Sunday, January 20, 2008

Herren and Damen....A 21st century foxy story!!

It was the spring of 2006.The fall colors at its vibrant best and a young Indian arrived in Germany...The foreign land beckoned and he thought he was trained enough to survive living abroad having gone through a online course on cultural familiarity for folks visiting Deutschland. It said if you don’t talk about Nazism or politics in Germany then you are perfectly at home there…Well that was easy I thought until something happened…

Alster pavilion restaurant…7:00 pm

Those days I was discovering the amazing variety German cuisine had to offer. There was sausage served on a paper plate…sausage served on a plastic plate and even sausage served on porcelain…It somehow got me thinking of the days to come when I would wake up in the middle of the night shrieking…”another sausaaaaaaage…Nooooooo.. please.…No…for my stomach sake.”
But then like angels that you were told would come from nowhere I saw it...The grace and poise which you would expect only from the best…I was both thrilled and chilled at the same time…Very rarely do you see guys doing this with the same passion like mothers cradle babies.
Sensing my restlessness Wolfgang bought what I was waiting for all my was like a dream come true…tears swelled out in joy…there they stood telling me...take me in your hands!! .Heineken. .Becks...Koenig Pilsner…Astra...Holstein…Jeez I was spoilt for choice!

As I started enjoying the Becks I looked at Heineken and it was giving me those looks…

Where have you been all these years?”

Not wanting to disappoint anyone I expressed my vows to keep in touch with all…And after a few beers I was like wow…am drinking like the Germans…I still can count up to 6 on my fingers…
whaat…whaat did I say just now…where did that sixth finger come from!!!!!

So I realized that it was enough that I proved that a Indian can drink as much a German…All that pride came crashing down when Olaf announced.

“Now that we are done with starters…lets have some drinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


“Aren’t we all drunk...”

No one was giving damn attention to my question…

“You mean a few vodka shots...and that enormous bottle of glenmorangie..uh”

“Whaat….are u serious”

“hehehe... surely u must be jokin…hehehe..i know..i know”

Jeez…leave me out of this…you drink more than what a normal panchayat back home can manage… :-O

As I was still trying to figure out that extra sixth finger, there was this parallel sixth sense that I shouldn’t wait any longer to dispense the beer in my kidneys or whatever…

And I walked straight to the loo but I couldn’t find the usual photos of the faceless man or woman which tells me where I should be actually heading too...Instead I found 2 doors each having something in deutsch written on top…This is how my brain worked that day..

HERREN…mm...Like the “HER” it must be a she.!!

Wow…how good am at comprehending foreign languages. I must be like Einstein or something!!!

As I slowly moved to the other door it said…


DAMEN…mm…like of the “MEN”…so sure it is HE!!!

The rest are excerpts from a security camera which captured the following events.

Furious german lady.. “Sie schlecht, wie man es wagen Sie .. .. Cant Sie sehen eine Frau, die ihre Toilette .. Sie krank Idiot ll .. ich die Polizei rufen ..”

“ayyoo…sorry..I intentional..english speak do you??”

As the unidentified suspect was escorted by security officials out of the restaurant the poor victim knew what to do that evening…He bought a dictionary from the nearest shop …That day he learned some lessons the hard way.


For the benefit of mankind and all future visitors to this country…

n. pl. Her·ren (h r n) Abbr. Hr.
Used as a courtesy title in a German-speaking area, prefixed to the surname or professional title of a man.

Damen (die)
n. lady, woman; Queen (chess)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy birthday Amma..

I have been saying this every year on this day to you…although I always have felt that your birthday was the least celebrated among all of us…Even this year when I though of buying a nice birthday gift, you wouldnt allow me to buy anything more than a microwave plate..

It doesn’t make much sense to thank your mom just like that coz just a thanks doesn’t suffice the gratitude and love any child has..It looks very clichéd if I would say that you are the best mom in the world…I think every son or daughter feels the same..But I must thank you for these which I cant probably tell in your presence ..

For bringing us up sacrificing the best times of your life living frugally so that we had a home of our own by the time we grew up..

Learning trigonometry even though you were a English teacher.. so that you could teach me when my grades in math were abysmally low…You were as sleeply as me when I tried to learn it from you.

Teaching me how to cook so that I wouldn’t struggle when I stayed alone..I might have cribbed going to the kitchen back then..But I am simply loving it now..Appa insisted on washing our own plates and you used to grab it from my hands when I reached the kitchen..I realise how both of you loved us however differently it was..

Taking me to those painting competitions even though you were pretty tired most of the days after work..

Making bitter gourd fry for dinner although no one except me at home were really inclined to eating that..I felt special whenever you made that at home..

