Don’t be nice to Desis

Warning: contains tamil script.

Day 1: 

I saw that Desi-like-looking guy walking towards me in the going-down-escalator. I panicked. I bent towards him.

“Do you know High gate (or sounding something similar)?”

“Sorry, no”. (looking at the tube map and directing him properly flashed in my head, but, there are staffs here and I should really stop being that friendly in London).

“Are you from Mauritius”?

I smiled. Ah. It is my tamil looks that is making him ask this question. May be he is trying to start a conversation. “No I am from India”.

“Which part of India?” (My guess is correct. he was looking for a reason to start a conversation. Did he have to walk against the escalator for that? how stupid. You got me scared, idiot.) I smiled.

“I am from Madras. The south. Where are you from?”

“I am from Gujarat”. (He looked more like a Punjabi or a UP guy). “Can I take you out for a drink”? (That was too fast. Do you think i am that available-looking? Sure I look tired.)

“ha. ha. errr.. no. thank you”.

“May be a coffee, what do you say?” (ah right. did you mean alcohol when you said “drink”? I thought it was coffee. And when I said no, you have concluded that I am not an alcohol drinker? And you did not think that I was saying no to you? )

“Emmm, It is flattering, I must admit, but no. thanks.”. I put my best lovely smile, no_soul_but_smile smile on my face and thought that, that should convey the message).

“why”? (what? my smile didn’t work?)

“I have to go home” (That damn smile again).

“Where do you work? here (referring to that station)”? (Hello, don’t you think this is getting too uncomfortable? Quick. how to get rid of this guy?)

“Emm, Not here, but, (what is wrong with this guy. should i stop talking? well, i don’t have to be that abrupt). ya, closeby”.. (started walking fast. that stupid smile is still on my face).

“What do you do” (I think I get you. You are one of those guys recruiting girls aren’t you. is my red tops giving such bad signals!. ughh!)

“emm, (what is the plan? why plan? let us see how it goes). I work in the council”.

“I work in Barclays bank. We lend loans to the council, yours” (nodding proudly). (Now the smile on my face has changed. It is still a smile, but, “you_poor_silly_idiot” smile).

“Yeah. Banks do that”. I nodded too.  another little smile. Walking fast.

“Listen. Shall I call you sometime?” (what! how? how are you going to know my contact details?)

“ahheeemmmmm,,, ya, why not” (Ok, bye bye smile).

“Can I have your number?” He has already taken his mobile and browsing through his address book to add my number to it! I am stunned.

“Emm, listen. I have to say I am very flattered. But, thank you very much. I have to go. OK. bye”.

“Why”? (what? Stupid. you are just not getting it, are you? You can’t recruit people by irritating them. You had a very bad training. haaaa. what should I reply? I chose to reply in a very normal way, as if I did not suspect anything at all. I just laughed sadly within myself, but..)

“Well, I am married for a starter”. Smiled as nicely as possible, considering.

“He doesn’t have to know” (Blimey!)

“I am not that kind”. (run_away_from_me_I_might_hit_you_any_minute_smile).

“If I give my phone number, will you call me?” (Bloody hell. That is what I call “confidence”. My eyes widened. I certainly have lost my smile).

haaa… “I wouldn’t”.

“why?” (This is what I call testing my patience).

“Listen. however flattering it was, I wouldn’t want your number. Get it? bye now”. (Little raised voice. that was the best I could come up with).

“OK. It was nice meeting you” (oh and hell with my manners. my hand extended automatically and shaked his hands)

and the automated “and You” from me (Oh please kill whosover got these things into my system)..


Day 2 Incident 1:

Very shy_looking_lost desi. “How do you how to get to…” “sorry I don’t know” just walked away.

Felt very guilty. May be this guy was not a bad guy. may be a genuine guy. he looks like very new here. he asked me only because i am a desi and he might have felt comfortable asking me. I shouldn’t have done this. The other guy was different.


Day 2 Incident 2:

I wanted water. Went to the shop around the corner in the underground.

“Are you from srilanka?”

“No I am from India.”

“Oh.  from which part?”

“Madras. I would like a vegetable samosa as well please”

“தமிழா” (Are you a Tamil)?.

“ஆமா. (yes)” His accent sounded Srilankan. I smiled, unsure of how to react.

“நீங்க இங்க வந்து ரெம்ப நாளாச்சா?” (Have you been living here for sometime?”

“ம்ம்ம், 10 வருஷமாச்சு. நீங்க? (It has been ten years. You?)”

“நான் போன வருசம்தான் வந்தேன். இங்க தனியா இருக்கீங்களா? என்ன பண்றீங்க? (I came just last year. Do you live alone? what you do here?)”

