Tag Archives: Food for thought

Culture Culture

5 Nov

Ya ya… we are a multi-thousand year culture.. yada yada yada… bear with me…

Barack Obama wins the election and McCain concedes gracefully. He says that the entire country must help the new President.

“I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face,” McCain said before his supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.

Cut to India. Party 1 wins election against incumbent Party 2.

1. Party 2 accuses Party 1 of rigging and irregularities

2. Party 1 will open all kinds of investigations

3. Party 1 will stop all “development” projects of the previous government.

4. Losing party will hold Dharnas. Burn effigies of the election commissioner

5. People will defect to the winning side. Suddenly opposing principles dont seem too bad

Different Country. Different Culture. Something worth Emulating?


Say that Again Plisss?

15 Sep

Got this one as an email forward.

Literal translations between languages and local customs can be funny. Heres what some American companies found when they tried to launch their products overseas.

When Braniff translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in leather,” it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked.”

Coors (beer) put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea.”

Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sounds much more interesting in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.”

Not to be outdone, Puffs tissues tried later to introduce its product, only to learn that “Puff” in german is a colloquial term for a whorehouse. The English weren’t too fond of the name either, as it’s a highly derogatory term for a non-heterosexual.

The Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. “No va” means “it doesn’t go” in Spanish.

When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”

When Coca-Cola first shipped to China, they named the product something that when pronounced sounded like “Coca-Cola.” The only problem was that the characters used meant “Bite the wax tadpole.” They later changed to a set of characters that mean “Happiness in the mouth.”

A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as here in the USA – with the cute baby on the label. Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside since most people can’t read.

Cooku for a Weeku

18 Aug

Every other summer my uncles would visit us from the USA with their families. Invariably our house in Bangalore was the first stop and a staging area while they visited Mysore and other places.

Suddenly the house would be teeming with relatives either staying with us or visiting my uncles. Relatives would come out of the woodworks to visit… and hoping for the odd T-Shirt or perfume bottle. Considering that our house in Jayanagar had 2 small bedrooms, I wonder now how we squeezed so many people in.

It was during one of these visits that mom threw her hands up and said she needed a cook for the 3 weeks that the visitors were around. After all cooking for 20 odd demanding people while you have a full time job as an Economics prof was difficult. She had just lost a cook who was with us for 3 odd years (that nightmarish story later).

After some debate it was decided that a cook had to be hired.. this happened to be a guy who had worked in a Udipi restaurant and was in between jobs.

We kids were excited (my cousins from the US could not care less… they were missing their barrgurrs).. but for us it was a great thing to have a “real” cook at home. Moms cooking was too healthy and not exciting enough.

Day 1- He started off well enough… with some great Idlies and Vada… and typical hotal sambar… great rasam for lunch.. and dinner…there were praises all around.. snide remarks about mom’s cooking… why can’t she get some tips from this guy etc etc… amma has a frown on her face.. “What a cook” we chorus.. “can we keep him?”

Day 2 – Same dishes, same food…. still tasty enough…Some gas building up inside the grownups… one of the relatives swear that baking soda has been used.. still the cook gets the benefit of doubt…maybe its mom’s fault she didnt give him variety in the ingredients.. everything was the same.. same dishes, same taste…

Day 3 – Dishes dont change.. rasam tastes the same.. gas build up increases.. mom’s expression changes to a smirk

Day 4 – The Soda has everyone bilious… elders hatch a conspiracy to get rid of the cook… mom is grinning broadly.. she has been happily hands off from the kitchen… dad broaches the subject of firing the cook.. only to be met with a cold stare…uncles start grumbling “We came all the way here to eat hotal food aaaa?”

Day 5 – Murder plots are being hatched. Bathroom is occupied ALL the time. Food is being supplied from a neighbours house because peeepal do not want to taste the same rasam, sambar and soda filled rice again… mom is now laughing….

