As I hold out a copy of the latest India Today (Ok, I was really reading Anantha Vikatan) and counting down the minutes for the arrival of Bangalore Express, My “then fiance, now Wife” (TFNW) reminds me I have to get Idlis from Murugan Idli shop for dinner. It was one of my several trips to Madurai a few years back to see my TFNW. The Railway department even went to the length of tracking me down and sending me a qualifying letter for getting a Season pass from Bangalore to Madurai (Ok, I made this up!). Those were the times when whoever bought shares of Bharti Airtel became millionares simply because of the talk time I spent with my TFNW.
Coming back to the story, I had about 45 minutes before the train arrived. I worked my way through the crowd at the Platform, accidentally hitting people like a snooker ball on rebound, reached the station side Murugan Idli shop and was ready to order, what else, Idlis. Along came a Woman from the other side to the shop. She was tall, fair and definitely didn’t look local, and didn’t look Tamil, and didn’t look Indian either. She was a Foreigner, was a tourist. Here is my chance to provide the utmost hospitality to a tourist who was kind enough to visit my hometown. I was brimming with a sense of helpfulness and I wanted to give the best explanation possible and help her order the dinner that she will love.
We both got close to the counter. I opened my mouth to start my train of Peter English, just when the shopkeeper tried to utter something in his own English, and the dear lady from a foreign country without pausing for a moment and without directly interrupting us, simply placed the order in Pure Tamil.
“Oru Dosa, Oru set Idli, Sambar Vendam, Chutney neraiya venum!”
Three Mosquitoes, Five flies and a Cockroach made its way in and out of my Mouth as I kept it wide open watching the foreign lady utter the purest form of Tamil. She wasn’t Foreign anymore. I exchanged a few more bewildered look with the foreign lady and the shopkeeper’s half petrified half clueless eyes and place my order for idlis and went back to reading the jokes in Anantha Vikatan.
Tamil Thai (Mother) was dancing disco in the tongues of an English Madam. I bowed to her sense of respect to the language I had lived in, picked up my order and walked away expecting no more surprises for the day.
Read one more interesting Irony here.