Taking me to for St Jude novena and instilling faith when I was probably sort of at crossroads in my life..I loved walking around St mary's church after that short prayer..Something which I would detest vehemently years before.

Teaching me its better to tell the truth than say another lie to cover up another…

For buying us whatever we asked for during that train trip to Karanja(Mumbai) when you got transferred..You probably were more sad than we to leave us back in Trivandrum…In the train ride back home I looked at my brother's face and we both knew how afraid we were thinking of you staying alone there..though we never said anything about it to each other..

I was 18 then but I felt really scared.

I admired you for visiting Binumon daily in the hospital and giving moral courage for his parents…You weren’t the typical hospital visitor who would drop by with a pack of apples…

For making my favourite chapatti aloo curry breakfast when it was much easier for you to buy a pack of elite bread and butter..and for serving the dinner before prayers whenever we were really hungry. Although Appa dint like it very much..

For not telling Appa that I was doing the crossword puzzle secretly though I was given strict orders not to open it before the exams..

I feel proud when I hear from old students in the school that you were one of the best teachers…Although you never taught me in school(though I dint want it for the awkwardness of being in such a class), I can understand why they say that…

I know you don’t do your medical check ups regularly because you think we will get upset knowing your fluctuating sugar levels…I knew you had to take care of us and Ammachi in spite of being a working woman and not in the best of health…I have made you upset several times esp when I was caught copying in school. .

Thank you for never hitting me when I was bad..

You woke up at 4 in the morning , made breakfast and lunch and reached school at 8 to continue the battle there..

I grin when you advise me to wear proper winter clothes whenever I go out..Old habits never die..isnt..However old the child gets a Mom cant help not being the Mom...

I probably cant say more because it doesn’t seem to end as I write..

happy birthday Amma..

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ctrl C+ Ctrl V

I have been hearing this so often from blog friends…I think , I should let other know as well..

Some people make food exactly like others know they use exactly the same cutlery and exactly same table cloth..havent you heard of those tales of those psychic waves and stuff where people exactly think the same thing at the same time..maybe it is that..See the snapshot from a nice foodie blog showing the recipe which she has beautifully penned down..

originally posted in isouthpotpourri

Now see this…blistering barnacles…the official website of eastern masala!! Eastern or western but you definitely could have done better..Like you could have changed the pink color to green using photoshop..or like instead of copying the same sentence like “Chatti pathiri may perhaps be called the malbar style layered cake” you could like have added few smileys in

But there are still smart fellas here who don’t care either..Can you imagine bloggers who do it they work for Xerox or something..copying it so perfectly without leaving a trace. If someone has problems accessing Poomanam then thats the place to go, you wont miss anything!!..

See the same blogger spilling her hindi beans just like flaash in summer of 2005..’surprisingly’ she has exactly the same friends as Naveen if you go by the blog..

I don’t want to write much on it..It is for you to judge them.. These copycats have some serious attitude problems..It is one thing that you get inspired by other bloggers and write inadvertently the same thoughts which could actually happen if you are reading lot of blogs..

But in the above two cases we are seeing cases of blatant plagiarism..I have seen many folks coming up with statement like “Imitation is the best form of flattery”..But imitation and plagiarism doesn’t really mean the same…

Please folks why do you make yourself look like getting caught pants down!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Holistic approach to Politics by Dr.Mathew Asparagus SSLC.MA.PhD.MBBS

I often wonder who gave birth to the Politicians…who gave birth to idea of political parties...who first thought about having elections…Have you guys ever thought of such serious problems amidst pondering over other silly questions like ‘What is purpose of life’?

My 9-year-old niece thinks her purpose of life is to run away with Harry Potter and make Idli’s for him. Everyone has got a purpose in life like I know, am destined to be the new messiah of peace in a troubled and simmering world. Even worse, politicians do have a purpose in life as well which they often proclaim during election rallies…

Like recently in a heartfelt speech at an election rally it was the turn of the rural mahila leader who had recently taken an English rapidex course (just to boost her urban image) to explain her purpose…

Dear Brothers and sisters…it is true…it is true that my two sons’ are’ illegitimate’

Amidst sighs of shocked party workers…

‘‘Yes my dear people...they don’t know how to read or write…’

I want them educated and talking to computers…and I want everyone in my village to talk with computers…Aam aadmi ko roti kapada pen drive aur download accelerator...yeh hamara naya nara hein

Only later after party aides revealed to the ‘motherly leader’ did she realize the gaffe…In a later notification to the press, leader Mahamahidevi has clarified that her children were indeed illicit and not illiterate as previously mentioned. While some end their career like this, we have others who refuse to die. Like a famous man who was in ‘general’ ready to step down when order is restored in his country.

