In case you know Marathi language, and you have travelled/going to travel abroad then you should definitely listen to Pu La Deshpande’s Pravaasachi Tayari. If you find a video then have a look (and share it with me). It is not that you won’t enjoy it if you were not travelling, but then it is worth when you get to compare it to the travel tips/instructions you get from your family and friends, even if the instructions are different in the modern world. I am glad I copied all those audio files while packing my stuff and I enjoyed listening to it more than I had heard it back home. One of the instructions I had got while leaving for US was about kids. I am fond of kids, and a cute little kid is an absolute delight to watch (only when he/she is smiling). So I am bombarded with – Don’t pick up any cute looking kid you like in a mall/on the road like most of us do here. Don’t smile at them. Don’t even look at them. With all the paedophilia scare, I took all those instructions to the heart, and in the first two weeks here I even avoided one of my colleague’s one year kid when I was visiting him at his place. With not many friends staying close by and the transportation issues here all I get to do over weekends is keep myself engaged in some activity at home or visit a few colleagues in this same community, or swimming (more on that in some different post). One of the colleagues has a one year daughter who has started speaking a few syllables, and when I visit them the conversation with her goes like this.
Ba (both hands up in the air)
Yes I know we are late for the pool, but your dad is still by his laptop for the office work.
Ba (touches her nose)
Is she having a cold due to the pool water?
Dad - No, we are teaching her facial features
At the age of 1?
Aa (points to the gallery – or patio as they call it here – door)
Yeah your parents should be kicked out of there. I am sure that at the age of 5 they want you to win the spelling bee.
Aa (both hands up in the air again)
They never tell you those things while bringing you to this world. It is a big bad world out there.
Pe (shows three fingers of one hand)
You want to see Teen Thay Bhai movie? Cocktail was released yesterday, so better to watch that.
Uu (points to the television set where Pingu the penguin show is on)
Pingu is cute, but Diana Penty looks good from the promos.
Ka (brings her toy car)
Yes I am saving to buy a car. A real one.
Ba (points three fingers again, this time with one bent)
You are absolutely right. I downloaded some of the Two and a Half Men seasons.
Aa (both hands bent with the I-don’t-know gesture)
I don’t know if this country has any laws against downloading movies or series from torrents. Or for that matter p0rn.
Mom - Downloading what?
Err Pawn Stars, the series where they show buying-selling historical stuff. Is it legal to download it from torrents?
The guy had a chuckle while his wife stared in disbelief. And that strikes out one of the homes-to-visit list for me. Also that made me start preparing pav-bhaji, more on that as well sometime later. So the thing is that the fear of smiling at a cute kid is more there for the desi ones, but not yet for a firangi one, even with blue eyes.
Moreover it is amazing how children are great at learning things adults take time. A Marathi speaking friend of mine who has been here for more than a year still pronounces message (as in a text message) as masej (mas as in masculine), but his 5-6 year old daughter who plays with the local kids goes Mommmmyyy in a typical American accent. I had to pay more attention while listening to her than it is necessary when I hear the client’s full time employees speak. I was going to ask jokingly, “You sure she is YOUR kid?” But hey I am not here to strike off the entire homes-to-visit list.
P.S.: Some families I saw in the malls had 4-6 kids. I mean do they really like making babies or is it just for the income tax benefits?