Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chotu Motu in Barcelona - Part 1

Day 0:

Pre-trip discovery at the WH Smith at Gatwick as EasyJet announces gates exactly 20 minutes before departure (and since this is London, it takes 30 minutes to get to the gate): Nowadays bookstores have a new section - Tragic Life Stories. Not kidding.

Few uneventful hours later, Chotu Motu are in Place Catalunya ka Metro station waiting for train to take them to Gracia where they are staying.

"Man, this is crowded"

"Not as much as Picadilly Circus tube on a Friday night"

"Guess not. What a relief to see normal people, no?"

"I know. No puking and no throwing bottles around. Looks like we are back in the civilised world"

"Yeah. Hey, our train gets here in 2 minutes 23 seconds"


"It says so on the display"


"That's what I am thinking. Doesn't really make sense no? Wait, did you see that?"

"Sure I did. Now our train will be here in 2 minutes and 33 seconds"

"Wait, its doing it again. Its changing the display"

"Looks like the Germans scarred the rest of these people for generations man"

"Yeah, quite comic no? In Sweden, they deliberately start a minute late just to make it clear that they are not Germans. Here, they put up seconds in display to prove that they can be Germans but it doesn't work so they keep changing it all the time"

"All deep things you are saying now. How much did you drink at that bar at Gatwick waiting for me?"

"It ain't my fault if you take 5 hours to get from Cambridge to Gatwick"

"It is. Because I specifically asked to fly out of Stansted"

"One, Easy Jet did not have flights out of Stansted. Two, if you wanted to fly out of Stansted, you should have booked it. Three, not on my money. On my money, you fly out of where I tell you to fly out of"

"Whatever you say darling"

Day 1

As expected, day dawned bright and clear. Chotu Motu were so excited by the sight of a sunny cloudless day that they were out on the streets dancing at 9 in the morning.

"Look look its so blue!"

"Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye, and I won't be surprised if its a dream..."

"Its because we are here! Out of London. At last"

"I know. I finally get it"

"Get what?"

"The British empire"


"And I don't blame them at all. How can I now that I know what it is like?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I know why they had to go take over the world. You tell me what would you do if you had to live in that country every single day of your life and eat their food. What would you do? go some place else that's fun and take over. That's all they have done"

"Yes, utterly blameless"


"I see"

"What do you see?"

"You can take a Bong out of Britain but..."

"Enough okay? Do you know how many freedom fighters we had?"

"I wouldn't exactly call them fighters. Except for this one chap who you all anyway claimed was misguided and stuff"

"We claim nothing of the sort"

"Yeah yeah. Dude, look at that. We are in Barcelona alright"

"Yep, the funk has begun"

(Need a drink. To be continued tomorrow)

Thankame neeyum thamizhpaatum padu...

(Apologies to non-Tamizh readers)

Because of a frustrating conversation with a proud puritan yesterevening. And no offence to Thiagarajar groupies. Seriously. Please to dismiss me as a member of the "thalaya aattum puriyadha kootam".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Don't let a madman mess around with your city...

Please spare a thought for future generations who will have to live with these.

Though I guess on the bright side, you get to be the inspiration for the most popular villain in pop history (aka Helmut Head) but wait, we aren't there yet. Will get there in our own good time.

PS: Yes, yes, you guessed right. Chotu Motu kicked off travel for 2008 by spending a long weekend in Gaudy City. Details soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

With moms like these...

"Hey, what's that you are adding in coffee? Can I have it too?"

"Not coffee, just milk. Turmeric and pepper to help with my cough"

"Oh, but that doesn't look like turmeric or pepper"

"Yeah, this is something else"

"I am waiting"

"Palm sugar"

"Panam kalkandu! You people also have palm sugar?"

"What do you mean?"

"Its like the most common home remedy for cough. Its supposedly great for that. Didn't know you guys also have palm sugar"

"Yeah, we do have palm sugar"

"Hmm..ok. Did you pick it up from some indian store?"

