Toronto mein Pronto

One would expect

Pronto: –adverb Informal. promptly; quickly.

Right?

In Toronto,

Pronto: –noun A flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is usually made with whole-wheat flour, pan fried in ghee or cooking oil, and often stuffed with vegetables, especially boiled potatoes, radish or cauliflower and/or paneer (Indian cheese).

So I find myself in Toronto, Ontario, which is actually an extension of Amritsar (sort of like Niagarey wale Gali) and it has more Pnjaabi restaurants per square millimetre than any other place in North America. And where Pnjaabis are to be found, can their accent be far behind? For instance,

I sport congrass

does not refer to a person wearing a new kind of grass called “con”. It actually refers to throwing ones lot in with a particular political party in India.

The rules of Pnjaabi English are ridiculously simple and logical.

  • Gobble, munch and swallow first vowel sound (with Mint da chutney and Mango da pickle) if it lies between 2 consonants that can be joined together like Heer and Ranjha. (Like S&P, C&R, S&T etc)
  • Extend 2nd vowel sound
  • And “uh” to the end
  • Eliminate all plurals when you speak

Accents and flatbreads aside, I finally saw the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, and the view, I must say, is nothing short of amaklamatically spectacular. Apparently Niagara dumps 154 million litres of fresh water every minute, enough to make every unscrupulous Thanni lorry operator in the history of Thanni lorry operators salivate. Like Ian Salisbury standing next to Shane Warne, there is a distinctly unawesome “American Falls” next to the Canadian Horseshoe, but it’s just there to allow Canadians to gloat.

And that brings me to Canada itself. A curious country. It’s a formerly British, adamantly French, culturally American and soon-to-be entirely Pnjaabi country that’s mostly empty once you drive a 100 miles (sorry, 160 km) north of the border with the US. Like its behemoth neighbour, it too has a glorious tradition of exterminating Native American tribes and naming places after them (Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba etc). With a population slightly larger than North Usman road (Ok. Slightly more that, I’ll admit) and enough land area to swallow India quite a few times over, it is a beautiful, green country with vast open spaces only occassionally dotted by Brar’s Pnjaabi Kitchens. It is also almost entirely covered, as you might expect, with Maple trees.

Since it’s summer here, the sun rises at unholy hours and sets at unearthly hours and that tends to put us near-the-equator types, a bit off. But since I can sleep even with strobe lights and heavy metal music around, it doesn’t bother me much.

The Canadian economy is mostly sustained by desi tourists from the US paying speeding fines due to the non-realization of the fact that the “90” on Canadian speed-limit signs refers to km/h. Canada is metric while the US is psychotic (they use miles, gallons and other non-intuitive units).

Here is a question for all of you. When Carnatic artistes tour Canada and sing “Alaipayudhey”, do you think the audience will snigger when the raaga’s name is mentioned?

Anyway, more when I get back to Madras.

Update: This post is not an open invitation for a Paratha vs Parotta war as armistice has already been declared. I would like to distract all of you from this with a new feature on the blog – the avatar chronology

Update 2: Photos of Niagara, thanks to my colleague, co-traveller and friend Bala

Niagara, Canada. Size does matter!

99 Comments

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  1. Canada vandhel, konjam Noo Yark pakkam vandhurkapdadha?
    Adhu thaan July 31st varomla (That’s what July 31st coming no)

  2. Well the mighty “Paraanttha” is “parotta” down south, so why not Pronto out west?

    At least it’s a long-shot Monty Pythons reference…

    Q: What do you call a Bangalorite in Canada?
    A: A Kannada in Canada…

    Damn weak punchline. Damn weak.

    Help?

  3. Oy puttaarr! The pnjaabi audience would call the raagam Knaada anyway 🙂

    But that apart, I was imagining the scene, when the artist gives the raagam name as Kaanadaa; and the entire audience, stereotypes the south Indian artist, and goes on to understand the raaga name as Kaanad. [all my Delhi friends refer to Kerala as Keral .. over-generalizing the fact that we, south Indians put ‘ah’ at the end of everything] 🙂

  4. Canada is also known for its large Lankan Tamil population. Friends of mine went to Toronto for renewing their visas and ran into a bunch of “Tamils” whose language they couldn’t understand!

  5. I know several guys who migrated from India to Cnaada, all happily unemployed. They are all Pnjaabi, all piling on to various uncles, all waiting to get married to girls whose fathers will employ them in their gas stations or restaurants. By 2025, I predict that, going by my friend Ajit Singh’s assessment, the main industry in Canada will be elevator servicing.

