Friday, July 08, 2005

The Lighter Side of American Life...

Its not often we get to laugh a lot in America but when things happens it becomes the stuff of folklore for us. Dunno how funny these will turn out in writing but when these incidents came to light we laughed days on end abt them.

Mithun calls up Jacob, our Loyola classmate who is an executive at Asian Paints one day and says, "Is this Jacob? I want to place a large order". Jaru licks his lips in anticipation and tells him to go on. "Well, I want some kummayam to whitewash the White House"...leaving the first of our IIMians flummoxed!

Muthu is an expert at telling tall tales...he punctuates it with wild gesticulaions, eyes that light up like a thousand suns, a flair for talking that wud make a sreekantan nair of asianet's nammal thammil fame proud...for years he has given our batch wholesome entertainment of the highest order...and once he visted viswan at new york and there he held his audience of other mallus speechless in rapt attention with his stories. That was when he told them of his friend who had come onsite and was arrested by the FBI for taking fotos of the american embassy in Washington D.C. Unfortunately for him one of the guys was sharp enuf and asked,"americayil evidayaada american embassy"! and they were all like "eeshwara ivan ithreyum neram nammalode paranjathellaam odukkathe vedikalaayirunnallo"!

Muthu did an internship last summer for a chain of Burger King stores in Chicago to suggest cost-cutting measures and on the first day his manager suggested he sit in the store to observe their operations. Having nothing better to do he starts munching on french fries cooked for the customers...after watching this for an hour a malayali working there comes to him and says..."ithaanalle cost cutting"!

One day in between my job search I tell muthu I am goin to apply for a teaching job at the LA County School. "Dey, nee veruthe nadakkunna paavam karamban payyanmaarude thokkine paniyondaakale"...i had turned to him in search of support but his cruel reply made sure a glorious career in teaching got cut short even b4 it started.

Viswan was visiting california for our xmas vacations in 2002. it wuz nitetime and we were walking like in india...our bodies grazing, an occasional arm thrown over the shoulder and like. A homeless kallu passes by us...then turns around and remarks.....'hey u guys gay???"....we were embarassed and moved apart....we thought that wuz the end of it but his next line totally floored us... "brothers u dont know what ur missing"!

Viswan is on a flight and an airhostess accidentally trips and falls on him. She apologizes profusely to which the demo mannan's reply was..."No worries...It was my pleasure".

Back home for our summer vacation in 2003...first thing viswan who reached a few days earlier did when i arrived was give a call to my home. As soon as he hears the hello on the other end he lets out a blood-curling "Aliyaaaaa".My dad had answered the fone...all he said was "hold cheyye, aliyane njan ippam fone kodukkkaam" leaving viswan chammufied.

Abhijith did his schooling in england before moving to kerala. His malayalam is weaker than the rest and one day one of our guys at usc kept making fun of him continuously. Not being able to take it any further Abhi says, "Dude,either on the ashaan's chest, or outside the kalari"!

We always take the liberty of talking malayalam in public since noone around understands.But once at the indian theater we were at the restroom during the interval of a malayalam film. My leak done and abt to leave mathew asks me "theateril keruvano" to which i inopportunely said "illa illa cinema thodangeete kerunnolle...chicks okke veleela" only to see almost a dozen heads pop up to take a look at the culprits. everyone around were mallus! i ran out leaving mathew still peeing away, helplessly and embarassed, amidst uncles who chuckled at his discomfiture.

A usc senior got caught for jaywalking at midnight...and rather than keeping quiet tells the LAPD officer..."Is this the only crime happening here"...and the officer promptly pulls out his ledger and writes him a ticket for $100 and tells him..."I wuz just abt to let u off when u opened ur mouth!"

Abhi also racked up a ticket for jaywalking and he calls his mom and mournfully tells her,"amma, enikke jaywalkingine ticket kitti". Immediately she asks..."athenthada, avide aanungalude koode nadakkunnathu illegal aano?".Either the poor aunty had heard it as gaywalking or as we frequently tell him even she has her doubts abt Abhi!

Once I called my mom, and excitedly tells her I got an interview coming up with Boeing. She immediately asks, "Etha mone, Boeing Boeing aano?"

Mathew and I were doing an assignment at the library. I get a drawing wrong and turns to the gori next to me, "Excuse me, do you have a rubber"...She shouts out "WHAT??!!" leaving me frozen for a few seconds and mathew jumps right in and says, "he meant do you have an eraser" and apologizes.Dang...I wish I had watched American Desi earlier.

