Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Its the person not the voice - You Idiot"

Warning: 'PG 13' Rated. Contains brief references to nudity and sex

The incident happened during my first Fall/Autumn in the US. I dont think all the concerned parties would forget it for a long time to come. Its been almost 8 years and I can remember it so clearly.

Grad school life was setting in. We were slowly tuning ourselves to course work + TA (teaching assistantship) combination. I was a TA for a VHDL lab class and I did not know crap about VHDL. I'd sit in on the lecture class and get to know what the hell was going on. The professor was someone like Bertie's Aunt Agatha in those wonderful PGW novels. The woman had a robust voice, when she shook my hand her two fingers could break my spine by just twisting my outstreched hand, and she had this nasty habit of ending her classes by saying "I won't be having office hours this week, the TA will clear any doubts you may have". Which sort of put me in a spot because I didn't understand a word that was said in the class.

Most students didn't bother me with questions, they just took the course because it was a required course and they knew it sucked anyway. There might've been a few students, who were misled by the ugly rumor, which claimed that Indian students were intelligent and hardworking. They quickly dismissed those rumors when they saw me walk to class sleepy, unshaven, dishevelled with the 'XL' sticker still sticking to the chest of my hastily put-on new Shirt (I had worn the shirt twice thinking the 'XL' was some sort of a stylish print, until a friend of mine pointed it out - it didn't help matters because the friend was a girl I was trying to impress). Anywho - if the shirt didn't ward off the students, the usual "let me get back to you in email" responses made them understand who they were dealing with.

However, there was one pesky little student who insisted on meeting me during my office hours. This student was determined to make me earn my paystub. So I put office hours at 8:00 AM in the morning or late at nights. Ha! Ha! The evil genuis of the desi mind. That did not, however, deter this student. This person was a Sri Lankan, closely cut hair, spectacles - had the makings of a desi geek. The curious thing was this person was a Sri Lankan Tamil, and insisted on speaking to me in Tamil (and you will all agree that SriLankan Tamil is as good as a foriegn language for a Madras guy). There was a another Graduate Assistant for this course. A person responsible for a tool called 'Mentor Graphics'. He was my room mate and senior and both of us worked for the same Professor/Advisor. Lets call him Mentor Maran. Both of us had to coach the students of this class. The students of my class also met up with Maran to clear their 'Mentor graphics' related doubts.

So it all happened one night in a VHDL lab room - Maran, myself and a few other sex starved desi roommates inhabited it. It was 11 PM and we were, as usual, discussing and bitching about the lack of sex in our lives, the complete lack of any relationship with the female species and the zero probability of this prospect changing any time in the near future. This discussion was usually followed by marathon bitches about the average undergrad american student having too much fun with girl friends, statistical calculations on the probability of an undergrad student who is doing homework with his hot girlfriend - actually getting to his homework etc. You know - the usual over-a-hot-filter-coffee discussion you'd have with your grandmother or any other elderly family member of the house. Grad school, to my shock, in complete contrast to our undergrad life, had no girls.

There was something else I was unprepared for - the desi gang in grad school. We were waiting for another friend to join us. Lets call him 'Suri'. He was the kind of one-in-a-million totally stoned and out-of-whack characters you could ever meet. You could write 6 volumes on him and you wouldn't have scratched the surface of his crazyness. The first time I joined this gang, I was intrigued and mildly shocked by this game called 'SDS' (Situation Development Scenario). This game indicated to me, early on, the kind of decadent life I would be leading for the next two years. 'Suri' held the patent for inventing this game. It involved picking the hottest girl/actress/model Suri had just recently seen. He would then proceed to randomly select one of our friends and ask him how much of bodily organs the randomly selected contestant would give-up to spend a night with that hotgirl/actress/model (One person incidentally was willing to give-up both his legs and an arm after a night with the actress - one Ms Shetty. Another person gave up his IIT degree within seconds of the game starting). Suri would start with the stakes low and would slowly develop the 'situation' by making the list of things to give-up so atrocious that it would be hard for a self-respecting person to give-up anymore. Ofcourse we had no self-respect and the conversation was hypothetical anyway. It made us forget our sad lives. So we played along. This particular night, after 'Suri' arrived, we intended to start our usually every-night 'SDS' (Situation Development Scenario) game. We had planned that Suri would be 'given' the test that day instead of the other way around. Anyway enough of technical babble.