  6. >>Well the mighty “Paraanttha” is “parotta” down south, so why not Pronto out west?

    Parotta is not Paraantha. There are two versions of it’s origin.
    1)The Arabs (Maplas) who came to Kerala ages ago, brought the dish with them. – The Malabari Parotta
    2)The Indian tea workers from Singapore/Malaysia brought home the recipe to make the prata.

    There’s no “veech” paraantha or “chilli” paraantha, or “koththu” paraantha, is there?

  7. enna? pona maasam England, indha maasam Canada. Orey the ulagam suthum vaalibar aayacho? aathu maami varutha padalaiya?
    Ashok: Ulagum sutthum aathukkarar, more like it. But not more than a couple of days for each trip. In fact, this has been the longest trip in the last one year (a full 5 days so far)

  8. I visited Niagara on July 4th long weekend – The road side Dhaba (All the carts/shops are named Taste of India, Punjabi Dhaba and parked 100 feet away from each other! ). The Unlimited ALll you can eat buffet at Taste of India is $15 – Note: They give you ONLY ONE small plastic plate that has to be RE_USED until you feel the desire to eat again – so dont throw it away ask them one more for second serve!! 90% of Gulte’s + 5% of Tamils + 4% asians + 1% whites constitute the Niagara tourist crowd. The Maid of the mist tour (Fat White) security guard asked me “Antharu Baga unnara?!” and looking at my stunned face, he repeated “vanakkam, SowKyama!”.

    I have seen most Tamils say “Bharotta”, “Boori”! Pronto!? first time!

  9. Ahhh P’u’njabis and their accents…. Enga veetu pakathula irundha paatikku oru naal odambu seri illa (paati vada sutta kadha dhaan)… Went to the hospital to see her and took her servant with me. Fortunately, in the hospital we met an old punjabi friend of mine. Somehow at the end of the conversation he shouted ‘Chuk Dey Pattey’… The servant ran to the paati’s room with panic. When asked y, he said, “Avaru dhaan kathunaaru ‘Check Da Paatiii’…. Achooo namma ooru kaaranga English padicha ippadi dhaan kolapikpaanga…. 😀
    PS: I’m yet to get a ticket in Canada…. 😀

  10. Been a regular reader for over an year- yet writing in for the first time!

    I absolutely take offense at your making fun of the Punjabi accent!!! What about Tamilian accents and Gult accents (esp the Tam way of saying ‘parents’ (paa-rents), stare (staar) etc. etc. Tamilians aren’t exactly the world’s best English speakers anyway!

    Also, then what about the US- the soon to be Gulti country. The way this place is ‘infested’ with Gults and Tams (running a close second) is similar to the Canana Punjabi situation. You ever been to the Bay Area?

    AND-not to mention the way Gult/Tam women dress up. They have singlehandedly ruined the reputation of Indian women in the Bay Area- as being the worst dressed ever. I mean, have you EVER seen a badly dressed Punju???

    (one of my friends- from NORTH INDIA- was made fun of in a beauty parlor- because they said all Indian women have this sticky thing in their hair. Oops! Ever seen a Northie actually stepping out of the house with oiled hair? Sacrilege. And vice-versa. Anyway, she was quite embarrassed.)

    AND- Can somebody TEACH all South Indian women to wax? or atleast get their eyebrows and upperlips done occasionally?

    Okay- sorry for the rant, but you got me started.
    All said and done, Punjus are known more for their hospitality and warmth and openheartedness then South Indians. And for our jaffis (which means hugs in Punjabi).

    Anyway, heres a Jaffi after all I said 🙂

    PS- Can you make your blog jokes/ writing a little less Tamilian? Include less of the language perhaps? Some of it escapes me owing to the above. I love your writing and hate to miss stuff (or maybe you could add translations)

  11. Canada has more to it than being the place of choice for Yetchwonbeeus Fanaticus eh? Thanks for letting us know.

    Good one on Alaipayudhey! Engyadhu paatu englodudhu nu sollida pora.

  12. Vis-a-vis the Pnjaabi English:

    The Tamilian Strikes Back, is it? Pots and kettles shoudn’t be squabbling methinks. 🙂

  13. for Adithya:

    Whatever makes you think that wearing Manish Malhotra and reading in Landmark are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!!
    Why is being dressed awfully likened to a good mind? and the other way round?

    I am probably the most avid reader in the world- would probably have read more books than you have (would you like to bet?) and YET

    I make sure my eyebrows and upper-lip are CLEAN.

