Wednesday, November 27

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       


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.