Tanglish For The Win

April 26, 2011

I cringe when people use blatantly wrong grammar. My cringing nears an epileptic seizure when they merge two languages, use bad grammar and kill two beautiful tongues. This phenomenon is popular by far in India. As much as we Indians pride our influence on good ol’ English giving rise to Indi-English, Hinglish and my favourite Tanglish, we really should not step over the line that separates the colloquy from the colloquial. Despite hard to follow rules, our modification of English gives rise to many a funny situations, few of which are very typical to Tamil serials. I say Tamil serials because that is where you get to hear phrases like “German ponaaru”, “marriage pannikitanga”, “youth people naanga”. I will go on to list flaws (yes, I love flaw finding. I will make an excellent mother-in-law some day) that are omnipresent. Although I go eeeks when I hear these, I cannot suppress an inward smile and that is why I want to share it with you all.

“I cannot able to…”

How simple is “unable to”? As I write now, I am in a mental dilemma whether “I cannot able to…” really is right. Look what the society has made of me!

“You ate, no?”

Typical Tamilian mentality. This always happens when you translate the Tamil inside your head to English verbatim. I cannot really mock people who do that since this particular sentence fragment bears the stamp of Lady Kedi’s trademark usage. I use it because it is so much in line with Tamil. And I use it only to people who know Tamil. Some justification that.

“Thalli nillunga, ladies irukanga.”

As a friend once pointed out, a sole lady is also “a ladies” to the Tamil gents. This has given rise to the popular phrase among “the youth people” – “Who is that ladies?”

“You know Tanglish?”

No, it’s a sin that will haunt us in all our seven births if we prefix a question with a “do”. Why do a “do” when you can raise your voice in the end instead? Why do a “do” when it’s not wrong not to do it? Ok, I will shut up.

Which reminds me of “Shut up your mouth, bad girl”. In school, we never said “Shut your mouth” or “Shut up”. We always had to combine both to show others we could speak big English sentences. Even after more than 10 years since 3rd grade, I am proud to see this trend continuing with the present 3rd graders.

Ungle and Anti.

Pay us a thousand rupees for every time we say this right, no, we can never call people Uncle and Aunty.

Enna Rascalaa

This goes over my head, always. All Hindi film stars say this when they associate themselves with our Tamil Film Industry. Are they mocking us? What does Rascalaa mean? Is this some poorly memed punch dialogue allegedly delivered by the Chuck Norris of South Indian Cinema? The answers elude me.

Plight / phant and liffstick

I cannot suppress making you read my poor pun: the plight of the flight. The F we cannot pronounce in “flight” comes out in full force when we say “pant” and in fuller force when we say “lipstick”


I love this! It’s the Vadivelified version of “excuse me. While Amit’s (North Indian vetti scene parties living in and cursing singara Chennai) would prefer the more sophisticated “Excusez-moi”, I am a great fan of yechoosme in all its glory.

Bobby Ganesan

Found this conversation snippet on Facebook as a status update.

A: Mama, my treat da.

B: Enga da?

A: Bobby Ganesan da.

You could not have guessed it, Bobby Ganesan denotes Barbeque Nation. The comedy we are capable of!

While at it, I would like to bring to light a popular Twitter phenomenon. It was #kogul where Kogul is a Tamilicized version of Gokul. This Twitter list consists of all such words and makes a hilarious read. People who have names like I do (which are mercilessly slaughtered) will totally empathize with it.

Pour in your comments of such common, amusing and funny Tanglish phrases that will put a smile on our faces. Tanglish is what a part of our identity is – we might as well be proud of it!


Total Waste Management

April 16, 2011

I have never been much of a “management” person. Meaning – I have never been attracted to pursuing a career in management, entrepreneurship or human resource development. So when courses on management, finance and accounting are thrust upon me during the last year of college, it is only natural that I make a long face and try to ward off the bad elements. Try as I might, it is beyond my powers to change the syllabus or the professor who teaches it. Every time I start to study for my Total Quality Management paper, I go through extended periods of imagining how the principles of TQM could possibly be of use to me in my life. What results is such a blog post, full of twisted flawed versions of what Deming, Taguchi  and Ishikawa spent their whole life propagating.

