Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unquestionably Weird

Statutory Warning: Reading this piece is injurious to the health of prudes and puritans

Normality is an endangered concept which traditionally defined one who lacked unique characteristics or beliefs that made him blend in with peer environs. Now, in an effort to breach the social boundaries of normality, a breed of mortals priding in oddities, quirks and weirdness tread on our comfort zone. Consciously or otherwise, they refrain from conforming to societal, unspoken and implied rules and distinguish themselves as behaviorally distinct. In this slice of my four-year long IIT chronicle, I parade my strange encounters with this weird kind.

Despite the reality that English seems to have metamorphosed as the medium of communication in the higher echelons of Gujju-ben kitty-party culture, it is most disagreeable and weird to witness it being butchered by inapposite and incorrect usage. It is not that I belong to the progeny of the East-India Company who drink tea with their pinkies raised to the sky, despise all things Himmesh-esque and animatedly discuss the literary brilliance of a random, vagabond 18th century Polish author. I simply state that one must choose a communication medium based on comfort level more than anything else. Rakhi Sawant, the pouting, stripping, thrusting and twisting item-girl, does not concur. When I had sent the icon of Indian womanhood an SMS to confirm her participation in a celebrity debate on campus, the weird reply (quoted verbatim) I received was - “I am in the midst of somebody momentarily. Please you do me your massage later.” Euphemism or an elegant display of Rakhi’s SMSing dexterity?

While we’re hovering around social faux pas and tactlessness, weird pet-names bestowed upon a few hapless souls on campus desperately warrant revision. A Himendra is conveniently called Hymen, Saxena becomes Sex, S. Hiten creatively transforms into Shittu and Charchit is christened Chameli. The irony with pet-names is that, over time they unabashedly replace one’s forename and are begun to be used in everyday parlance. Consequently they stick on forever and no longer remain pet. A ludicrous incident that played out before Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy (SEL) in the backstage of a campus concert stands testimony. The trio, already discontent at the Security arrangements, was flabbergasted to hear a frustrated concert in-charge holler the following orders into the walky-talky – “Come in Hymen. Come in Hymen. I haven’t been able to find Sex for the last three hours. Chameli has gone to find Sex at the Security Gate. Also, Chameli’ll drop Shittu at the gate to help you out. Come what may, Hymen, don’t let any pointed objects through.” Not particularly music to SEL’s ears I presume.

Singapore has once too often been depicted as a foot-traveler’s South-East Asian dream – rosy, with a picturesque skyline, traffic moving like clockwork and a culture switch around every street-corner. On a recent visit to the city, I, along with three others, learnt about this street-corner culture transposition the hard way. The four of us violated the cardinal rule of on-foot explorers – ‘If any local on a street corner pulls down/lifts up/tears down/strips apart/peels off/divests/uncases any part of his/her/it’s clothing – one runs. One does not gaze out of curiosity/fear/humour/titillation/sympathy/empathy. One runs.’ We were knocked senseless when a Singaporean woman flashed us on the corner of ‘Where are we Street’ and ‘Why isn’t it on the map Avenue'. While three of us were recovering from the impact of all things new transpiring before us, one was astute enough to make a critical observation and screech out - “She’s not a she. No she’s not. Run, tranny (= transvestite), run. Tranny, tranny. She’s a tranny. It’s a tranny. Run, please, run.” The dilemma of who’s weirder, the lady who chose to stare long, close and hard enough to make the vital observation or the lady who wasn’t a lady altogether, remains unresolved.

Spare time breeds incredible weirdness and my four year long mis-adventure is a sufficient testament. In a sea of curios, there are a few encounters that merit more than a passing mention like the Malay tour guide who incessantly insisted that her name was Violet and she was not to be called toilet, a male classmate who chose to use “you smell nice today” as a befitting compliment to my choice in perfumes, the lady who was armed with nine pencils, five sharpeners and four erasers for her CAT exam and looked at my lone three inch pencil with murderous disdain or the guy who casually enquired about a lady’s bra size within five minutes of being introduced to her. As I unwind in the summer before I transform into corporate schmuck, I shall elaborate.


Anonymous said...

Splendid piece dude!
But why don't you write more often? It'll save you the trouble of e-mailing people to let them know a new post is up :P
Btw, you're gonna get a 20 Lakh paycheck... 20 Lakhs and you call yourself Corporate SCHMUCK?


