Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chp 135. Mizo slang among the youth [English]

[ Updated on August 2nd 2007 thanks to all the wonderful contributions at my blog and also at the two popular Mizo discussion forums misual.com and lawrkhawm.com. Keep the contributions coming. ]
The British may have left India 50 years ago, but their language continue to dominate the language of other cultures day by day, the Mizos being one of them. Given below, is a list of English words that have made their way in the Mizo language in the forms of slang and “youth lingo”. Also check out the new post on Mizo slang (Mizo words)

Recommended reading: Loan words in Mizo from English by Lalchhandami


ENGLISH - MIZO SLANG
[ Technical jargons and proper nouns/common nouns have been left out as such words are used in almost every other languages too, like “Secretary in mi rawn sms a” (The secretary sent me an sms), “internet ah i online em” (are you online at the internet), “apple hi fridge chhungah dah rawh” (Keep the apple inside the fridge) etc.]

B.C.

This acronym is a popular slang among the youth to denote something (a person, song, dress style, hair style etc) that is passé, (BC = Before Christ). “A kawr hak chu a BC e” (Her clothes are so BC [out of fashion]), “i hla ngaihthlak kha a BC lutuk” (The song you’re listening to is very BC [old]) etc. Another slang sometimes used instead of BC is UT. UT refers to Union Territory, and Mizoram used to be a UT a long time ago before it became a State, hence the reference to something that happened a long time ago. “i hairstyle kha a UT lutuk” (Your hairstyle is very UT [out dated]). Even though old may be gold, the usage here is more about mocking somebody for not keeping up with the current fashion and style.

Cial
Contributed by: Zoa Tlau
A word derived from “special”, it means just that. Special, extraordinary, over-the-top, etc. Rather than in the context of “special treatment”, the word “cial” is usually used in the Mizo context to describe a tangible object. “An bawnghnute chu a cial ngawt mai” (their milk is special) denoting that their milk is better than the usual milk. “A computer thar chu a cial lutuk” (His new computer is very special) which means that his computer has all the latest configurations and hardware accessories, and the special mentioned here is not about any special emotional value that might be attached with the mentioned computer.

Coach

Another funny slang that I really love. You gotta give the Mizo youth credit for coming out with such ingenuity! We all know what the word coach means in English right? “To train somebody”. Well, the word “coach” in the Mizo context means “to flirt”. When somebody says “Michael an Mary a coach”, apart from just the meaning that “Michael flirted with Mary” it also means “Michael is training Rose”! LoLz. Because you know, one becomes smooth in “the game” only after a “personal experience” right?

Confi

This is from the word “confident”. When somebody says “a confi lutuk”, it means “the person is very confident (about what he/she is doing)”. When it comes to the youth slang, the words they use are “chhe confi”. This is similar to the upcoming word “chhe hot” a bit below where “chhe” means “ugly”. When somebody calls a girl as “chhe confi”, it means the girl is not very pretty, but talks with a lot of confidence like how a pretty girl (who knows she’s pretty) talks like. “Chhe confi” is usually in reference to a not-so-pretty girl who is also mean, throws a lot of attitude, snobbish to a certain degree, gossips about all the other people (especially other attractive girls) and believes she can get any man she wants. She is completely delusional into thinking that she is attractive. People call such a person “chhe confi”. This term applies to guys as well.

Contri / in con
Contributed by: Tawia, Delhi.
This is directly from the English word “contribution”. Examples for this word would be “in contri i la” or “in con i la” which both literally means the same thing (Let’s contribute [cash] together). Here the contribution is about pooling cash together. This is a quite a common word as most of the youth are usually low on cash and if they want to buy something expensive that they can all share but cannot afford individually (basketball, petrol for the car, alcohol etc) they must all pool in their respective pocket-money to buy what they want.

Cool

Mizos aren’t the only community over-using this much-hyped word. South Indians too have the habit of predominantly uttering the word “cool” (such as “cool drinks” instead of cold drinks). In Mizo, the word “cool” is used in contexts such as the ones used in English to describe somebody or something awesome or somebody with extraordinary composure. “A cool khawp mai” (He/she is extremely cool).

Apart from that, “cool” is also a slang for drugs like cough syrups (antidepressants) because the kind of kick an abuser gets from cough syrups is similar to “an indescribable feeling of being cool”, where everything moves in slow motion and you just don’t seem to care about anyone or anything around you, similar to how a “cool rider” driving his bike at 150kmph on a straight smooth empty Highway with slowly changing scenery at the background probably feels like.

Cow / cowboy
Contributed by: Tawia, Delhi.
When somebody is called a cowboy (“khapa chu a cow khawp mai”), it usually means somebody who is macho (à la Wild Wild West). It can also be used to mockingly describe somebody who is dirty and hasn’t taken bath in a long time (once again, à la Wild Wild West). Also see “raw” and “man”.

Den
Contributed by: Hruaia
Derived from “Danger”, this word is usually used to describe a precarious incident, like a near-death/near-injury experience. “Silai mu a rawn thawi fiak a ka lu bulah, a den khawp mai” (The bullet just barely missed my head. It was a “dangerous” moment). “Saw in saw a den hmel” (That house looks “dangerous”) which is probably due to reasons like poor infrastructure or located on the edge of a cliff. One might say the “dangerous” mentioned here is similar to “frightening”, “horrifying” and “scary”.