For example, this is how I studied the 5W1H technique:

What is the problem? I hate TQM.

Where is it happening? Duh, in most undergrad’s life.

When is it happening? In a time when we are supposed to enjoy college life just when it is about to end.

Why is it happening? Pure bad luck.

How can you overcome this problem? Murder the professor? 

Who do you need to get involved? Someone who can teach me to learn this subject within the snap of my fingers.

When will you know you have solved the problem? Only when I pass this goddamned course.

Below is a tree diagram of how I typically study any subject. It has been slightly exaggerated to accommodate my mechanism of studying TQM.

Ever heard of PDCA? It’s the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. I remember it as a Pointless Dumb Chart to Annoy students.  It is one of the most useless things that people can make students study when it is evident that students excel more than anyone in planning, doing, checking and acting – all separately. I will attempt to explain it for you:

Plan – this video should make you realize the importance of proper planning.

Do – do whatever you have planned.

Check – check whatever you did.

Act – act upon whatever you checked.

Yes, this answer is worth 16 whole marks.

I pity the good-hearted Japanese who framed 5S – SEIRI, SEITON, SEISO, SEIKETSU and SHITSUKE. So much have we cursed them for making us study by heart random Japanese words. I have framed my own 5S principle to reflect the current Indian political mentality. If not now, I sincerely believe this is going to make me famous in the near future.

Sort  the amount of money you wish to swindle and allocate the rest, if any, for the upliftment of the people.

Set in order the account you maintain for yourself in an international bank, preferably the one in Switzerland.

Swindle as much as you can in your term so that there is nothing left for your successor. Make hay while the sun shines.

Shake off all that the people blame on you and fake probity at all times.

Shutting up is what you should never do. Thump on your chest and question anyone who questions you whether they love their native tongue as much as you do. That should settle all issues.

Now I have exhausted the little I studied for my exam. Hope you had a good read. Grow to love the concepts of TQM. Happy weekend!

Statement of Perception

April 9, 2011

Let us face it, all of us lie on our SOPs to some extent at least. We try sounding like wannabe passionate researchers adding to USA’s economy but end up sounding more like paava patta Indian student looking for an escape from the Indian education system. We go a further step to overdraw our mini projects and talk of them as potential publication material. Lady Kedi has been there, and Lady Kedi has done that. So she is attempting to write an inside story of what a typical Indian student’s purpose is. Only, she will call her SOP the “Statement of Perception” as it always is cast in a veil of manipulated purpose. So here it goes:

An idle mind is a researcher’s workshop

–         Anonymous

It is strongly believed that you get extra plaudits for a SOP if you start with a quote and hence, I am starting this SOP with a quote which reflects my attitude towards life. I am Lady Kedi and I wish to apply for graduate studies in your University. I have wanted to study in Berkeley, ever since I saw Vaaranam Aayiram. Besides that one main reason, I am told that the weather in California is very agreeable. Also, my mother thinks it’s the best place for me to spend the next few years of my life in. One can see middle aged Mamis putting vadams to dry in California, she says. That apart, Berkeley is said to be one of the top ranked universities and hardest to get into. Since I have always been a good student and because I always get what I want, I thought, why not apply to Berkeley.

When I say I am a good student, I am being very honest with you. I scored centum in Mathematics in High School. You should know that full marks are rarely given in the State Board stream, especially in Mathematics. This goes to prove my genuine interest in the subject and my aptitude for the same. It was only natural that I took up engineering after school because of my capability in the sciences as well as Mathematics. I am proud to say that I have meritoriously gained admission into a premier institution in India, which ranks only next to the Indian Institute of Technologies.

