Sunday, February 24, 2008

The African Diaries - Prologue

I'm just back from East Africa after a 12 day trip which I managed to spend mostly in hotels and restaurants. I had intended to spend time in the bush but I couldn't find it. It might have been that the hostile natives were determined to keep its location a secret. Then again, The Rouge Bar in Kampala might not have been the right place to start looking. Either way, Africa kept that little secret with her. In its place, I made another discovery, no less momentous, that sequentially consuming 4 shots of a liqueur named Zappa will disconnect the motor nerves responsible for controlling one's legs. I realize I am speaking in riddles and that you, dear reader, are itching to clout me one on the cerebellum (but you don't know my address, ha ha ha) so without further ado, I shall pitch into my great epic.

Four score and seven years ago... oops, wrong speech .... a couple of weeks ago, some of us were having a working lunch and purely out of scientific motives, one of us ordered beer. My mates (I'll call them Tom and George) declared that Africa would be the next engine of growth for the world economy. One thing led to another and before I knew what was happening, I had signed up for a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia.

I had a personal problem. I had not cleared this with my immediate superior at home and I spent most of my time on the ride back thinking of plausible explanations. The I.S. (immediate superior) conceals, behind a petite appearance, a keen nose for funny business and is extremely un-Gandhian when I try to pull a fast one. So I decided to tell her the truth. "Sweetheart" I said "Africa is the engine for world growth". "You've been drinking beer", she diagnosed. "True, my angel" I replied, "but not germane to the issue"

She gave me the look and I suddenly found that truth had vanished from my lips. "Er, Tom and George have this really important assignment in Africa and are begging me to accompany them so that I may contribute my valuable insights."

You, dear reader, are a person of breeding and you do not want to know the contents of the speech that the I.S. delivered on this occasion. Suffice it to say that it lasted 15 minutes and melted a considerable amount of earwax. But the conclusion was "Do as you please" and I wasted no time in shinning up the attic for the old Samsonite.......

8 comments:

Vijay said...

Aaah.. the most dangerous statement that can come from an "IS"... "Do as you please"...

Actually this is just half a statement.. the complete statement is "Do as you please.. I'll take care of this at the appropriate time"... so good luck Narendra... theres a pending "I told you so" somewhere...

P.S: Have you imported any Zappa?

kallu said...

Really kept me laughing. Well written , short and 'cute' is the word that comes up.

rads said...

OMG! You really were there? :O

lol@do as u please!
I say that and the husband will really do whatever he pleases. :)

Bikerdude said...

Ooh lovely, a little tickler to the actuall happenings in Afreeka.

Do update!! Slurp.

narendra shenoy said...

@Vijay - I have, subsequent to this trip, learnt that "Do as you please" is girl slang for "No". Sadly, there was no "Zappa" in the duty free.

@Kallu - Thanks!

@Rads - Say, what is the standard operating procedure when your husband disobeys you? Corporal punishment? Mere reprimand?

@Bikerdude- Thanks! Yup, planning to reveal every disgusting detail.

rads said...

Naren: As useless I may sound as a wife or I.S (as you fondly name yours), I bang pots and pans around till I get tired, lose interest and move on to other things. Husband does what he pleases and all's well and brushed under the carpet. New set of pots and pans arrive, until their lifetime is decided by the next episode.

Drenched said...

I spent the last year and a half, living, laughing, talking, weeping, spending most of the time with an NRI who grew up in Cameroon. (You find it on the map for me and I'll give you a candy.) Everytime I asked her if she lived in a tree house, she'd kick me in the shins. I still limp. Anyhoo, it did clear up a lot of things about Africa for me and our other regular Indian friends. However, one of them confessed to me once that he still pictures Africans in leaves, carrying spears and dancing around a bonfire singing, "Jing-a-la-la-la". Did you bump into some similar ones?
As for the "I.S.", I've seen it in my house too. Mother bangs a few pots and pans and chops the vegetables with much cruelty while jabbering away all the reasons why she's right and in the end, concludes the speech with the universal, "Do as you please". Of course, how can we disobey the I.S.?

Maddy said...

ah - nice start, like a true adventurer...there you go to the land of gujjus & idi amin..let me read the next to see what happens...did u meet mumtaz? oh, i guess she is in kenya...