Willy old man successfully cheated (hehehe..I can’t stop chuckling when that name comes up) Bush by telling him he will ban Taliban. But who cares about Taliban when its all about elections in the USA…But has anyone bothered about the serious implications of Obama running for the president…

Just think about those senile soda glass American voters who would surely having a tough time figuring out Obama in the ballot paper and in shear horror would vote for any other candidate other than Osama…can you imagine the money insurance companies stand to lose in case of a slight mistype by a Washington post newsprint editor on a bad day.


Catastrophic times dude…there would be riots…Gotta change your name to something more neutral like “Vakkom Vasuettan”

Amidst all talk about politics I had serious issues to sort back home... I have decided to file a complaint against dad for racist comments…a decade or so back when I was playing cricket at the MCG (Muttada cricket Ground) with the Ditto and Jikku...I remember Jikku hollering at me....

’Monkey...go get the ball’

Unable to bear the insult I ran towards Appa and complained…

‘Appa…Jikku is using racist slur on me…he called me a monkey…bwaahahaha....’

‘Donkey!!!...go and start reading your physics text book…hmmm...full time….wants to become a cricket star…uh….do you wanna see taree zamin par…ehh.’

A extremely offended me finally couldn’t bear it and asked Amma to get a written apology from Appa and slash my ‘expected marks’ for the three upcoming unit tests…The ICC (Innum Chutikaam council) decided to turn a blind eye against those derogatory remarks...But on a global level things were not cooling off that easily. Seeing the disgusting turn of events a politician vented his fury…

“Mere desh vaasiyoon...yeh Australian khiladiyan “rapist” hein…hum yeh kabhi tolerate nahin karenge…Yeh naa insaafi ke virudh mera ek anushodhan yaatra kal Gandhi park mein hogaa…sab log chaaku…pathar...aur kerosene ke saath kripyaa assemble kare..”

Amidst all these the average malayalee isn’t happy just with national politics…they think international or err global… like this incident at a barbershop in Kerala.

An old man dint get his usual manorama/deshabhimani and grabs the Indian express lying on the table…Dude after clearing his throat was sure to impress other naadans looking at the English reading parushkaari*

He mumbles slowly…

Fr…Fr…French presidents are Kozhi**…..

Turning to the other people sitting besides him…

‘Pathetic people...these French…after all isn’t he a president!!’

‘Now the Barber looses his cool and hands the paper to his son who read the headline that was…

French president Sarkozy arrives on a three day state visit.

The old man had a close shave that day and never returned to the barbershop.

You hate it or not... Politics and politicians are part of our life... the silver lining is even though we blame our political parties for all hullabaloo and dirty politicking we have to admit to have the geekiest parties…there is no denial of that...Never wonder our country is doing so good at it …

No one takes IT as seriously as our people do..;-P

*parushkaari~slang word for westernised person

**Kozhi~ chicken

Thursday, January 03, 2008

When you are in Spain, do as Indians do!!

It is sort of sacrilegious if we don’t expect every new year to be better than the previous year…Isn’t it amazing that we really believe that the new year is going to be mind blowing and spectacular only to end repeating the same farce again and again…Neways its not the time for stupid rhetoric so I would rather keep the blabbering to the minimum. Last 10 days were absolute fun back packing in Spain this time. As you see my bank balance is dwindling at such a pace that I don’t believe the common perception that nothing travels faster than light...But I kept delaying the worry coz there was no point that I was gonna stop enjoying either way...

Every time I visit a new place I always get the vague feeling that there cant be a better place than this…Spain in many ways has a different feel which didn’t evoke reason enough to compare with somewhere else...The blue skies of Barcelona…the beaches…the Mecca of football buffs the Camp Nou… the Moorish settlement in Granada...the magnificent Alhambra...scenic Seville...and very capital-like Madrid… Along with the visual treat there was a very dynamic gastronomic tour which ran parallel which left me acknowledging the second best cuisine on planet as to Spanish food…Ofcoz the best is Kerala cuisine and I have pushed the Italian down to the third...I know everyone must be thinking that am writing too many travelogue these days…but I have those vibes that I surely be killed by some Spanish matador if I dint share my impressions of the country…

The trip started of rather not that pleasantly considering that the flight departure was late by an hour because of some mix-up with seats...I was boarding the plane and here I see a ruckus coz a lady had come with 2 kids and there was seat short...If you still believe that sun rises in east believe me finally they settled it by agreeing to seat the 6 year old kid beside the pilot in the cockpit!! The next one hour was devoted to a feverishly paced rosary with occasional visions of the kid playing at the controls and gears when the pilot might be just peeping outside the window...You know??…You never know!!!...Needless to say in spite of working at a place where they make aircrafts I do have remarkable fear that planes might come down especially when I travel in one of em…

That is exactly why when the airhostess comes in with that tray and asks…’Would you like to have coffee or Juice...’
I had to say…’Chechi…Could you please give some sleeping pills to that kid’

And what is it with aircrafts…How do humans ever find motivation to sit in a seat where the picture in front of you is of rapidly spreading fire and images of a plane sinking in a sea…And notice that these airlines make sure that the faces on those pics are as grave as possible…Whoever thought of these…uh!!...