“I live with my husband”. (smile. the kind of smile I give when I want to say goodbye).

“எனக்கு இன்னும் கலயாணம் ஆகல. உங்களுக்கு பிள்ளைகள்லாம் இருக்கா? (I am still not married. Do you have children)”.

“இல்ல (No)”. (I am giving money and packing my commuter bag to run away from here)..

“எனக்கு கல்யாணத்துப் பார்த்துக்கிட்டிருக்காங்க. உங்களுக்குத் தெரிஞ்சவங்க  யாரவது  இருந்தா சொல்லுங்களேன் (My folks are looking for an alliance for me. Do you know anyone?)”.

(Mummy!!) “இல்ல எனக்கு யாரயும் தெரியாது. (No I don’t know anyone)” (Why on earth this fucking bag is giving me this much trouble. trying to dump everything in). 

“ஏன். பத்துவருசமா ஏன் குழந்த பெத்துக்கல (Why? why do you not have a child after ten years?”. (Mummy!!! Please someone save me here!!) 

“I have to go. Ok”. looking frieghtened.

“பத்து வருசம் கொஞ்சம் அதிகமா தெரியல உங்களுக்கு? எதும் பிரச்சினையா? ஏன் பெத்துக்காமா இருக்கீங்க? (Don’t you think ten years is little too long? is there any problem? Why are you not having child?” (I don’t beleive it!)

“Okeyyyy. Bye” (I don’t know how I did not cry).

“மறுபடியும் எப்ப வருவீங்க (When can I see you again)”? (What? ammmaaaaaaa….. run run run baby run).


Day 3

A woman looking something like indian. Could be spanish or Italian. Just met another similar looking (indian or Italian? kind of looking) lady in the previous train. she smiled and talked nice. Just a couple of sentences, but very friendly.

We were waiting for our train. Train arrived. I ran all over the place in the platform, selecting best coach to choose my seat. I came to a conclusion after some running and I boarded the train. What a surprise, this nice looking lady was entering just after me. We smiled at each other, what can I say, she came and sat just opposite to me. It was a four seat with a table at the middle. It was just two of us sitting opp to each other. She smiled. I smiled back.

“Oh I am so looking forward to the weekend” (I started the conversation).

“Me too. I work in the north and coming home for the weekend and….

The conversation lasted until we parted. very nice. She lives just close to where I live. She has come just last year. She is still trying to find her feet. She lives with her family, both are doctors and they have a son. I offered an invitation to my house, thinking that she might need a friend/help. She changed the subject, but continued to talk very friendly with me. I got the signal, and continued the friendly discussion. she told me all about her personal life, but chose to end the relationship there. I just chose to be a listener and smiled at her all the time and acted as if we have been friends for ever. When her stop (just one stop before mine) came, she said “bye. may be we will meet again”. I smiled again. When my stop came I rushed out of the train to get my car, go home and watch my movie Insomnia, which I had stopped half way through yesterday, as I was very tired and feeling sleepy.



20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Visitor
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 11:14:00

    Was that just an imaginary story or does it really happen ?(


  2. premalatha
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 11:16:44

    real man real. read further.


  3. Visitor
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 11:57:49

    I really dont know what to say! I’m astonished that people take liberties with unknown persons, and that in a country, like UK, where the people are known for their reservedness!


  4. premalatha
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 11:58:50

    Now you know why some go “reserved” don’t you? 😀


  5. Dubukku
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 14:20:47

    hmmmm…day2 incdnt2 is a very typical back home style…ppl dont care about privacy, feelings,self respect

    and next time (if) you meet the Gujju guy just talk to him nicely and give him my mobile as your number.


  6. Premalatha
    Sep 02, 2006 @ 14:30:39

    and next time (if) you meet the Gujju guy just talk to him nicely and give him my mobile as your number.

    why? you want drink? Don’t you think I would go for it? 😀


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  8. F e r r a r i
    Sep 07, 2006 @ 10:52:03

    So dont be nice to desi’s. Very good.


  9. nandhu
    Sep 07, 2006 @ 14:21:25

    u got a sense of humour. anybody would give u that.


  10. mumbaigirl
    Sep 08, 2006 @ 13:09:23

    Good Grief. I can’t believe the questions the Day 2 guy asked you. As for day 1, I have been through it more often than I care to remember. My reaction is also to start walking really fast. One of them even told me once, your skin is too fair for you to be a desi! I felt like slapping him!