Expi

Similar to the word “si” which is mentioned way below, people use the word “expi” to talk about the amount of experience the person has (which is obviously derived from the word “experience”). It can have both a negative and a positive insinuation.
  • Positive: “Science lamah chuan expi a neih ngah” (He has a lot of experience in the field of science)
  • Negative: “Kha nu kha chu a expi tawh khawp mai” (That girl has a lot of experience) where the experience mentioned here is about seduction, hence labeling the person as a flirt or somebody extremely loose.
Grind
Contributed by: Popsugar
Taken from the show “MTv Grind” in the 90’s, this word is slang for dance. “Zanin chu va grind i la” (Tonight let’s dance) It could even mean “Tonight let’s go to a discotheque” (to dance). “a grind zei khawp mai” means “He’s really good in dancing”.

Happening/hep
Contributed by: moimoi
This word is used in the Mizo context as the same way it is used in English. “Saw pa saw a happening khawp mai” (That guy is very happening) indicating that he is a cool dude, party animal, and always interesting to be with.

High
Contributed by: Calliopes canticles
In la high viau suh” (Don’t be so high). The “high” mentioned here is from the English meaning of “High horse”. It is used on a person who is arrogant with a superior attitude just because that person is more financially secured and behaves more “westernly”. Basically, it is a person with high status who throws around his/her weight around.

Hot

A va hot ve” (which means “[He/she/it] is very hot”) – The “hot” mentioned here does not translate into the English meaning for somebody sexy or the temperature “hot”, but instead refers to somebody who is full of activity, vigor, enthusiasm and exuberance. Even though it can indeed be used to describe somebody who is sexy, people very rarely use it, as there are other slang to describe such a person.
  • Highly spirited/energetic/peppy: “a lam hot” (Literally it means “she danced hotly”). Again this does not refer to somebody dancing only in a sexy way. Suppose in a Church, some of the older folks are dancing slowly to the devotional song, and then somebody suddenly starts dancing vigorously consumed by the Holy Spirit. The youth who are sitting in the balcony may comment that the person is dancing “very hotly”.
  • Exuberance: During a football match, the term “hot” will apply to the energetic vivified spectators cheering for the players. “mipui chu an hot” (Literally it means “The crowd is very hot”, where the “hot” is not in reference to the way the crowd is dressing up, but rather to their enthusiasm) or “boruak chu a hot” (The air is hot, where the “hot” is again not about the atmospheric temperature, but the tension and the wild cheers) which can even refer to incidences where the raving football fans come to blow with each other.
  • Enthusiasm: “Hot” is used to describe somebody with great enthusiasm. Eg: “Johna pa chu a hot khawp mai” (John’s father is very hot) or “Ka ni chu a la hot lutuk” (My aunt is still very hot at this age), where the “hot” here is not about them actually being sexy but rather about how enthusiastic they still are at this age to party or dress up like teenagers. Such people are also disparagingly defined by the youth as “tar hot” where “tar” means old.
  • The last meaning is the word “chhe hot”. “Chhe” is derived from “chhia”, which means “somebody who is not good looking”. Hence “chhe hot” literally means “ugly hot” :-) It is used on a girl who puts on a lot of makeup, well groomed hair style (usually colored), wears the latest designer labels and branded shoes etc. But all those extra accessories are not enough to hide the fact that she is not attractive at all. This term is also applicable to men. The youth call such a person “chhe hot”. Also see “chhe confi”.
Intro

This is used in the exact same context as “introduction”. “Min lo intro la” means “Introduce me to…”

Man
Contributed by: Muanpuia
This is another popular slang. It literally means “Manly” and is all about being macho. It is used to describe bravery and courage (“Ka Putea chu a man lutuk”).

Nice

The word “nice” is usually used in a negation with the word “not”. “A nice lo khawp mai” means “[it/he/she] is not nice (not a nice person)”. Apart from people and things, it can even be used for situations, especially uncomfortable situations. Suppose a teacher scolds a student harshly, the student would later say “a nice lo khawp mai”, which in this case means “it was not a very nice incident (to be scolded like that)” where the word nice in this case is similar to “pleasant”. Another popular usage of the above sentence is when it comes to manners. Suppose a man eats paan and spits it out openly on the side walk, people would comment “a nice lo khawp mai” which means “That’s not nice”. In this case it is similar to being “impolite” and “disgusting”.

Over
Contributed by: Sweet Devil
  • i over lutuk” (Literally: you are over). The English sentence that would come closest to it would be “you are too much”. It is in reference to somebody who does things extremely or exaggerates stuff.
  • a tha over” or “a chhe over” (It/he/she is too good, or too bad) Here the word “over” is used as an intensifier, laying more stress on the adjective.
  • Ti over suh” (Don’t over do it)
Profe

This word is borrowed from the English word “professional”, and it means just that. “a profe khawp mai” which means he is extremely professional (at what he is doing). It is in reference to a person with high skills.

Quit
Contributed by: Sweet Devil
Even though the slang usage for this word is “to quit”, it is also used to describe something that involves everything. For eg: “Ka ti quit vek mai” (I did everything), “Sil quit law law la” (Finish cleaning everything). It’s about doing something in such a way that there is nothing left to be done, or completing all the tasks remaining.

