Thursday, May 05, 2005

The longest cab ride

This is something that really irritated me today. Why do some people want to pry so much into other people’s lives? That too just becuase I happen to be a Mallu. I can understand small talk – Karunakaran’s new party or the houseboats or Mallu movies or anything else but this!

Some background – Swamy and I are sharing an office cab and commuting from one office to the other.

"Oh hi Priya. You are a mallu too?"

"Yeah, partly. You too a mallu? Your name?"


"Nice to meet you Swamy."

"So Priya, where are you from?"


"Where in Trichur?"

"Right in the town itself."

"Oh, where?"

"You have been to Trichur?"


Sheesh! Then why do you ask?

Silence for 2 minutes. I entertain myself by looking at the pics in my camera phone.

"I noticed you since you are the only person who comes right at 10 to office."

I give a very plastic smile.

"So what’s your full name?" He tries hard to read my name from the document I am carrying with me.

I change the subject. "Hey how much more time to get to the other office? I am already late for my appointment with the VP."

"It will take 10 more minutes. So what is this meeting about?"

"Well, I am summer trainee here and I have my project review with my guide."

"Oh, why don’t you try getting a job here."

Why do I always end up with such people. "Well, I am a student right now. Will think about jobs after 6 months."

"Okie. You know there are no Malayalees in this department."


I am really surprised to hear that. They say that when Apollo landed in moon, they saw that a malayalee had already set up a chayakkada(tea-shop) there.

The department I am working in employs only CAs and CPAs – I wonder whether that would be the reason for the absence of mallus. Not many CA/CPA mallus who have worked in the Big 4? Or maybe it’s not as lucrative as a gelf job or a chayakkada in one of the heavenly bodies.

"Yeah. But you know T department has a lot of mallus. Especially all the top people."

Now he’s talking my language. Maybe I can get some insider info from him. "Oh I see. Who are they?"

"There’s one Mr. X."

"Oh yeah I’ve met him."

"Then there’s Miss Y and Mrs. Z."

"Okie." Not very interested cause I realise that I won't get anything more than Mallu statistics from him.

Silence for another 2 minutes. I start taking pictures of the traffic with my phone-camera. Swamy tries his best to take a look at my project report that lay between us in the seat. I casually take it and put it inside my lappie bag. I don’t feel very comfortable with this person and once I feel that way towards a person, I can be as closed as nun’s panties. I had read this usage some days back and couldn’t resist the temptation to use it here! :)

"So where do you stay?"

"Well, I stay with some relatives."

"Oh. Where?"

I give a vague location. "Sector 51."

"Oh where in sector 51?"

This time I had enough. I don't care if he thinks that I am rude. "Why do you want to know?"

"Just asked."

I give a cold stare. "I am not very sure. I am new to this place, you see."


Silence for one more minute.

"Hey there is there nice Mallu restaurant near the office. They serve the best Chicken biriyani in NCR."

"Oh great. But I am vegetarian."


I am sure he must have thought…Mallu and a vegetarian? This is typical reaction I get from people.

You know I have been in Delhi from 5 years now....... I think - Wow!, it would have taken a lot of effort to preserve that simbly suberb accent!...... And earlier I was working with RDT Inc and then I was staying at Nala Vihar and then I quit at 2001 and started working for YTE corp and then I moved to Mast Vihar and then in 2003 I joined this place…..

I look at this person in amazement. Self-motivated speaker. I don’t even take the effort to nod to whatever he says, but still goes on.

I start staring intently at my Qutb Minar Wallpaper of my cellphone as if looking for some treasure. He doesn’t dare to disturb me for 2 minutes.

So what do you study?

I pretend I didn't hear that question.


"What are you studying?"


"Oh. From where?"

"IIM Kozhikode."

"Kozhikode. My wife’s family is from there."


"How many mallus are there in your college?"

"I am not sure. I haven’t counted."

"Oh. But even then give me a rough figure."

"Around 10."


I look outside the window and out on a deep-thought expression on my face while praying that he should please shut up for some time so that I will have some time to think about how I should go about the project discussion.

"So what time are you going home today?"

Whoever said perseverance is good? "Well……around 7."

"Okie. I am also going by 7. But we won’t be in the same cab. I live in a different direction."

Phew. Finally, I am happy to hear something from him. It cheers me up a little bit. "Okie."

"I think my cab number is 234. And yesterday you know what happened……."

Me to the driver - "Bhayya, radio lagayiye please."

Driver - "Radio nahi hai madam."

That trick also failed. As usual the whole world is conspiring for this. From the moment I got placed in this company, I knew something was in store. But I had no idea all that was for this one cab-ride.

"Okie bhaiyya. Aap gaadi jaldi chalayiye. Hum late ho rahe hain."

"Theek hai madam."

Swamy starts talking again as if it is his birthright.

"So who all do you have at home?"


"Okie. Your house is terraced or tiled?"


"Oh. How old are you?"

I almost lose my cool at this point. I decide that maybe I should also play the same game.


He thinks for some time.

"16? But you are doing your MBA......"


"How is that possible?"

"Well, I was a really smart kid so they promoted me to 10th right after 3rd. They said I would scare off the other kids in the class."


From his expression I could see that he believed what I said. He looks at me with a sort of awe+disbelief in his eyes.

"Yeah. It was there in Asianet news 3 years back."

"Oh. I didn’t see."

"Okie no problem."

He doesn’t say a word for 3 minutes. I am happy that finally I was able to shut up this garrulous guy. I tell myself that there should be a warning against such people.

