Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Developed Country….

I had a tough time repairing my cell phone. Well, it fell and wouldnt display anything. So I took it to the repair centre. I told him that the LCD screen needs replacing. He said ok ok, took my order and provided a standby phone. Two days later I got a mail saying you can pick up your phone. With all excitement I went to the store and disdain it was for me when I found it was exactly as I gave it to him – no display. When I asked him why he said, "Please take a look at the repair sheet." I read the report and it said "Phone not repaired because it is out of guantree period." I was very disappointed and told him that I needed the phone repaired and thats why I had given it here in the first place. He asked me "How can we repair i without your permission?" I wanted to scream…. "What permission? I only came and gave it here for reapir." But I just asked, "How do i provide the permission?" He asked me a series of questions – address, etc and then said we will get back to you. Two weeks later they send me an email saying "Please come and collect your phone." I went and picked up my phone. It was in working order. In India, the LCD screen would have been changed in maximum of one day. We would still crib about it.

I was talking about this to my friend and told him "Ennada developed country nadatharaanga…. things which should take 2 hours are taking 20 hours. Its fatiguing" He said "Developed country ndra pela oru graamam nadathina apidi thaan irukkum" 🙂 Well, I had one more such experience… at a restaurant.

My client gave us a treat in a posh restaurant for his relocation. I was all excited because the restaurant was very rich and I thought “ipidi pona dhaan undu”. I expected a high class ambience and aristocratic service. Britain has always given me more than what I anticipated and when I walked into the restaurant, little did I realize that I was in for a whale of an experience.

I am a vegetarian, so after looking at the menu settled for coffee and toast for starters and pizza for the main course. The waitress walked in elegantly and started with me because etiquette dictates that orders are to be taken from those sitting nearest to the head of the table on the right hand side. J ipidiyum irukku…. J

Following conversation really happened. There is no exaggeration whatsoever.

“May I have your order please?”

“Coffee and Vegetarian Toast”

“What coffee would you like to have? Cappuccino, Latte, Espresso, Ordinary?”


“Would you like to have it with milk or without milk?”

“With milk”

My mind: kattan kaapi kudikava inga vandhen?

“Would you like it hot or cold?”


“Would you like to have cream on it?”


“Mexican beans or Jamaican beans?”


My Mind: &^*#^&^



My mind: Aamaam dee….

 “Ok, thank you. About the toast…. will you have brown bread or white bread? Or would you go for the English muffin?”

“White Bread”

My Mind: Aandavaaaa….

“Two slice or three slice?”

“Two slice”

My Mind: Enna vituden pleeeeeease……

“Would you like to have cheese or butter?”


“Will that be peanut butter or salted butter?”




My Mind: Raama, naan enna thappu pannen….

“Would you like the butter melted on to the toast or layered?”


“Nice choice…. Melted butter, wish I could eat that now.”

My Mind: idhula comedy vere….



My Mind: Naan unna enna pannen… verum toast dhaane ketten. Mudiyadhu na sollidu, edhuku ipidi kolra? ….

“Any syrups or spreads?”


“Anything else?”


“Ok. Thank you.”

My Mind: Amma…. Phew!! In neram enga oor la saapte mudichuruppen dee….

After such a long interrogation, she seemed to have decided that I was worth the coffee and toast. She wanted to make sure the others were worth what they ordered as well. So she went around grilling them with a pleasing voice and an elegant smile. Those who had ordered soup and other things had a more tormenting time. Adhula oru sandhosham…. Nammala mattum paduthala ava nu…. J

Because my client was at the head of the table, she asked him even more questions. He had to deserve to sit there, didn’t he? She asked him things like “What kind of music do you want us to play?” and “Are there any special things that you want us to take into consideration?”

My Mind: idhula paatu onnu dhaan korachal….

After the entire enquiry, she got us our orders – my toast and coffee included. And she kept a large box in front of me and said, “You can choose the sugar – brown, white or sweetener.  Here are the stirrers. You can choose from the assortment of honeys and butters, if you so like. Hope you enjoy your meal.” And she gave a big smile.

