Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shopper Stumped!

Warning: this post is laced in malayalam……

Each one of us has memorable shopping experiences….Even I have a few of em which I wont for-get…Would love to share a few of em…

Several years ago, guess in mid-school times… i was send to a poultry shop to buy chicken…
This is the conversation that followed……..

Me: "Oru kilo chicken chetta"
Butcher (in a hurried tone): "Halal??"
Me :"alla...chicken"
Butcher (with slightly louder voice than before):"Halal aano ennu?"
Me (trying to be convincing):"alla chetta…chicken Kozhi ille?..."

And the sight of his sharp vettukathi did not elicit further questions or answers from me....


Few weeks ago when I was on a call home, Mom mentioned an incident which happened to her during a visit to a grocery shop….

Mom: “Theeyal paste* ondo?”
Shopkeeper (trying to be salesman) : “ayyo illa…Pepsodentoo colgateoo aanengil ondu…”

I think Amma did not laugh out loud though am not sure if I could bear not to!!

*you get it readymade like Puliyogare.

Another incident happened in final year of college…We often had parties hosted when friends got placed in various companies…and we often hit upon the best restaurants in town…And since I was not used to frequenting the better off restaurants back then, I used this opportunity to explore the most expensive of dishes…and due to circumstance not known ‘someone’ asked the waiter

‘Someone’: “Chetta…brochure theraamo”
Waiter: “Brochureooooooo!!!!”

It never clicked ‘someone’s’ mind to ask for the Menu!!


There are couple of incidents which are attributed to friends who are “Hindi challenged.”

Someone checking into a grocery shop in Hyderabad to buy a kilo of dal…
“aada ghanta daal kitna??"

Another fella who has a historic tendency to confuse between ‘kya’ and ‘kaun’...

At a restaurant in Bangalore after summoning the waiter…
S: “Bhai…khaanei keliya kaun kaun hein”

The same guy again in another hotel:-

S: “Chicken soup hein?”
S:Aur kaun hein?”

This happened in Germany…’someone’ goes to a bakerie and asks for Franzbrotchen (kind of crois-sant)...In order to try his german as much as possible this ‘someone’ started of conversation in rudi-mentary german…He knew that ‘einmal’ in german meant, one or one more…

‘Someone’: ‘Einmal kafee und einmal franzbrotchen...Zum mit nehmen bitte’
: ’One coffee and one croissant…take away please…’
shop attender:’Alles...’
: ’that’s all?’

Everything fine until here. That’s when ‘someone’ tried interpretational language learning…Instead of saying a simple ‘Ja’ (yes) to end the conversation, he said.. ‘Nochmal’

So a typical german might ask why you said that…coz the logic worked like this...
’Zweimal means ‘two more’…..therefore Nochmal must be meaning ‘No more’’…though actually Nochmal means ‘One more’...So this is what ensued…

Shop attender:’Alles...’
: ’that’s all?’
Someone (very happy to try his interpreted german): ‘Nochmal’
Shop attender: ‘Franzbrotchen?’
Someone (so happy to get the chance to use the word again): ‘ja…Nochmal’

The lady goes inside and gets one more Franzbrotchen…Noticing this, ‘someone’ shouts from a distance a bit louder…


The lady goes inside again…and gets ‘someone’ the third Franzbrotchen…

That day for dinner...this ‘someone’ had to finish three Franzbrotchen and a new word to learn!!

Listening to Nena.


Dhanya said...

ROFL.. Nochmal is classic.. How do u survive there? ;)

Dhanya said...

WOW first to comment too :)

Saphire said...

LOL!! hope i someday get to visit france to try out my rusty french and make such blunders :D

scorpiogenius said...

wow...nice collection! :)
your 'hindi' friend needs some serious lessons in Hindi. No, what he needs is a good advice..

"Dont speak the language you dont know well"..:)))

Anonymous said...