Raw

Similar to the word “cow” and “man”, when we use the word “raw”, it usually means something macho or hardcore, like drinking hard alcohol without adding anything else (“a raw in in rawh”), a macho action figure like Rambo (“Rambo chu a raw khawp mai”), and doing something without using something that will make the job easier, like digging the ground with bare hands instead of a shovel (“a raw in a lai tawp”), pulling out a tooth without using anesthetics (“a raw in ha a pawt tir”), frying eggs without oil (“a raw in artui a kang”) and connecting a PC directly without using a UPS or a stabilizer (“a raw in ka connect tawp mai”). Sometimes, some men actually consider it Manly and a matter of pride to do things “rawly”, probably because of our head-hunting background

Shake

A cute slang that is quite useful if you don’t want others to know what you’re doing! It is used in the context of buying clothes that are sold in the second-hand market. “Vawin chu va shake lawk i la” (Let’s go and “shake” today). The “shake” mentioned here is used instead of “thing”. In Mizo, the verb “Thing” means “to shake”. Because when one is buying items from the second-hand market, one must carefully examine the goods everywhere to make sure it is not defected. That motion of such examination is similar to shaking (try picturing it in your head). Hence the slang “shake”. Some people might even tell you “Shake well” as a way of wishing you all the best so that you may get lucky and find some really good clothes in the second-hand market. Didn’t I tell you this was a cute slang?

Si

The slang “si” is taken from the English word “senior”. The youth use it to describe somebody older than them, and is usually considered derogatory, because it is used mainly to describe a woman, and describing somebody old in this case is more about becoming senile, useless and loss of beauty rather than maturity (wisdom). Eg: “Kha nu chu a si ve tawh khawp mai” (That girl is really old) or “Ka si ve tep tawh alawm” (I am nearly becoming old now). It is usually in the negative. Only on rare occasions does it sound positive. Eg: “kan tum te chu an si hlawm khawp mai” (Literally it means “our opponents were old” but it translates into “our opponents had much more experience (and hence played better) than us”). See “Expi”.

Spin
Contributed by: Calliopes canticles
An interesting slang derived from English. When somebody says “Ka spin ang che” (I’m going to spin you), it means he is going to beat you up. After all, when someone gets beaten up, he is “spinned” around here and there right?

Star
Contributed by: Hruaia
Another very popular Mizo slang taken from English. In the Mizo context, it takes the form of a verb, and it means “to be a fan of somebody” or “to have a crush on someone”. “Margareth-i ka star bawn tawps” (I have a big crush on Margareth).

Tri / Zo

This is another popular youth slang that many older folks fervently object to. “Tri” is from the English word “Tribal”, and “Zo” is from the word “Mizo”. When a youth says “khapa kha chu a tri khawp mai” or “a zo lutuk”, he or she is basically calling the person an uncouth, somebody who comes from a very low class background with no manners and refinement. The usage of this word is concentrated mainly within the urban jurisdiction, where some of the city youth greatly influenced by western culture look down upon the common man for not adhering to western culture. That is why most of us greatly disapprove of its usage, because instead of being proud of our own culture, it’s as if these kids are ashamed of being a Mizo.

Note:
The Mizo “a” is pronounced like the “a” in calm, balm, farm.
The Mizo “e” is pronounced like the English “a”.
The Mizo “i” is pronounced like the English “e”.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chp 134. Ethnocide: The Great Hibu Fiasco

Content:
  • The booklet that started it all
  • Links regarding this issue
  • What the booklet actually achieved
  • What went wrong. Mistakes that Mr.Robin Hibu made.
Commenting is moderated for this particular post, due to the reasons stated below (way below). Inconveniences caused deeply regretted. For some of my regular foreign visitors: North-East Indians, an extremely small minority here in India, are mainly of the Mongoloid Race, unlike the rest of India.

This past one week, the only topic people ever discussed about in any group that has at least one person originating from India’s North East, is the “controversial” book published by IPS Robin Hibu, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Delhi).

Splashed across various National newspapers in the front page, the synopsis of the booklet basically stated that “People from India’s North East shouldn’t eat their “smelly” cultural delicacies in Delhi, and that they should not wear revealing clothes”. The reaction of the Vox Populi was obvious: Sacrilegious outcry and protests from all sections of the North eastern society settling in Delhi demanding a public apology from Mr.Hibu (a person from NE himself) for stereotyping the NE people and the immediate withdrawal of every booklet already published and distributed.

Even my closest Mizo friends living near my house here in Delhi were infuriated. However, having learnt from my past mistakes, I decided not to comment anything about it until I see the infamous booklet with my very own eyes. It is most advisable to refrain from reacting to whatever one reads in the newspaper, giving some of their record for over-sensationalizing certain issues. Once bitten, twice shy. I kept mum.

And then on Thursday, opportunity finally knocked. My friend and I were invited over to a Mizo Officer’s apartment for tea. He had just received the booklet from his superiors. We took an auto to his apartment immediately.

The first thing that struck me when I read the first few lines of the book was errors. Quite a few errors. Grammatical, lexical, semantics, you name it. The tone of his English was a bit amateurish to a certain degree. My friend joked, “Maybe he wrote it that way because he’s afraid we poor uneducated people from the tribal North East don’t understand English”. He laughed at his own sarcasm. I laughed too, but I swear it was a very uncomfortable laughter.

It took me less than 5 minutes to go through the entire booklet.

As I kept the booklet down on the table, my friend and our Mizo Officer host both looked and me and asked… “Well?”