Right from my first semester as a freshman, I have shown immense interest in applying the theory learnt in class to practical day to day things. In my very first semester, I displayed a toy model of a gas stove at the Planetarium along with many kids from school. I went on to design various equipments in my second semester by referring many publications and passing the ideas off as my own. I learnt a new trick (of the trade), never cite references. The same way, I was able to publish one of my “works” in a leading Cambodian journal.

I also learnt to append my name in the works of others, especially when it was getting published in eminent journals. I am proud to say that I have 27 publications in just 6 semesters of my undergraduate study and 11 more are under review. I started working in a lab in my college where my sole responsibility was to make sure that no one used the Transmission Electron Microscope or the Gas Chromatography Column. I believe this has given me enough experience to handle both these equipments and I have always used them to generate more papers that I can publish in the future.

In the 5th semester of my undergraduate study, I learnt of a magic tool called curve fitting. If only I could somehow manipulate and find those few constants, I could publish even more! As it would be clear to you by now, I was an old hand at manipulation. I also discovered another useful trick – track the latest publications, apply the same for your process and get it published even sooner. In the interim, I developed the contacts of a few eminent professors, one of whom has promised to get me admitted into a third tier institution in the US.

I also stand the first in my class with a CGPA of 9.98. I was a 10-pointer for 4 consecutive semesters. The grading system is extremely rigid here and we are seldom questioned from our class notes. My CGPA goes to prove my intelligence in answering any type of question and also my unctuous smartness with the faculty.  I do not have any real aptitude towards research, but I can promise you at least 200 publications in my 2 years of study at your university. I wish to work under Prof. Paableish since he has 268 papers under his name. I already see a strong match of interest between us. I also would like to work under Prof. Hansum as he looks very cute and has just passed out of MIT. I would be very grateful if the graduate committee can recommend this application to Prof. Srinivasa Venkataramanan as he is my Aunt’s mother-in-law’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s son. Also, Mom says it is better to work under a vegetarian. I sincerely hope to get admitted.

Whatever has been said above, though not always entirely true, holds good for each of us. The more truth there is in it, the more reason for you not to study any further. The post is completely sarcastic and has not been written keeping any single person in mind. Thank you for reading all of it.

I come from a somewhat aacharam family. Cryptic though the title of the post is, I will highlight certain kinds of gastronomical behaviour very specific to the Tamil Brahmin community. I am sure everyone faces this kind of conduct wherever they belong. But since I know best about where I come from, I will proceed to write about the same.

Adhe Karandi

My dad and I think twice, nay thrice, before going out for dinner in a veg-cum-non-veg hotel before we put forward the plan to Amma. Once we diplomatically convince her about its quality and ambience, she will shriek, “Adhe karandi!  He will use the same ladle for both the veg and non-veg curries!” followed by an audible gasp. When we occasionally dine in Pizza Hut, we have to endure a constant lecture about the same karandis being used. I gently remind her that Pizza Hut is an international food joint and they probably are neater than we are at home. She will shoot at me her trademark glare. Once, she had an ice cream in McDonald’s. Adhe karandi, I reprimanded her. Ice cream ku enga di karandi, she shot back. These mothers!

Brinji, Biriyani, Kuruma, Parotta

Let me drop a suggestion: never utter these words at my place. My mom will frown and nod along to whatever you say, but mentally she will be disapproving of your vocabulary and your taste in healthy food. Krish Ashok had written an extensive post on the same. I refrain from linking you to it for the fear that he may get notified again. See comments on my very first post to know what I am talking about.

Echal and Paththu

Another fetish as far as food is concerned. This time, it’s about how you consume it. Echal refers to basic hygiene while eating – one does not eat what was or is being eaten by others, which I am totally ok with. Nevertheless, it does slightly irritate when Amma tsk-tsk’s when I share a Coke with my sister or eat a murukku half eaten by her. Paththu refers to separating and ensuring that items that spoil easily and items that stay fresh longer do not touch each other when you keep them all together at the dinner table. I know, it is complicated and I always mix them up. It gets even more difficult to follow when you have to wet your hands (symbolical of washing them) after you touch items of one of the categories before you touch the items belonging to the other. By now, you would know how futile an exercise it is. I tell my Mom too. And end up getting one of her famous glares.

