Sunday, July 18, 2010

of this and that (living the south indian dream)

Today, yet again, I wriggled out of another family thingamajig. Cunning (little?) thing I am. Baby's completed one year so we must have birthday party it seems. Chumma. Showing off much? Obviously, I decline to be a part of such foolishness. As if baby knows what the fucks happening. Poor little thing, cute also I'll bet, dressed up in some frock with the lace around her neck almost choking her, pulling at it in many futile attempts to allow some fresh air.

Like my thatha (who is a very wise man when it comes to social customs) said- " 'As if the baby is saying, I'm turning one, please come to XY hotel'. If we don't go, we'll save them a lot of money. Oru plate at least eranuthi ambathu ruba irukkum." Who can argue with that wisdom? So Ammamma (no, I do not refer to my grandmom as paati (party)) delivered her stock dialogue for such situations: "AamaRendu perukkum manushan ey vaenda. (Yes, for you two, people aren't important)"

So everyone (minus-me, thatha and my brother- the family loafer who was porikking) went off to Hotel Sapphire (if I'm not wrong). It seems the menu included "maal" (matter/non veg) including mutton biryani, tandoori chicken along with chocolate mousse and other such items (which was supposed to make us rue our decisions). Thatha snorted (this is his way of dismissing things others have said), porikki said "yes, aah?" and I ignored. No amount of maal in the world can tempt me to go willingly to a mudaliar event. 

That too in this very marriageable age of mine. The next Mud event I attend will be my own wedding (as if that day will come!) or my brother's, if I have my way. My grand-aunt, referred to by the entire family as Thotha) will periodically call from Madras and enquire about me. Her two questions "Has she lost weight?" and "When are you planning to get her married?". Since the atmosphere is not very conducive to my enjoyment of my youth, I prefer not to find myself in situations where I may lose my peace of mind (what little the lady hitler in my office has allowed to remain).

My grandmom tries to paint a very different picture of me. Relatives were told that I wasn't present because I was keeping Thatha company since he is never left home alone. (Which is a hundred percent true, and a whole lot convenient.) Nowadays she tells everyone: "Vaishnavi's here. Aaama, aamaa, Krishnamurthy &  Co. join panirruka. Kaataalein poyi raatri daan vara. Aama, X (referred to previously) mudal join panna yedum daan. (She's joined K & Co. Leaves in the morning and only gets back late at night. Yes, it's the same place X had started at.)" Having done that, she has announced to the entire mudaliar community in Bangalore that I am here. As my uncle always says "If there is a mudaliar mom doesn't know, he/she is certainly not worth knowing." 

Thanks to my grandparents, I am now abreast of "Tendril" and "Chellamma". Which has the usual poison giving- revenge plotting sister-in-law, and a couple of brothers who stand around uselessly, glancing alternately at each other and then their wives. Tendril has somc complicated love thing happening. I tell you the number of times these serials refer to illegitimacy, living-in relationships and all, my cousins may as well be watching Desperate Housewives. During breaks, we watch Indian Idol. Really, I don't know which is worse.

I am living the perfect, pre-marriage, south-indian life. Except I come home at 9 instead of 5.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Never mind the title

So, I began working last week. It's been almost two weeks. And I don't have as much to complain about as I thought I would. Or would like to. But there is one issue that I would like to address. During my seven legal internships in Bangalore and 2 weeks of employment, I've noticed different styles of work, different vibes. Some firms have a predominantly national law schools crowd, some have a predominantly bangalore university crowd, some have young energetic partners who interact with everyone, some have partners who are the proverbial "blue moon/ id ka chand". Some have an awesome work ethic, some not so much. Some treat interns like one of them, some treat them like the poor cousin. Each of them is different, in a hundred different ways. But over the years I've noticed an alarming similarity among every one of them- they all have, in one corner, the passive aggressive-nearly always avoiding confontation yet getting things their way- disapproving- Real Estate Aunty.

No, I am not being supercilious because I am a corporate lawyer and think we're a cut above. I do think the second is true, but that is not the reason for this classification.

There is a type- a very dangerous type- and it exists. In one corner of the office, unnoticeable behind a computer and a fortress of patta deeds in Kannada/Telegu/Tamil, there lives a real estate aunty. She ALWAYS exhibits the following traits:

  1. Aged between 33-45.
  2. Has a kid between the ages of 8 and 15
  3. Full strong Karnataka accent
  4. Will begin eyeing the clock at 12 and will break for lunch latest at 12:45 (much before the corporate team or the poor litigation guys who only eat after 2:30)
  5. Drives a Kinetic/Activa. No Dio mind you because its obviously not fuel efficient enough or sturdy enough.
  6. Has a name like Savita, Sujata, Vinita.

Real estate aunties will also exhibit the following behavioural characteristics:

  1. They do not approve of your dressing. And god forbid, if you wear skirts, your legs will get the staring down of a lifetime.
  2. They WILL NOT allow you to switch on the fan. And they haven't even heard of an AC. They always feel cold and will always carry a jacket (reebok, polo sport) to work. Yes Bangalore has pleasant weather, but it isn't frikkin South of England.
  3. Their sister-in-law/cousin/aunt twice removed will always be having a child.
  4. At around 4:30 they will receive a phone call from their child/children and will proceed to help them with their homework. Thereafter the constant chatter will be interrupted with "Bee-Yaa-Yell-Yell", "aah, haudu,haudu. Correct appa."
  5. They will mispronounce names-"Gowtham, Kowshik, Gowrav"
  6. Their wallpapers will always, always be flowers/teddy bears/some supposedly cute animal thing.
  7. At 6:00 pm they will promptly pack their bags and leave.
Really, I could go on, but you get the picture.