The case of the the attempted mango pickle kidnapping

Of all inglorious insults heaped on day to day objects as we go about our quotidian lives, and I say this specifically because I’ve always wanted to use the word “quotidian” in a meaningful and intelligent way just so I could claim that my efforts at mugging up GRE word lists for the purposes of winning Scrabble death matches at college did not go in vain, and as I find myself scampering to bring this rogue sentence back under house arrest for the purposes of achieving coherence, I realize that I’ve failed utterly and completely.

I could, like James Tiberius Kirk, resort to dramatically short sentences. Like this. But since I mention the man who has had more conjugal relations with, as Mr Jeppiyaar might put, female members of the opposite sexual gender, than anybody else in fiction, I realize that Kirk does alternatively conjure up images of soaring flight, which, if not a fair metaphor to use while describing my Kingfisher flight from Pune to Chennai, still provides me with a semblance of a whiff of a fraction of an excuse to finally get back to the subject at hand, the one about insults of an inglorious kind being heaped on day to day objects, and before I forget, on a quotidian basis

The object in question is actually a bottle of Pune’s finest Mango pickle, gifted by a colleague who was apparently unaware of check-in restrictions on a rather broad category of matter called “liquids”. As I type this while listening to the latest output of Kingfisher’s amply staffed “Regret Department”, supported admirably by aircraft that are both incoming and late,  a department that, with astonishing facility and productivity, generates regrets like a General Motors factory churning out unreliable gas guzzlers, I look back forlornly at the Security Check counter, where I can still catch a glimpse of my Mango pickle which will spend the rest of its unfortunate life enriching the taste of Roti and Dal at the home of an airport security officer.

It looked at me with a guilty eye and seemed to say :

Why am I the one to suffer this insult? My friends, the three packets of Bhakarwadi that were giving me company in the Reliance Fresh plastic bag that you carried to the airport, are now at your side, unkidnapped by the illogic of the “no liquids” rule that defies common sense like the 300 Spartan soliders who troubled Xerxes and his army. Why? Am I a potential bomb? The worst damage I could do is convince people to eat an inordinately large quantity of myself and feel certain unpleasant digestive side-effects, and even those aren’t evident till the subsequent morning. And what an insult to my delightfully tangy taste and delectably unpredictable texture that I am included in this characterless and generic taxonomy called “Liquids”. Nitroglycerine dissolved in Filter Coffee is a liquid. TNT in melted chocolate is a liquid. But pickled mangoes in oil – to call me something as vapid as “liquid” is like characterizing Murali as right-arm-offbreak. He is right-arm-magic and I am divinity bathed in oil. Ah, you base villian, airport security. If one needs (yet another) proof of Darwinian evolution, it is you. You are anything but intelligently designed.

As I continued to listen to the pickle’s tragic (and silent, I must add) soliloquy, the cosmic monkeys scripting this particular series of events suddenly decided that this was to be a comedy (by Shakespearean definition, i.e, where happy endings, not the presence of jokes characterize comedy), and not a tragedy like Mangobeth or The Three Gentle Mangoes of Versova. A senior looking security officer arrived on the scene and enquired about the origins of the aforementioned pickle. The sheepish officers who were hoping to mate pickle and roti in holy matrimony and enjoy their conjugal bliss in the confines of their oral cavity later that night, pointed at me as the guilty party who trafficked in pickled mangoes. Their faces, just to continue to mutton metaphor a bit, looked like innocent lambs. The senior officer, clearly disturbed by the wholesale kidnapping of pickles by his staff, decided that enough was enough, called me over, and suggested that I ask Kingfisher to pack my bottle and check the luggage in. While I was not quite sure of the effect of airline luggage handlers playing the airport equivalent of buzkashi (note: sheep metaphor still in force) with my fragile bottle of divinity in oil, he reassured me that KF can be persuaded to beef up (note: taking a vacation from sheep metaphoring) the packaging just enough to get it to Chennai with molecular integrity reasonably intact.

And it did.

pickle

61 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. great one as always…on a serious note

    When will rules be treated with logic and fitness of purpose than mere and absurd following?In other words when will customer service be customer service rather than’ you will be served when it suits us ‘ kinda mode? the customer service in India and in general sucks big time with absurd processes and even more absurd people implementing them….I have learnt to live with absolutely no expectations on that front…If I am not reprimanded or made to pay for….I learnt to consider that as great customer service…..sorry for digressing from humor…..wish life is full of it……

    I always adored wit and humor of the Chennai type like Ananda Vikatan,SV Shekar,Crazy Mohan(most of the times)…..and you are an authentic addition to my list….thanks…..if you know to write in Tamil,I request you also shd write in Tamil occasionally….that will be a different flavor….(Note :I am not a linguistic fanatic !)