No to Onions and Garlic

Negative kriya it seems. These vegetables instill a negative aura in you. Or so it is being said. My paternal great-grandfather never used to eat cabbage or mushroom, because the former is called muttaikose in Tamil (muttai-egg) and the latter nai-kodai (dog’s umbrella). My maternal grandfather, a sastrigal, bellows at the mention of garlic. For me, the smell of garlic rasam is irresistible. For him, it is equivalent to the smell of half-cooked meat. Sorakkai or bottle gourd has not been spared either. Not being able to make any correlations between its English and Tamil names, I ask my father why it has been ostracized. He says it may be because it has all the nutrients that meat has. Makes me wonder why egg-plant has been conveniently forgotten.

Sesha Saapadu

Sesha saapadu refers to the entire fare done on the occasion of Devasam. I love it. If you are in the mood to binge on food, this is tailored to suit your need. It covers every gustatory taste possible – without onion, garlic or chilli. So, how much ever you eat, you always get up feeling good about eating that much. Here too, we have a strange tradition whose roots I could not trace. The whole of Devasa samayal is to be cooked using brass utensils only. Even Mom and Dad don’t know why.

Navarathri Sundal

One reason why even the guys love Navarathri is because of the various sundals they get to eat. All through my 20 Navarathris, I have never once seen the sundal getting over in any house. And the largest amount of sundal I get always is the karamani sundal that I hate and never the channa sundal that I love. My ingenious neighbor had the idea of whipping up her own recipe of sundal sambhar from all her sundal collections. Since she was very generous about how much she gave us just for a taste, you should know how good (or otherwise) it tasted.

I am not sure whether I like or do not like people I live with adhering to the above said habits. I do not like to follow it for sure. But they are an integral part of my life here. In a way, they go a long way in making what I am today, as all traditions do. If you have any such conducts or behaviours running in your family, do comment below and share them with our readers.

Watching TV with me is a pain. I can never watch a programme for more than 30 seconds. I switch channels so much and so fast that we have changed our remote control umpteen times. From what you might have fathomed by now, I have an innate love for mokkais. I love watching Teleshopping. It fascinates me. I love commercials. It’s sacrilege to mute them! So I thought, why not write a point-by-point walk through of “TV with Lady Kedi” for the benefit of the human kind.

I have two things to enlighten you on: one, the incredible world of Teleshopping. I say incredible because it promises to make your life incredible. We will run through all it has got to offer. Two, the utopian world of commercials. Everything is perfect here. So perfect that it makes you envy, empathize and sigh wistfully only to realize that the world doesn’t function like how you thought it would.

Have you ever once paused on a channel when Teleshopping is going on? If yes, you would know about the Sampurna Nazar Suraksha Kavach. It’s a small blue bead strung like an amulet. The promo starts with a fat lady with a big bindi and bright saree, unsurprisingly over jeweled, exhorting in loud voices the miracles of the suraksha kavach. The camera pans to a witness, who claims her husband’s business was flailing when someone suggested that she make him wear an amulet. The gay amulet wearing husband then exacts that his business looked up the moment he started wearing the kavach. The highlight of the visual is the representation of the nazar – red laser rays not different from what we used to draw in school. Here is what I mean:


The host then goes on about how Yogis from the Himalayas prepare these beads by chanting arcane mantras. What price to pay for it? Just Rs. 2375/-. Interested people please to be seeing this and this.

Others see this to fully understand what I mean. I could not get the badly dubbed Tamil video. Please make do with this.

If one teleshopping product awes me, it has to be the Nicer Dicer. It’s a vegetable cutter that makes vegetable cutting seem so easy! I can forever see how it goes chak chak chak. The commentary behind does get on your nerves with too many wow’s and oooh’s and aaah’s, but this is still a beauty. Please someone get me this for my birthday! It’s just Rs.1999/-.

