Wednesday, November 09, 2011

ca va?

Many years ago before the World War II, a blitzkrieg of German soldiers would come right up to the border in their Panzer tanks and turn their guns at a poor French farmer and shout…

"Entschuldigen Sie mich. Kann ich etwas Käse und Wein. Und Sie können meinen Porsche"

To rather briefly put it the German would politely offer his Porsche for some good French wine and cheese…Unfortunately by the time the soldier finished his statement in deutsch which in these days would roughly take up 15GB of your hard disk, age would be catching up with the poor French farmer and the wine would have turned vintage!

Out of sheer boredom and effort needed to have a conversation with the German, the Monsieur would curtly reply...

‘Oui’

It was to no one’s surprise that in a few years Germany realised the importance of occupying France for strategic military reasons as mentioned in weekly newsletters issued by the third Reich... It was though an open secret in SS circles the strategic reasons were mainly cheese from Strasbourg and the wine from Bordeaux....

Several years later a malayalee landed in that country for the same strategic reasons as the Germans did.... and voila he had no choice but to express his joy when he tasted the fine elixir in the most passionate way possible...So he did fold his mundu, toasted his glass high and waxed eloquently what he had memorised all along….

“Monsieur this wine is excellent…exceptionnelle !!!… céleste!!....it has the earthiness of Bordeaux and astringent after taste of a Cabernet sauvignon and yet sublimely robust with a tinge of cedar wood and unpretentious crispness of autumn air in Burgundy. A grapey finesse with a peppery flourish which discreetly emphasizes the opulent undertone of a citrus crust that succulently brings out the Joie de vivre every human aspires for…”

Ofcourse as I said this the frenchman looked everybit the angry Gaul I had Imagined from Asterix comics… Either he was contemplating to use the french legion against me or the even greater humilation of running over me in a french made car.. Inspite of all the french sense of fashion and avant garde and other such sophisticated words which they are proud of, that is one thing they are really bad at…The Renault’s and the Peugoet’s were probably designed only with sole intent of packing as much groceries from Carrefour as possible... and the only reason why the world has forgiven them was coz of their cusine..

I realised how seriously they took their food when I looked at the menu in a restaurant out here… They could pretty much convince you with vivid descriptions and exquisite phrases how delicious it is to eat sawdust if the wood is French!!

There is nothing that can bring passion amongst the average Charles de and Gaulle as much as food does. For centuries they occupied countries in Africa and Asia and even took the effort of going to far away islands in pacific to steal the local cuisines. Ofcoz Algeria due to lack of parking spots in France but Pondicherry that was only for curd rice!! Infact several years ago, parts of France were declared as famine hit when there was a sudden shortage of caviar at a few Michelin starred restaurants in Paris … Well I must say a French man might after all die, but never of poverty...

While the language is really pleasing to the ears, for someone who is attempting to try a few phrases like myself the consequences are disastrous...After spending several hours memorising phrases like “Parlez vou Anglais” (Do you speak English?), I have been quite lucky to see a wide variety of French facial expressions when I gallantly asked them… “Poulet vou Anglais” (Chicken do you English?)

But I must admit, the French way of speaking French is very sweet…So its hard to make out what the mood of conversation actually is...Sometimes you think that a couple who seem to talk animatedly and loud in the street was probably saying very moving and romantic French lines from “Gone with the Wind”… only to realise after a few minutes that they would blow up like RDX coated popcorn generating enough power that sends those rockets to space from French Guyana…

Hmm… and I know you must be wondering why hasn’t he yet talked about French ladies…Well there are days here when the sky is grey, gloomy and overcast… you read about massacres happening in Libya…project fails and system crashes at work…somebody tops your top score in flight control…. You lose money at the stock market…salary hikes become a myth… and one of those days while sitting alone in a restaurant looking forlorn outside … you see a petit mademoiselle with a sweet and warm smile walking towards to you…and quips…

“Monsieur…Could you pass the salt? ”

12 comments:

Rindo said...

Je dormirai ce soir moins bête. :)

Incidentally, this is my standard response to any sort of French thrown at me. If it works, good for you! If it doesn't, it gets laughs. :)

Ashwathy said...

Ha ha ha.... My French sucks. I can order a cafe au lait at a restaurant but thats about it. I need to brush up on it again.
And yes the prnounciation makes all the difference!

Deepa said...

oh yeah ,... the French pronunciation .. sigh !!!

the spoken French is way way way more confusing if you have just learnt to read and understand French

and did you lose weight ... finally ??

Deepa said...

You asked Ca Va right .. so here goes my reply ..

Merci Bien. Et Vouz ?

Anonymous said...

Dude u back to Europe...I guess tht place is addictive...
U might wanna tk a look at this website for ur Parisian gourmet journey... www.davidlebovitz.com

Till then hasta la vista (guess thts whr u wuld be heading next !!!)

Nona said...

You in Paris? If you are, DM on twitter. I would like to meet the mandan kunju. ;)

Happy Kitten said...

Merci beaucoup! (though I learnt French in college.. it is still very bad....)

Needed something to cheer me up after reading about the death of our fav blogger...
http://santanusc.blogspot.com/2011/11/kochuthresiamma-joseph.html

Hope to read you more often..

scorpiogenius said...

hey! In Paris? :)

Welcome back to blogosphere :)

silverine said...

Monsieur this post is excellent…exceptionnelle !!!… céleste!!....!!

Truly an exquisite post!! One of your best! Enjoyed the fine words :)

Life Mysterious said...

Ca va? French neighbors :P!

Priyankari said...

Loved your post as usual! Enjoy France and tell us more about it in your style :)

trystwithcognition said...

Mathew, I see you haven't written in a while, but I still love to revisit your blog every once in a while. I too have migrated from Blogspot to Wordpress. Do give it a glance if you get a chance. Hah, didn't expect it to rhyme, but here you go. :-)