    For heavens sake, its elementary HYGIENE and cleanliness.
    I am ALSO doing my PhD here- only mentioned to get you off your high horse that (and the girl that wrote the blog you mentioned) that looking good (or atleast paying attention to it) and being erudite or well-read are not poles apart.

    People do manage it!

  14. KA! Some moderation of off-topic comments is called for! Puh-leez? You owe it to your loyal fans!!!! To this blog!

  15. I’d just like to put forth the fact that English is not an Indian language in the first place and none of us are obliged to pronounce anything the right way. So if a French dude says “waht eez ze vay” its an adorable accent, whereas an indian (ok, lets make him a southie) says “paarents” it’s to be mocked at?
    WTF?

  16. Yeveryone,
    Please to be chillings.

    This blog is an equal opportunity offender. It has mocked everyone with equal intensity, may they be North, South, top, down, charm or anything else. The only thing that’s not allowed on this blog is to be offended by the offending posts 🙂

    All the following are stereotypes, and let’s leeve it at that. . Tams are unclean, Punjoos are artificial, Gults are clannish, Mallus are unctuous, Gujjus are moneyminded, Bongs talk too much and Biharis are rustic. These cliches aren’t worth fighting over. Laughing over them is far more value adding.

  17. This one is for Rachana…

    Whatever makes you think that waxing your upper lip and eyebrows is HYGIENIC??? So that means all mustache sprouting males, and especially all the Sardars are unhygienic?

    Just because you follow some painful cosmetic procedures, it does not automatically make you an enlightened soul. Everyone is allowed to dress exactly the way they want, except when it is Mallika Sharawat attending a function with Rajinikant!

  18. This is KA’s blog…right?

    He will write what he thinks…and as a reader I don’t think it would be right to suggest he write something that suits our needs, nah?

    I enjoy reading his blog…..wouldn’t want him to change his prose, whether I get it or don’t!

  19. Wow 🙂 I wish we could start off the Punju-Tam( Why are we called South Indian) debate 😀

    Rachana, its okay. All of us have our quirks. And about eyebrows and upper lips – I’m sorry, it is painful and it is a person’s choice, and about clothes and what not 🙂 I think we all have our well dressed versus nto well dressed people. Not necessarily the South Indians, I’m afraid.

    About your Ph.D – good for you. I am not doing one, and I’m not sure I’m interested. Does that make me any less intelligent than you? 😀 Looking at your premise for the argument, I guess not. Chill pannungo, light togoli.

    Bolo Bharat Matha ki Jai 😉

  20. For Nandini,

    Oh Thanks! You were undoubtedly mean and not “sarci”, Just in case you thought you were not!
    and I am also guessing you don’t get your eyebrows cleaned.

    I am sure you do agree with the South Indian invasion of the US- after all, here’s the proof.
    I’ve been attacked for having an opinion against Southies by so many people. (actually, more women then men).

    and the PhD has nothing to do with it. It is obviously individual choice. My premise is only that choosing to look good and being empty headed are not synonymous.

    Also, since I am not a Southie (how can I be- I think clean eyebrows are a good thing) could you translate the “Chill pannungo, light togoli.”

  21. Ok. Ladies and Gentlemen. The Paratha-Parotta war of July 2008 stops here. Please submit a blogfight application form in triplicate, double notarized to a gazetted officer before continuing any further 🙂

  22. (staying way clear of the north-south war)

    @Chutney, funny you should mention the French accent…
    I’ve heard a french man pronounce “Zi zad zing” and “zi ozer zing” while he meant to say “The third thing” and “the other thing”….

    that is just about all I remember from a half-day meeting with that guy….

  23. raises arm [proudly displaying freshly waxed underarm] in reponse to rachna’s question. haanji i have in fact seen a badly dressed pnjaabi. many times actually. ok tata.

  24. KA,

    Sooper Blog..but I have to say that for the first time,the sandai(err..comments) in ur blog were funnier than the post.

    lol @ ur Equal oportunity offender comment.Yeah..Lets make fun of all and sundry 🙂 ..We really need to do chillings…

    Afteall namma Rangarajan Nambhi is only Avataar singh ,illaya ??

  25. You’re right KA. Laughing it off – the stereotypes – is of course the best way of dealing with them. But it is distressing to see so-called “educated” young people being such suckers for them. Can you blame the junta for burning books or banning films?

    As always – much impressed with the way you handle blog rants. 🙂

  26. love love love your takes on life, Madras and yeyrything else KA. Zimbly I reco. mynearndeer to it.