PS: I see I find mention in the form of the weird Singaporean traveler. When is it that you're coming back home again?

Anoushka said...

You obnoxious IITian you. Echo every word Nilofer has to say about the post. And, HYMEN! HYMEN! LMAO.

Why do you lead such an eventful life or is it that my life is uneventful?

notgogol said...

@nilo: I shan't be coming back for a while now.
Quoting Roger Waters:
It's a crime,
Share it fairly,
But don't take a slice of my pie. Money,
So they say,
Is the root of all evil today."

@anu: I lead a plain vanilla life yaar :)

vira said...

Lol!! I remember the Malay tour guide and the CAT exam woman. But I am sure you're missing out on a LOT more significant weird others. Aren't you now?
Awesome, awesome post :*

notgogol said...

Haan re, namoone to bahut hain. List banane baithoon toh zindagi hi nikal jaegi :)

:| said...

Violet toilet, and all the pet names, pure genius!

notgogol said...

Tip of the iceberg darling, tip of the iceberg.
In my family, pets are actually given names like Lajwanti (aka Lajjo) and Billo Rani... :P if people can ruin the lives of such rare, pure-bred, Italian Mastiffs with such names, toh insaan kya cheez hai :P

:| said...

Lajwanti?! :O

notgogol said...

That was before we had 'Gundappa' the bulldog.. roughly translated from Tamil - 'Fat Father':D

:| said...

Wow. Just wow.
I CANNOT wait to read thy next post!!


notgogol said...

That will take a while, for I am relishing the pathetic humidity of Mumbai at the moment. This is the first summer for 4 years where I don't have anything to do. I'd like to keep it that way, for a few days atleast :P

Humour thyself with the post before this one. You'll be introduced to a very soapy individual.

:| said...

Soapy indeed! :D


insideaditishead said...

i bloghopped right back and i wasnt disappointed either.will be adding this to my list of favorites. :)

notgogol said...

@insideaditishead: Ah.. am flattered :)

Vivek said...

LMAO bro :) especially the Rakhi Sawant bit... It just gets better with everytime that you say it.

P.S. What are you going to do with so much money?

atomicgitten said...

I'm still laughing over the pet names, not to mention Lovely. Her parents must have been really dedicated to the cause of beauty to name one child Camay and the other Lovely.If they'd had an other child- that one would have been Lux :D

Really nice blog you got here. :)

notgogol said...

@atomicgitten: All these names pale in comparison to that of a very distant cousin of the beauty soap twins - Lovely (yes, the lovely name strikes back). The worst part is not that HE is named Lovely; he studies in a college called Lovely Institute of Technology.

I had to pinch myself 20 times just to ensure that I wasn't dreaming. In case you're a sceptic, do check out

I'm authoring a book on weird names. Co-authors with prior experience in ludicrous nomenclature are invited :P

atomicgitten said...

*Eyes bulging and mouth hanging open"

I think I need therapy.

No actually, his parents need therapy. And probably he does too- the trauma of such a name can turn him into some kind of socio-path!

Hmmm... sadder names?
Try Superganda.

notgogol said...

@atomicgitten: Superganda?? Really now. I think a disasterous fusion of the summer heat and superhero flicks is gitting to you.
Btw, don't worry. With the kind of people I meet on a daily basis, more than half this world needs therapy. We're not alone :P

Sonia said...

Useless bum. Stop blogging. Go work on your project. Useless I say.

notgogol said...

@sonia: Aiyyo amma! Chill da :D If you keep bugging me, I'll infest your mailbox/smsbox with my random/arbit/broken Tamil. Mind it :P

atomicgitten said...

I heard that name on a busride back home from school. And git over the Git allusions, it's gitting tiresome :D

notgogol said...

Fine then. Henceforth, you shall be addressed as ze kitten. Am sure it brings back fond memories of your Girl Band days :P

atomicgitten said...

No thank you, I like my name just fine. And I've never heard Atomic kitten

notgogol said...

It be official. It be getting hotter by the day in Bombay, Chennai and Calcutta. People chill!
@atomicgitten: noted! :)

Instinctivecuriosity said...