Here is the English version of the video.

There is this other product they have to offer: the lipodress. This “dress” makes you look thinner however flabby you are by compressing to bring you to shape. I do not want to go into any more details here. If you are interested, do google Lipodress. Be sure no one is behind your back.

That is all I have to offer on teleshopping. My next love, commercials, is not altogether a different story. If teleshopping makes you believe that their product will make possible the impossible, the commercials too do the same. Only, they don’t make explicit claims. Take the Surya – Jothika Sunrise ad as an example. The whole concept has little to do with coffee than to showcase the pair’s fabulous chemistry on-screen. They play on the already created mentality that coffee and tea are associated with happy young couples very much in love. So every time we see such an ad, we go Aww. I love those for the same reason – modern micro fairy tales.

Another absurdity people lap up: the concept behind every deodorant commercial. A skinny adolescent with a waxed chest sprays on some deo, and what happens? He is surrounded by pouting girls in revealing clothes ready to er, succumb to his wishes. This phenomenon has now extended to hair gels, men’s shampoos, shaving creams, men’s razors…any of the male cosmetics available. Girls are not that dumb, you know. But I have to accept, we are dumb enough to see these commercials with our mouths wide open. Falling for a guy that shaves his arms and does his eyebrows is another story altogether.

I have never been able to distinguish one bike from the other. Cars too. I can differentiate a SUV and a car. That’s how far I can go. I know that Pulsar looks a little fatter than the rest. The rest consists of similar looking bikes which I can only identify by their name tags. It doesn’t make things easier for me when all these commercials are very similar too. All of them typically involve driving into a storm, on a mountainous terrain, jumping of cliffs and a small kid shouting daddy or a slender female looking on invitingly.

The last category of ads are the extremely stupid ones. So stupid that they make you laugh. Like the Bingo ads. If you have an affinity to mokka jokes like me, then you would thoroughly enjoy these. This one is classic, especially the Take it Raasaa at the end.

Before this post becomes excruciatingly boring, I will stop. Please comment and list the funny, crazy, whacky, senseless stuff you see on TV these days. Lady Kedi would love to spend all her time watching those.

Happy April Fools’!

April 1, 2011

All of us are weary of April Fools’ Day. It has been done to death. So this year, instead of poorly orchestrated pranks, false alarms and lame “Happy Birthday” wishes,  I have compiled a list of the most foolish occasions internationally being celebrated that could well be clubbed with April Fools’. Here goes:

Answer your cat’s question day (Jan 22nd)

Why should we celebrate this day?  So that our cat’s questions don’t go unanswered, of course! Just imagine leaving your fancy feline to its own doubts, contemplating on the questions life doles out to it…shudder, you just have to answer those for your cat! Now, how would you know what you should answer? Celebrate “Cat answers Mistress’ Question Day”!

Or, you can do this.

Appreciate a dragon day (Jan 16th)

How many times have you seen a crowd of dragons and marveled at their collective grace? How many times have you thought of these fire-breathing wings-batting flame-spitting creatures as beauties? Then you just have to celebrate this day!

Furriesonline.com suggests you to celebrate by doing the following:

  • Study about dragons and their significance in different cultures.
  • Write your very own story about your very own dragon.
  • Draw your very own dragon. Tutorial here.
  • Watch a dragon movie.

I suggest the following:

You are a possible schizophrenic. Please go consult your shrink. Sorry to burst your bubble, but DRAGONS DO NOT EXIST.

Bad Poetry Day (Aug 18th)

This is your chance to win lose the Montreal International Poetry Prize. While you are at losing it, why not lose it with panache? And that is why you should write bad poetry. How would you know it is bad? If your poem satisfies all or most of these conditions, you can be assured that your poem sucks.