    Myself Mylapore Brought-Up Case. Pleased to meet youvar goodself.
    ~~~

    Now: vun point I ‘av to make. This is vun of the romba kammi yeddons that ve nice Tams can pesify the way Momma Nature indended us to. T’other vun place is bengaloorobanter.

    So – ve Tams are allowed to defend our territory agnnnsst dem silly “Look At Me, I Yam Ph.D in Talking Bluddy Bollocks” Naaaarth types.

    I love my Dilli friends ( ess I have a few, adore them to bits). But tthis KA blog space belongs to vun-type-intelligent minds.

    So – please continue on KA and no translations/lost-in-translashens needed 😉

    So please to accept my umble triplicate kaapi entry farm 🙂

    End keep knocking off dem stereophonik types wonly.

  27. Scene: Control room of German Coast Guard

    Radio: “Hiss! Crackle! May Day! May Day! We are Sinking! We are Sinking! We are Sinking!”

    German Coast Guard Attendant: “What are you sinking about?”

  28. Hi

    Romba Nanna Ezitharell. I came across your site when I was idly browsing and have enjoyed your writing very much!!.
    Here is an idea, if you have read Jhumpha Lahiri’s books can you do a review in the style of Dasavatharam review. It is about Life of an Immigrant in America and I am sure you will find her writing eminently suitable for your humor
    Keep writing

  29. @prasanna – loved your comment, but it’s actually chapathi chapathi thaan, rotti rotti thaan (wanna start another war about the correct order??)
    😉

    @KA – you rock!

  30. For Rachna,

    I was just curious to know who determined that “cleaning” one’s eyebrows and/or upper lip was hygiene? [It’s amazing how one word (in this case “clean”) affects one’s understanding.] If you could provide me with some evidence of this, please don’t bother reading on.

    But otherwise, seriously. My grandmother is the cleanest, neatest and most hygienic person I know, [her OCD-ness has been passed on to all her children and most of her grandchildren] but she has never waxed/shaved/threaded any hair off her face, hands or legs.

    fyi, I am “Southie”, “Tam” to be precise, I do get my facial hair etc removed, for no other reason other than I like the way I look when I have it done. I think I am relatively intelligent, I too am doing a PhD, though I don’t really think thats any real measure of my intelligence.

    I believe all Nandini was saying was that it is none of anybody else’s business if a woman chooses to wax/thread. You can have your opinion, and you may think she looks ‘ugly’ if she doesn’t have these things done. You may think oily hair is gross (fyi, I wouldn’t be caught dead walking around with an over-oily head), but honestly, my grandmother at 80+ still looks gorgeous with her well oiled yet clean and nicely combed down hair. And I don’t say that because she’s my grandmother.

    I agree with you that looking good is not synonymous with being stupid. Its stupid to think that it does. Almost all the women in my department are quite gorgeous, and all are quite smart. But I think you might agree with me that “looking good” is not synonymous with some random definition of an optimal amount of facial hair.

    One more point I’d like to make, is the fact that you seemed to take offense to the fact that the author made fun of Punjabi accents. I am sure the author is not in the least bit presumptuous about Tamilian accents. Self-humour is in fact evidenced from the use of Tamil in the text… definitely gives it a nice flavour; I suppose you missed out on some of that… and I can understand your being unhappy about missing what it means, since you also miss out on the underlying humour there. I vote, though, that the author continue using the Tamil, because I think it gives the read “a little something” that makes it funnier.

    And honestly, I think you just didn’t see the underlying irony about life in Madras (reference to Thanni lorry – which means Water lorry… Madras is well known for its lack of ground water, and people have to buy water in tankers; reference to population of North Usman Road, one of the most crowded and busiest places in the heart of Madras). I’ll give it to you, that perhaps you didnt understand it because of the language barrier, but I thought the joke was evident even with only relative contextual information.

    The fact that you get crap from “Southies”, and mostly women all the time, is not surprising. I am giving you crap now too, I suppose. But why wouldn’t I, when you somehow assume the right to give something as subjective as beauty a definition. Even if my opinion agrees with yours, it offends me.

    In short, I would if I were you (but I am not), put off lashing out at a culture, over something as subjective as “beauty”. Next, someone will be telling me my “dark” skin is ugly, and I should use “Fair and Lovely”.

    No offense meant, to anybody… my apologies if any was taken.

  31. did u not make a post on the punjabi accent with very similar instructions earlier on?? i have the feeling that I read it not too long ago. though in this context, it is justifiable i suppose..

    also wish to reassure most tamil girls.. i am somewhat young and i know a lot of young guys. and i can assure you that most of us like girls who do not do unnatural (unless it is deformed) things to their faces.. there are the occasional delusional people who like girls doing such things, but they are after all delusional and in a minority. cosmetics are strictly for stage actors..

