Friday, September 12, 2008

You da man, Maveli

[Legend has it that Maveli, aka Mahabali, ruled the state of Kerala in India, and was renowned for the justice and goodness of his rule. As Maveli was an asura (demon), devas (divine) felt threatened and plotted to end his reign; much like in the corporate world where established power centers plots against upcoming ones. Vishnu, the protector among Hindu gods, disguised as a poor Brahmin called Vamana, approached Maveli and asked for three steps of land. Just as the generous Maveli agreed, Vamana increased in size to cosmic proportions. With his first step, Vamana covered earth and with the second, he covered skies. Maveli, with nothing left, offered his head for the last step and Vamana pushed him down to Patala, the nether world. Vishnu, pleased with Maveli, granted his wish to be allowed to visit Kerala once a year to see if his people were happy and content. Onam, the biggest festival of Kerala, marks the annual visit of Maveli]

Our story happens in the United States of America. Maveli has lost hope on Kerala owing to his bad experiences with mosquitoes, strikes, transport bus, ration shops, monsoon, pollution and thattu kadaas (road-side eateries) in god’s own country. Armed with a special invitation from Bush (not WMD), Maveli decided to visit US this Onam to see the welfare of Keralites in US.

Maveli took the Air India (being ex-government, he insists on using government services) non-stop flight from Mumbai to New York. He wondered why the lemonade served on the flight tasted so horrible, not knowing that it was beer. Maveli asked the stewardess for a massage and could not understand why she refused, as devadasis (he was an asura king, remember?) in his Patal Force One flight used to give him a nice Ayurvedic massage.

Finding a mallu family in the back row, Maveli tried to engage into a conversation. To the question if he knew Onam, the teenager in the family replied, “There was this dude called Maveli, like he was really cool king and stuff, but some guy squashed him unda’ the ground. He comes visiting them Keralites every yea’, you know, and they celebrate Onam.”

At the New York airport, Maveli asked the blonde behind the information desk, “Can you tell me the time difference between India and US?” She replied, “One second.” Maveli replied, “Ok, thank you” and rushed to collect his luggage. Though Maveli did not know English, he carried an electronic translator that his friend James Bond had gifted him. Maveli had attempted TOEFL after reading the book ‘Spoken English in 32 days’ that he bought from Kottayam bus stand, but failed miserably.

Maveli was impressed with the developments made by America. He felt proud of the fact that while Americans made turbines work using steam, Keralites atleast had found that steam can be used to make idlis. Maveli bought the latest 3G iPhone and immediately send an SMS joke to his friend in Patala (not to Sidhu; that is his friend in Patiala) - “Do you know at what time Keralites and Americans stand on one leg? Scroll down for the answer…… when they are wearing their underwear.”

Maveli was amazed at the two shiny silver walls that moved apart and back together again by themselves. He saw an old woman walking up to them, pressing a button, the walls opening and the lady entering a small room. The walls closed and Maveli saw small circles lit up above the walls. The walls opened up again and, lo behold, a beautiful twenty-something-old woman stepped out. Maveli noted in his mental diary to remember to bring his wife the next time he visited US.

But Maveli found it strange that people were kissing in the public, which was a very private affair in Patala. He even found that the reaction of the women were different. While all women in US were responding “kiss me gently”, “kiss me softly”, “kiss me like there’s no tomorrow”, the reaction he got while kissing in Patala were “don’t tell anybody” or “don’t tell my husband”.

Maveli went to visit the Statue of Liberty since he had heard a lot about it. As he stood admiring the crown on the statue, a Mexican told him that it is for sale for $1000. When Maveli gave him the money, the Mexican said he will get a ladder to remove the crown and never returned. When Maveli passed by in the evening he again couldn’t help admiring the crown. The same Mexican came and told that it is still available for sale for $1000. Maveli becoming wise this time gave him the $1000 and asked the Mexican to wait and said he will get the ladder this time.

