Of fake accents & so-called funny people

This extended India trip has been fruitful in many ways, working after lunch through dinner gives me the morning to pursue side projects and write a lot more often. I’ve also being going around and meeting interesting folks which has been a very interesting experience. I say interesting because I’ve met some awesome people who make me pick up my jaw from the floor when I see the things they do. There have also been people who make me laugh so bad to see their heads stuck in their bottoms. I’m glad I’ve seen more of the latter which gives me enough material to make jokes to tell others and write in this space. Let me assure you that this isn’t another NRI rant about rising prices, overrated food in swanky places, the increasing divide between the middles classes, and how I have to cross the Tamil Nadu border for a bottle of ThumsUp! Yes I am a ThumsUp boy & if you have a problem with that then please go back to sipping your ginger-lime-soda that you just paid 100 bucks for.

While I owe my English to cricket commentary & British comedies on TV, for many it comes from watching reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Chetan Bhagat books. Which isn’t that bad if you ask me, but when you feel like using one of Chandler’s or Phoebe’s lines in a conversation, do you also need to put on an accent? Now there is no true Indian accent and I don’t mean you append an ‘a’ or a ‘u’ to every word. ‘Arrey maams-u if you are talking-u likes this means, that you are cool-a? Why for
if-u I
am putting any
accent-u or
not re?
Why for you if-u I am putting any accent-u or not re?
‘ After that outburst from Sripal Bommidi in VIth standard, I never made fun of anyone’s English or accent . Not because I was scared but because I felt remorseful on learning that his father owned a cycle shop and working extra hours to put him through school. My heart goes out to someone struggling to speak in English for they are at least making a sincere attempt, but my rage boils like Kratos in God of War when I hear a fake accent. Two weeks ago I was with friends having breakfast on a nice Sunday morning when all of a sudden this voice from the next table made me choke on my idli. ‘Can I have one podi dowza and one onion dowza please?‘ That wasn’t a typo, while playing with her hair with one hand and the menu in the other this lady was indeed calling it a do-w-za! I wish I could channel my inner Shivaji Maharaj or Bhagat Singh, but to keep up with the sentiments of this blog I’ll just use messers Parasurama & Narasimha. After that the same fluffy idli tasted like stale 2-day old roti and the surreal upma like cement. I sprang from my chair to see Narasimha emerge out of a pillar. The fiery avataram pulled her tongue out with one hand; the other went straight for her larynx, cleaned both of them with sambar and put them back where they belong. Yes the scene played out exactly as described above, in my head ofcourse. After that for the next 15mins, I had to endure how crispy her dowzas were and wait from my friends to finish their meal.

Last week I was accompanying the begum to FabIndia to exchange something she had bought. Truth be told, FabIndia isn’t one of my favorite stores but I’m always amazed at what they can do with discarded curtain clothamazed at what they can do with discarded curtain cloth. We probably picked the wrong day for it seemed like we had walked into the congregation of T.Nagar-fake-accents-association. Remember that scene in the sixth sense where the kid keeps hearing voices, same situation, characters changed! No zombies or the undead, these were real people extolling the virtues of the fabrics they were trying out in the fakest of fake accents. The dowza lady in the earlier encounter probably could have been silenced with #OneTightSlap but this was huge crowd! Parasurama came flying through the large window and tearing the dusty curtain in the process. Before I could finish saying Deivame, he went about hacking everyone’s tongue with his axe and disappeared just like that leaving behind a bloodbath. Again this is how the scene played out in my head and it is my story so I’ll narrate it the way I want to, if you did not like it then please go take a shower with that avocado flavor hand-made soap that you bought from FabIndia. While we are still on FabIndia here’s a tip to ensure that those kurtas stay forever, DO NOT EVER TRY TO WASH THEM. If the stink from repeated wear bothers you then pour a few drops of perfume with water in a holi pichkari and spray on the fabric. Then blow dry with a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer and hand it indoors away from sunlight. This, my friends is the tried and tested way to ensure longevity of FabIndia fabric!

Humor is a great way to diffuse an awkward situation, break the ice, get away with something both at home and work. Twitter and before that the blogworld have introduced me to some awesome people who could say something funny and even get away with murder. Sadly there are hajaar wannabe folks who in their quest to grab attention by being funny fail at aping these greats. The safest way is to be subtle with satire unless you have the slapstick comedic genius of Raju Shrivastav. I have learnt that being subtle though it may appear to be pretty simple isn’t true for many; the best example is my friend Komineni Venkatesh from EEE in college. In the electrical machines lab, he suffered a very mild electric shock while dealing with some faulty equipment. While most of us would have just jumped back, put the finger in our mouth waiting for the tingling feeling to go away, Venkatesh decided to play it a bit differently. He had heard of how a IInd year mechanical student cut himself in the lathe lab and evoked sympathy from all the ladies in his batch. Imagine this response in mechanical where anything remotely feminine is considered to be am item bombanything remotely feminine is considered to be am item bomb, EEE boasted of the best ladies in college! Venkatesh fell on the ground wriggling in pain crying for help and started the entire lab. Despite not being able to witness this in person, I have been told that the scene was very similar to a severed tail of a lizard wriggling to distract attention. Aiyo edukondalavada Venkatesh, subtlety #FAIL.

Sadly today there has been an explosion of so-called funny people on twitter with their set of slavish fans giving them titles like the ‘Funniest 27yr old in Sankarankovil’ etc. So the stuff like ‘Gandhiji ki dhoti main ___’ that I became famous for in IIIrd standard is used heavily by a few. One mustn’t blame them entirely, they are burdened by the expectation of coming up with something funny and resort to stale and even unfunny so-called jokes. For those of you who have no clue what the Gandhiji ki Dhoti main joke is, kindly replace the blank with the name of a film. For example Gandhiji ki dhoti main sholay, Gandhiji ki dhoti main sailaab, Gandhiji ki dhoti main kala patthar etc. Unfortunately these were funny at one point of time, & I was very famous for such jokes. If you still find them funny then go ahead and tweet, no credit required.

(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)