Sunday, January 20, 2013



“Hello, do you have a bottle of Horlicks”?, I ask.
“Yes ma, how come you did not give us the provision list this month?”, he asks.
“No, I will not be in town”.
“O, going back to America?”
“No, Bahrain”.
He doesn’t seem to give an ear for what I said and continues…
“You won’t come back for three months, ah?”
“No, I will be back after a month”.
“You are going so far and coming back after one month only?”
“Yes, but Bahrain is not that far”.
He doesn’t reply back. I can see his confused look! Good for him.

Am washing my car one fine morning, a middle aged gentleman, an acquaintance who goes for a morning walk daily, stops outside our gate and stands to talk.
“Yenamma, good morning!”
“Good morning, Yenu morning walkaa?” I ask.
He nods and goes straight for this sentence, “I have heard that it’s very expensive to hire a person to wash cars in America, you are continuing to do it here even after you have come back, it’s not that expensive here, you see?”
Am like… what? America, did he say?
“No no, in Bahrain we hire people to wash cars but here am doing it because I haven’t found any one yet”.
Again he didn’t hear me properly or he thinks Bahrain is in America?
“Its ok, American culture has already come to India…good to keep fit like this… ok ma… I have to go”. He left.
I reciprocated with a smile as the water gushed from the pipe in my hand. What else could I do.

Attending a family wedding in Bangalore is great fun. If anyone‘s son is studying in the US, then you should see their body language when they happen to talk to you.
One lady in a Mysore silk saree was sitting next to me at one of the weddings. Her son apparently was studying in the US. I didn't know. I represented the boy’s side and she was from the girl’s side. She smiled at me and I reciprocated. After exchanging pleasantries and when enquired about her children she said, “My son is studying in the US”. At that time one more lady joined us. Straight away they both started talking about the prospective girls they can eye in that wedding. After all, “MY son is in the US’, I heard her repeating it over and over again and the other lady repeating “America vara” several times. America, there you go again.

Some months back, my maid comes home and tells me that all the households in the back road know about me coming back from America to take care of my ailing father-in-law!  Can you beat this!!
I asked, “Don’t you know I have come back from Bahrain and not America?”
“Aiyoo, leave it ma, Bahrain is also in America know, so why bother”, she said.
Now, what do you want me to do, pull my hair and run away? No. I stood still like a statue!

As I push the trolley in a supermarket aisle one evening, I bump into a lady from the neighbourhood  She very casually says, “Here, the super market is only a 5 minutes walk from your house, while in America I heard that one has to drive for a minimum half an hour to reach any super market.” Thank God she has only ‘heard’ that. A casual remark. I conclude. I got a bit annoyed with this lady, she knew very well I did not return from the US, so I replied. “In Bahrain I needn't have to move an inch from my couch, I just have to dial the Cold Store if I need anything”, and smiled back at her. Even to this day I can’t figure out why she said this to me!

Ok, moving on…

Next to our house is a famous saree showroom. Some time back I was there shopping for my friend who lives here in Bahrain. From my Blackberry I was clicking photos and getting her approval. The sales man was very happily showing me some of the best sarees he had. The salesman had to ask, “ Madam, what is the time now in America?” HOW ON EARTH SHOULD I KNOW???? Politely I asked him, “Yaake, why?” “No, no, you are shopping for your friend in America know, that’s why I asked? “ GOD! NOT AGAIN. “No, am doing it for my friend in Bahrain and her time will be 2.30 in the afternoon”, I said with a forced smile. He grinned back. I can take a bet on this; he will not know where Bahrain is… haha!!

There are quite a few popular silk saree showrooms in and around our home and I admit that am very happy about it. I wanted to buy a velvet saree blouse for one of my Kanjeevarams, so in I walked into a well known store. I went to the counter and asked for ready made saree blouses. The young chap looked to be the Manager of the store, assisted me to the rack where there were lovely tissue blouses of all cuts and designs. I politely told him I was looking for a green color velvet blouse in particular. Pat comes these sentences in one go. “Usually Madam, only ladies who come from America ask for velvet blouses. You are two years behind the fashion scene, Madam. Here, the latest trend is only tissue Madam”. This was so unexpected I tell you. I felt so dejected. First of all he had taken the liberty to understand that I came from the US and all these days I thought I was very much in sync with the latest fashion trends. This time honestly I didn’t feel like telling him I was from Bahrain because I was afraid he would come out with yet another damaging statement. I walked out of the showroom hurriedly.

Well people, these are my experiences of a different kind in namma Bengaluru. Where is Bahrain? Where is America? Mind you, not a single person says the two letters i.e. U and S. It’s always America and only America for them except for that lady I bumped in the wedding.

Before leaving Bangalore for Bahrain this time, I went to Subbamma stores in Gandhi bazaar. That guy is there for ages now and he knows me not so well. After I picked up certain things I said, “Saaku”. Pat is his reply, “This bag is still half empty, hope you have bought everything in your list, once you go back to America you won’t get these goodies there.”  Aiyoo… I need a break! Bahrain is very dear to me, let me go.

Now I’m giving a serious thought. What is there in me that people in Bangalore think I live in America or I have come back from America? If you can figure out please tell me.



  1. ha ha, nicely written. People here think foriegn is only America or UK!!