  32. KA, you rock!! Sorry for engaging in the war before submitting application in triplicate. Application already sent. Please to send receipt.

    Deepti: Atta Girl!!!

    Rachana: I feel really bad for you on multiple counts.

    1) that you let a couple of southie women who dont wax/shave/watever their lips/eyebrows etc define who you are, how you dress and what people think of you.

    2) that a PhD for you is merely a way to establish your intelligence rather than a career choice or away to satisfy scientific curiosity.

    3) that you lack the ability to appreciate humor. (I am no Tam, but I understood most of the contextual jokes).

    Of course it is KA’s blog and he has every right to make fun of Pnjaabis, Gults, Gujjus or whoever else. If we dont like it, we are more than welcome to hit that little X button on top of our browsers.

  33. If Paratha is the “pra” of Chapathi then who/what is ‘Barota’ that I used to have in the bylanes of Choolai Medu?

    @KA: Pliss to post some pix of them falls? We like to see gallons of water go away like that….even when there is none here to wash the waxed-arms n’ legs 😛

  34. @girl-next-door: Can you send me the reference for the order? At my age… it is easy to forget such things.. I thought some of the dialogues were burned into my brain though! guess I may be overrating my brain’s capacity to outthink me.
    and no.. cant pick up a fight cos I am too lazy.

  35. @ Narendra: I yam Thinking Thin.
    😀

    @ KA, Deepti, Sangu, NeverMind:

    I’ve reached a wise ollld age. Wise enough to acknowledge the time you’ve put in to respond to that “I Yam A Ph… Bollocks Dee”‘s ludicrous comments.

    The point is: this is a public arena. The Ph(…oney?!) Dee using the space to mouth off her incredibly prejudiced and immature attitudes calls for a ScrollOnBy (or) a spirited attack/defense.

    I’m all for those who give a spirited attack. This from someone living in urban S India, being *forced* to put up with too many years of egative, naive, laughable attitudes like PhDee’s 😀 😀 😀

    So – I scroll on by while noting her gross ugliness inside. Give me a pretty Grandma like Deepti’s anyday 🙂

    Sorry KA but this is a public arena, and it comes with the great, the ugly and the good…!

    @ Narendra: now vhat you arr sinking?!

  36. “I sport congrass”

    hehehehehehehe… need to read this all over again… if i have some time after waxing, bleaching, shaving, trimming and finding the right combination of colored glass bangles to cover my arms.

  37. rofl@rules of pnjaabi englees. you ROCK!

    @rachna: Did you say bay area? LOL. i have seen only worst dressed punjabi & northies over there.Have u been to Fremont, Union City? Maybe not. The girls in the area could give quite a competition on facial hair to their dads/bros/ spouses and some could double up as bouncers as well.

  38. Na konja latea vandalum , karikta varuven !!!

    I love the KA blog and a simple enumeration of post on blog by subject would throw up that Tambrams ( The most prominenet bearer of Tam flag in bay , mountian, plain , green, red and cheri(as in tamil) areas of US ) are the most ridiculed lot, so nandani “Tensaan aagedey maa”. So self depracating is IN big time , and it is high time you learn the artform

    I have the right to mediate and pass judgement as I am a product of complex ecosystem called Nanganallur and married into equally complex but genetically mutually exclusive combination of Pnjaabis

    Nandhini you see the tam gals who wax and thread the bush are seen as bajaaris by the HIAPACA (Highly Influential Amma Paati Attai Chitti Association) while in Punjab the gals who dress simple are looked down as “Aa kudi nu ki ho gaya, isda charcter suspect siga”.

    So it is gene coded and vaiations are mostly mutants.

    I may someday post my marriage photos , it is where the “real meets imaginary”. The supposedly imaginary line over vindhyas separating north from south takes real shape and clearly separates the suited pnjabi uncles from sarvana store discount shirt & jayachandranvehti mamas and attimbers , Pastel hues of georggettes and chiffons being separated from kaapi calar and carrot border of chennai silk pattu pudavais. But my wife now and then girlfriend married me cause she was running away from overbearing complex environment of (take the 25! (25 here starts at minimum of K and ends at thousand crores)) and I was running away from the “not refusing to let the past go Iyers”. So India is a ecosystem which is unique spot in multiple universe theory where mutually exclusive events can co exist.

  39. I had a major government school movement , while wirting the comment above , so please excuse the spellings , typos and omnipresnet gramatical errors.

