Lost In Translation

Every once in a while, I get all Indiana Jones And The Cave Of Horrors and try to clean my room up. Now what usually happens in my pursui...


Every once in a while, I get all Indiana Jones And The Cave Of Horrors and try to clean my room up. Now what usually happens in my pursuit of organizational nirvana (you know, the kind that I can take pictures of and post on instagram and brag about on twitter) is that I bring everything that’s inside shelves onto the floor and in the process, discover some boxes of chewing gum that probably dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, Salman Rushdie novels whose pages one to three are very soiled because I kept reading it again and again trying to understand what he’s saying, but failed miserably and eventually gave up on reading, lots of notebooks filled with either miscellaneous calculations for currency swaps or long winding sentences. Then, just as I’m about to begin the actual cleaning process, my mother calls me to eat and I end up forgetting all about my mission to make my room fit for human habitation. Eventually, our Man Friday who comes in the next morning just puts everything back in its old place, exactly the way it was before - He has a special talent when it comes to recreating a mess.

So yesterday, when I was seriously pursuing my new favourite hobby of time-wasting-on-Pinterest, I saw a couple of organization blogs which immediately kindled my inner Organizational Goddess (whose appearance is only more frequent than my inner Baking Goddess - trust me, you don’t want to ever call her unless you need to like, burn a kitchen down or something) and keeping in line with protocol, I started pulling down stuff from shelves when I chanced upon an envelope of photos that I’d printed and meant to put into an album but like most things I mean to do, I’d conveniently forgotten about it. So like all people who try to find excuses to stop cleaning after they make a giant mess, I absolutely had to go through those pictures and get nostalgic about whatever it was.

It turned out they were pictures from our family’s vacation to Hong Kong & Singapore from a couple of years ago, also known as those 12 days I didn’t have any internet and it turned out internet is overrated when you actually have a life. AND THEN I REMEMBERED THAT I NEVER WROTE ANYTHING ABOUT THAT VACATION ON MY BLOG WHICH IS SO SAD, IN FACT, SADDER THAN THOSE K.BALACHANDAR MOVIES THEY SHOW ON KTV EVERY WEEKDAY AFTERNOON WHERE EVERYONE DIES.

Anyway.

The most striking memory from that vacation is when we got to go to one particular city in China, called Shenzhen, which was apparently the China part of “Made in China”. It was pretty amazing – apart from all the crazy manufacturing that they did, it was also the place where they made all the fakes, and not just designer bags or whatever (That said, the FakeLouisVuitton and FakeGucci bags I saw were so genuine looking that I’m pretty sure they even made fake FakeLouisVuitton bags). I mean, they make fake EVERYTHING. They even have this sort of park where they have fake 7 Wonders of The World. Like Fake Eiffel Tower, Fake Pyramids, Fake Taj Mahal – it’s faking awesome (See what I did there?).

But this story is not about those gorgeous but fake Chanel 2.55 bags I saw there. This is about how, on our way back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, we were detained by passport control at the Train Station, who took us into their office for “questioning”. My father was very confident that we just happened to be part of their compulsory random check, and asked us to keep cool, but my mother was totally freaked out, as if the authorities suspected us to be armed and dangerous Russian Ninja Assassins who were trying to spark a Nuclear War, which is crazy because we’re not even Russian. My mother got completely paranoid and suddenly started chanting Hanuman Chalisa and MantharaRajaPadam Sthothram under her breath in between high pitched whines in Tamil that involved calling the Chinese Passport Authorities “Shaniyan”. Very cool.  
In the middle of all this I was sitting and copying a Chinese character from a flyer that was next to me, on to the back of my wrist with a black ball point pen.

About fifteen minutes later, the Authorities confirmed that we were neither Russian nor Ninja and let us leave. Just as he let us out, one of the guys at the door, pointed to my wrist and smiled, which I thought was awesome - maybe my attempts at copying Chinese characters was what had actually changed their minds and forged a new bond of trust. I beamed back, fully convinced that I had done my part as a Future Ambassador to the Country, when I realized his smile was less smile and more smirk. Two more guys spotted my ballpoint-inked wrist and started giggling. Some Engrish and lots of dubstep dance moves later, I got to know that the flyer that was next to me was about the symptoms of Bird Flu and the character that I had been so intently drawing on my arm was the Chinese symbol for...Diarrhea. 

