by Ramesh Mahadevan

(Phone conversation between Ajay Palvayanteeswaran and PJ over the years)

A few days after freshly arriving in the USA.

"Machi, PJ, guess who ?"

"You sonavabitch Palvy, bugger, #$%$ &%^#, finally, all our dreams have come true. America aa gayen. My flight was superb. The airhostesses were 'maal', yaar."

"I stayed in New Jersey with my uncle. It was great, but it was also boring. These guys have been in this country for twenty %^$#ing years and god, they have just substituted one empty life in India for another one here. They are so boring and stuck up I couldn't even stand them. They only talk about 'Macaroni and Cheese' recipes and 'No load mutual funds' and god, we went to a park and my uncle insisted on playing soccer. He was so pathetic, he couldn't kick a Goodyear blimp, even if it were two feet in front of him. He doesn't even know about Sridevi movies. All he does is make money."

"I have already put a test message in this thing called SCI and have asked for everyone's phone number and address."

"I think I am going to compile the alumni list. You know this bugger Srini, he is in Carnegie Mellon for a Ph.D ...."

"All of us freshies are piling on with this one senior guy, remember Short Bala? Machi, he makes fundu grub."

Three months later.

"Abhey saale, Pallu $#$@ this is PJ, wake up, you moron. It is already 2.00 PM"

"&$#@ *&^ What is going on ? PJ you #@$%"

"I just got back from shopping. Got a pair of sexy Nikes. And some 501s. Great stuff. The KMart had them on sale."

"Machi, I am still looking for a good VCR. Nothing less than Panasonic. I want to see Sridevi in my own living room. Last night went to the sleazy bar, 'Shotgun Willie' with cute barmaids. They were wearing only handkerchiefs for dress. How is your love life ?"

"Kyaa yaar. Nothing is happening here. I took this female out last week ..."

"You sonavagun ... "

"But then, she was about forty and started talking about Jesus Christ after two minutes..."

"Don't tell anyone, but I am learning to dance, Fox trot, Cha Cha."

"That's what you learn in school eh? The courses are so easy man, and the other guys don't have our IIT training Machi. We can ace it in sleep."

"Acha, here everyone has caught the football fever. At least football is okay. I don't know how anyone can watch baseball. It is so boring compared to cricket. and my friend PC always cribs about it. He says that all these baseball players are nothing compared to the cricketers and they make million dollars, that too for just hitting full tosses."

"Machi, hot news, Srini is dating this hot dame.."

One year later

"Ajay, can't believe it is already one &%$# year Machi. This place is infested with new desis"

"Here too. These guys expect us to take care of them. What are we, babysitters? I am staying clear of these guys. I don't want to be pained by taking them shopping."

"Some of them are so rude. This one guy always comes to my place everyday. He is from some college in Khomeinabad. Can't believe they have colleges in those places."

"How was your trip to your uncle's place in New Jersey. Did you see Srini in Pittsburgh ? Is that bugger still crazy ?"

"Of course. Machi, I am going home next summer, did you check SCI about the travel agents. Heard ki there is a deadly deal in some airlines. Do you know the deal on F1 visas in Bombay ?"

Two years later

"Machi, Ranga from Ganga is in San Jose and he is already making forty K. I don't think I am going to stay here and do a Ph.D. I want to get a job and my green card before the immigration gets tighter."

"Me too, yaar. Ph.Ds are only for bottomers of the class, except of course people like Srini."

"I am already looking into cars. I think I will go for an Accord, four door. How about you ?"

"This bugger Bala has a damn good CRX. But he is making about fifty K. He just told them that if they don't give him that money, he will leave them . Only he knows their computer software."

"Yes, Machi, we should get out of here. Already another mother load of desi students have arrived this year. You remember Bala's brother Srini, he is here too...."

Four years later

"Machi, this third preference is not moving at all and I had to go to Monterey to get my H visa. They not only gave us our visas, but showed us a desi movie while we were waiting for the visa and gave us jaljeera. How is your labor coming along ?"

"The lawyer says it will get tough for desis. In Cincinnati, the INS has only two guys working on this. Acha, did you go for your medical already ?"

"No yaar. But I want to change jobs, visit Denmark, get married, sponsor my parents and my passport and I-94 have already expired. I have to post on SCI about my simple problem and see what they have to say."

"Machchchchi, you are getting married, eh ? Who is the lucky babe ?"

"Actually her name is Malini, full name Malini Ammal. I used to know her when she was three and I was in IIT. My parents and her parents have been friends for two centuries. Uncle owns half of Bangalore."

"You lucky sonavagun. I am also getting married to a girl called Savita. I saw her in Delhi - the meeting was arranged by my parents - when I went home last. The moment I saw her, I knew that she was the right person for me. I asked her only one question. 'Do you want to marry me, come to the US, spend my thousands of dollars.' She thought for a second and said yes. You know she has lived all her life in various countries and doesn't know any tamil."

"Wow, what a catch you have. I guess then you will have to donate all your lungis to Red Cross."

"This bugger Srini called me up last week. He has just passed his qualifiers"

Six years later

"You are talking about house prices in Silicon Valley. Take my town, Gurgaonville, New Jersey, the prices are phenomenal. It is more than a hundred bucks for a square foot. And they say the Real Estate is depressed."

"Wow. We bought a Tudor style house, with an unfinished basement. We have a nice school district. By the way, how many points did you get for your loan ?"

"I will send you all those by email. We managed to lock into a thirty year deal. We have a nice yard and planted seventeen trees, two New England pine and two Colorado spruce. They look great. Next year we are going to put a swimming pool .."