Warning – Mallus beware. Will ask about your potty habits right after shaking hands.

But it doesn’t last for long.

"I had puttu for breakfast today."


"What did you have?"

"I don’t remember."

He thinks for sometime and changes the topic.

"You know there is a gym in the office. Complete with A/C, style speakers, shower rooms blah blah blah…"

"Yeah. I know."

He looks at me in great detail and stops looking when I give him the you - look - at - me - once - more - like - that - sonny - and - I’ll - skin - you - like - they - skinned - the - poor - snake - in - the - Madlives - special - I - saw - in - Discovery - Channel - yesterday look.

"But I don’t think you need to go to gym."

I literally glare at him. "Excuse me. I have to make a call."

It's not a coincidence that my call lasts till I reach the office.

Sheesh…….I can't believe such people exist and are alive and kicking!


Anonymous said...

You have a wonderful gift for story telling but.......

The other perspective:

"How was your day et werk derling ?"
"Very bad. Hed to go to enether ofizz and there was this really lonely looking nyoo gerl, paavum types, yoo see..."
"OK so ?"
"end i tried to make her feel et home since she wes so far eway from trijjoor.....she was also mellu...but she was so rude..."
"Poor derling....why do you alwayz try to help peepul...nobody realises your velew"
"I know..and werst thing was she went away thinging I em dumb...3 years back there was no Asianet News yoo know..she fell fer my trig...she thot I dond know..."

blah blah blah

psssst: beautiful analogy...the nun wala.. but sthg tells me they dont wear 'em at all...

Anonymous said...

Well said Anon!!!

Vishnu said...

"Okie. Your house is terraced or tiled?"

That's the icing on the cake!! Man, I can't wait to meet a Mallu and ask him/her :))

Mint Chutney said...

I had the same thought as Vishnu. Unless he is planning on stalking you at your house why would he care if it's terraced or tiled?

Prakash said...

Poor chap was so concerned. I wonder why he didnt ask you, what the size of ur footwear were...

He could have got a practical demo for that. dont u think, Priya?

Next time he comes along, you can tell him, "Chaeta, Please dont mind if I dont respond to ur questions, had too much of Kallu yesterday, so having a heavy hangover."

Anonymous said...

another yummy post ,, am i becoming ur fan :) hopefully swamy is not reading this right and learnt a new phrase too " NUNS PANTIES " hehe ,, keep writing ..

bachelor .........

Anonymous said...

haa haaa
waise, the bit about scaring the kids of your class...heard it being shouted somewhere across the academic building at K...seemed like coming from the other section ;-)


Girl With Big Eyes said...

That was a nice alter-view of the situation. But I guess he won't have any reason to think that I am lonely-paavam-looking gerl :P

Purely FYI, I had referred to News in the normal Asianet channel which has been in existence for 4 or more now, and not Asianet News channel.

Do let me know the reactions.

Mint Chutney,
What a tasty name. I love mint ki chutney!

This 'lonely paavam girl' and Kallu? Kabhi nahi! :P

I am flattered.

I think there is something wrong with your keyboard, it seems to print a comma like a fallen down double qoute.

Oh really? They are scared already?

Have a good day people.

neeta said...

I discovered a wonderful way to enjoy these sitches.I make up stories.
I've been the only child and have had any number of siblings between 1 and 5.My dad has changed more professions, cities and countires than anyone I know and I've run away from home, or am studying criminal psychology (they dont have a course in criminal psychology in India, btw!) and several such other stories! I challenge my own creativity each time I undertake a journey on a train! Its damn good fun, really!

Hafez said...

gr8 narration
hey where in Trichur
;) lol

virdi said...

awesome..... hehehehe... was too cool... if this realy happened then it was real pain in the worng part of the body... and if it didnt then awesome imagination... ok ok it happened... i am sorry about that...

Girl With Big Eyes said...

That's a neat idea Beet! :)

Right in the middle of the town Googoo, right in the middle!

;-) Virdi

Arun said...

'lonely paavam girl' and you!!
Any Idea why he was in the Asianet News??
I like the way you write...though this post is too hurting for me:)

Amit said...

U must have an awesome memory to remember the full conversation...What did u tell him MBA grad rite...Hmmmmmmmm....Kinda possible...

I am just wondering when 2 sardars meet they talk in Punjabi, when 2 Bongs meet they talk in Bengali...How come when 2 mallus meet they talk in English ;-)

Good post anyways!

Dilip said...

So I agree that you've showed the Boldness of an NITCian :). The way you treated him was superb ! Kudos !

Anonymous said...

"nun’s panties" no good take care -:)

Arun said...

you must be knowing this guy.He's my Sir now,but he is leaving to Robotics Institute,CMU for MS,towards July end.In case you didnt know...

Hafez said...

Gosh, I know "that place"
I 've been to "that place "
but U can't be there
right in the MIDDLE
for all that I know

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Of course I know him Arun. He was my batchmate. Thanks for the info.

Good day.

prashant said...

was just googling for iim kozhikode and came across this blog of urs....beleive me priya....had one of the best laughs i ever had....sorry abt intellectual property rights but i just copied the whole stuff and mailed to my "laphatia" like i now need to go through ur earlier posts too


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Flattered, Prashant!

Good day! Keep laughing :)

kp said...

nice one, though heaviliy inspired by 'a walk in the clouds' more specifically :

But, your version is bettter, i think.

praveen said...


i think mallus are curious by nature. get the same questions from mallus in the US especially the ones who have have just come here... but it is fun to indulge them..maybe i asked the same questions when I first came here :)