  • Do not adhere to any specific rhyme scheme. Or pattern. Or any regularity whatsoever.
  • Let not any of your sentences make sense. Utilize your freedom of expression to the maximum and construct verses that cover a gamut of topics, within a strophe.
  • Invent your own words. When Roald Dahl can do it, so can you!
  • The longer, the better. The more mundane, the more pathetic. And pathetic is what you want your poem to be.

A sample,

The Three

Anya, Manya, Ponya

Live in Kenya.

They dance like fools,

In the pool.

They play with a pin,

And toys which make a din.

They sleep like a log,

A jolly life –

Like a butcher,

Without a knife.

Don’t Step on a Bee Day (Jul 10th)

Damn, how often this happens! You are walking on the road, lost in thoughts. A sudden squelch. And you’ve stepped on a bee! It’s writhing in pain. It’s wings have come off. With a last wrench and wriggle, it dies. It dies. These bees! Why do they have to keep crawling on the road when they can fly? Why don’t bees fly? Why do they always find their way under my shoes? Why do they make me a bee-killing psychopath? Remember, don’t step on a bee on this day. It’s too easy to. You do it always. Mark your commitment to a bee’s healthy happy life by celebrating this occasion.

Name your PC Day (Nov 22nd)

Another thing the world learnt from India. Superstar named his taxi Latchumi. As always, he set a trend. People then just had to name their houseplant, their cell phones, their bikes and their computer was no exception. I call my laptop Latchumi. Mark of respect for the Superstar you see. Also, mark of being dumb, useless and out of work.

Read in Bathtub day (Feb 9th)

Waitees! I do not have a bathtub. What do I do? Pity you missed out on the whole essence of celebrating this day. Never to worry – just read. Preferably where the bathtub is closely associated with. Popularize this concept. In a few years we can all celebrate “Read in the Bathroom Day”. No, I’m not going to go into details here. Family web site.

Zipper Day (Apr 29th)

Your maanam kaakum zipper. Have you ever once taken a moment to revere it? The only time it gets acknowledged is when its gets stuck, broken or un-zips on its own accord. We shout profane curses at it. Observe a minute of silence this year for all the zippers you’ve used. They deserve it as much as a martyr’s death does.

From the top of my mind, here are a few more that are more in line with life in Chennai and well worth celebrating,

Lungi day – Celebrate Tamil Nadu’s official dress. Couple it with ara-drawers. Shout with a beedi in your mouth. Sit on your haunches. Yes, girls too.

Filter Kaapi Day – For me, this is heaven in a cup. Smoking hot heaven. Let us celebrate over a cuppa!

Vada poche Day – For those of you who think this is Spanish, see this.

I should probably write a separate post on “Aaniye pudunga vendam”, “Enna koduma Saravanan idhu!” and my favourite “Vada poche”. For all the times this refrain has sounded in our mind’s voice during extremely apt situations (like flunking an exam you’ve studied hard for, getting slapped by a girl you proposed to), it is only fair that we celebrate it. Plan an event and Lady Kedi will be there for the occasion.

Though vada poche is my favourite, there is a strong contender we cannot ignore. This time its bajji. Please watch this video.

No, he is human despite his ursine countenance.

Vetti Scene DayVetti Scene is a phrase oft used by the youth of Chennai. For the uninitiated: Vetti essentially means jobless and Scene signifies anything boastful. The speciality of “vetti” is its wide usage. Examples: vetti dog, vetti pechu, vetti vela, vela vetti and so on. It describes my life in a nutshell. What more reason to celebrate!

Mama-Machan Day – It literally translates to uncle – brother-in-law day. It’s the Tamil equivalent of the English dude. We don’t say dude because most people here say dyood. I believe this blog’s readership constitutes primarily of young people. Hence I will not go into explaining how relevant calling others Mama, Machan, Mapla or Dude is.

I strongly propagate clubbing April fools’ with a few or all of these occasions. Please suggest alternative things that we could do to make these days more fun and um, senseless!

PS: This post was supposed to be written in collaboration with Low-funda-boy. But he backed out because I made references that his hero TR resembled a grizzly. Also due to his general laziness.