Tejal’s birthday!

Mango lassi and chanasamosa started me off. Well, actually this was after the almost gender-divided hugs. Puru wouldn’t let me get away with just hugging the women. 🙂 It was pretty cool, actually, as I got about a half-dozen hugs (handshakes with the folks I was just meeting for the first time). Did I mention I sortof kindof invited myself? shhhhhh! It was a great party to crash for some social interaction – just as Neil’s has been the perfect idiomatic crash pad. (Countdown to departure has commenced, wah.) Although I doubt I’ll miss Satya’s militaristic party garb.
Food segregation continued. At least this time it was on the basis of vegetarians and carnivores, instead of men and women. Although then we noticed that the men were clustered at both ends of the table, essentially surrounding us. The most trapped, by the way, was the birthday girl herself. Neil had to pick a fight with the waitress (can’t take him out in public!), who threatened to withhold his food. (His behavior subsequently improved tremendously.)
The most interesting thing I learned was how to smuggle mangos. This is an Indian cottage industry. The first thing you do to throw the customs officials off the scent is to scrupulously recite the several dozens of different spices you’ve brought back. They really don’t want to know. Second, the amount of spices will confuse the dogs, who won’t be able to distinguish the smell of mangos in the midst of sneezing. Third (most important), sing English songs in Punjabi. Folks will be offended by the dissonance and they’ll usher you through as fast as possible.
I might have been offensive (?) as I heard (with my untrained american ears) “Sulu” as Sudarshan’s nickname. And Shiva had to fight with the clothing rod in my backseat all the way home (not to mention his virtual exclusion from Sitma’s and my dive into Althusser). Hema! You’ve gotten email from me before! Did I forget meeting you? Oh my. ;-/

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