Maveli then proceeded to Washington DC to meet Bush, where he signed an agreement to supply oil to US in return for uranium to power the proposed nuclear plant in Patala. The prices of oil fell dramatically and Bush was forced to make a public statement: “They misunderestimated me. There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.” [these are actual public statements made by Bush]

Maveli then proceeded to meet Keralites. He asked a young Keralite who was a heavy smoker, “Don’t you know that smoking is injurious to health?” The Keralite replied “I came to know the dangers of smoking after reading newspaper. Therefore, I have stopped..; reading newspapers, that is.”

Maveli subsequently went to Charlotte as he knew that Salil’s cousin lived there. Since he reached late in the evening, he visited a bar. The man on his right ordered, “Johny Walker, single”. The man on his left ordered, “Peter Scotch, single”. So Maveli ordered, “King Mahabali, married'. Maveli then flew to Fremont to visit Salil. But unfortunately, Salil was on his usual cross-country IR trips. So Maveli left a voice message and returned to Patala.

After returning to Patala, it is reported that Maveli has started using nope (for ‘no’) and yep (for ‘yes’) to answer questions. He has started saying hey (instead of ‘hello’) and eating candies (instead of ‘chocolates’), cookies (instead of ‘biscuits’) and yogurt (instead of ‘curd’). He has switched to diet coke (instead of ‘buttermilk’) and pizza (instead of ‘dosa’) for dinner. He has started taking cabs (instead of ‘taxi’) to go on the freeway (instead of ‘highway’) even if he has got to go (instead of ‘have to go’) to a place less than a mile (instead of ‘kilometer’). And it seems these days when Maveli listens to music, he says ‘yo man’ often.

God save US.. sorry Maveli!


Anonymous said...

Happy Onam buddy.

sansmerci said...

belated happy onam .. n that was a good lauf early morn read :) man! u got some creativity! awesome keep it up! lookin fwd to readin a lot more :)

Renu said...

belated happy Onam !
U have incorporated quite popular jokes so well:)

Salil said...

Thank you buddy.

Thank you for the wishes. And that was a good comment early morning. This post was on a very lighter vein anyway.

Thank you for Onam wishes.
I guess that is what I have done in all my posts - find a theme, bring in a personal touch, add some popular jokes and thread them all together.

Anonymous said...

Belated Onam.
That is one of the most hilarious pieces I have ever read.
Nice work there. Had a good laugh.

Benaam Badnaam said...

nice...a few of the jokes were heard before types...but overall it was a nice comic writeup...keep them flowing :)

Unknown said...

Man of man, I think you should seriously think of taking up script writing for movies, you can earn some big money there.I will recommend you to Priyadarshan uncle or Yash Chopra uncle.Do let me know. Shappy Ponam ..ohhhh sorry Happy Onam..

Salil said...

Happy Onam to you too.
I am an accountant and married; so you see where the humour is coming from.

Thank you. They will keep flowing as long I keep travelling.

Thank you; but what more to expect from my brother than kind words!
I hope you know that I did script write a couple of comedy plays - one in my company last year.
Shappy Ponam - that was a good one :-)

Anonymous said...

Lol..That was a great post..I guess Innocent and others ahve polularized maveli,that we see him as a cool man ..

Belated Onam wishes...

Anonymous said...

Patal force one :-) is it superior to air force one?

Obscure Optimist said...

fantastic... I am in awe of ur talent!! amazing write up.. Looking forward to more reads!!

Pinku said...


that was so cool...just hope some right wing hindus dont get after ur life this post.

but then am sure Maveli will help u and ask his friend Bush to hide u in afghanistan.

Salil said...

Thanks for passing by.
Yes, Mimicry artists gave Innocent's sound to Maveli, which I guess have now got stuck with portrayal of Maveli.

How can Air Force One made by mortals be more superior to Patal Force One made by the evil forces of the dark? Even Darth Vader aspires to have a PFO!

Wow, that is a big compliment, though a little discomforting one. Now I have to live (or 'write') upto a higher expectation :-(

Thank you for your visit here.
Right wing hindu activists of Kerala will have to take a lot of lives before they get to me in US, if they want to eliminate all folks who uses a bit of not-so-damaging Maveli funs.
But hiding in Afganistan in fear of life would be a classic case of 'from frying pan to fire' :-)

man in painting said...

that was very funny...hitting at the right areas...
liked the style verymuch..
festival wishes to you..

Resmi... said...