On the bright side, at least I didn't use a permanent marker. 



PS - In case you want to suggest a fun tattoo idea to a friend, here you go: 

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34 comments

  1. I love your humorous writing style :-) As always very funny and nice :-)


    amas32

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  2. That actually meant Diarrhea. I thought you were just typing some random chinese character.

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  3. hey,
    I was wondering how to contact you, since I did not have your email. But the photomap you have shared on instagram can be used to identify where you leave. Delete this comment when you moderate.

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  4. How delightful! Super Lavanya. And yes, I can very well relate to your habit of taking out all the stuff from the Lost World and end up keeping them back where they were, in the futile process of cleaning. :) I do the same. Only this time, it's a mother of 2 being so in-adept. :D And I dont have a maid who comes and cleans when I give up :(

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  5. LOLZ..."Diarrhea" on wrist..And just loved ur mom...Shaniyans...
    I was in Shenzhen few months back and found even a fake apple store:-) I even heard from my colleagues there that some employess didn't even know that it was a fake apple store:-)
    By the way i am the "proud owner " of a Shenzhen channel bag:-)

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  6. Sunderesan MahadevanAugust 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    It never ceases to amaze me how you can translate simple happenings like cleaning into such a humorous anecdote. Great read. Am pretty sure they can't fake this humour even in Shenzhen.

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  7. Ok there seriously should be a warning of some sort. I started laughing at work!
    Anyway great post! Keep writing!

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  8. and so you are the reason those chinese underestimate us all?

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  9. I was recently complaining to a friend how the good old, regular 'blog' is dead, because of this twitter thing. She said I'm probably not following the right people, and that these still exist.

    Apparently she was right. Good read.

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  10. thank you! :)

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  11. haha, hang in there! thanks :)

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  12. romba thanks saar :D

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  13. wow nicely written.. couldnt stop laughing and got speculative glances from family.. keep writing :)

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  14. Lady Lavanya, As Always,inspiring the common man to make this world a better place... starting with the thought of cleaning the room... and spreading the joy to China... take a bow!

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  15. What's funny about diarrhea? Alternatively, why is bodily humor so universal?

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  16. Delightful read!
    Each time I read your blog I wonder why all funny things happen to you only, then I realise that they happen to every one,but no one can narrate with so much awesome-ness like you. :D Suparr!

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  17. Thanks to share such nice information.





    Bank
    Jobs, Sales Jobs, NGO Jobs

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  18. ha hi lavanya....mee to hv xperinc as u,
    these incidnts although thr nt vry imprtnt fix deeply in our mind.in future whn v recld them it would b a wondrful memory than any other.,hpines z scatrd all ovr the plc arond us v jst hv to identify them then our lif bcoms so intrst..keep on searching...
    i lov ur ryting keep on ryting never gv up......im words SATTAPPADIIIII>>>>>

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  19. Lavanya- in the pursuit of "time pass", I pretty much spent a large portion of yesterday reading your entire blog. I'm kinda wishing The Evil Auto-rickshaw still existed.
    Cheers

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  20. That looks a lot like a toilet seat with its bottoms bent because of a weight - or wait, a shopping cart.


    PS: I've never stopped reading your blog halfway and always amuses me how you start something completely humorous about something that is irrelevant to the point you are making in the end. You must be writing some mainstream tamil masala movies.

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  21. Marvelous post....

    rosesandgifts.com

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  22. Hi!!! Just read all your blog posts and I really have to say that i'm addicted to your blog!!! Congrats, keep writing more stuff. Also I'm very proud, that I'm your senior from school, though a different branch. Anyways just wanted to commend your writing!! Could visualize and relate to many similar incidents in my life. Thanks for bringing back such memories!!!!

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  23. That Chinese chracter does look like the side profile of a guy taking a dump in a toilet.. with vapours rising & all.. How delightfully gross! :D

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  24. Hahah! And that is how you increased the job of your "Man Friday" once again!

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  25. Somehow through the Tambrahm page, I stumbled upon your this page today and I am so glad that I did! Loved a lot of your blog! :D

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