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.


Fëanor said...

What is with Brits and curry houses? The last time our team went out for a team dinner, everybody fancied a bit of curry. And where? In Brick bloody Lane. I wept, I tell you. The blasted unculturati hadn't heard of Masala Zone and no amount of convincing had any effect. Ooer.

Veena said...

Fëanor: Yeah, its not just that they go to curry houses all the time, they get all super protective about them. You can't say you don't like it. I am supposedly a snob who looks down on curry houses according to my British colleagues.

Must say though I am not a big fan of Masala Zone either. It is very fake food.

Oh, Brick Lane does have some good food places. At the Jewish end. :)

Ludwig said...

Who is VP? VP isn't the in the dramatis personae.


Fëanor said...

@ludwig: VP would be Visiting Partner :-)

@veena: you don't like MZ? i don't mind it - for the price it's not bad, not greasy, and not filled with the bilious colours of the usual "desi" khana in London.

other than beigels, anything else you'd recommend in jewish brick lane?

Veena said...

Luddo: Even this little mystery you couldn't solve?

Feanor: Yes yes MZ is def way better than curry houses. But then the 6 inch chicken tikka at Subway is better than the food at these places, so it isnt saying much no? And nope, just the beigels.

Also question. You know of good Ethiopian places in town? Injera craving has come out of nowhere and it ain't going away. Last time this happened, we diligently looked up Time Out and went to a place in Kentish Town which was very bad. Any suggestions?

Fëanor said...

Veena: was that Lalibela? It was okayish 5 years ago when we went last; can't say how it is these days. There was a perfectly poisonous one not too far from King's Cross - lit with violet lamps that changed the appearance of the food and made us all appear like the floozies that hung about outside. Luckily, that's been closed.

There's Demera in Hammersmith. I haven't been, so please let me know how it goes! (I suspect, though, that the UK versions will pale into insignificance before the excellent Ethiopian places in the US - my experience anyway.)

Preeti said...

I can't believe you had a food question and didn't ask me!!! just for that, I won't tell you about the ethiopian place run by this sweet ethiopian lady somewhere near st john's wd.

Phaedrus said...

:) Being in the G-forsaken consulting world ( on the ERP side though ) I should start learning the British accent then considering I deal with our old colonial lords. But there is something very very alluring about the British accent ( I am no expert on these accents but was told what I find incredibly sexy is actually Scottish qand not "pure" English accent but we all have our cross to bear ) that I find myself working overtime for them and billing them not so exorbitant rates!

Oh you have roots in chennai? Nan appove ninaichen! :)

Veena said...

Feanor: Don't remember the name - it was about a 10 mt walk from the tube station. Will check out Demera.

Yes, I know! Did you ever go to this restaurant in Wrigleyville juct across from the stadium that used to serve heavenly Ethiopian food?

Preeti: Well, Bill saw my comment and emailed and asked me exactly that - why don't you ask MR? So please please let him know the name of this place :)

Ethiopian food in St Johns Wood? Really?

Phaedrus: I thought it was alluring too until I moved here. Now it just irritates me. Especially when I don't bloody understand it. You have no idea how happy I get when I am on the phone with call centre people in the States. (Yeah okay, thats not just because of the accent. But its part of it)

No, no roots in Chennai. I am quite sure of it. There are more than a few thousand roots spread over a few acres in interior Cholaland. And there are a few (6 coconut, 1 jackfruit, 1 mango, 1 clove, bunch of mint and some other assorted stuff) in Malluland.

Phaedrus said...

Difficult to understand? Really? What's not to love? ( ok so I am terrible with accents and my idea of a British comes form watching monty Phython series,Yes minister series ,some very avoidable Hugh Grant movies,not really listening much to Kiera Knightley movies, watching/listening BBC drooling over that adorable anchor whose name-I-just-cant-recollect-now and that very brief dating period with that British chick out of the Theosophical society (yes!of all places! ))

But then again I have never interacted with the British for a long duration so can be excused for having an exotic perception of their accent.

Or maybe I just have a "thing" for them.

Ah a cross between a mallu and a Tam? Nice!

Fëanor said...

Veena: no, I'm afraid I didn't go to any Ethiopian joints in Chicago. A lacuna in my education there! There was a very good one in Georgetown (DC), and a couple of decent ones in NYC, but the absolutely mind-alteringly best one was Makeda, in New Brunswick, NJ. Oh wow, totally drool-worthy and lovely decor too. Plus eclectic bands that performed on certain days. And gorgeous waitresses... And one day I saw our Malloo actress Revathi dining there, holding court...

Veena said...

Phaedrus: Oh thats why you roosters go to Theosophical Society. I've always wondered.

Trust me, once you spend some time with them you will associate this accent with binge drinking and curry houses at which point it will start to become very non-exotic and crass.

No, no, full blooded Tam I am. Very senthamizh nattu thamizachi. Though sometimes act more Mallu than the Mallus because well, thats still home to me.

Feanor: This is interesting. First time I went and checked out Ethiopian was cos a couple of friends at RU raved abt the cuisine. Must have been this Makeda place only, no?

Revathi sighting? Same same pinch. We sight the same celebrities! She sat next to moi at a film festival last year.

Fëanor said...

Same same pinch indeed... So did you go to that Demera? Any good?

Veena said...

Nope, don't ask. Tried to decide between Demera and this place called Queen of Sheba which came recommended by a colleague, failed, tossed a coin, went to Kentish Town all ravenous to find that they were closed. Walked to Camden Town and ended up eating at well, MZ. Really.

Fëanor said...

ok, sorry for totally off-topic query: what was the svetlana toma film bill uncovered?

Veena said...

Feanor: oh that was usual Bill comedy. He found Anna Pavlova only to find out later that well, he had reserved a book.

Now he says he has found this movie called Wild Wind from somewhere. Will find out more.