January 11th, 2008

boy with dog

Wazaaaaaap Gaurav!

A new year, a new band I joined to put bass duties, and this post has resulted as a direct consequence of that. Just so you know, this is not a music specific post, and is something that I found profoundly funny as a direct consequence of the sheer absurdity of the situation.

The guitarist of the band had, on previous occasion seen me address people with the pronoun 'Guru' which is highly acceptable in the vernacular here as an address for someone whose name you don't know. It is usually used to refer to someone who is a peer or someone who is a junior. The tone of voice is usually informal, and the switch to vernacular is also accompanied by this very specific manner of speaking, that is highly casual and replete with slang and (subject to the other person's demeanour) the occasional expletive, usually directed towards the CM or the Governor or Devegowda or Sonia Gandhi or George W Bush or John Abraham (the last one usually in some gym where the other guys lament the fact that he has raised the macho bar by increasing his bicep thickness by a few more inches, and womans all over want this standard size. It will take four of me, not four of my biceps, to make a John bicep).

The other polite ways of addressing someone you don't know would be 'Saar' and NOT 'Sir', and some parallel Hindi equivalents that I have managed to use in their place on different occasions have been 'bhai-saheb', 'dost' or 'boss', when I have pretended not to know the local lingo so that the auto driver can think he has taken me for a ride, and then switching to Kannada later to thump his happiness, and other such politely devious tricks.

Now, the manner in which I have said 'Guru' had made my friend assume that I said it to sound like 'goRRu', rolling the Rs and saying it with a lazy-ish drawl. This made him assume a few things and my retarded manner of pronunciation led to this funny predicament.

Before our first ever practise together as a band, we went to this place in BTM layout to have dinner, and the place was named 'Ghar ka Khaana', which basically to me was an all-you-can-eat vegetarian food fiesta, and given my state of hunger, it was a place I readily agreed to go to with the others.

Midway through our dinner, my friend wants more chappatis. So he says, 'Gaurav, I need more chappatis', and I know for a fact that its been about a fortnight since he moved to this area. Hence I am pleasantly surprised by his people skills, and his ability to make friends with the waiters and be on first name basis with them.

Later on, he asks another guy, 'Gaurav, thoda paani lao yaar', and this time it is a different guy. I keep thinking to myself how funny it is that this place has two guys named Gaurav, and how my friend knows both of them.

A third guy is beckoned for pickles like so - 'Arrey Gaurav, achaar laa thoda sa' and it is about this time that my mind goes into a tizzy, wondering how it is possible that THREE of the waiters can be named Gaurav. My mind starts going nuts, as I keep imagining how I might be getting hard of hearing or how it is that the sole entry criterion for gaining employment at this place is to be named Gaurav!

Now, as it later turns out, I ask my friend why he called ALL of them Gaurav and pat comes the reply - 'that is because you say that to people all the time!!' and turns out that our man has mistaken my pronunciation of 'Guru' and has adopted it in his lingo for a month now, calling everyone he knows, including all the Gauravs as 'Gaurav'.

Quite good fun it is, calling everyone Gaurav now.
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boy with dog

Underrated Politeness

A trip to BTM layout to meet my friends and put band practise led to another situation worth documenting, to serve as a reminder that decent and polite behaviour is not a big deal, by the looks of it.

As I was walking towards my friend's house, I was accosted by an entire group of people who claimed they were from Aurangabad, and their belongings were pilfered on their journey to south India. Armed in tow with a full family of wife and kids, their plight seemed convincing, and the Good Karma glutton that I am, I took out everything in my pocket (sixty bucks or so) and gave it to them.

Luckily, as it turns out later, I needed an ATM visit to pack up my wallet further.

At the same time as I was listening to their tale, there was another chick who was also similarly stopped and she also paid up, but some ten rupees or so. She was more sensible and less emotionally foolish.

After I parted with the money, the family was saying how it is not enough and giving me more sob stories, and I finally told them that rather than take me to the cleaners and looting me of all cash by unleashing the power of the senti, it would be more prudent to use the 'drop-drop maketh an ocean' approach and instead fleece more people.

That female and I walked away together, and I struck up a conversation with her, because I was pretty surprised by this new (and improved) technique of begging and just wanted to talk about it.

So I mentioned how it sounded convincing, and then we exchanged the names of companies we worked at. Politeness demanded, or so I thought, that I should introduce myself and so I told her that my name was so and so. She replied in turn saying, "ok, what will you do after I tell you my name?".

I was honestly taken aback, because I had no intent whatsoever of 'doing' anything apart from being polite and scooting off from there to ensure that I was not late in meeting the other members of the band.

In any case, things like striking up conversations with arbit people is second nature for me, and I thought that this would be one of those things. I revel in anonymity, and like making some random conversations and then not meeting that person again in my life, just for kicks.

Now, I presume that the other party involved definitely had reasons to be untrustworthy of me, because she doesn't know me. However, the somewhat vague reply just made me wonder whether I was being over-friendly in a circumstance that was not necessary, or whether the other party was being overtly paranoid about her outlook towards polite and courteous skinny men who looked like malnourished football hooligans but spoke decent english.

I remember a similar situation happening in the case of a good friend of mine, near Jayanagar 4th block, when he offered to assist some female whose Kinetic Honda was not starting, to which she rudely said 'no'. I was watching with my mouth full of some chaat, and I felt that he did the decent thing, but the woman was stupid for behaving the way she did.

Next time such a situation arises, I guess it is best to just move on, rather than even stand around and make arbit conversation.

I replied to her statement by saying, "I plan to move away from here, but I was being polite in introducing myself, thats all. I don't intend on doing anything else." I waved goodbye, by giving her my usual dorky smile and went away.

Her boyfriend needn't worry about anything at all. She passed the 'Agni-pariksha'.

In other news, apparently the family from Aurangabad has previously masqueraded as a family from Rajasthan as well, to fleece more unsuspecting people. I hope they don't starve.