Well… frankly speaking, I may not share the exact sentiments of many of my North eastern brothers and sisters. I am of course offended by some of the contents in the booklet, but a part of me feels that this entire issue is blown way out of proportion. Forgive me for saying that, but that’s just the kind of vibe I seem to be getting from the booklet. Why? Simply because I don’t think Mr. Robin Hibu ever intended to purposely stereotype the entire NE population like how some of the Mainland Indians are currently doing.

He made a mistake. A horrible mistake. And he’s paying for that everyday ever since he published that booklet. All he tried to do was to prevent the NE students of today from facing the same unfortunate racial abuses he probably experienced when he was in Delhi during his hey days. He did that out of love. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that the Delhi NE students of today are already facing such racial abuses and stereotyping already. Hence his “brotherly advice” only added more fuel to the racial fire already burning.

He came. He saw. He spoke. He blundered.

The internet is full of prominent newspapers and illustrious NE writers expressing their views on this whole Hibu incident. Given below are just some of the results Google churned out:
Ok I have absolutely no clue as to how the article appeared in the last link (mouthshut.com) mentioned above and how such an issue is related to the particular website (lolz), but apart from that, in all the articles posted above, most of the writers and people who took part in the discussion were out crying for Hibu’s blood, screaming for a crucifixion of sort.

I am of course appalled by such a publication too, but I also know what it’s like to be misunderstood. It’s not easy being the advocate for the minority and the down trodden who are extremely insecure due to the incessant racial abuses faced everyday. We must be exceedingly cautious in whatever we say or do, especially when the entire issue is highly sensitive as that of the North Eastern people of India. Last year, one of my most popular posts Chinky – What me insult? appeared in many National magazines and newspapers. In the post, I mentioned about the psychology of racial abuses, and tried to probe deeper into such phenomenon as to why we don’t feel insulted if somebody of the same race utters a racial slur at us, whereas it is extremely offensive if another person from a different race does the same. It was a logical statement. But I was suddenly misquoted (at a popular discussion forum which will not be named) that “Sandman says it’s OK to be called Chinky!”. Gosh you have no idea how much damage control I had to do, all because of that narrow-minded brain-the-size-of-a-pea commenter.

Anyway, that’s just my personal opinion, that Mr. Robin Hibu never intended to hurt the sentiments of the NE people to this degree. Prominent NE writers like David M. Thangliana (dmt), David Buhril, Donald Tsang etc have stated their opinions about this whole issue, for which I highly recommend you go to the above mentioned links. My opinions are nothing but a mere speck in a vast sea of desert when compared to theirs.

Hence, I on the other hand, will try to look at what this booklet has actually achieved among the NE population of this great Nation that we call India.
  1. The booklet, instead of informing the NE people of India about the various security measures and attempting to bring them closer to the main fold through means of assimilation, has definitely alienated them further away from the rest of India. A commoner from the NE is definitely going to think “Now it’s not just the average Delhi Joe who racially profiles, segregates and abuses us, but also the Delhi Police who are supposed to protect us from such racism. If that is the mentality of the Law maker in the National Capital, it is pretty obvious what the rest of India is thinking…”

  2. Racial abuses rose in alarming proportions, with “one side” claiming that there should be a set of rules for Mainland Indians too like prohibiting them from using “smelly” masalas in their dishes, making sure they take bath everyday to minimize the stink etc etc, while the “other side” hit back saying NE people should stop eating dog’s meat, be less promiscuous in their sex life etc etc. One only needs to read some of the discussion forums to know what I’m talking about. If stereotyping was basic, we are definitely back to basics. This is the sole reason why I have enabled comment moderation on this post. No racial abuses please!

  3. Not just NE women, but Indian women in general, lashed out at this booklet for reviving the age-old myth that a woman is raped because she wears clothes that does not cover her entire body properly (even though tons and tons of researches have proved that at least more than 80% of women raped in India are raped when they are dressed in the most socially acceptable attire). Remember that famous statement, “If you leave meat out in the open, dogs will come to eat it?” by a certain he-who-shall-not-be-named?

  4. This booklet also distanced NE women further away from Mainland Indians, because it stereotyped them as people who dress provocatively all the time. Use your common sense. In a crowd of Mainland Indians (Aryans and Dravidians origin), a girl of the same Race wearing a tube or spaghetti may be noticed but the memory of it does not linger for a long time in the subconscious. Whereas one single girl from the NE (Mongoloid origin) wearing such a dress will have a long-term effect in the subconscious simply because she is different (Just like how a foreigner is more noticeable in a crowd of locals). Hence the stereotype that all NE women dress provocatively. That stigma is exactly what every NE girl in India is trying to remove, and this booklet does nothing but put a knife right through the struggle.

  5. This booklet has definitely united everybody from the NE like never before. The Great Divide between NE and Mainland Indians grows stronger and stronger. NE people want recognition, for which they feel most of the Mainland Indians don’t give a rat’s ass. NE people have been identified as ONE single entity, when in fact each of us have our own particular customs, traditions, languages etc all different from each other, just like how Tamilnadu is different from Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal etc. Yet, this booklet seemed to pass on a message that the 7 sister States of India’s NE are just one entire singular community.

  6. The reaction from back home was also quite expected, with some prominent leaders with a “separatist agenda from India” using this as an opportunity to spread further propaganda to the masses. Some even spoke about the denial of basic Fundamental Rights to the NE population in the National Capital! Yes, they definitely blew this way out of proportion. First of all, there’s a difference between a Law and an Advice. Secondly, Mr.Hibu is an IPS Officer. He is well aware of the proceedings of The Constitution of India, and he’s not going to do anything that foolish (Even I’m appearing for the UPSC exams and I know how mandatory it is to study Political Science). Not only will he not do it, he cannot do it. Period.
What went wrong???