    1. My Tamil vocabulary did not have the equivalent boost that English received as a result of my Scrabble obsession, and therefore is rather patchy. I did once have this idea that I will use some future version of Google’s translation service to translate my posts into Tamil. But at the moment, I notice that only Hindi is available, so I decided to give the first paragraph a spin, and this is what it spit out

      सभी लज्जाजनक दिन पर दिन वस्तुओं को heaped अपमान के रूप में हम अपने दैनिक जीवन के बारे में जाना, और मैं कहना है कि यह विशेष रूप से, क्योंकि मैं हमेशा चाहता था शब्द एक सार्थक और बुद्धिमान रास्ते में ‘दैनिक’ का इस्तेमाल सिर्फ इसलिए मैं दावा कर सकती है कि अपने प्रयासों स्क्रैबल मौत जीतने के प्रयोजनों के लिए लूट GRE शब्द सूची पर कॉलेज में मैच व्यर्थ में जाना नहीं है, और जैसा कि मैंने अपने आप को इस दुष्ट की सजा जुटना को प्राप्त करने के प्रयोजनों के लिए घर में नजरबंद वापस लाना scampering, मुझे पता है कि मैं पूरी तरह से और पूरी तरह से विफल रहे.

      Ahem. As you can see, Google still has a long way to go. But to be fair to them, humour works differently in every language, and I have to say that English is probably to most versatile because of the sheer size of its vocabulary.

      1. That’s because google’s man-made artificial intelligence is not a patch on nature’s natural evolutionary intelligence.. 🙂

      2. You can choose the Tamil script transliterator in gmail, type Tamil transliterated in English, copy and paste stuff here. Like this:

        கனியிருப்பக் காய் கவர்ந்தற்று

        Admit that it is a little cumbersome, but it works. But yes, English has its natural advantages when writing humour. Are you a fan of P G Wodehouse? One senses a ‘plumminess’ in your writing. I am a Plum devotee myself.

      3. அனைத்து அவ வேதனைகளின் நாம் நாள் தோறும் வாழ்க்கையை பற்றி செல்லவேண்டும் நாள் பொருள்கள் அன்று பேசியதில், மற்றும் நான் எப்போதும் ஒரு அர்த்தமுள்ள மற்றும் அறிவார்ந்த முறையில் வார்த்தை “நாள் தோறும்” பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்று நினைத்தேன் ஏனெனில் நான் குறிப்பாக இந்த சொல்வதை நான் கூறுவது என்று என் முயற்சிகள் கல்லூரியில் ஸ்கிராப்பிள் மரணம் போட்டிகளில் வெற்றி பெற்ற நோக்கங்களுக்காக GRE சொல் பட்டியல்கள் வரை mugging மணிக்கு வீணாக போய், நான் என்னையே ஓரியல்பு அடையும் காரணங்களுக்காக வீட்டு காவலில் இந்த முரட்டு தண்டனை மீண்டும் கொண்டுவர scampering கண்டு, நான் நான் என்று தெரியவில்லை முற்றிலும் முற்றிலும் தோல்வி.

  2. Gr8 sidestep on the all too obvious pickle related pun… (e.g the pickle getting stuck in quite a uhmm.. pickle)
    No no .. that would really have ‘butchered’ the post, instead you thought up the whole mutton/beef related humour. I really appreciate the effort!

  3. Ha ha … another good one. Nice to hear the paavam pickle bottle talking to you. Looks like pickle bottle is more intelligent and knowledgeable than me 😦 loved the murali part.
    enjoy your dal, roti, thayir saadam and what not with navin ka maanga aachar!
    the google hindi translation does have a long way to go.it says main kar sakthi hain somewhere too. hmm … thats not good at all.
    annan krishashok vaazhga!

  4. Nice. This is what happens with all us “mango people” at airports (sorry…couldn’t resist that aam aadmi quip!)

    That reminds me of a friend who cheerfully went to the airport to see-off many bound-to-US-for-MS types…..it only transpired later that he used to keep any stuff that the travellers were asked to eject from the luggage 😐

  5. Superb post as usual! But I did think you were a wee bit unfair to GM in calling their cars ‘unreliable gas guzzlers’. You can always rely on them to guzzle gas.

