Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXVIII No. 22, March 1-15, 2019

Short ‘N’ Snappy


The alien tongue

Among the various things that The Man from Madras Musings detests is this easy familiarity that leads people to address a person older to them as Uncle or Aunty, as the case maybe, even at the first meeting. And the older MMM gets, the more he dislikes it, for it destroys the image that MMM has of himself as a young man on the threshold of life. Some have said that this is reflective of MMM’s inability to accept reality – he is after all at an avuncular age. Others, older than MMM have pointed out the brighter side, at least in their view. At least nobody has as yet referred to MMM as grandpa they say. They little know the truth. Anyway, MMM decided that he had had enough when someone whom he hardly knew sent him a message beginning with Uncle. MMM then called the nephew-presumptive and said that he, MMM, had not been present at his, the nephew’s, cradle ceremony and since he, MMM, had also not changed his, the nephew’s diapers at a formative stage, it would best if he, the nephew, addresses him, MMM as Mr, or Sir. Message got home and thereafter relations have been established at a formal level.

The other piece of familiarity that gets MMM’s goat is the tendency to assume that it is all fine to address someone on a first name basis. These are days when MMM gets several emails addressed to plain MMM or even worse MM or horrors, just M! He ignores most of these as they are essentially to solicit some business transaction or the other. But the other day he did pause to read one such message, which claimed it was from someone who is into language services. MMM assumed that this was one of those software languages and so was initially inclined to ignore it. But something made him pause and read the whole email and he must say he was richly rewarded for his labour.

The mail began by saying that the agency was an acknowledged expert in various languages of the spoken kind and said “here I want to introduce my organisation”. They said the sender, who had assumed that she and MMM had been school together, or at least had a friendship that stretched over the age, were an ISO 9000 certified (who isn’t?) organisation working ‘from’ past 8 years pan India.

Now, How We Can Help You – thus ran the next line.

Our agency translate in all vertical and every kind of documents, in Indian Regional & Foreign Languages, along with that we also give Interpreter service in all languages pan India locations. MMM was rather puzzled by the reference to vertical – perhaps they were specialists in Japanese, Korean and other East Asian languages? The peculiar English certainly had hints of the oriental. That this was not the case was proven from the next line, which listed several clients (poor fellows, how they must have suffered). The message also assured MMM that “We have affiliated team working with every vertical enhancing the companies with their social media branding, company Corporate Film Production, Testimonial & Product Video Production in 2D, 3D, Whiteboard and Real Picture.”

MMM’s new-found friend then signed off with an “assure you that I will do my very best to help you out with your needs.” She also wanted to know if an f-to-f could be arranged depending on MMM’s calendar. It sounded terribly vulgar to MMM and so he decided to ignore the invite. It later transpired that an f-to-f meant a face-to-face meeting. MMM decided that he would rather that these events stuck to the vertical.

The liquid kind

The Man from Madras Musings has recently been sojourning in faraway lands and as all good things have to eventually come to an end, he made his way back, in time for meeting the next deadline set by the Chief. At the airport of embarkation, as we travellers say, MMM threaded his way past the passengers to the lounge so that he could put his feet up for a while before boarding the flight. He was surprised to find that as though in keeping with his threading, several of his fellow citizens of Madras that is Chennai were weaving in and out of the rows of seats provided. Their sinusoidal movements had MMM quite puzzled. He decided to follow the man who had last sashayed by.

The journey took a while for MMM’s quarry kept tarrying at various places apropos of nothing. He steadied himself against passing passengers, chairs and once even against a potted plant. All the while MMM followed rather in the manner of a big game hunter. The chase ended at the refreshments counter where apart from several victuals of the solid variety, liquids of the amber variety were also present. It was then that MMM realised that he was mistaken all along in assuming that breakfast in Chennai or for Chennai-ites in general was of the idli-dosa variety and that cocktails if any were usually in the evening hour. The time was 9.00 am or so and every passenger from our city (home to firsts in several things, if the Chief is to be believed), was hitting the bottle, or bottles for some enthusiasts were blending their own cocktails. Of solid breakfast they had none. The rest of the guests in the lounge were watching in open-mouthed wonder. It made MMM ponder over whether topers of the Chennai kind ought to be classified under the genus Porifera (sponge) as opposed to homo-sapiens.

They were still not done when boarding was announced. Many then had to go to the toilet and by the time they made it to the flight they were highly ‘spiritual’. And in the flight, according to a harried airhostess, they kept asking for more and more. In fact just as the landing announcement was made, one of them made it to the pantry and asked the airhostess if there was time for one more, probably for the road. It was moments like this, said the lady to MMM, that she wished she had opted for the career of a bus conductor. Any such behaviour she said, and the offender could have been bundled out. The presence of a bouncer or two on Chennai-bound flights may not be such a bad idea after all.


Governments, be they of the State or the Central variety, are in a hurry to conduct as many events as possible. This is apart from showering largesse on farmers, those below the poverty line and other probable voters. The reason, so The Man from Madras Musings learns is that once the electoral code of conduct kicks in, there can be no events of this kind. Among the many that our local Government decided to celebrate was the birthday of a former CM. MMM was one of the recipients of an invite to one of these celebrations. The invite, ostensibly to a cultural event, had MMM scanning and then poring over it, to detect where the cultural element was. It had a series of speakers and beyond that nothing. It was large, glossy, with the obligatory photographs and as in the manner of all things Government, reached MMM a day after the event. MMM was not disappointed at this tardiness though. But he did make bold to call one of the organisers as to where the cultural element was. Pat came the answer that it was so necessary to invite all the speakers that there was no time for any cultural programme!

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