Day 6 – Cook is asked to go by Mom.. she cant bear to see the family suffering. The cook cannot understand why his popularity has gone from Rock Star to Porn Star in 5 days. He leaves gladly… Mom is resigned to cook for the suffering lot.. neighbours and relatives offer supporting help.

Moms cooking is bestest…. no one complains

Not so favorite dishes

31 Jul

Certain foods I DO NOT LIKE.

Son has similar tastes and I am accused of influencing them. I think its a hereditary thing. However the missus thinks its not. Its just me influencing him.

I must say Nikhil and I have more foods in common than he does with his mom. Thats more because of the quality of food I eat.. Pizzas, Chaats, and other healthy stuff…

Heres some of the stuff that I dont care for. Apologies (and sympathies) to those who do.

1. Sakkare Pongal – Rice was not meant to make sweet dishes.Pleeeease

2. Shame Gadde (dont know the English name) – It looks like a potato when its cooked… until you eat it..gets all gooey in side

3. Raw Bananas – Except chips all else should be banned

4. Banana Flowers and Stem – No no no… who thought about this?

5. Broccolli, Sweet Potato – @#$%#$

Whats your least favorite dish?

To Catch a “Thief”

28 May

We have a “Mallige” plant in front of our house. A small portion of the plant overlaps the compound onto the street, which means all the flowers that grow there get “stolen” by an assorment of morning walkers, people collecting flowers for puja from other peoples houses.

Last evening, Nikhil decides to “Catch the Thief” and give him a piece of his mind. His mother tries to dissuade him by saying its okay. But the young man wants his adventure. Hoping that

He gets up very early and starts patrolling the driveway waiting for the looter to show up.

After some time, hes back indoors and hes very quiet. Heres the conversation that went on:

Me: “So Did you catch the thief?”

N: “Hmmmmphhh…mumble mumble…”

Me: “What?”

N (sheepishly): “Yes.”

Me: “Okay.. so what happened?”

Heres his story:

He hears someone picking at the flowers. Rushes outside only to find this old woman carrying a small baby who is helping granny pick the flowers.

Me: “So did you tell them to go away?”

N: “No.”

Me:”Did you give them a good scolding?”

N: “No.”

Me: “So what did you do?”

N (grinning): “Well…I told them if they needed any flowers from the inside, they are welcome to it.”

Me: “Hmmm.. so you weren’t angry… didn’t give them a piece of your mind?”

N: “Daaaaad !!!!”

Mom (stepping into the conversation): “Now that your adventure is over, can you please return to your Math?”

I think he learnt that everything is not what it appears to be.

Say What???

5 May

This topic comes as a result of a conversation with junior over the weekend, when he suddenly remembered an incident that happened when he was about 7.

Even babies can pick up negative vibes, but I wonder at what age they start remembering these things. For instance what was the first “insult” or “put down” that you can remember?.. either then or now in hindsight.

My first recollection was when I was probably 5 or 6. We had this girl next door whose cousins came over over occasionally. I still remember running over everytime I saw them playing only to be shooed away. However everytime they saw me taking a walk with my father they’d come over and fuss over me… even at that time, I wondered about their change in attitude (that they treated me differently when my dad was around). Could not express it but I wondered… 

My next recollection (and this is in hindsight) happened in Mysore during one of my summer vacations (Grandfather’s place). Must have been 8/9.

Oft times when we needed a change from our daily routine, breakfast would be “parcelled” from a restaurant behind the house. Very good stuff. I had a thing for chutney (still do), in that I wanted lots and lots of it. So everytime breakfast came, I’d keep asking for more chutney. This probably pissed one of my aunts off so this is what she does one time.

She has extra chutney packed, and then makes it into this extremely large lump and plonks it on my plate and says something to the effect like “Here.. eat till you go burst”… me being me… I ate all the chutney (shameless phellow I am). Later when I got back home, I told my mom about that “wonderful” breakfast. She was livid. I could not understand why…

Suddenly after a few years..I realized… “HEYYYYYYY !!!!”.