  6. The Airport staff are a queer lot if you look at them. First you have yankee turds pull up Shahrukh(Personally I feel they’d have been of some service had they detained him forever but sigh!).
    Next you have them toying about with Kalam.
    And then, worse of all with pickles. Wonder whether these chaps will ever catch a real terrorist!
    The language went over my head the first time. But ah! That happens with self. Excellent writing.

      1. KA, I beg to differ, though you might not update it on a quotidian basis, the “blogsite” (I can only imagine this to be the portmanteau of blog + website) is .
        Since I ( and presumably many other visitors to your ‘blogsite’) like the quality of mercy that is twice blessed, derive pleasure twice, once from your post itself, and, while waiting for the next one, once again from the comments section, have to aver that the blogsite is a aggregate of the posts & the comments.
        And with this assertion we must come to the conclusion that this ‘site’ is updated on a quotidian basis, quite frequently.

  7. In all this outrage over the kidnapping of said mango pickle, the above commentators are missing the bigger story – why in the world would anyone carry mango pickle from Pune to Madras, the capital of the Avakkai pickle? I‘ve lived in Pune and loved the place, but not even its best friends would accuse Pune of providing tasty native cuisine. Kindly explain:)

    1. Don’t the bragging rights for Avakkai capital belong to Hyderabad or some other city within AP? Andhra avakkais are implicitly branded with the label “Not for the meek”. Given the pickle we are in (of apportioning glory), maybe an avakkai connoiseur (or two) can render final judgment on which city runs away with the prize. And let’s not forget: there are two flavors “with garlic” and “without garlic” 🙂

  8. I object I object I object, saraku mattum deport pannalam, adhuku tootukura urgaaku inda gadhiya 😛 nice post 😉

    1. Actually, the pickle was indeed masterfully selected pieces of mango marinated in masterly spices, so I’m not surprised that its soliloquy borrowed those characteristics as well

  9. saar, after having undergone so many trials and tribulations to bring the pickle to Tamil soil, do not spoil its taste by combining it with a Hindi food item. Brisnoff vodka in one hand, pickle in other, standing in the TASMAC, be careful not to be seen by your mother!

  10. Heh@mangobeth. This was no less a Mid Bummer-Flight’s Scream.
    (Mutton metaphors notwithstanding, the Kingfisher guys do have an uncanny knack of getting ones’ goat.)

    A very pleasurable read. But -10 for mentioning Bakarvadi, Pune, pickles and all things good 😦

    g

  11. The loose-talk quotient of your blog is increasing exponentially. The initial ones were funny, creative and nice. Now it looks as if you are trying too hard and hence even though retains some appreciatability quotient its crosses the line to loose talk more often than not. Please dont churn blogs like this. Set aside topics like Kingfisher, Mahabharat, Maami-Maama and other local things and write meaningful stuff. I am sure you are capable of such things as some of your earlier blogs prove. Else you will remain in the class joker/ Loose Mohan category than Robin Williams/Mathew Perry category. Seriously! why are you catering to morons!

  12. gethu.. i’m sure navin’s aam ka achar will be available in saravana stores or in some random marwadi potti kadai in north chennai if u want refills.. but its probably better to go pune itself..

  13. That desipundit link is quite apt – the one where a bomb squad was called to blow up mango pickle.

    One thing the customs guys at SFO keep asking indian people is whether they are carrying pickles, cumin seeds etc. I just grin and tell them I’m there for a meeting, not to set up a grocery store.

  14. your post was brilliantly funny and enlightening. by the time i got to the end of it i found that my understanding of darwinian evolution, the idea of mango pickle and the meaning of quotidian had been brought into the kind of sharp focus they’ve never enjoyed in the fuzzy radar of my memory before. it was a bit like finding the right lens at the opticians after a lifetime of squinting through white noise. except at the opticians you don’t walk out with split sides and your innards hanging out. i’d seriously considering suing you for grievous personal injury, but it’s been such a pleasure, i just can’t bring myself to do it. argh!

  15. hey there,
    been following ur blog for quite a while … amazed at ur dexterity with words… (and pictures/graphs too!) . aren’t all software professionals supposed to be geeks and nerds??!! love ur sense of humour! u shd write a book now!
    rgds

    1. Thanks Divya. Actually, software professionals are not really geeks and nerds, at least in India. Geekery and Nerddom actually require atleast a modicum of creativity, and given that most software professionals come from an engineering background, the combination of our schooling system and 4 years of right-brain lobotomy by private engineering colleges actually renders most software professionals into zombie like button pushers who forward each other emails and fill out status reports in their dreams. They are, by no stretch of imagination, geeky or nerdy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s