  40. All,
    Please do forgive the poor girl Rachna! Please realize, that she is special and one of a kind. No self respecting Pnjaabi comes without a liberal dose of self-deprecating sense of humor. Here is one! Enjoy her uniqueness.

  41. …. Ashok, am I on rediff ???????

    @Everyone,
    come on guys, just as Ashok told, everything is meant for fun. Laugh at it and leave it. Dont take it to heart.

    And may be because of the Great Parata war, I’m getting “Bodies Found, Huge Drug Busts and Murder for Hire” as one of the suggested relevant posts from wordpress on this post.

  42. Dear All,

    I am half Punjabi and half Thamizh (yes really) and I am offended by ALL the comments posted above.

    Krishashok-sir, kindly do the needful and delete all the above, because passing offensive remarks is against Indian Culture and also against Indian Law.

    Warm regards,

    Puppy Manohar.

    “All Indians are my brothers and sisters”

  43. Dear Harish,

    Please do not throw your waxing waste from the window. My plants are young and they require care. Regular wax deposits are stunting their growth.

    We are Thamizh Brahmins and we do not like wax. It is a taboo. I am 35 years old and married but we can still work something out.

    You being North Indian has nothing to do with this. Your flat was previousl inhabited by a bunch of Tulu people of the Bunt race (a tenacious race, the Bunts, but we never made their life difficult). The lady of the house (a hot woman, nice figure) threw post-combing entangled hair. They are ever since missing.

    regards,
    Mr. Shalini Subramanium Phd. (Home Science)

    P.S: We sell sesame oil and other such items used by North Indians.

  44. Dear Sharmili-beti,

    Why are you so obsessed with these hair removing products that you see on the TV and on the radio? I find it odd that you choose to renounce the hirsute ways of your ancestors. Remember, hair is what keeps you warm in the cold months and also acts as an effective barrier to mosquitos. This could mean the difference between malaria and !malaria.

    I am very concerned.

    Yours worriedly,
    Sardar Jasmeet Singh M.A, B.L,

    “Come hair and sit on this cheer”

  45. Dear Dr. Winstein,

    I am a 27 year old man from Motihari, India. I have a problem. I am Indian and quite dark by European standards, however, my armpit hair is blonde.

    It is remarkable because I have blonde hair in both my arm pits. I have consulted scientists from ISI, Calcutta and studied my caste (I am a Maithil Brahmin) and learnt that the incidence of this feature is 0. I am attaching my statistical research papers here with.

    The chances of pathogen is neglible because I am a higher caste North Indian (Chanakya or Kautilya, the original Machiavelli was from my caste) and observe very high standards of hygiene. I bathe twice a day, do my eyebrows once a week, go to Delhi to get my hair and nails done and have never had sexual relationship with anyone outside my community (or of the same Gotra, patrilineal lineage).

    Kindly, peruse my research papers attached. I believe, given the right opportunity, I can pass with flying colors in your department. An assistantship if offered will help me come over to America and become the Dermatologist I always wanted to be.

    regards,
    Dr. Eric Blair Jha
    (Cardiologist by profession but Urologist at heart)
    “Last night I said these words to my girl” – Beatles

  46. Secret Agent 37,

    Your assignment is to infiltrate the fertile “Land of Five Rivers” aka Pwnjab. As the name suggests, several of our agents have been pwned in the past by this strange, inhospitable place. This place is populated by strange, hyperhirsute, hormone-driven men and a mixture of hyper- and hypo- furry women.

    Their dialect may be hard to understand – they sing mostly, rather than speak. They also have a tendency to randomly alter vowels, for example :

    English -> here :: Pwnjabi -> hair
    English -> bear :: Pwnjabi -> beer

    The second example of vowel transformation may be a little troublesome. More than one agent has let their guard down, expecting a chilled, refreshing and slightly intoxicating beverage but then being surprised by an adult Ursus Thibetanus.

    Enough warning, it’s time for your mission.

    Be strong, be brave and return alive.

    Best of Luck,

    Santhosh Elangovan
    High Commander
    Mad Agents Doing Rousu And Speaking IT (MADRASI)

    “Hai, My name is Indu Manikandan. You killed my appa. Prepare to saavu”

  47. Hon. Deputy Prime minister ji,

    Basically, I am an advocate. Moreover that (sic), as a responsible citizen of Eeendia, I would like to say some things. Can I talk something?

    As you might have seen I wear a facial hair,
    Yeevan thvo I lookk like a bear.
    Its only fair
    to say that I am still crowd pulllaer!