What exactly went wrong? When that book was finally sent to the Printing Press for publication, I’m sure Mr. Hibu had a great sleep that night, thinking about how his little booklet would make the lives of so many NE students in Delhi better. How then, did it turn into such a nightmare, with basically the entire NE community up in arms against this booklet?
  • First and foremost, Mr. Robin Hibu failed to understand the level of rift that has already existed between the NE and Mainland Indians. Only an actual personal experience can bring somebody from both sides close to each other (like how I have experienced) because no amount of such “advices” and booklets will ever remove the preconceived notion either side already has about each other.

  • If Mr.Hibu really wanted to give such advices, he should have done so at various NE Student Functions in Delhi, orally. By putting it down on paper for everybody to read (especially after the National newspapers promulgated it), he passed on a wrong message about the image of the NE people to the general public. Mainland Indians who don’t know much about NE people are now going to say, “So these people eat smelly food huh? That’s disgusting.” Remember Maneka Gandhi’s insensitive public allegation that the NE people thrive on dog’s meat? First of all, not all NE people eat dog’s meat. Not even most. And even if some enjoy such meat, it’s their wish. Mocking a different culture’s delicacy only displays the insensitivity and narrowness of certain xenophobic individuals.

  • Mr.Hibu should have chosen his words and sentences more carefully. The tone of his Introduction where he mentioned about NE guys in Delhi doing drugs and being sent back home in a coffin, NE girls dressing provocatively and getting raped, etc all sounded as if that’s what every NE students here in Delhi are doing. As mentioned before, being of a different race altogether, it is much easier to be noticed. That is why NE people don’t like to see NE girls flirting openly with barely enough tissues covering their entire bodies at Pubs and Discs in Delhi. And that is why certain NE Student Organizations in Delhi send such people back home to NE (sometimes forcibly), however unconstitutional that may sound, because one promiscuous NE girl at a pub or one drunk NE guy at a Pub Brawl can spoil the entire North eastern image.

  • The social evils that he mentioned is present across every society on the face of this planet. Yet the book sounded as if he singled out the NE students alone. Once again, he should have chosen his words more carefully. After reading some of the grammatical errors in the booklet, it was obvious nobody proofread it before publication. Had he given it to a good Publication House, they would have not only corrected some of his mistakes but also toyed around a bit with his sentences in order to reduce the tone a bit. A little more subtle title would help.

  • Anything dealing with the societal status of minorities is extremely sensitive. If the majority tries to impose certain cultural diktats on the minority in the name of assimilation and acculturation, the minority will only look at that as an extermination, an ethnocide, and a cultural imperialism. When black and white mix, gray is formed. Gray has the property of both black and white, yet this booklet seem to suggest that gray must be formed with just black as its property. Do you think white would ever want to mix with black then, even if gray is the color of Nationalism?
God bless India (North, East, West, South, and North-east).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chp 133. The Mystery of the Defected Masala

The room was dusky and the air moist and damp. The first room resembled a slaughter house. Blood everywhere. Two lifeless bodies strewed the floor, exhibiting the horrendous crime in all its dark glory. The Safe was open, and empty. It looked like a clean case of burglary and first degree murder.

There was a strange stench emitting from what was probably the kitchen. He inhaled cautiously with closed eyes, concentrating on the smell.

“Ahhh”, he exclaimed, “Masala. Garam masala. Manufactured by MDH in January 2007.”

Before the Police Inspector could say anything, a quick salvo of questions came flying out.

“Are you sure the couple lived alone?”

“Yes sir. They didn’t even have a servant.”

“What about their son?”

“Uh… I’m not sure they have a son, Sir. We’ve just reached…”

“They have a son”

He looked around the room once more and his eyes fell on the table. He smiled.

“They have a son and he’s staying at The Intercontinental Hotel opposite Nehru Place. He’s the one who committed this crime. Go, send your men over there.”

Before the flabbergasted Inspector could react, he left the scene of murder, merging with the shadows of the night with ease as if he was a part of it. That same night, the murderer of Mr. and Mrs. Kumar was caught. It was their son Ajay Kumar. He was staying at the Intercontinental Hotel.

--------

Meet Sarlawk Bawms. Born in Mizoram, brought up in Delhi. India’s greatest crime fighter. After dropping out from one of the premier Management Institutes of the Nation, he decided to put to good use one of his most clichéd sentences he had used in every resume, that he was an “out-of-the-box thinker”.

The same Inspector came to pay him a visit the next day.

“Thank you once again, Mr. Sarlawk Bawms. You have solved yet another crime that we wouldn’t probably have…”

“The pleasure’s all mine, you don’t have to thank me. Solving such a crime is a great thrill to me, and the more challenging it is, the more the thrill.”

“Ah, I know. You’ve told me that a hundred times in all these months we’ve known each other. You always end up solving a case, yet you never stop surprising me. Now, you know what I’m going to ask, right?”

“Of course. You’re going to ask me how I solved the case, just like you always do”.

Sarlawk Bawms grinned. The Inspector grinned back.

“First of all… the Garam masala! What was that all about? How did you know it was Garam masala with such specific manufacturing month and what did it have anything to do with the case?”

