Aug 042000

Passover and Fog

The movie of the day is “shadows and fog”, starring Woody Allen, Madonna, other notables. Set in a drab middle european city, where fear and roumor-mongering takes over the mob, it reminds me of Kafka.

Well, in Bangalore, I hear roumors everyday. My intrepid local guide comes back and gleefully reports #renDu rOjulu bandhu saar#(రెండు రోజులు బంధు సార్). I hear that four people were stabbed near Majestic. Come morning, the city runs usual, except that people are heavily suspecious.

On tuesday, I was completely stuck in my room, where I had a wonderful opprotunity to get some lessons on Indian culture thanks to the TV. I got to watch Telugu and Hindi channels here. They have four Telugu channels — Gemini, ETV, Teja, and Hyd Doordarshan. It appears that at least two channels plays Telugu movie songs at any given time. They even had songs of Krishna dancing!

The shows in Telugu remind me of the Latin American shows I watch at late nights. They are seriously funny, if you know what I mean. There is certain charm in such “naive art”. Some shows seem to be straight imitations from some US shows. All in all, it no longer seems be stuck imitating BBC, where they leave a camera on a cow grazing in the pastures for half an hour.

Make no mistake, there a malady in the air striking the Telugu language right these moments! Dear reader, I am refering to the usage of plural for the respect. Where does it start and where does it end? Is it “veerappan gaaru”? If not, does he not deserve a the appellation of “Mr.”? When a “plural” person comes along with several other plural people, how does the usage differentiate between the “pluralness” of various individuals?

My proposal is simple: assign a numerical value for each person. Under this, say Veerappan gets “1”. Raj Kumar gets say “83”. Have a nominal system of assiging numbers (not unique, by any means), that takes age, money, facial hair etc into account.

Speaking of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, in the current times, in B’lore, you don’t get away by calling Raj Kumar merely as “plural”. You need to call him Dr. Raj Kumar.

Among the other news, the triumphant return of Lara Dutta to Bangalore has set off a new frenzy among newspapers. I learnt that her mother made her favorite dish: beef kheema. I find the gossip columns fascinating — in Telugu, they are the main news.

Finally on wednesday we could move out. Except that in the middle of the day, self-fulfilling rumors closed down the city. Yesterday and today, the city seems to be normal again. When people tell me about the murders, I wondered if that forces the shutdown of the city. If a few people were randomly shot down, or even killed by a frezied mob in world trade center, I wonder what happens to the PATH schedule?

Allusion alert: Remember Ten Commandments? Specifically passover? Death comes to kill the first born on every Egyptian house hold. The jews knew how to ward off the death — a mere smearing of blood(?) on their doors tells Death to passover that house. Is it blood? I am not sure. It could even be “Dr. Raj Kumar Jaya waagaLu”.

Of course, my car is decorated with Dr. Raj Kumar’s posters. It expresses the sentiment that he be returned with victory. Don’t laugh: it has been passed over.

Dr. Ramarao Kanneganti, Ph.D.
Bangalore, India

The original message is here.

 Posted by at 8:24 pm