The door knocked, I went and opened it expecting to be Suri - I had a great SDS for him. But it wasn't Suri - it was this Sri Lankan. As my enthusiasm began to dampen, the student quickly said " I came to see Maran". Relieved and thankful, I let the student get to Maran and they began discussing some doubt, the kind which this student had a knack of coming up with. The door knocked again - it was Suri this time. He walked in enthusiastically and was dissapointed to see a student inside. Suri had a crazy habit of talking before thinking. Sometimes we'd wonder if there was a even an iota of human sensibility in him at all. Before, we could control the beast, he said in chaste Tamil " *tha Yaar da ithu...seekram thorathu da" (Filtered Transalation: Who the hell is this. Get rid of this person). Understandable, it was late and we all wanted to go home. The only catch was - the student knew tamil and Suri assumed otherwise. I was embarassed and as I was struggling to divert Suri's attention (not an easy task - once his mind is set on something), Maran came to the rescue. He quickly introduced the student to Suri by saying "machaan he is srilankan tamil. he also knows tamil". While we all curiously waited for Suri to turn embarassed, the student said something none of us will ever forget for the rest of our lives.

She said: I am not a 'he'... I am a 'she'

There was stunned silence in the room. Nobody talked. I mean Nobody. I could almost hear Maran's chest thumping. This was too much for a person of Suri's condition. Suri's circuits got all burnt up at this amazing opportunity to rape Maran of his happiness and couldn't stand this anymore, he excused himself and left the room. The door closed and we could hear him laughing outside. Loudly. Then Maran said something that he would never forget.

He said: oh... I'm sorry. I didn't know that.
She said: You didn't know that...how could you not?

Silence again.

This time it was cruel. Then we couldn't stop giggling. The rest of the gang including me, left the room, closed the door and joined Suri, who by then was lying on the floor drowned in his laughter. I laughed till my stomach hurt. We knew we wouldn't spare Maran for quite sometime.

I have to admit I made the same mistake as Maran. It was..hmmm ...how shall I put it...difficult to distinguish. And thank God! Maran said it first and I did not. While walking back home, Maran in an effort to save his face said " I always thought the voice was too feminish for a boy. I thought it was a boy and his voice was screwed". To which Suri replied - [ Please refer to blog post title ]

38 comments:

Arvind said...

ROTFL! Too funny.. good narration too :)

Anonymous said...

dei,

u remember the chinese girl near ATM SDS. LOL!

Casement said...

Poor girl...I am sure she must have wanted to kill you all, may be she still wants to and is making plans for the same. Beware. But seriously, how could you dumb guys not know?!

Hawkeye said...

case,

the "kumudham kuraindha batcham 6 vidhyasam" was not immediately visible.

seriously it was very difficult with the boy cut, striped/checked loose full hand (maybe her father's shirt), non-jeans pant, pimples, thick glasses.

i didnt know until that point. its sad. but its true. we werent mean to her. it was a genuine mistake. we in fact didnt even bring this up at all in her presense. we only screwed maran for his mistake.

Casement said...

'ment' type panna unakku enna somberithanam? oru madiri kevalamairukku 'case' oda niruthina!:))

Priya said...

*/'ment' type panna unakku enna somberithanam? oru madiri kevalamairukku 'case' oda niruthina!:))*/

This is exactly what I thought when i read Hawkeyes comment :-)

Ranjit Nair said...

Am clutching my stomach and lol-ing in office. You shouldn't do this to us, HawkEye!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, those good old OSU days...this incident was one of the funniest.

B/B, did you know I owe my nickname to Suri? That B**** :)

War

tilotamma said...

case :-))).

Hawkeye said...

war,

war horse... sandi kuthirai :-)

if you were kuthifying in the lab for 28 out of 24 hours and refusing budge from 4.0 ...suri is almost under contractual obligation to crown/mudi-sootify you with this name.

then there was the "rotational engineer" :-)

Hawkeye said...

tilo,

mentalcase'nu koopdama ...at least with some gauravam i called her case.

casement,

next time... full name pryog karta hoon :-)

Hawkeye said...

ranjit,

:-). thanks!

tilotamma said...

remember that very unfunny seinfeld episode in which George mistakes someone for a man?

Case' girl-a? I thought that it was boy somehow...

Hawkeye said...

i always thought casement was a girl.. hmm what irony that this dicussion appears in this post :-)

havent u see the mad about you episode where paul and his cousin mistake a fat man for a pregnant woman ?

i cant recall any seinfeld as being unfunny

Sachita(india) said...