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  12. premalatha
    Sep 08, 2006 @ 18:58:40

    your skin is too fair for you to be a desi

    I have been asked “how come I don’t look “Indian”?” :))


  13. Syam
    Sep 15, 2006 @ 16:32:39

    //அமெரிக்காவில் சக தெற்காசியரை பார்த்தாலே எல்லோரும் முகத்தை சுளுக்கிக் கொண்டு போவது இதனால்தானா…//

    இதுனால மட்டும் இல்ல…கொஞ்சம் பேச்சு குடுத்தா AMWAY இல்ல அந்த மாதிரி ஏதாவது ஒரு way னு சொல்லி நீங்க பணக்காரர் ஆக எளிய வழினு சொல்லி போட்டு தள்ளிருவாங்க 🙂


  14. dharumi
    Oct 30, 2006 @ 16:32:02

    i was referred to this post for my write up அமெரிக்கத் துளிகள்

    என்னமோ போங்க…சரியான அராத்துககிட்ட மாட்டியிருப்பீங்கன்னு நினைக்கிறேன். அப்படியா நம்ம ஆளுக எல்லோரும் இந்த மாதிரி இருப்பாங்க..?

    appears to be far fetched… 🙂


  15. premalatha
    Oct 30, 2006 @ 16:38:54

    it was just note of what exactly happened and why i was horrified. Some days have been worse and some days have been better. There have been days I have cried (yes, I do cry. Some people of capable of getting that out of me).

    I have stopped responding to conversations, even have started avoiding eye contact. Sad, but true.  But still go interested if I see someone in less-indian areas, such as not-london, and these days, not-hemel as well.


  16. Premalatha
    Oct 30, 2006 @ 20:23:47


    இது ஆராய்ச்சிக்கட்டுரை அல்ல. It does not conclude or it was not intended to give a message, not even a generalisation.


  17. Premalatha
    Oct 30, 2006 @ 20:32:32

    //appears to be far fetched…//

    அய்யா, இங்கு வந்து சிலகாலம் “வாழ்க்கை” நடத்திவிட்டு அதன்பின் நீங்கள் என்ன சொல்லுகிறீர்கள் என்பதை தெரிந்து கொள்ள விரும்புகிறேன். நாங்களும் வந்த புதிதில் இப்படித்தான் குழம்பி, வெறுத்து, வலிய பேசி (இன்னமும் செய்கிறேன்) …..

    இஙகு வாழ்க்கை நடத்திய சிலகாலங்களுக்குள் இரண்டு விதமான மாற்றங்கள் வருகின்றன. இருவிதமான ஆட்கள் உருவாகின்றனர்.  1) தனக்குத்தானே தான் நன்றாகத்தான் இருக்கிறோம் என்று reassure பண்ணிக்கொள்வதற்காக முடிந்தவரை மற்றவரிடம் ஏதாவது ஒரு குறை கண்டுபிடிக்கும்வரை அவரைக் குடைந்து எடுத்து … 2) முதல் பிரிவினரைக்கண்டு பயப்படுபவர்கள். நாங்கள் இரண்டாம் வகை. வேறு சில வகைகள் இருந்தால் எனக்குத்தெரியாது. முதலாம் typeகாரர்கள் பயமுறுத்தியதில் ஓரளவு ஒதுங்கியே இருக்கிறோம். இருந்தாலும் சில நண்பர்கள் சம்பாதித்திருக்கிறோம். எப்பொழுதாவது அந்த முதல் சிரிப்பு சிரித்துதானே இந்த நண்பர்கள் எங்களுக்கு கிடைத்தார்கள்? சிரிக்காமல் எங்கிருந்து வந்திருப்பார்கள்? Day 2 Incident 1-ல் சிறிது குற்ற உணர்வோடு நான் போனதைக் கவனிக்கவும்.


  18. dharumi
    Oct 31, 2006 @ 09:25:02

    //appearsfar fetched// – what i meant was, is the condition so bad; are our fellows this bad.. not that i didn’t believe your narration.

    //இங்கு வந்து சிலகாலம் “வாழ்க்கை” நடத்திவிட்டு //வேணாங்க…!! 🙂


  19. wyvern
    Nov 29, 2006 @ 16:01:30

    jesus….can’t beleive people can behave this stupid or bad….saw in one of ur replies that sometime those aholes has made u cry….I don’t how would i would feel if a women comes and ask me those questions…lol….but still tears for what those douche bags said?. I got to admit it was a bit funny, even though it was ur nightmare. may be because of ur writing style….anyway can I have ur number please or can you call me if i leave my number!!!! lmao…just kidding….take a difficult situation and make a joke of it….that policy has worked just fine for me


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