“Well, my dear friend, you know I’m a Mizo right? We Mizos don’t use that much masalas in our food, whereas you use masalas by the kilo in a single dish. So your sense of smell is pretty used to the aroma of masala. Not me. I can easily distinguish the smell of masala, any masala, especially since I live right between the Amrapali family on my left and the Selvamani family on my right.”

“Ah! Ok I will buy that. But what was with the exact manufacturing month?”

“Well, in January 2007, the production staff of the MDH factory situated at NOIDA went on a strike demanding a hike in their salary. The management brought in temporary workers to continue the production of their various products. Those workers were not as skilled as the ones on strike, so they goofed up a bit on their job, like adding a bit of jeera powder and coriander powder at the garam masala unit. If you had smelled real hard that day, you would have distinguished a slight smell of jeera and coriander powder amidst the garam masala smell, even though there were no packets or containers of such powders in the kitchen. The only other packets in the kitchen that day, were garam masala, lal mirch powder and dhania powder.”

“Wow! You never fail to amaze me… ok so it was a defect masala. What does that have to do anything with the case?”

“When the management staff of MDH realized the error, they pulled back all the products. However, due to a prior contract agreement with the MBO giant Foodworld, they did not retrieve such products from the shelf as long as the error was miniscule and “unnoticeable”.”

“And…?”

“And so I looked around the room and saw the framed photograph of the murdered couple with their son. Next to that was a framed certificate from Foodworld, appreciating their son for his dedicated two years employment.”

“Ah… now things are starting to make sense a bit…”

“Their son was not living with them. But he was definitely working at Foodworld. And with the smell from the masala I knew at once that it was brought from Foodworld. But since there was not a Foodworld around that house for miles, it had to be somebody who lived near such a place or somebody who worked there.”

“And how did you know it was the son who murdered the couple?”

“The Safe was not forced open. It had to be somebody the couple trusted. And since they led quite a reclusive lifestyle, a son would fit that profile perfectly.”

“Ok, and about the Hotel Intercontinental conclusion, let me guess… you looked around the room and saw a matchbox from the hotel? A napkin? A restaurant bill?”

“No, no and no.” Sarlawk Bawms smiled. “It was none of those. I just saw a piece of metro train ticket originating from Nehru place. Now, judging from the dust marks inside the Safe, it was easy to determine that a large sum of money was stolen.”

“Frankly speaking, I never noticed that.”

“I did. Now if you are an amateur robber and you had just stolen a large sum of money while you were just working as a lowly counter clerk at Foodworld while thinking that nobody would catch you in the act, would you ingeniously lay low and save the money or go on a spending spree immediately?”

“Uh… I’d say… amateurly spend the money immediately”.

“Exactly! And since our culprit who worked as a shopping assistant lived away from his parents, it doesn’t take a genius to assume that he must be living in a very small rented apartment as the rental price at Nehru Place is extremely high. Such a person must have gone directly to the best establishment nearby to enjoy the spoils of his war. And there’s just one Five star hotel in the whole of Nehru Place, so that was the only place he could have gone to.”

“Wowww…”

“Don’t wow me, my friend. I’m just doing something I enjoy the most, while serving society at the same time.”

“You have done our Nation a great service, yet again.”

Sarlawk Bawms smiled.

“Now about that Mizo tea, would you like to have it with kurtai, our local jaggery?”

“Yes please.”

-----------

And so the first adventure of Sarlawk Bawms ends. Disclaimer: This story is entirely fictional and some of the facts mentioned are incorrect. Would you like to read more adventures of the amazing Sarlawk Bawms? Let me know and I will write such more mysteries in the upcoming posts. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chp 131. Love – As one sees it. Part 3 & 4

Part III: An MBA’s profit maximization coupling strategy.

Two years after my expulsion, I finally managed to get a fake BE Graduation certificate from Charminar locality at Hyderabad. Priya never answered any of my e-mails and e-greeting cards during the past two years, so I created a fake account under her name at orkut.com and filled up her album with pictures of Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton. That would serve her right not to mess with my heart. Yeah!

I decided to go for an MBA. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew a guy who knew a guy who had a cousin whose girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s sister had an MBA degree, and that was a reason good enough for me to study for MBA.

Life at the MBA College was much more interesting than at the Engineer College. For starters, the ratio of male to female was 5-1 compared to 50-1 in Engineering. And then, there’s the case of the gullible females. The chicks at the MBA College were much more liberal and easy going than in Engineering. For example, to take out one of my classmates (female) to CCD for a cup of coffee, all I had to do was write her assignment, design her presentation, wash her dirty laundry, run errands for her at the library, loan her boyfriend a couple of dough, sweep her room, wash her boyfriend’s car and occasionally delivery food from the hostel canteen to her room. Simple as that! In other words, they are such sluts. But still, I guess I can handle them.

There was one particular girl who caught my eye in class. Her name was Sarah. Even though she never admitted it, I knew at once that she was completely crazy over me. After all, how can you explain the fact that she wore light blue jeans to class whenever I wore my light blue jeans, and that whenever she had to speak to me, she always called me by my name first. At first I was a bit creeped out, but then, I guess that’s what love is all about.

So I told my friends that we were a couple. They all just laughed at me. Even when news of her engagement with another guy (a senior) became a cause of celebration within our campus, I never went for the party. After all, I knew she was just doing all that to make me jealous. Hah. Me, jealous? Never. That night I went over to her room to set things right. Her room was locked from the inside and I could hear some strange kind of screams coming from within. I guessed she was watching a movie. I went back to my room.