Name of the srilankan tamilian?????
Can't you figure if the name sounds male or female!

Just wondering...


Once again, a very funny post.

Your grad school stories coupled with another friend's stories from OSU, kind of makes me wonder about the desi life in OSU!

Hawkeye said...

thats the thing right. it was 'bala'.. it was a shortened form of a bigger name. twice we tried to get the name and it was like balasundari or something.... we never got it.

who is ur other OSU frnd? i am curious.

tilotamma said...

hmm what irony that this dicussion appears in this post :-)


Precisely, the point I was trying to make!

Anonymous said...

Ada paavigala!!!! How could u all not know that? You know, it just makes it more mean becacuse this whole thing is or rather was a genuine mistake!!!!
Good narration though. Went through a similar incident too:) but not so embarassing.
Q.

sriki123 said...

visited ur blog after quite some time and i am ROTFL... :).....


coool post... :)

Anonymous said...

lol...The chinese ATM syndrome..that tpically would be brought up by suri when we talk from the 84 bus stop on the way back from lennox to 30E..there were multiple ATM SDS scenarios..

-Stan

Supremus said...

ROTFL!

Thanu said...

awesome post.. very well written, I cud actually picture suri and all the other guys.

KT said...

made me rem something similar in my IIT-D campus ...although not exactly similar.... I woke up from my sleep and remembered I had to rush to a class for which I could have flunked because of low attendance.

as i was still in my sleep I saw a scooter and I was close to lift-please point so I just stretched mu hand with thumb pointing out... lucky me.. .the scooter stopped, i hopped on and it started... I was so sleepy that I was taking naps on the back sometime s my head banging the helmet of the driver... sometime the shoulders...

as the insti approached closer I thought I shud wake and shake myself up lest the prof might throw me from sleepy appearances alone...

he he... it was then that I noticed... long nad rough hair coming out of the back of the helmet.. and I instantly guessed where the prob lied... she was a Ph.D.

but it was my fault I shud have guessed that because she was wearing a helmet while driving INSIDE the college campus.... LOL... (no offnce plz)...

shub said...

hahahahaha :D

Deaths Head Roy said...

aaaw, comeon, you guys made that up didnt u??

KT said...

atleast I am not... it did happen to me... well I forgot to mention that after I got down from the scooter and muttered a sleepy 'thnx' to her she was looking at me for slightly longer as if vowing never to give 'such' perverts a lift ever again.... ROTFL...

Swapna said...

That was hilarious... :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

ROTFL. This was hilarious.

ahhhahahaha too funny.

Hawkeye said...

anonymous Q,

narrate narrate, it might be interesting

sriki123,

sorry dude, i have been meaning to call you. will do so soon

Hawkeye said...

higher/stan,

the good old days. its all coming back isnt it. and you were one among the desi's in the VHDL lab. i am sure you wont ever forget it

Hawkeye said...

supremus, thanu,

thanks.

kt,

LOL! you should have guessed from the helmet thing. Who wears a helmet nowadays ? no I think she just registered your face so that she can ask you out the next time :-)

Hawkeye said...

shub,

thanks :-)

death heads roy,

:-) ya! i get what you mean. truth is stranger than fiction. all the people who were in that room commented here and they're probably thinking the same thing too.

Swathi said...

this should come with a disclaimer 'Read it with Caution if u r at Work' :)) (still laughing...)

Hawkeye said...

swathi,

thanks :-)

Anonymous said...

funnyy..i yam dying yaaar! i hawe just spoiled my new brown non-jean pant i purchased in city market in chennai! ok must leave my 30 mins is almost over and i must get another 15 rupee to vatch ranis snap on net!

Anonymous said...

idhu kooda theriyala! adhanaala dhaan unga nelama game invention varaikkum poirukku

Kaushik said...

Awww!!
Dat was too much of a heck laughter man! I'm in my lab rite now, broodin over a screwed-up Parallel Processin Project and a potentially-screwed-up Theory of Computation Proj, and, of course, an eventually screwed-up semester Grade, despite all dis, I cudnt help screwin myself out to laugh at this one! Too good...Pity u escaped Bharath!

Kaushik said...

hey but one thing...
Eppo ava[l/n] {;)} ivlo adaavadiya doubt kettu dhaan aaganumnu theermaanathoda vandha[l/n]o, appove therinjirukka koodadha, dat it HAD to be the other SEX!