Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Conversations during plane travel

To begin, one needs to understand how this Thamizh cloud is formed. And I explain thus. Typically flights from the U.S to Madras hop at least once somewhere in Europe before heading directly to Madras (Unless you fly by the wretched Air India, which hops once inside the U.S and once in Europe, Delhi, Bombay before showing signs of going to Madras). So on the plane from arbitrary_place_metro_airport in US to Europe, you would find less number of Indians, leave alone Thamizhans, travelling with you. The flight mainly consists of a handful of destination_madras folks and the rest of them probably Europe bound travellers. Once all these flights from various cities in the US land in a common hub in Europe, all the destination_madras molecules begin to congregate towards the terminal, from where the Chennai bound flight is scheduled to depart. As these Thamizh molecules begin to attach to each other, a small Thamizh cloud begins to form in that hub. In my case, the European hub happened to be Paris (Charles De Gaule airport would beat Koovam any day in terms of stench and dirtiness).

As soon as I landed and headed towards the Chennai bound flight's terminal a Thamizh cloud was forming around me. Its like that pieces/droplets of mercury joining with each other to for T-1000 in Terminator-II movie. I am sure the same happens in hindi, kannada, telegu contexts as well but let me focus only on the Thamizh aspect. Old parents loudly ask you in English on the whereabouts of the Chennai bound flight terminal. You reply in Thamizh and still they throw back English at you. They keep hurtling their English bombs until the immigration guy at the Meenambakkam counter stamps their arrival date and time on their passport. The call taxi guy narrowly misses the bomb by a few minutes. Anywho the intention of this post was not to talk about poor parents, who are relatively harmless creatures. As soon as the Thamizh cloud has reached critical mass and the line to board Chennai flight is formed, people begin to sense the presence of such a cloud. They realize that what was their own little private language until now is spoken by everybody around them. Suddenly they are overcome by a strong urge to talk anything in Thamizh. This they do purely for the benefit of people in earshot. Unfortunately they attempt what they think is humor and make the already irritating flight journey intolerable. I guess its the same DNA that makes people shout comments in theaters that is responsible for such unnecessary small talk that happens at the epicenter of this Thamizh cloud.

I swear, some of the most stupidest conversations I have ever heard in my life are these conversations by a group of strangers doing small talk in these airport lines. In the name of flexing the muscles of the rusty Thamizh compiler in their brain, they say some of the most ridiculous things that has ever been uttered by mankind. Words like "machi" are spoken loudly and more frequently than normal to provide that casual feel. Probably the world's weakest 'kindal' or the worst 'nakkal' is done here. All for the benefit of having the Thamizh audience around. One guy was insisting that the stranger he was talking to looked like the actor 'Vishaal'. I still can't believe how a person can accost another person and tell the person that he resembles some arbitrary actor. Gay flirting at its peak, I would say. The stranger didn't know who Vishaal was and assumed it to be some one resembling T.R. And so followed the stupid conversation of one taking insult and the other insisting it was a compliment and demanding a 'thanks' in return. The "Vishaal-look-alike" finally asked "seri naan Vishaal mathiri irukken ippo enna venumgareenga" and the other person said "aaanh anju ruba kodunga".
The most serious offenders in this category are these middle-aged women (who are usually found in airport environments with a weirdly named kids) who have put 5+ years of service in America. The conversations about PTC bus, margazhi maasam, weak jokes, cliched comparisons of India with US and inane criticisms made my bile come out. I guess it is the condescension that affects me so much. I wanted to shout out loud "mudriiiiiii neeee" - so loud until every single window pane crashed in the airport and the flight tyres burst apart. One should provide a "Chennaiyil veetukku poi serum varai vaayai mudikondu irukavum" to these women after the seat-belt and emergency exit instructions.

15 comments:

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Hahahahha... maybe you should pretend to someone that you don't know Tamil and look for volunteers to teach you that language!

Anonymous said...

:)..Nice Post.. !!

Deepa said...

ennamo solla vara aana puriyala. Whom are you mad at by the way?

The Talkative Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Talkative Man said...

LOL@Gay Flirting!!

You could have loudly chanted 'Mujhe Tamil nahi aata hai' and launched an oration extolling the virtues of having an official language? :)

Hawkeye said...

sudipta,

:-)

anon,

danks

deepa,

i dont know. just about everybody i guess. this time it was like a 'you had to be there' moment


ttm,

the funny thing is to travel from france to Tamil Nadu. the former hates english and people got pissed off when i asked them if they speak it. the latter hate hindi and get pissed off if i even mention that word.

i still have a bone to pick o the s.ramesh comment. now that i am free and vetti - inthaa vaaaren.

Anonymous said...

What's with the bad writing?

Hawkeye said...

anon,

i dunno - you tell me

I said...

Thamizhans should prefer to hop at Europe than at Indhiland. and airport reception parties aren't likely to get better, ever.

MLC said...

....these middle-aged women (who are usually found in airport environments with a weirdly named kids) who have put 5+ years of service in America...

lol! yengaeyoo poyiteenga;-))!

Hawkeye said...

I,

after renvation, reception party will all be accomadated

mlc,

all anubhavam talking

Anupadmaja said...

Ummm, Bharath, so to annoy you, one of your sisters-in-law just needs to initiate a conversation with the aunty whose son is named Koppirandevan and then let that aunty know that you are a really good boy who does his daily prayers regularly?

Hawkeye said...

anu,

this was exactly the conversation that woman was having on the plane. loudly. so that that even the pilot would hear it

Venkat said...

lol! I just took the pacific route back home, skipped Europe and all the fun..

Anonymous said...

Hey, I remember such scenes at the airport - old tamil couples travelling home, and women who think they are somehow better than their counterparts in india, after accomplishing a few kids in a few yrs abroad. But it was nice going back home in such an atmosphere.