Mathew,enjoyed reading you as always.the firstone,yes,I remeber why your mom,was laughing out loud..had similar incident asking for "amchur powder" in kerala,haha.they have given me tooth powder..
naatil vachu orikkal nammude nattinpurathe antonychettane kadayil kashmirichilli powder chodichu..ambarannu nokkiyittu ulla ella aalkkardum,ividathe chilli ivaronnum kazhikkathirunnal nammude naadengane nannavum..hum,poyippori kashmirile chillye kazhikkullu..pinne ella aalkkarudeyum comment...Can you inagine how i vanished from the scene
One of my pals used to say this when she visited Delhi for a first time..she was poor in Hindi who couldnt get the hindi word for egg...she was trying to communicate with the shopkeeper for long...finally she had to shout showing all her 10 fingers and "AAAAAAT MUTTTTTTTTAAAAA de do.."
lovely some times..

skar said...

Fun :) Reminds me of an incident when my aunt had come down from ambalamedu to Hyderabad when I was in high school. She wanted to get some tea in the evening and I volunteered to accompany her in case there should be language issues. The nearest general provisions store is only a minute's distance from my house yet we spent over one unsuccessful hour trying to purchase tea! Turned out my aunt only wanted 'Kannan Devan Tea' :|

Divs said...


someone has learnt German quite a bit now huh? :P

or at least not to say 'Nochmal' ? :P

:D :D

Life Mysterious said...

Now I must may be learn Mallu. Atleast to enjoy your posts better! leaves me smiling :)

Shrutz said...

Hehehe :D Nochmal. Por favore?

mathew said...

hehe..i think Germans are a forgiving people..';-D

yeah...its good that I dont know french beyond merci and au revoir..else I would have made a french toast of myself!!;-D

"Dont speak the language you dont know well" dont scare me..I might very well have to rely on sign language in that case..;-P

Kashmiri chilly..LOL!! i can imagine the looks on their face..I myself dint know what that was until recently..

hehe...kannan devan in hyderabad..most likely to get!
I think we had a similar exp when we were searching for Kerala rice in Hamburg..;-P

LOL!! some lessons are learned the hard way!

@Life Mysterious
Well you should befriend a wouldnt have to put special efforts in that case!! My bengali school friend spoke fluent malayalam by the time he finished mid-school..

haa..lady from the land of Hergé..thou shall read fun in the adventures of Shrintin!! you must have your own!;-D

Mishmash ! said...

the last one was hilarious....and "brochure theramo.." is a classic one :D but i must say halal chicken and theeyal paste still tops my list :))

Abhi said...

Nochmal was good, but the brochure thing was classic. Where did someone try it? Lordsil aano?

Twism said...

Hehe... everywhere you go 'someone' is always destroying a language or the other! Even I know a few 'someones' who, amongst other languages, have destroyed English, Hindi and Kannada!

Devil Incarnate said...

LOL.. guess that "someone" got quite a gud xperiance doing blunders....... that brochure thing was toooooooo gud :)

Twism said...

BTW, the video (based around the piano) that you shared was just beautiful!
And oh yeah, I had sent you a PM informing that you can have unofficial 'Vote for Shashi Tharoor' widgets from here:
Hope the PM didnt spook you!

Pooja Nair said...

ha ha these are SO funny...i have loads of these:

like my uncle's mother annoncing lovingly to her new north-indian dauther-in-law that they were now her "asurs". She wanted to "sasurs"

Sasur means in-laws
Asur means demon.

Then there was this one malyalee who fell into a lake in UP and started to yell

"mujhe neend nahin aati"

(enikyu neendan arunjuda..)

but neend in hindi refers to sleep.

So the baffled onlookers wondered why this man was concerned wiht his insomnia at a time like this?


mathew said...

thanks….i was afraid this post might be boring for you...:-)
my friends make fun of the ‘brochure’ even till date!!

nope...that was at Kalavara….I think lordsil if you ask that, you might get a mouthful of ob-scenities..:-D

I have been accused of destroying malayalam from purists!!;-D

@Devil Incarnate
thanks….yeah I think it’s was an ‘enlightening’ experience…

thanks I got your message…the reason for being not putting the widget was coz I think peo-ple should make a wise choice on what he stands for which can be read in his official web-site(which therefore I have linked to)…I think a statement from me saying ‘Vote for Tharoor’ should be backed up by facts from his site and just me declaring support for him on a widget wont make a difference…and hence I linked to his site instead….

Sorry for not replying earlier…..