"Not really"

"Oh so you get it normal grocery stores? Like Sainsburys?"

"I don't know"

"Well, where did it you get it from?"

"I was telling parents na about cough. So they sent it"

"Oh cool. Good for you. Anyway, I love this thing. I will also have some. Wait, your parents sent this?"


"This is my mom's handwriting"


"You told me your parents sent this?"

"No, I said parents sent this"


"It came today"

"But you talked to her hardly a couple of days ago"


"Wait, my mom sent this to you by DHL?"


"Because you coughed like once when you talked to her?"


"And she refused to send my cramps medication by speed post!"

"I wouldn't know about that"

"You wouldn't. I am calling her like now. I refuse to talk to her"

"Then why are you calling her?"

"Shut up and go away"



"I was just going to call you. It is terrible. You have no idea what happened"


"B is in love with some boy it seems"

"Okay? And you do not approve of people being in love because?"

"No di. This boy is well, not a boy. He is 33. Can you believe it? She is hardly 22. Girls of nowadays. Its all your Dad's fault"

"Wait, where does he come in?"

"He only pampered this kid and convinced her parents and sent her off to city to study and all no? Now people will blame him only"

"Yeah, his fault because he wanted kid to study"

"Anyway, it is okay if she is in love with some decent classmate or someone like that. This boy is 33 and he does nothing"


"Yes, he doesn't have a job. He claims to run some business but nothing is in his name. He just goes around Madras in his bike, everyone is saying"


"Can't make a single paise. Just spends and spends. God, it is horrible"


"This girl has no sense. Who will want to marry someone like that?"

"Like what?"

"I don't know what she fell her. Whatever happens to girls of nowadays? They watch too many movies, I think"

"Yeah, could be"

"Kadhalam kadhal. Kathirikkai, I say"

"Yeah, one rule for us, another rule for others"

"Same rule for everyone. Find someone decent, thats all. This girl is mad - maybe we should talk her to a psycharitist"


"Why else will she fall in love with someone this useless?"

"Its not that uncommon"

"Nonsense. You tell me who else in our family married someone like this?"

"Maybe you should look into immediate family"


"I mean its not like you discourage people from marrying useless people. Then you cannot complain if other people learn or rather not learn from it"

"What are you talking about?"

"Your own son-in-law is the most useless person on the face of this earth. And yet, what do you do? Send him panam karkandu by DHL"

"Oh. How is his cough? The poor thing was coughing so badly when I talked to him"

"To hell with his cough. You tell me how he is any way better than this B's 33 year old?"

"Don't talk nonsense. How can you compare this stupid chap with Bill?"

"Because Bill is useless and you refuse to see it?"

"If he is so uselss, why did you marry him?"

"Because you wanted me to"

"Yeah, its all my fault"

"Of course"

Friday, April 04, 2008


Last night at random curry house (don't get me started!) in Covent Garden. At the table:

2 partners from across the pond (though one lives in London)
1 clueless American associate (CAA)
3 very middle England junta (MEs)

ME1: When is R coming back?

R is a junior analyst staffed in a New York project for the past few months.

Visting Partner: Never!

ME2: But we want her back.

VP: We are keeping her. You have no idea how happy the clients are with her.

ME2: Good for her.

VP: Its not her really. I put her in front of clients and the minute she starts talking, it oozes credibility. Instant respect like I have never seen before.

Moi (you know I am smart): Of course. The accent.

VP: Yep. Give me a Brit to replace her and she can come back.

CAA: Do you think the reverse is true? When we have an American on the team, does it help here?

I was going to say something appropriate (Or inappropriate in keeping up with my reputation) but the American-in-London Partner said:

"Of course. It works both ways. Lot of respect for each other on both sides of the pond"

Not kidding. He actually said that. CAA nodded diligently. The three MEs caught each others' eyes for a nanosecond. Then ME1 found something very interesting in his plate for the next three minutes. ME2 looked up at the ceiling for a full minute. ME3 had to excuse himself and run to the restroom.