I looked at the toast and thought …. Rendu roti thundum ou kaapi yum kondu varathuku ivolo kelvi plus she did not add the sugar in the coffee. Ivalothayum pannitu then (honey) vere.

I do not want to elaborate the ordeal I had placing my order for pizza.  

We had our lunch – took us an elaborate 3 hours. These people did not have the assortment of sweets and savories and the cuisines that we have in India. But the big deal they make out of a sandwich and cake is tantalizing. Namma oorla 200 years irundhu samaikavum kathukala, saapdavum kathukala. Enna dhaan pannangalo. 🙂 half cooked saapadu ku ivolo scene…. Ivana ellam india kalyana saapadu la oru velai saapadu parumara sonna nelamai enna aaradhu?

Pesama ponomaa, rendu masal vadai, naalu idli, naalu coffee nu sonnaoma, 10 minutes la saaptomaa kelmbinoma nu illama…. Idhu enna polappu…. J Pora vazhila masal vadai nanna irundhudhu aana coffee la chakkarai jaasthi potuttan… chakarai mattuma jaasthi thanni kooda jaasthi nu solra sugamn iruke….. appa appa …. Engayavadhu varuma…. J What a simple thing life is and how knotty these people make it. And how naturally and routinely they do it! I agree that life needs organization, but not to this extent.  Simple things in life need to be enjoyed without asking questions. Pleasures need to be experienced, not researched. (Best translation I could get of anubavikanum, aaraayakoodadhu).

As we got up to leave, I noticed that the guy next table was faring worse. He had asked for water and the waitress had a question… Still or sparkling? All my heart wanted to say… Ei vellakaari, thanni la enna dee sparkling? …. J Then she came to us and said “Thanks for coming. Hope you had a great lunch.” I smiled and said “Thanks!” She replied with a courteous handshake and “Please come again.”

My mind: marubadiyuma…. Naanga ellam vaazhkayla oru thadava thappu pannuvom… rendavadhu thadava ushaar aahiduvomla…. J  

But I just said, “Of course!” and returned her smile.    


4 comments on “Developed Country….

  1. Shyam
    October 8, 2008

    idhe comedy thaan ingayum…… i just told my client manager(who is also an indian from cuddalore) that i bought one nike shoe. He asked me how much did it cost me and said that for the same cost or a little more i could have got a better shoe. For that great experience that i missed he opened a website and showed me some options there. How big is ur feet, how much is it big in length,  how much is it wide, how big are my toes, how deep is the gap(whatever they call it) in the inside of my feet, do i have flat foot…… Questions were simply endless…. And this person felt that it was great to be able to design your own shoe as you wanted it. Worse, he does the same excercise in 3-4 sites (atleast) before selecting a shoe for himself. And upon all that he says if he is not so sure of his "feet features" he can go to a doctor and get to know things about his feet that he doesn\’t know already and then get a prescription for a shoe. He can then produce them at a store and get his shoe. Vazhkaila spontaneousa oru velaiyum panna mattengala da neenga nu kekkanum nu thonitthu. the worst part is that THIS is being appreciated by an Indian. He says "we have so many options." Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………………………………

  2. balasubramanium
    March 27, 2009

    dear meenakshi k, i am so obsessed by your writing. i feel it so lively. so lively, that i can visualise myself in your situations. cheers !

  3. Meenakshi
    August 17, 2009

    Thanks Balasubramanium…. 🙂

  4. Narayanan
    March 21, 2010

    "Ivana ellam india kalyana saapadu la oru velai saapadu parumara sonna nelamai enna aaradhu?"Waitress: sambhar hot or coldme: HotWaitress: very hot or medium hotMe:mediumwaitress: rock salt or powder saltme: powder saltwaitress: iodised or plainme: iodised(in my mind: uppukku ivalavu kelviyaa)waitress: foodworld or spencers(in my mind: ?????????)me: adei ennakku saappadu vendamadainime naan ethavathu kalayanathula soru kettenna ennai seruppala adingada

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2008 by in Thoughts.

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