Skip to main content

She speaks American English

It's the time of the season, as the song goes, when relatives residing in foreign parts realise that the cure for homesickness is affordable and arrive like a mob of vultures to a carcass party. How else can you reasonably explain the fact that five different people have flown in within a week and made the pilgrimage to my grandma's place.

That doughty lady is of course, delighted and exasperated in equal measure. While she loves visitors, particularly family, and is of an age when every day is a gift, she certainly does not possess the equanimity or energy to juggle their various dietary and behavioural idiosyncrasies with her usual finesse. However, she perseveres.

Last night, this entire crew of NRIs met up at my uncle's place. I happened to drop by on my way home, and was immediately pulled into the jamboree. I'm pretty certain most extended families are as noisy as mine when meeting & catching up, in some cases, after almost 20 years. Like me, you'd expect a reasonable amount of banter, jokes, mirth and gossip. That's the charm of these meets after all.

However, my family is nothing if not eccentric. In a room of 9 people, 3 of whom are IIT alumni (not uncommon in a Tam-Bram house, I assure you), the usual topics didn't stand a chance. From a 2 hour session, I found out:
  • The size, colour, texture and nutritive benefits of avocado
  • Why aluminum dinnerware and cutlery are not good for one's health
  • The melting points of steel, aluminum, and tin and the electroplating of cooking vessels
  • Why Croft & Garner were better bowlers than Roberts & Holding
  • When and how people will be able to use cell-phones on planes safely
  • The processes involved in registering and running an NGO in the U.S.
  • Why the Pandyan Express, from Madras to Madurai, is an excellent train
  • How to get to and make an excellent visit of Rameshwaram
  • About documentaries on Indonesian gang wars
  • Yada yada yada... there was some talk about Fortran and CAD, but I gave up
Yes. Egads. My feelings exactly. I was pretty sure that, at some point, an argument would break out on Calculus, Integration and Organic Chemistry, and that slide rules, foolscap sheets and other assorted scientific paraphernalia would be whipped out... but we didn't that far.   

The best part was the fact that all these people (barring a pseudo-copywriter) are experts in various arcane branches of learning, meaning that no one could bullshit without getting caught out.

Which is why, dear reader, I safely stayed silent and thought up this post.

Song for the moment: Homecoming - Acoustic Alchemy       

Comments

Gobri said…
You are only the second person I know who uses 'Egads' coolly without sounding like a 150 yr old.

Your family conversations sound very much like mine. :)
G said…
:) Truth be told, I zoned out initially, but jumped into the hoopla later. Glad I did because there's no getting away from family, and it turned out to be fun.

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Drink up and be somebody

Dear Reader,

History will boldly testify that your favourite blogger is usually slow on the uptake, a state of affairs that's blooming with each passing year like a reverse-Revital. "Why this self-harshness, G", you may ask? Well...

I've been doing the Bom-Pune-Bom trips for 9 years and it's taken about that long to accept that MSRTC Shivneri, still the best bus service of them all, simply cannot (or, realistically, will not) cope with 3-day weekends. Since my job profile does not allow me to plan my travel in advance on said Fridays, I land up at Dadar, view the queue of potential passengers snaking a long way from the ticket window and mentally prepare to arrive home at the hour of morning reserved for sheepish teenagers and dacoits. The Expressway doesn't help anyone's cause thanks to truck drivers spreading themselves generously across 3 lanes and clogging the Lonavala pass to a point where the traffic jam is about 3 km long. A stretch that would tak…

Country Comforts

Part 1

With timing that was far more impeccable than their usual service, the MSRTC went on strike 2 days before Diwali over a pay dispute. I've traveled on their buses for close to 9 years and know full well just how popular they can be just before a major holiday. The chaotic crowd at Dadar is so dense, one would only need to introduce a few Naga sadhus into the mix and hey presto! we've got ourselves a brand new Kumbh Mela. Albeit one where getting out of Bombay ASAP is the only kind of salvation devotees seek. 

News and newspapers being what they are at present, I was unaware of the jolly bus crisis until Wednesday morning when a well-wisher asked how I proposed to go home for the holidays, flourishing the paper in my face with the reluctant panache of a small-town magician. Realising the gravity of the situation, I looked up train schedules and was stunned to find General category seats available on an outstation train departing later that afternoon. As far as I could see, …