Hi Salil,

Liked the post very much. Hope Maveli doesn't come across this.. ;-)

Belated Onam wishes!!!

Deepa said...

Belated Onam wishes..

Absolutely Hilarious.. in true "blogger spirit" of putting thoughts across...


Monika said...

happy onam... it was a great post :) :) very innovative

came here via renu's blog and loved it

Gazal said...

a lot of such never- been- to -US-but-behave-like-american,yuppies here in bangalore.


Salil said...

Thank you buddy.
I have always been hitting at the right areas; just that people keep changing the right areas :-)

Thank you.
I hope Maveli actually reads this. So that he will never plan a visit to US, if at all he ever plans to do so.

Thank you for passing by.
I did not know about the existence of a true blogger spirit. Now that you tell me, is there also a false blogger spirit?! :-)

Thanks for coming.
Actually, it doesn’t matter how you came here, as long as you keep coming here. Get the picture?

Oh you bet Bangalore is full of them. At this rate, after a few more years, Bangaloreans will start to show the ‘perceived’ American way of life MORE than the actual Americans. That is the time when being seen as non-American will be ‘cool’!

Sharmi said...

Dear Salil,
Thanks a lot for the lovely wishes in my blog.
Wish you and your family belated Onam.

Pearl said...

I enjoyed your post very much (and the one before it). Will have to stop in more often to see how you are doing.

And a Merry Onam to you! :-)


ramesh sanijeeth sadasivam said...

Very funny. :)

Salil said...

Thank you very much for the wishes.

Thank you for stopping by.
You bet you need to do that more often! :-)
Since I was away from my family, it was kind of a not-so-merry Onam this time around.

Thank you.

Ganges said...

Nice one, Salil! Though times have changed it's always good to see people keeping with touch with our good ol' king...and vice versa too:) I've written something on those lines about my son and check it out when you find the time

Such said...

That can be turned into a little stage performance. Nice write.

Salil said...

I personally think everything in India is now commercialized and hence lost the charm. But I guess my parents also would have felt the same way about things when they were younger.
Oh no, why am I talking sense here? I am supposed to talk nonsense. So while we are on culture, it is said that culture is roughly anything we do that the monkeys don’t :-)
I will visit your post soon.

Thank you. You ran all the way to this blog, wow!
While dreaming, there should not be any limitations. Why a play, I am thinking about a Hollywood blockbuster. I am on the lookout for a producer with money and no brains (remember, he has to agree to produce this).

Devika Jyothi said...

That was just LOL!!

Too much Salil!! Loved it, the way you placed some old jokes in context...

Being a loyal British English student (not a subject, for that we still have the good old concept of Maveli), loved the last slap on Maveli...

And Oh! A very belated Onam!! its afterall a spirit that runs through, hope you don't mind taking it this late...

Swarna said...

Will ensure that Maveli stays back next Onam.
Perhaps he's had a lift aka elevator installed in Patala?

Anonymous said...

salil, it was a pleasure reading this. tickled every bone in my body :D
"not to Sidhu; that is his friend in Patiala" - lol! how come maveli has friends in punjab?

Salil said...

Thank you.
British English is fast fading from India, atleast definitely from Bangalore.
Of course, Onam wishes accepted. And belated wishes to you too.

Don’t bother, I am sure Maveli will NEVER EVER come this way again!
I think he is in for a big disappointment if he installs a lift kiu (known in US) elevator in Patal.

Thank you for coming this way.
If you are looking for logic and sense, maybe you should look somewhere else :-P
But to answer your question, Maveli is a well-travelled man, you see.

Devika Jyothi said...

Hi Salil!
Thank you Salil for the wishes!
Yeah, it is! I was there last November...

India seems the new 'melting pot' It has its good and bad, but hope things don't evaporate finally!

See you again!

Usha Pisharody said...

This one rib tickling narrative, on the adventures of Maveli Thambran:) Much as I liked the strong undercurrent of the unapologetic humour, the real thing, I do feel sorry that he is now become an icon of sorts instead of the Symbol that he was:) Don't ask me what the difference is.. more like curd and yogurt I'd say:)

Loved this.. and belated Onaashamsagal... :)

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