Monday, July 11, 2005

It's like ... hmmm 

I was eating in the Indian restaurant with an American family seated in the adjacent table. While the parents seemed to be Indian food connoisseurs (they pronounced dal makhani impeccably), the son seemed like a desi-food virgin. The father insisted that the son tries the samosas. The obedient son followed the father's orders and loved the Indian appetizer. So he asked his dad what a samosa was. The father thought for a while and then explained, "It's just like dumplings (we Indians call it "momo") but made with potato". Now, I know that samosas are nothing like momos but at the same time I can't help but marvel at the analogy. Come on, how else would you explain what a samosa is to a Western audience? And that's when I realized that this is a very common strategy that even I've used in the past. When people have asked me for explanations to Indian concepts/habits/practices/etc. I've often tried using a well understood American concept as a starting point to build on. Here are three examples I remember giving people at different times:

* Cricket: It's just like baseball but with a flatter bat and lesser money for the players.

* Arranged Marriages: It's just like having sex on the first date. Only here, you get married before that.

* Gulab jamuns: They are like meat balls but sweet ... and without meat (I know this is lame but how else would you do it??)

So all you creative (and probably bored) people reading this - what's your description for these Indian concepts:

(i) saree (somehow I'm tempted to say "it's like a towel - only bigger and more transparent :), (ii) bhel puri (iii) songs in Hindi movies??? Any answers?

Disclaimer: Donno how far this is true... but here goes... :)

Apparently during Buta Singh's tour to the US, he boarded the flight well-equipped with a 3-tier tiffin carrier loaded with rotis and curds as part of his cabin baggage. Lunchtime arrived, and out came the packaging.

An American sitting beside him looked on with curiosity - and Buta Singh was only too obliging to explain things.

The same analogy funda kicked in - rotis passed off "Indian Pizza" and the curds became "Indian Beer".

But of course, after a sumptuous meal, the Sardar couldnt withhold his fartulent tendencies for too long... and an explanation was due...

"And this is what we folks call 'Air India'..." said Buta Singh... :)
Saree: Food for the Male brain
Bhel Puri: Food for the stomachs
Songs in Hindi Movies: More Food for the Male brain
saree: bikini, wrapped in translucent cloth, to half cover half show skin of the wearer

bhel puri: things to keep u energise, so that you can do songs in hindi movies

songs in hindi movies: substitutes for kisses & sex

@ajay - nice :))

@tipsy - if saree is food for the male brain i m sure that a lot of men wouldn't mind being hungry :)

@lynniebabi - bhel puri as an energiser - wow! no wonder they have all these songs and dances next to Mumbai beaches :))
Saree: A long length of cloth that is draped in some standard styles worn with a short, fitted blouse.

Bhelpuri: A snack whose chief appeal lies in the fact that the ingredients and their proportions are all variable. Mainly made of various fried, spicy titbits and sweet, spicy sauces all mixed together.

Hindi movie songs: This one's easy...English movies have musicals too, even if they aren't that common. Think 'The Sound of Music'.

Keep it simple yaar....
Saree, hmm...it's like a kimono, only not tied on one end and Indian women wrap themselves from neck to foot in it :)

And what's a kimono, well...

Have no good answers for the other two :)
Saree: Amnesiatic designer trying to discover the garment which he intended to create

bhel puri: Creative Chef trying to discover the best dish with a variety of ingredients

Hindi movie songs: Frustrated animals trying to discover sex
ah! but there are sarees and here are sarees... nice post :)
@ideasmith - wow! your bhelpuri description makes me fee liek eating one :)

@ramya - aha! the kimono angle - actually people here probably know a lot more abt kimos thanks to sushi bars :)

@mani - awesome saree description. don't get surprised if i use it saying it's my own :))

@tablemannered - thanks :)
Amul Cheese: Like a cheeseburger without the bread or the burger.


Okie, sorry. Forget I said anything.
saree: considered the most traditional..n was intented to mk girls hv the culture draped to them...(this was the intended purpose a sarre was created)...but sarees nowadays "a long piece of cloth where the width matters more than the length(the smaller the better)..which is tied with more care or ishtyly:)...which is much better is transe...to bring in the traditional being in them yet by maintaining their ishtyl:)...u see wat not the genration of today can do...a simple piece of long cloth is put to such creative uses..wah!!:) thing to be appreciated...the saree revolution has gone up to the xtent to make guys say "even if a girl says sorry all we can hear it as is 'saree'....man!!! wat not can a saree do???;)
@+vani - that cheese thing sure made me cheese - and once again - i will not tolerate any kind of jokes here that are funnier than the original post :))

@anon - "it's like culture draped around you" - wow! that was brilliant!!! :)
tnx mr.nandy:)...
hindi film songs: prob a way wher the producer can show u some some sizzling places abroad...mabbe "cold places with hot scenes to mk some cool cash"...
Sari: 6 metres of grace, simplicity, pizzaz and Indianness all rolled into one
Bhelpuri : A jazzier, crunchier and spicier version of the salad
Hindi songs: Just tell them we've always had a thing for musicals
@anon - cold places with hot scenes ??? now that's a warm thought :)

@rohan - that description of sari will surely get you a nari my friend :)
Amen to that Sagnik :)
This one's actually true:
Toh, this one guy from Calcutta had actually submitted a Robindro Shongeet recording to the Berkelee School of Music as "Oriental Blues" and actully pocketed a schol.
@rohan - :)

@biplab - what??? :O *still shocked*
saree aka sari: a toga but just for women in various colors and fabrics and styles.

bhel puri: like a very tiny tiny version of a chalupa shell and its round and u poke a hole in it and fill it with hugs and kisses and something that will make ur stomach make thank u noises.

Songs in indian movies: Bollywood's signiture and only way of getting away with stealing plots from other countries's movies and the rain during some song scenes symbolizes sexual intercourse.
@sara - aha! the toga mention should do the trick. from what i have heard some toga parties get quite wild - so wild that if it was a Hindi movie they will hve a song there :)
lol@arranged marriages

saree - It's just like a lace curtain (draped on women)-allows a peep but not revealing entirely

bhel puri - It's just like mashed pizza with spicy toppings (gud to have one while draped in a saree going to watch a hindi movie)

songs in hindi movies - it's jus like ur musicals but only with obscenity included which wud otherwise b censored
@swathi - loved@sari - lace curtain - wow! *clap clap*
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