    My charm is not only in Thamizh Nad, but also in North I am Number One,
    If anyone says I am not a crowd puller because I don’t shave, he better run.
    He is totally oppressing, suppressing and depressing the view of the Thamizhan.

    no hygiene, shaving, waxing for star
    be it a fashion show, or a beer bar
    I will always be ever green TR

    regards,
    TR
    Note: The above is only partly an excerpt from a T Rajendhar film “script” (lol). It does not express the view of TR, Thamizhans, South Indians, Indians in general, Bears, or this author.

    “Pyaar toh unka joota ge,
    Jo jisma ki chaagat karthe ge.
    Sachha pyaar unika ge
    Jo dilpe gi marthe ge.

    Dil jo kisi ko de diya,
    Laut kar phir voh aata nagi
    Kabi kisi ko pyaar kiya,
    Usko bulaaya jaatha nagi.” – TR, whilst illustrating his universal appeal be it Naarth or South.

  48. KA:

    This has become a forum for the discussion of hair removal. Oh how I mourn the desecration of your blog! (:

    I conveyed the entire thing to my significant other, with great mirth. And he asked, only half in jest: How often do you see men squabbling over the attractiveness or otherwise of shaving their chins and upper lips?

    Sigh. Will women never grow up?

  49. Anbulla Puppji avargalukku,
    Namaskaram.
    Tussi badee pyari hoji. We request your self to be chairperson for our “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow-Urban Beauty Myths and Rapunzel’s Dilemma” conference for liberation of Tamil ladies (other disadvanataged communities of ladies also included).
    Ippadikku,
    Ungal TMKKAMM
    (Turmeric Maami & Kurangu Kusala Association for Mayir Mazhichal)

  50. for Lavanya,

    I am not sure that was meant to be a squabble. In fact, the point being made (at least by me) was exactly the fact that hair removal choices should not be a matter of any importance.

    I know I would have responded in pretty much the same way if it had been about… oh, I don’t know, food and eating habits!

    I think I’m just (perhaps unnecessarily) reacting to one more stereotype… thats the feminist in me trying to poke her head out.

    for KA, my apologies to you. I really enjoy reading your blogs, and I am sorry that my response to this particular one had to be about hair removal, and on the verge of feminism… when your blog itself had nothing to do with it.

    I better shut up now.
    Deepti

  51. May I direct the conversation back to Paranthas and Parottas? Please? That’s where this started, remember? Not keratin. Let’s put an end to that hair and now.

  52. Dude, you were not in Toronto. To call Brampton a part of Toronto is like NJites calling themselves New Yorkers. Nope!
    And that explains automatically why it feels like Amritsar West 😛

  53. ROFL@ puppy manohar’s comments and maami
    s!

    After kind of kicking it off, I thought I’ll just be a silent observer, but these comments had to be applauded! Lol, good ones!

  54. hai puppy hai puppee o haiiiii puppy hai puppy…..hai puppy haii puppy …. love can take you higher…

    tusi pnjaabi ho jee? menu shock aandi si.

    [i think i might have just said this shocking menu is making me blind. what i meant to say was i was shocked to learn of your pnjaabiness but is okay sirjee, after all singh in kingh.]

  55. oye, tusi kab aarahe ho singappoooru? yahan ek cheez milta hai jiska naam hai roti prata. on closer inspection it turns out to be nothing but our good ole burrotta. bleddy frauds!

  56. Pronto, pronto! Time for a new posto!

    As I had correctly guessed, Ms. Ph(oney) Dee Naaarthee Types didn’t have the gumption to face all the attacks on her stupid comments (circa July 16!).

    Or mebbe avval comment aducha, ana KA nalla delete adichitaarru!

    Yanyway, pallasaa aiyudichi.

    Puudhu post time ayiddichi 🙂

  57. I like your rejoinders too. “Equal opportunity offender” ! First time I have heard that.

    You are a riot!

  58. I also vant to fight ji. Plis.

    I can make random hand-swishing movements, like TR. And I can also put vaazhakkaai bajji dialogues, just like TR. Not to worry, looks very professional. Maybe I can giu interviews in English also in morning-morning TV programs and seek trust vote.

    eppo paataalum laytu. 😦

    Fight now, or forever hold your pee!

  59. @desigirl; your question should be, did the pronto appear fatafat. We South Indians working in luxury hotel restaurants in the 70’s could never understand or please the Sardars when they wanted everything fatafat. It was always do roti fatafat or ek green salaad fatafat or half tandoori chicken fatafat untill we went to Delhi and experienced the service at the dhabas and restaurants. They really do serve rotis and nans and everything else fatafat

  60. Hey Ashok:

    You’ve combined the Pnjaabi Sector of Brampton with the rural landscape of Quebec and presented that as Toronto…no fair at all.