LOL!! The ones you have come up with are gems too...
"mujhe neend nahin aati" hahaha...

thank god I learned hindi in school....I can see myself coming up with such blunders other-wise....though I still do inspite of..:-D

hammy said...

Superb post.


Well, nochmal again.

In fact...


and so on and so forth.

thomas said...

I get a sense of deja vu; I think you've commented about that halaal chicken incident sometime back in my blog. Angane kooduthal bloopers pooratte, ;)

Sakshi said...

Brochure is my fave..can't stop laughing and btw this someone also had her share of blunders when she got married to a north Indian and thought that she could use her text book hindi practically too...One such incident was when one of my BIL came home and asked where his wife was and I answered "Bhabhi Anda de rahi hai" It took me a long time to understand why everyone erupted into uncontrollable laughter coz all I meant to say was that his wife was feeding her son an egg...
Till date they haunt me with this blunder

Varsha Vipins said...

Hilarious ..!! theeyal paste vayichu njan chirichu maduthu..lols..n that brochure one too..:)

Twism said...

Yeah that's what i feel to: that people should make an educated decision for themselves! Just thought of informing you in case you needed it! That's all!

Deepti said...

Hilarious ... aaj aap ke khane me kaun hai? ;D

RukmaniRam said...

the last one was you wasn't it..?

came here from usha's blog, where you talked about your cola and rum superstition. *had* to follow to your blog!

VIDYA said...


Theeyal paste!!! brochure! :D :D

Chirichu chirichu madhiavunila!

Bindhu Unny said...

'Kya' and 'kaun' was the best one. Because I also make such mistakes in Hindi.
is Theeyal paste available in market? I didn't know.

Cris said...

I didnt get the first joke and one of those Hindi jokes. I am worse than your Hindi challenged friends :-(

Venkatesh A.R. said...

haha.. that was a good collection.. to add another one which my present roommates former roommate (confused?!!) said while he was in Nasik, India... this guy did not know much Hindi to communicate freely.. he had bought an apple from a roadside vendor, and was so hungry to eat it immediately (but wanted it washed). this was what he told.. "bhaiyya, apply paani, apply paani"!!!! :-) vendor: totally confused!! :-)

mathew said...

hehe..thank you..

yeah..i had mentioned in some comment sometime..was not sure about it though..;-D

"Bhabhi Anda de rahi hai"
ROTFL!! thats one absolute guffaw!!;-D

hehe..yeah..I had a good laugh when mom told abt it too..


hehe...we still make of fun that friend for that line of his!!;-D

hehe..ofcoz yes..
thanks for visiting my blog..:)


yeah..its available in Kerala..though am not sure outside..

hehe..well..I didnot know what halal meant in the first place..i thought that was a different kind of meat..;-D

hehe..nice ones..
you know the guy who told "khaanie keliye kaun kaun hein" btw!;-D

Usha said...

khane keliye kaun kaun hain?
aapke ghar mein aapke parents aur kya kya hain?
aiyo! hindi bloopers were always so funny..
i know a mallu friend who put up a rather long argument with a punju friend that in shuddh hindi, he should be saying "aap aayiye" and not "aap aao". with a 'nammalum kore hindi okke padichittullathaane' smirk! :D

Deepti said...

hey you must have heard it a lot but your blog inspires ! terrific way to utilize spare time.. your mom's incident though happened to many still made me laugh..hindi friend too.. sharing is a good thing... happy i came across your blog that cheered me up :)

mathew said...

hehe..must admit i do a little show off to with the sprinkling of hindi i know..;-P

thanks a always feel special to read such encouraging comments..thanks once again..

wanderlust said...

ROFL, Mathew.
Reminds me about my hubby who was new in Bangalore and had learnt a few words in Kannada. He goes to a shop and says "Iradu bottle paani beku" and the shopkeeper answers him in torrential kannada. The best part was when he realized the shop keeper is a malayali!

Anonymous said...

the Nochmal story is hilarious ...and I love the way you narrate it - you really should consider writing articles (if you don't already). I have just moved to Germany (Hamburg)and I am a great source of amusement to my German friends with my direct English to German translations.

I came across this blog by googling franzbrötchen - a friend just offered me one this morning - delicious!!

mathew said...

i am in hamburg too!!:) its a nice city isnt it!;)