The first that stuck me about Spain is that there is a bit chaos and plenty of noisy people unlike in Germany where you rarely would hear people talking in metros or buses on a normal day...Barcelona has feel of the sea nearby and the city is very vibrant and you can infact keep walking coz u would surely come across some interesting monument sooner or later…We had lunch near the seaside overlooking the Mediterranean sea. When you talk about lunch in Spain it is always ‘Paella Rice’ that beckons…it is like when you think about idiot you have a picture of Bush...sort of images conjuring up to expectations...Paella rice is somewhat over hyped coz the Spaniards are not crazy about it but the tourists are…Maybe I can describe it as a Spanish version of Fish biriyani...nevertheless it tasted awesome...I had a glass of home made wine before the lunch and the combination of wine, Paella and sea breeze was simply too soothing that we decided to hang around the beach for few hours to get over the feel good hangover...took the funicular to a hill from where we saw the whole city and later next day took the much awaited trip to Camp Nou...My travel mate is a football aficionado who said he is going to gift his mom an Arsenal Saree and his dad an Arsenal towel during his next trip home when asked what he is taking back home. Am pretty sure he would name his kids Fabregas and Wenger considering his excessive devotion…and any day would prefer to get married at some stadium than a church!!

Few days later we went to Granada which is a classic town with heavy Arabic influence coz it was ruled by Arabs centuries ago...This is where Alhambra which most Europeans consider as one of the wonders of the world…exquisite palaces …and gardens…legend as is they tried to recreate the Koran’s description of heaven in here…must say simply stunning…

Granada was interesting at the hostel too where at the pub I got into midst of a conversation among a Palestinian Moslem, an Israeli Jew and a German girl...I couldn’t conceptualize a even more volatile group to have a drink with...For those brief moments I reincarnated as Mahatma Gandhi talking about peace and sacrifice…They got the point and we started another round of Sangria!! ;-P

Our next stop was the beautiful town of Seville...The town is famous for having the biggest church in the world, flamenco dancers and for being the birth place of ‘Tapas’...Tapa is not a dish, but it is just any dish served on a small plate served along with a drink...We had registered for a ‘Tapas tour’ from our hostel and when we finally assembled at the hotel lounge it was realization of a fantasy come true for any average male...there were 6 Spanish, 2 Brit and one French girl who were in the tour…and just two very ‘exotic and decent Indian males’ accompanying them…Me and my friend started thanking our stars for the god send opportunity…Nevertheless due to previous inexperience in handling such a large crowd we ended up saying a little embarrassing to some very embarrassing lines…I could sense how desperate my friend was when he pretended to know about small towns in Spain and very unlikely interest in Spanish music...

Girl: ‘I come from San Sebastin’
Wow…really...oh...How I always dreamed of visiting that place…was my childhood ambition’
Girl:’ that is so sweet...You must be a big fan of Pedrosa la $§%””ß# ’
yaa..yaaa…it is simply amazing…cant stop listening to her music’
Girl:’ How romantique…no one has ever said so eloquent about the famous cow in our town’

Seville is famous for the bull fights as well…But you know it is very inhuman to torture animals like that they do in such fights...I wonder why these people don’t have a bit of conscience when they make a mockery of animal rights…simply outrageous…For god sake they are not game material!!!.. It is food …Make some delicious vindaloos wont you!!!

Our final destination was Madrid which I must admit wasn’t as exciting as the first there…just the palaces and museums which I was pretty tired of by then...How much can u pretend admiring at some painting which looks like as if the artist was mentally deranged when he did it...I came back on 31st night and the best part was that the pilot gave a new year gift by circling low around the city before landing...watching fireworks up from air is altogether different sight and I loved it…

As I took the metro late night home...there was lot of fun and frolic in it...lot of beer and champagne. Many people singing…and a unmistakable joy engulfing everyone...everyone seemed to be happy…But then as the train was nearing my station and the crowds had dwindled after they got down at stations much before, I saw this old man walking in the train with a trolley...he was picking up the empty beer bottles and champagne bottles strewn in the train...when the trolley was full he began tucking them inside his jacket...the sight some how hit me hard...there was the whole world celebrating the arrival of new year and here a 70 something old man collecting bottles so that he could sell it off next day for a living...I don’t know what I felt that moment...was it the guilt of enjoying hard in Spain…was it the contrast I saw a few minutes back with the revelry in the train…or was it the irony of life???