    You don’t get no points from Lonely Planet.

    Get onto Union Station at rush hour and dare show me more than 20 Pnjaabis …

    Ladies (dewhiskered and non) and Gantleman please do take note…

  61. God ! This is such a nice post, and I totally enjoyed the comment’s section.
    I only wish I had arrived here earlier, and contributed to this debate. 🙂
    Oh yes, about the choices, and the prejudices.. these are great fodder for never ending debates!

    And sir, you have in me from now on, a regular reader! 🙂

  62. hi dude,

    I dont know how long you are here ,but i am put up in toronto, so you are officially asked if you wanna come visit me. Let me know.

    kris

  63. Addressing Ms Rachana
    (although a wee bit too delayed)

    “I make sure my eyebrows and upper-lip are CLEAN.

    For heavens sake, its elementary HYGIENE and cleanliness.” by Ms Rachana

    Not going into any Punju ‘bashing’ (enough has happened anyway), I must say that this idea of hygiene and cleanliness is a heavily mediated construct by the media (well, obviously) as well as the age-old grand narratives (almost often, from the North of India).

    What is cleanliness to some may be a luxurious attempt at unnecessary beautification to some other.
    I say unnecessary purely due to biological reasons. Body hair is required because it protects the skin (read Desmond Morris, et cetera et cetera).

    Actually, there is a lot more to be said, but as this is a comment, its scope is not as broad as a post, perhaps.

    I do expect a reply, Ms Rachana!

  64. Being a bonafide sardarni, i cant watch from the sidelines anymore – this is too damn fun not to get into
    ok before I get into the thick of things, I was trying to figure out where in the post KA has been derogatory / defamatory etc to P’njabis? Can someone kindly point the place to me so that I can take offence?

  65. How sad that I missed the great protta/parattha war

    Dear Rachna,
    You hit ALL the stereotypes on your posts – congratulations! As a Tam Bram married to a bonafide Punju I reserve the last words on the subject:

    – Granted: Southies say “yech ” and “yem” for “H” and M” granted .Punjus say “sposing” when they mean “supposing ” as in “sposing I eat a smosa”.Punjus also comb their hears (“hair”) and cut the nails of the fingers of feet (“pair ki ungli” ) via direct translation.
    – While some Southie women may go out with oil in their hair, most Punju women I know go out with chandeliers hanging from their ears – which is worse?
    – When Southies cook potato ( aka Aloo) subji they cook potato subji. When Punjus cook any subji , they cook potato subji ( as in Aloo baingan ( tolerable) , alu bhindi ( meh!) and the worst of all – alu beans( sacrilege)!)
    – Granted ,Southie women will wear the bindi /pottu with any outfit. Punju women consider that the signs of a married women are 1) Lipstick- brighter the better and a distant 2) Sindoor
    – Punju girls like to touch the feet of elders to 1) greet 2) say goodbye 3) any damn reason.Southie girls do not -probably because the veshti of elder uncles may lead to -uh- embarasing moments.

    Bring it on!

  66. KA ,, dude why the hell did u go to canada?? 😀 ..
    btw.. whattay war! I’m lovin’ it 😀
    Bring it on!, i say.. Bring it on!

  67. I read ur post/blog critisizing what lonely planet had written about madras and actually thought it was quite nice that you had spoken out to them and did bring awareness to the matter.
    I think after all THAT arguement, u’ve pretty much talked about canada, ontario the same way as well.
    i’t’s pretty obvious you’ve been here for a quick visit and written crap i think may be to prove u were here or something.

    I’m Indian and having lived here for 2 years how, for sometime in the west and now in eastern canada, toronto i think it’s the nicest country in the world.
    Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world and hence, yes we do find a lot of indians esp punjabi;s in communicties such as brampton and missuagua. but apart from that we also have the greek town, little india, china town, little italy and lots of ppl from trinidad, jamaica and the french settlers in quebec. It’s sad that u had to focus just on the punjabi’s here instead of the multi-culturalism.
    And also, canada, is the most peaceful country, rich in the arts, culture and sports and I think they have way more stuff to brag about than just the niagara falls.

    1. Mumu,

      1. This is not a travel guide to Canada. It’s not published in a travel guide and circulated to potential tourists 🙂
      2. I love Canada
      3. I love Toronto even more
      4. I hardly even speak about Toronto. Instead this post is simply a nod to Brampton’s Punjabi culture
      5. I like aloo parathas

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