Sarah and I were like the Market Equilibrium in a Demand and Supply curve. I demand, and she supply. There might be an infinite elasticity in the demand during the long-run, but for the short-run I don’t care if Eb = Qb/Pm. I love her. Even if the Marginal Revenue Costs added up in my Budget Line do not equate to my Income, I could still make things work out for the two of us.

If only she could become an asset of mine, the shareholder’s equity of my fragile heart would always have a share premium at the end of every Quarter. My Balance Sheet would never display any Liabilities, yet our love would balance all that, never mind the Profit & Loss account. Such would be the power of our love!

We made such a perfect Synergy. It was as if she was Segmented, Targeted and Positioned just for me alone. My Consumer Behavior was pretty obvious: love love and more love. She didn’t have to spend anything on Advertising or Sales Promotion; she had already set up a Brand Loyalty within me. In a 2x2 chart of love and care, I would occupy all 4 Quadrants.

Then one day, we had another celebration in the hostel campus. It was a big party. There was free beer and cigarettes distributed everywhere, and music blasting from the hostel party grounds. Sarah and Joseph were getting married in the middle of the Semester. I packed my bags that night and left the Institute, never looking back even once.


Part IV: UPSC competitive love affair.

Medical was a flop. Engineering was a flop. MBA was a flop. I now turn to my last resort: preparing for the All India Civil Service Exams, also known as the UPSC exams. Studying political science and a whole bunch of new subjects was much more interesting than I thought.

Plus, there was Zuali, a cute chick from Mizoram in the same UPSC coaching class. She was an epitome of grace and beauty. Even though she never scored high marks in the tests, I knew that she wanted me, badly. She always used to smile at me in class. Which girl of a sane mind does that? She was completely smitten by my alluring UPSC charm. Seriously, no girl can resist a guy with vast knowledge in geography, history and political science. They get turned on by conversational topics such as the Amendments to the Constitution, structure of the Government & Economic policies of British Empire in India, the effects of the Radhaswami movement on the Bramo Samaj, and the Areas of Kharif & Rabi crop cultivation at the Deltaic alluvium soil etc etc.

Those are the topics that drive any women crazy with lust and desire. Add a couple of topics on Habeas Corpus, DPSP, budget report and SEZ’s, and they are like putty in your hands. That’s what my mentor here at the UPSC coaching center used to tell me. He’s 45 years old, and still single. I guess he’s single by choice, taking into consideration his extreme smoothness when it comes to the opposite sex.

That was the same case with Zuali. I knew she couldn’t resist such a charm. My classmates tell me the only reason she smiles at me is because we are from the same place. They’re just jealous. Every time before attempting a particular question, she would close her eyes… I knew she was thinking of me right then. So I too started closing my eyes and thinking of her before every question. It felt… kinda nice and at the same time weird. Nice because her face was in my mind, and weird because I’ve been sitting in the exam center for nearly an hour and I haven’t attempted anything yet.

Anyway, I decided to write a love letter to her. And to make sure history does not repeat itself (Read Part 1), this time I made sure I did not threaten to kill her if she rejects my love proposal. I didn’t mention anything about throwing acid at her face either. My cousin told me those are wrong things to mention in a love letter.

So during class one day, I wrote her a letter. I tried to be as romantic as possible, because not only was UPSC my last resort, Zuali could very well be my last resort girlfriend. I told her that if I had the qualification, with more than 2/3 majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and ratification by more than 14 of the State Legislatures of the Indian Union, then I would introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill at either House of the Parliament, to add a new provision in the Fundamental Rights, namely, the Right to love Zuali only by Kima.

She read the letter. She laughed. She showed it to her friends. They all laughed. One of them published it on the internet. Everybody who visited her blog site laughed. Later I even received an email forward from one of my friends with the subject: CHECK THIS DOOFUS OUT! In it, was my letter to Zuali. In spite of all the laughter, I still fail to see the humor in it. This World does not understand romance any more. Romance is dead. Screw them all.

Two days later, I threw acid on Zuali’s face. I am now in cell number 56 at Tihar Jail, New Delhi. My ass hurts like hell. Still, I will not give up on love. There is this inmate who has been giving me the eye since I came here. His name is Rajesh. Tomorrow I will approach him during recreation time, but that will be another story to fill…

The End.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Chp 131. Love – As one sees it. Part 1 & 2

A Journey through love and infatuation, as seen from the eyes of a certain character… who has done his Medical Entrance Coaching class, Engineering, MBA and UPSC. I have divided this post into two due to its length. The second part will be up shortly.

Part 1: The medical student’s heart surgery.

As she walked into the class room, my heart skipped a beat. She was the only reason why I never miss a class here at the Medical College Entrance Exam Coaching Center. She was also a student, a future doctor just like me. If only she could place those stethoscopes over my heart, all she would hear is the sweet sound of her name beating…

MA-RY--MA-RY--MA-RY--

My ventricles contracted, my auricles expanded, my veins and arteries became confused over which direction to flow. I could feel my adenine, guanine, cytosine and thiamine losing their grip on my DNA strand every time my nasal membrane catches a whiff of her sweet perfume. My X and Y chromosomes felt as if they were breaking down and making way for both her X chromosomes.

How do I tell her I love her? How do I tell her my hormonal secretion increases every time I think of her? That, thinking of her hurts a lot, as more blood is pumped violently into my cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla oblongata. My tympanic membrane was so adjusted to her sweet voice that I could hear her from a mile away. Woe is me, for even if I get into a premier Medical College and become a world renowned Doctor, no amount of medication will ever cure this heartache of mine if she is not by my side.

