Thursday, 25 March 2010

Maybe I'm just misunderstood

Question: Why was Santa studying on top of the mountain?

Answer: He wanted to complete his higher education.

When you've recovered from laughing so hard at this hilarious joke I want to explain why I am sharing Santa jokes in late March.

There's a guy in our office called Raju who sends out SMS jokes at lunchtime to let us know that it's time to go and eat. For months I've been wondering why all the jokes have been about Santa, who I assumed to be Santa Claus. For one the timing is odd - it's almost three months since Christmas, and the other was that Santa seemed to be doing things that were in no way related to anything festive.

It turns out that Santa is a common term for a Sikh and that they are the focus of many jokes in India, a bit like the Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman theme back home. After this revelation everyone laughed at me and I sat slightly disappointed as the jokes have gone from being mysteriously unfunny to just unfunny.

Cultural misunderstanding the first.

I was in Mysore at the weekend doing a little bit of sightseeing between work in Bangalore and Chennai. Outside the place we were staying in a guy was enthusiastically giving me what I assumed to be the 'okay' symbol (as in the picture). I thought he was asking me if I liked Mysore ("Mysore is okay, yes?"), so I responded with equal fervour. "Yes! Mysore's great!" And gave him the okay symbol back with a huge smile and nod.

We were getting in a car at the time and as we were driving off everyone asked me what I was doing. "He was trying to sell you drugs, you just agreed to buy them from him tonight!" Quite. So yes, he was not asking me what I thought of Mysore with a friendly okay sign, but he was asking me if I wanted to smoke some weed and was informing me to visit him later that evening to purchase said drugs. How entertaining.

Cultural misunderstanding the second.

I have however managed to convince most people that I know how a train works. Only the other day I got on a fast from Borivali to Andheri and no-one gave me a word of advice. All around I received admiring glances and you could see on the faces of my fellow travellers that they were all thinking the same thing: "Here is a man who knows how to get on a train. He's probably done it before. I have complete confidence in his ability to alight and embark, you can just see it in the way that he conducts himself." I smiled, got off at Andheri and probably made a fool of myself in some other way.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe, just maybe you misunderstood the admiring glances? :-P