"But you don't know to swim ..."

"That's why we are going to keep it only three feet deep, slightly deeper than my tummy. Our Pooja room looks great. The drapes cost us two thousand bucks, at the K-Mart. My colleague's brother in law works there and so we got a five percent commission. God, the price of doorknobs has hit the roof, you won't believe."

"Wow. That is interesting. Savita always wanted to have a little vegetable patch and grow her own tinda and louky. I think that will be lovely. What kind of mulch do you put in your garden ?"

"We are trying to have ours a purely organic garden. In fact, we have imported three buffalos from India for fertilizer. Malini Ammal wants stackable washer and dryer, but I want a side-by-side and everyday we end up arguing. Next week, we are going to weed our garden, it is so exciting I can't wait."

"Yeah, this thing takes so much time, I don't have time to go to the Indian store and get Sridevi movies. What is the story with this Srini bugger, is he still doing his Ph.D ?"

"Yes, now I hear he is living with a gori and has put his thesis on hold."

Eight years later

"How are your mutual funds doing ? By the way, I'll be joining Softwaretech Systems next week"

"Wow, won't that be your eighth job in five years. Is it a good job ?"

"Great man, actually I even thought of going back to India and setting up a business with my uncle. But when you listen to the horror stories in India, it is impossible. Even now, at the right opportunity, I am ready to go back. Only my wife is against the idea. She doesn't want to live near her in-laws."

"My wife's entire extended family is here with their kids. God, it is just total confusion. I took them to the Disney World last week and they added us as a special attraction and sold tickets."

"Acha, do you know how you would sponsor your father in law ?"

"Very carefully ! I have the details from SCI. I will send it to you. By the way, I got elected to the Greater Gurgaonville India Association presidency. I guess having all my relatives voting for me helped. We even invited the local councilman. But he had other engagements. He was in a court hearing for racketeering and extortion."

"Acha, is this bugger Srini still doing his Ph.D ? When is he going to graduate ?"

"He called me last week. He has just switched advisers and now heavily into Dhrupad music. He is going with a Filipino woman."

"PJ, hang on a minute, my little son Munna is hanging upside down, trying to get my attention. I think he wants to talk on the phone. Why don't you say hello to him.. Munna.."

Munna: "Hello unccccall..."

PJ: "God, it is so boring talking to the dad and now the brat. Bratto, did you know your dad was such a goofball in IIT, it was a minor miracle that he even 'passed out' with his manhood in tact. Munna, dear, do you want to talk to Pappu. Here, Pappu, Munna wants to talk to you on the phone. Double up."

Fifteen years later

"I haven't been following the SCI recently. But there are these guys, Vijay Shah, I think and what is his name Alok Vijaysomething, nice posts they put, remarkable clarity of thought. I think it is about time the Hindus stood for their rights."

"Yes, even here, we have started a new chapter of VHP. We have Kids' Hindu fun summer camp. I am in charge of the Mundaka Upanishad and Pepsi."

"Yes, our culture is so old and VHP is the only savior of India. Don't mistake me. I have nothing against the Muslims. My uncle's friend's next door neighbor in India was a Muslim. They can still live protected under a Hindu India."

"Like we are living in this country. Any news about Srini's Ph.D ?"

Twenty Years later

"Hai, Ajay, I happened to read SCI - I don't read that crap usually. These guys always fight and argue. But I saw your son Munna's posting, lambasting all these 'Fresh off the Boat' desis. He was superb."

"Some of these new desi grad students are plain dumb. They call our kids ABCD, but they are the ones who are confused. My Munna flipped so many McDonald's hamburgers and he knows the value of money and the other moral values. These FOBs get a free ride and keep on cribbing. Cribboos, that's what they are."

"Yes, Munna has a point. It is so sickening to go to India and see all these educated guys not standing in line, or drooling over some char-anna ki heroines like Sridevi. What have the educated done to India? Obviously, a smart teenage kid, like Munna will ask tough questions. Imagine, you can't even get good drinking water there in India. We had to carry bottled water from here."

"I told Munna, kiddo, go ahead date whoever you want - I am not like the other desi immigrants. I instil the Indian spirit with the American beer. Unfortunately, Munna hasn't found any dates yet. Looks like the poor bastard is cursed with an arranged marriage. Actually he likes the idea. I told you, Munna likes the best of both cultures. Do you know of any girls ?"

"Its a pity Srini is still doing his Ph.D and still single. If he were married, and fathered a girl, at least one of our kids would have been hitched. Gotta go, I need to paint my house. I have been neglecting it for a while."

Twenty years and one day later

"Hi, this is Manohar Palvayanteeswaran ...."

"Hi, Munna, old buddy, this is Pappu, Papitesh. How are you doing, pal, at the Coastal Mesa Verde College."

"Great, dude, how about yourself in Front Range Community College ? This place is great for Wall Street type jobs. And the broads are great. There is this chick in my Business Intimidation 102 class, she is a stunner. How are your parents ?"

"They are doing great. I saw your parents too. They had come over the weekend before I left. We even went on a picnic. But you know how boring these Indian picnics can be. The women got under one tree and talked about 'Macaroni Kichadi' and the guys talked about 'No Load Mutual Funds'. They even tried to play soccer. Jeez, man, they were pathetic."

"Really, I went to an Indian party myself last week. My local host organized it. You should remember him, Uncle Srini, you know what, he is still doing his Ph.D"

"Like, man, still doing his Ph.D, man, that is way out in the left field. I am outta here in three years......"

Copyright(R) Mahadevan Ramesh