Fun post! So what was your nick name?

*no, really, I'm interested*

notgogol said...

Really now? :P
I was called "waters" as a freshman cos I would sing a lot of floyd all day. But then, most settled down to calling me teejay - my initials, while my close chums called me haramax (HARAmi MAXimum).
Sigh! i wish i had a more interesting name - one with character and history :)

did thou have a instinctively curious name? :)

Instinctivecuriosity said...

@ notgogol

Sadly, No! :( I have two syllable name, Nainy and that I guess leaves very less scope to devour further. I never had any nicknames at school/college. I secretly always wanted one :(

Although, a really weird thing, for a brief time during my grads, my Mom started called me China. Yes, or real. And no, it wasn't inspired by that ugly (BIG) female wrestler. I'm a very small person, Indian women standards per se.

notgogol said...

No, no. you can still have a nick. I've met someone named Ashu who had Nidhi as a pet name. Don't ask me the logic, cos when I said "That's strange! Your pet name's longer than your real one. How odd?", the reply I got (in a very heavy maru accent).. "So what? What's your problem? Same to you." And that was that. :)

P.S. Why did you have to remind me of China :(
P.P.S. I can already think of a few knock-knock Nainy jokes :) Im sure you're the butt of atleast a few of them :)

Instinctivecuriosity said...

"Same to you!" :P Hehe.. that's hilarious.

P.S. Imagine being called China :(

P.P.S Nope, no Nainy jokes as yet. Only I guess some confused giggles when people are introduced to me and they don't get my name even after three times.

P.P.S. But the most insulting I tell you, is being called Nancy. It has some extremely illicit connotations in my mind which I refuse to talk about on public forums. It might acquire you an above 18 tag, and well, in return, more hits :P

notgogol said...

That is not half as hilarious as the comment (again in the aforemetnioned maru accent) she passed later - "he think he so fanny!" :)

P.S. Your mum does have a sense of humor :). You have my sympathies :)
P.P.S. You're kidding me right? Come-on! You have a perfect knock knock name. sheesh. wat a waste!
P.P.P.S. Please, please. do go on. Now I'M the curious one. at least mail them. I promise i won't publish them *halo around head* :) honest :P

Instinctivecuriosity said...

I'll keep the sanity alive. But to give you a caveat so your imagination wont wander too far, its very slutty. It brings this picture in my mind of a woman with 2mm thick a layer of make-up to resemble Claudia Schiffer, blonde hair, fish net stockings and a magenta pink satin dress.

It leaves me very disgusted, *mostly* :P

notgogol said...

The woman you've described is mostly fictitious and occasionally graces the cover of mills&boon paperbacks :) On a different note, its a swell idea to get marooned on an island with this Nancy -
1. Blonde - She's dumb enough. You can con her into letting you eat her if you run out of food.
2. Fish net stockings - Did I tell you, I love catching my own seafood!
3. Magenta pink satin - perfect sos-help-me-im-with-a-blonde flag material :)

P.S. how can satin leave anyone disgusted? tsk tsk .. :)

Instinctivecuriosity said...

Context,dost,context! Har jagah nahi achcha lagta :P

notgogol said...

point noted. the last thing you want to hear at the start of a job interview... "so nancy.. tell me, what your skills are?" :P

sowwie. couldn't resist :P

Instinctivecuriosity said...

:) Ahem. Ahem.

Judy Balan said...

This was one fun read. Had all the right elements for LOL - bad grammar, Rakhi Sawant, messed up name plates and random flashing! Although I suspect you made up the nameplates :-|

I don't even get why they call me a prude, anymore *Eyeroll* Victorian age, at that.

notgogol said...

@skepticalvictorianprude: No 'make-up'. All are true flesh and blood people.

Judy Balan said...

Oh dear. You seem to have anointed me all over again with the prude label, after all the trouble I took to blog under my actual name.


If you have to go with nicks, try India's-answer-to-JK Rowling or some such thing :-p

notgogol said...

Reinforces the 'you-can-win' spirit whenever you suffer from writer's block!

Judy Balan said...

Huh!!!???!!! *Flahes third eye* I hope everyone sees the Bhagatness about you and starts calling you a pseudo-Bhagat.

:D :D :D

Ok now don't say something smarter and steal my thunder.