Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Communication Gap

As mentioned earlier, our long-time maid in Delhi, 'the K', is an invaluable member of our home, and brings her own many quirks to add to the general craziness around.

There is a definite communication gap between Vijay and the K because the former tends to mumble a bit-and the latter is absent-minded beyond belief and for some reason, is also a bit timid around him. This timidity results in her inability to look at him or address him directly - she usually addresses the room in general instead, which he blissfully ignores. This makes for an interesting set of conversations.

I was going to write about this some time back, but then discovered that my sister has already done so. So, here I go, presenting my sister's writing here! Thanks, G, keep it up - saves me the trouble! I will focus now instead on writing about the last few days in Jaipur.

The K and V (my brother-in-law) have a hard time understanding each other. Actually she has a hard time understanding anything and especially him.There is some sort of insurmountable barrier there that turns every simple conversation into an involved dialogue often ending in complete misunderstanding - on her part of course.

Once, V wanted an envelope for some reason. In Hindi, this translates into a lifafa. So he asked the K for one.

She turns up a few minutes later with a largish plastic bag. V, who is used to this sort of thing by now, was prepared to elaborate - ‘Nahi, nahi – chhota, kaagaz ka lifafa.’

Now the K can process only one piece of new information at a time (if that). She came in brandishing an even larger paper packet. ‘Yeh?’ she asked hopefully.

V eventually found an envelope himself.

It is incidents like this that drives the K to try and make absolutely certain what it is that Vijay wants her to do. And this further leads to conversations like the following.

V: Chai banaa do.

K (reacting with inexplicable shock): Chai???

V (a bit uncertainly): Haan?

K (shock melting into casual disbelief): Aapko??

V (patiently): Haan

K (making sure that Vijay knows what he wants): Chahiye??

V (torn between impatience and amusement): Haan

K (leaving no room for doubt): De doon??

V (resignedly): HAAN!!!

Finally, the K was satisfied that she had cracked his code. And Vijay got his tea.

I suppose all's well that ends well. But there sure are a LOT of twists and turns getting there.

Well said, G.

There is so much more yet to come in this series...


  1. That was funny..Why does she ask so many questions for ek chai ka pyala?? To pamper the jamaai is it?

  2. This 'the K' is a classic... and your sister sure writes brilliantly too!

    In fact the K and Vijay make such a fantastic pair... that they could well threaten to steal the stage from peanut!

    Loads more K-Vijay Classics please!! (accompanied with pictures of the K please!)

  3. Hillybillarious!
    (Yes, it's word-coining day!)


Hi there. Go on, say it. Well? WELL?