Pappanabhan's full name is ananthapadmanabhan karthikeyan sulekha. All the situations a name like that cud do in a country like this is just outright hilarious.
-Once he applied for a credit card and it had only enuf space for his middle and last name and coz of that the credit card got rejected.
-On doing an immigration verification the INS had no record of his entry into the US bcoz the computer wouldnt allow more than 30 characters.
-Making calls to call-centers is the worst part.Pronouncing his name doesnt work and so he has to spell each letter out. Once I went to take a shower and he took my cellfone promising to make a quick support call. Half an hour later I got out, and there he was still spelling out his name and all parties concerned in the call are at their wits end as they got alphabets wrong somewhere in the middle and were still trying to sort out the mess that I didnt know whether to be angry at his wasting my daytime minutes or to laugh out at the comic interaction btw the hapless puppy and the frustrated gal on the other end. Every customer support call he makes is preceded by a short prayer to have it routed to india!
Finally he arrived at a solution for his name bug...started calling himself Andy Padman!

Mathew and me took a break from studies and headed out for our first baseball match. usc wuz playing stanford. we didnt know much abt the game and were totally lost. suddenly a usc batter struck a powerful shot and started running. mathew wuz up in a second and lustily cheering. i decided to do my bit and whistled. Suddenly we realized the crowd had turned towards us and wuz giving hostile glares....we hadnt noticed that a catch was taken...filled with shame and fear of an adi, we ran for our life.

A professor is holding forte in class.Suddenly we hear one of our classmates,a desi call him sir. The professors response wuz unforgettable..."I have not yet been knighted by the English Queen, so until that day comes you can address me as Professor or by my first name"!

Coming to the the Tokyo International Airport I realized I had a Japanese version of my name....everywhere kept being called Mr.Kattakama.

Once, mathew was working early mornings at his campus job office when he heard a gal scream. he ran to her side and starts comforting the hot babe but she shakes him off and points in the direction of the corridor and tells him to catch the thief who took her money.Our chivalrous hero confidently moved to the corridor and he sees the assailant,a 6'5" hefty kallu walking away coolly.The guy turns back and stares menacingly at mathaichan.The gal yells at mathew "catch him, catch him"...mathew takes a few hesitant steps towards the man...and slowly tells him without the gori hearing..."run away, please run away".Luckily for him the guy starts running and the gal thanks him for being a "big help"!

vikas my usc roomie had this habit of talking on the fone to his bhayya at nite on the road in front of our apt. our area wuz notorious for crimes as we were close to the LA ghettos. one day a kallu crept up beside him on a cycle tapped him on his shoulder and rasped..."gimme all ur money or i will shoot u"...having only his dear fone and nothing else...all he cud plead wuz...'u want my money...u want my money??" and gave the kallu the last thing he wud ever expect from a desi....a resounding kick on his balls! the kallu left his cycle behind and ran for his life. that day on vikas became a symbol of pride and courage among our desi community while vikas shivers to think wht wud have happened if the guy really had a gun on him as he had boasted!!!

Anyways most of us are past the fresh of the boat stage and there are fewer anecdotes to recite each time we all meet up...all our guys are slowly getting smug and comfortable with life in america...its true whether in movies or in life...the best comedy happens when we are in the struggling phase. Tomorrow viswan is coming to LA for the weekend, we meet after 6 months...deyvame enthokke prashnangalilaanontho chenne chadaan pokunna ineem!


silverine said...

This is hilarious!!! :)) You should write a guide for unsuspecting mallus coming to the US!

Anonymous said...

Too Good Jabba..... :))
Chirichu chirichu kavilu vedhanikkunu

Viswan... ha ha.. I am sure that you will end up with enough material to write after he messes your place :)

Unknown said...

About talking loudly in Malayalam in strange foreign lands... I think every mallu probably does this. Me and my friends in Raipur, especially.
Whenever we want to irritate somebody the whole bunch of us start chattering away in the mother tongue, mouthing all sorts of obscenities, the likes of which if we had mouthed in the God's Own Country, we would have ended up with black eyes, from well-meaning Malayali Maamans.

Jiby said...

i wuz scared whether anyone wud feel these were comes as a relief seeing u folks' comments here. the guys here who read this reminded me of several more that i had forgotten...will keep it in stock for another post when this blog gets too dreary and dry.

jofu, viswan left and fortunately we are all in one peice...that's a story for another time...for a change he didnt pick up any speeding tickets too!!!

Anonymous said...

Aliyaa kidi !! (thts short for kidilan ; if uve been away too long )

Chirichu level aayi machaa

These are the species of stories we'd over some drinks with engg pals and laugh our heads off

I have some stock of similar NRI mallu stories too ; was just looking for an audience ;-)

Alas as my blog is read by non mallus too; cant include the malayalam gags ..Neway hav a new post on some universally understandable chalams


Sushil said...

Hi Jiby, I just came across your blog and loved this post.

godsowncountry said...




Anonymous said...

Ithu kalakki...enikku muthune ariyaam pandey

vann post !!

mathew said...

superb post man..
chirichu marichu!!!

DD said...

Viswan vannittu LA kolam thondiya? :)

skar said...

Whatay collection of incidents! Tooooooooooo good!! Totally ROFL man! You should quit all your serious work and get back to writing fun recollections! :p