged by getting me a brand new pair of Ray Ban aviator glasses, the next time he came down from the Gelf.

I was super excited by the ray ban that I used to wear it all the time when I was at home. I remember me increasing the TV’s brightness to the fullest to everyone else’s dismay, and also wondering if I had lost my eyesight when I went to lock the gate in the dark; I had the ray ban on my eyes all the time. Once I also took the courage to taking Kuttetan for a ride on my bike with the shades on. When I reached the main road I told him

Me: Kutteta just tell me if any vehicles are coming from the opposite side

Kuttetan: WHY?

Me: Otherwise I wont be able to see them until they reach up close

He screamed: STOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPP

Once it got really serious that my bike went into a ditch which I had never noticed till then, from that day I was forced to stop using the Ray Ban altogether.

The next time I dared to buy sunglass was when I got a job and as a part of an image makeover. I also got a pair of contact lenses to use with the sun glasses to be on the safer side. But the new problem was the contact lenses; I never got used to them and my sun glasses outings turned out to be eye sores.

Anyways after 15 years of an unfulfilled ambition to wear sun glasses is now satisfied (phew I would have become a ghost otherwise). I recently got a rose tinted sun glasses which has a power to satisfy my blind instincts. Now I wear them on my walk to work and of course when I drive; it feels so good to dare the bright sun in the morning and of course the style factor (Yeah girls do give second looks at me now); something which I couldn’t experience all these years. I feel young once again as it has given me a new way of looking at the world.

Unequal & Opposite reaction

The only attraction of your significant other working for an airline company is the free flight tickets which will encourage you to take those unplanned quick trips you might not have attempted otherwise. You don’t have to worry about booking tickets in advance to get a good deal etc but the catch is that free tickets are always subject to load. i.e. Even if I have a ticket, I will be wait listed till they know if there are any seats available at the last moment. Till then you are really not sure if you would manage to fly. Not at all bad if you are taking the flight out on a less rush day.

Last weekend I had to go to Kerala as my brother had come down. Normally all my trips are well planned and I have never started on the journey without having the return ticket booked. But this time I didn’t have the time to do that so after hopping on to a bus to Kerala, I told my significant other to book a ticket and let me know the PNR and also the passenger load on that day. I reached Kerala and even after sending multiple reminders I didn’t receive the ticket details.

On the night before my return I called up the airline to find out the load and I came to know that there was only one seat available and so there was actually no chances for me to get through. My brother suggested that we would go to the airport and if we didn’t get to fly we would stay in the hotel nearby and take the early morning flight out. Anyways I decided to call my significant other to update her the situation.

Me: Hey did you book the ticket?

Sig. Other: Well not yet. Dont worry will do it.

Me: But boss when? I called the airline and they said they have only one seat available. Did you check the load? If that’s true then I think I will buy the ticket by paying full fare

Sig. Other: Oh Ok. Mmmm uhhh ok do one thing. Can you call me after 10 minutes?

Me: Ya. But tell me what are you going to do? I cant waste more time

Sig. Other: Nothing. I have to go to the loo badly…

I hung up, quietly went online and bought the remaining one ticket for 8000 bucks.

Sense and Sensitivity

A long time ago we guys had to go all the way to Thrissur, a town 40 kms away from my home to indulge in that once in a month exercise of painting the town red. We used to find an excuse to do it and mine was to give my mobike for service as the nearest authorized Hero Honda service center was in Thrissur. I used to hand pick one of my dearest friends, bunk classes and set off to Thrissur early in the morning so that we could give the bike for service early and then wander here and there, shop, watch movies, eat something really nice at a good restaurant and smoke in the open without worrying about anyone finding out. I never used to miss this monthly “lifetime” opportunity and used to make use of the day to the utmost extent.

My dear friend Amjad used to accompany me on almost all those Thrissur town expeditions as he was well versed with the place’s geography, smarter than me in riding through the city traffic, managed to get tickets for all the new movies, knew all the good restaurants and what to eat etc. But on one particular day, Amjad was fasting as it was the holy month of Ramadan. At lunch time, I didn’t want to let go of the rare opportunity and wanted to hog on something tasty and heavy. Even though I had all respect for Amjad’s situation, I was like “why should I also go through the same thing; as fasting was his own personal choice”.
Poor Amjad had to sit with me through out my heavy non-vegetarian meal without him even able to drink a drop of water. Later that night I couldn’t sleep properly as I felt really bad that I was so insensitive towards him. Even though I didn’t have to join him in the fast, I could have just satisfied my hunger by having something insignificant. I considered my act to be the most terrible thing ever and I promised myself that I would never show such an act of insensitivity to anyone – ever.

This has always been in my head after that day and once I actually shouted at an elderly person who was talking about the tasty chicken biryani he had for lunch in front of someone who was just recovering from a stomach surgery. I was also awed at my friend and his family when they stopped eating non vegetarian completely for the reason that their aunt was not well and couldn’t consume anything solid. I don’t think I would have been able to do that myself.

Today I’m on my month long Sabarimala abstinence and my parents have also decided to join me in refraining from having non-vegetarian food. By god’s grace I’m also able to hold back any kind of craving of sorts. I definitely cant expect everyone near me to go vegetarian for the only reason that I’ve chosen to do so, but when my near and dear talk about having non-vegetarian food, choose to eat it in front of me and then tease me by highlighting its fantastic taste etc. I remember Amjad and I understand how bad he would have felt when I did the same to him years ago. I don’t know if he remembers the incident but whatever it is I’m sorry, Amju and I mean it.