Couple of Eminem/Fred Durst-looking teenagers showed up on my front door a few weeks back. You know, the cap worn backwards, weird chains around the neck, letter jackets and pants threatening to dislodge from the waists any moment. Apparently they wanted to sign me up for some magazine subscription program.
“But I already pay my dues to the magazine industry, ” I said and took a step back to close the door.
“But this is for a good cause, man. You sign up for this and blah-bleh-blook, your contribution goes to the Sacred Heart hospital.”
I didn’t need to hear all that gibberish again, so I nodded and said, “Hmm…so how much do I need to pay?”
or ‘One Way to Rid Yourself of Boredom in Madras while on Vacation’. [ Imported from my extinct Fandangle blog]
As a returning native after 3 long years, I found interesting conversation hard to come by. The sisters ganged up as usual & left me alone as they went on their secret shopping trips, while my nephew & niece pretty much ignored me. What friends I had left in town were either working or again, just ignoring me. My parents, as much as I love them, soon took to lecturing me on the glory of fruits&vegetables and what constituted a decent hairstyle. I didn’t enjoy it back in the 80s and I was not going to endure it now. And thus my search for company led me outside of the house and to my designated chauffeurs for the month – the auto drivers of Madras.
Logic suggests that the chances of a non-Indian making keema of your name is considerably reduced with a name like Anandamoorthy MaternalVillageNada PaternalVillageKesam. Atleast the attemptee might fake a polite smile and formally request help with the tongue-twister or in some cases, permission to just call you AMP.
But no such small mercies with five-six letter names like mine which instantly metamorphizes into sounds that vaguely resemble your original name. Thus, I’ve been referred to as Maanuck, Maanjo and only on rare occasions been treated to, Mmm…mmaa…how do you say your name? .
My mostly Hispanic hairdressers call me Mano since J is apparently just a showpiece in their alphabet. My cellphone company sent me bills in the name of ‘Manjov’ for sometime until I got off my lazy ass and made the “outraged” call. But for most, I’m Manaash which, if you really said it aloud, doesn’t sound too bad. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it, except for the odd instance when some master of wordplay addresses me as Menage a trois followed by self-amused laughter.