The other day she came over to my seat before class and asked me if I had an extra pen. I couldn’t breath! My trachea tightened, and all that came out from my larynx was a mere squeak… My superior vena cava abruptly stopped circulating blood. She stared at me and probably thought I was anemic. How could anyone explain the complete breakdown of my Central Nervous System whenever she’s within earshot distance? I handed out my pen to her, but my muscles suddenly tightened! She tried to take the pen but the muscular motor neurons attached to my fingers simply failed to obey my commands! It was as if I was paralytic! She pulled, she yanked, she jostled. But alas, the pen was still firmly in my hands! My nerve cells just couldn’t release any more Acetylcholine. Stupid neurotransmitters.

She looked at me angrily and called me a jerk. I didn’t mind. At least she called me by some name. Finally, I was no longer a “nobody”. Later, she would probably tell her other girl friends, “do you know that jerk who sits in our coaching class?” or “have you noticed how handsome that jerk is?” or “I’m asking that jerk for his hand in marriage.” Ah…

Still, if that is to become a reality, I need to work on my physical fitness. How strong would I look if my spinal cord becomes utterly chaotic every time she is around? I need to be courageous. I need to be brave. When Charles Darwin propounded his theory of Origin of species and Natural selection, he made a breakthrough in the scientific community. I had to be head strong just like him too. So I finally mustered enough courage to admit my undying love for her. One day, while the teacher was facing the blackboard, I threw my love-note to her. She read it.

It’s been two months now and she still hasn’t come to class since that day. She must be down with a fever or something. As I think of her, I can picture her smiling amidst all those sweating and injections, because of the thought that I was madly in love with her. Just as Louis Pasteur waited for months while experimenting on his germ theory of disease, I too shall wait for as long as it takes until she gets better and re-joins our coaching class. I have so many wonderful plans for the two of us together.


Part II: The Engineer’s Love postulate.

Mary never came. I switched to Engineering from Medical because anything briefly related to medicine reminded me so much of Mary. Even when I was down with malaria, I refused medication. I now type with two fingers, the rest no longer function. And there’s this sudden involuntary twitch…

And just when I thought my infatuation over Mary will never end, in walked my electrical Lab partner, Pooja.

Pooja was the most beautiful girl from the Mechanical Engineering department. Even though that doesn’t speak much, she was still the number one. Apart from the pungent aroma of the bunch of jasmine flowers tied to her hair, and a small miniature replica of the Grand Canyon on her heels, and an occasional display of her bleached hair on her arms and sometimes face, she had the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard. Now I know why sometimes people close their eyes while listening to their loved one speak.

Anyway, Pooja and I grew closer and closer everyday. Whenever we stand together inside the Electrical lab in our khaki lab uniforms and our hands brushed against each other, there was definitely a presence of static electricity. The particles around us were heavily charged, and it doesn’t take a fool to notice the anions and cations radically bouncing off the two of us, as if there was always a valence electron hovering around us. If the lab was an electrical circuit and she was the current (I), then there is no resistance (R) between the two of us, considering I was the voltage (V), then we could easily form the equation [ I = V / R ] . Now, she’s never going to find a guy more romantic than me!

We defined a perfect electro magnetic attraction. That’s what I thought, until I moved to second year of College. That was when I saw Pooja for the last time. She was a Mech Engg and I was a Computer Science Engg. We never had common classes together again.

Life at the Computer Science Department was dull and boring without Pooja. All we ever did was sit inside the AC Lab the whole day and program program program. One day, I just happened to look at my neighbor’s programming code. There was something about the way she had typed her “#include <stdio.h>” It looked much more… sexier. Maybe it was her hash function, or her redundant compilation error, or the way she executed her bubble sorting, I really didn’t know. But I just realized then, that she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Her name was Priya. Venkatasubramanikantarashankaracharyapriya. And that’s just her first name. She was the first girl in my class I’ve noticed who didn’t look down at the keyboard while typing. What a gold-mine! She turned to me and asked if she should use generic data-structure pointers while implementing a code for dynamic memory allocation. I smiled and replied, “Yes, I love you too”.

Two weeks later, my term of suspension from the College for harassment was over, and I made my way back towards my class. I love Priya soooo much. She knew I needed a break from College because I’ve been working extremely hard, so she let me have a couple of days’ break. As I walked back inside the classroom, I looked over to where Priya was sitting and winked at her to thank her for giving me such a wonderful vacation.

Four weeks later, there I was again, walking back to class, just after serving a 4-weeks suspension from college, with a stern warning from the Principal’s office that I would be expelled immediately if I ever make any sort of contact, physical or visual, with my classmate Priya again. I of course promised I wouldn’t do anything so stupid.

That very same day, I was expelled.


Part III: An MBA’s profit maximization coupling strategy.

Two years after my expulsion, I finally managed to get a fake BE Graduation certificate from Charminar locality at Hyderabad. Priya never answered any of my e-mails and e-greeting cards during the past two years, so I made a fake account under her name at orkut.com and filled up her album with pictures of Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton. That will serve her right not to mess with my heart. Yeah!

I decided to go for an MBA. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew a guy who knew a guy who had a cousin whose girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend’s sister had an MBA degree, and that was a reason good enough for me to study for MBA.

[ To be continued ]