Wednesday, June 22, 2005

End of problem 2

I have a Tamil housemaid. She works part time. A short, peppy woman with chocolate skin and sparkling teeth. She loves talking, sharing her large and extended family's life and times with me. Though I understand not much as she mixes Tamil with her Hindi and a bit of English. Between these 3 languages, my house is cleaned and we get cooked food to eat.

She calls me Bhaaabi and my man Anna. Weekdays I am thankful as she gives Anna his bottle of warm water, which he gulps down first thing in the morning and then serves him tea in bed. And I peacefully leave for work while he gets a hot breakfast and I get a packed lunch.

And sometimes in between her stories she says, "Anna told me, no need to cook today. I am going to cook!" And I feel proud of my man. She then proceeds to peel potatoes and knead dough and I tell her, "He probably plans to cook something else. Forget the chapattis." She answers, "I usually help him with the washing and chopping." And I begin to wonder.

I go in search of my man and purr, "So honey, what do you plan to cook today?" And my prince who abhors domestic drudgery, growls "Why should I cook? Hasn't that woman turned up? What's wrong with her now? We pay her enough to cook for the neighbours too!!..."

I cover my ears and rush back to the kitchen, "When did Anna tell you he was cooking? He isn't, so get on with the chapattis!"

"What?? Ohh, Bhaaabi?! My husband, Anna! He's cooking at home today."

"You call your husband Anna??? Big brother???"

"Yes." She smiles shyly and I wonder how the equation works in her head.

Then there was the time when Anna said her kids education should not be stopped at any time for any reason. Yes, that's more like my man! "No, no, my husband said that," she grinned, white teeth blinding me.

And then one day, Anna told her 'not to come to work tomorrow' and I said 'okay' since we were planning to go visit friends the whole day. The night before I ask what time were we leaving and hubby says "Didn't I tell you, I have a recording tomorrow and then those other clients are coming home for dinner?"


"Why would I do that?"

Of course it was the other Anna at work.

I was lost for some time. Till I found the perfect solution.

She is no longer allowed to use the word Anna unless it's prefixed by "your" and "my" and she also has to make sure I understand whose husband she's referring to. So now she points forefinger at me and goes "YOUR Anna said..." and points thumb at herself"MY Anna did...". It's really funny but life has suddenly gotten much simpler.

Aah, end of a genuine problem!


Blogger Rat said...

Hahaha. That was such a sweet post.As a Tamilian I cannot understand why she would call her husband Anna though !!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Primalsoup said...

I echo Rat's question. Totally suggestive of incest I must say!

But that was most funny... tell me you made that up! :)

7:06 PM  
Blogger thoughts said...

That was really funny and amusing :).. and I have a mile long smile and a refershed mind :).. so back to work while u get ur hot dinner served and hv it with ur Anna ;)

8:34 PM  
Blogger thoughts said...

btw read a few more posts on thi spage.. amusing, hilarious and interesting !

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post, rat the maid probably meant 'Yeanna" (husband in tamil),

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Kahini said...

Gosh, how lovely to have someone to do this stuff for you.

Like everyone else I was wondering about the Anna thing till Anonymous kindly explained.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Uma said...

Cool post. As everyone else has already said Anna is Brother. And a section of Tamilians tend to call their husbands as 'yaenna' meaning hubby. Amusing :)

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Ash said...

lol !
cute, very cute ..
...and what happens when your / her bro come sto visit ?!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Akruti said...

Oh my god,anumita,u rock lady,u made me laugh like crazy in middle of the night,everyone is sleeping and i am staring into the screan and laughing,hahahaha,Now what if a third Anna enters the scene? which fingure will she use and to point out at whom??hahahah

12:48 AM  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Sigh, and here I was, thinking that her husband's name was Annamalai Gounder and she was extremely liberated to call her husband by his first name and all.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Surinder said...

he he :-)

and what does she call her real bro ? cos i'm wondering what happens when both her husband and her bro are there at the same time :)

8:19 AM  
Blogger Gangadhar said...

Hilarious!!I couldn't stop laughing while reading the post..But the feel is sill here...
Nice post!!

9:23 AM  
Blogger shub said...

so cute! :) :D

10:15 AM  
Blogger allister said...

how confusing.. but funny.

10:26 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

rat: I ve been trying to figure out myself. I have stopped asking her now.

primalsoup: Totally, I tell you! I swear I didn't make it up!

thoughts: Welcome and thanks.

anonymous: Thanks for explaining! She never told me that!

kahini: The more things are done for you, the less you want to move your own ass! And sitting on one's ass never did anyone any good. ;)

Uma: And the silly woman never told me that! "yeanna" is it?

ash: My bro came visiting some time back and thankfully all she did was make dosas for my bro and his friend. Without talking, just flashing her pearly whites.

akruti: Any third Anna who appears will get the middle finger. :)

rhyncus: Welcome. What liberated? She probably doesn't even know her husband's full name!

surinder: Hehehe! I got to ask her this or see for myself sometime.

gangadhar: :)

Shub: Arre, when you have to deal with it, you wont find it cute anymore.

allister: Welcome. You bet, very confusing! But I solved it now.

11:16 AM  
Blogger gulnaz said...

LOL! that was really funny! :))
i know someone whose kids call him 'bhaijaan', which is a respectful term for brother. another person calls his mum, baaji, which is a respectful term for sister. another person calls his mum and dad, uncle and aunty and his dad's maternal uncle mum and dad, as they use to live together when he was a kids and he started calling them so as other kids did too. the craziest is this woman who calls her husband mama and her husband calls her, ____baba!

3:33 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

gulnaz: This is hilarious!!! Mama and Baba beats the rest!!!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Ambuj Saxena said...

Hey Anumita,
Did you had this problem in mind when you wrote "End Of Problem I". In that case, if you can tell us your "Problem III", we might help.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

Finally the story is out... hahah you can write a book on those stories.. the Bai chronicles...

Hey Ranjan and Leene are in town.. nice to have them here...

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Uma said...

Anumita, was thinking about this last night (yeah I know, I do lead a very sad life!) anyway, even though some ladies down south do call their husbands as 'yaenna', I don't think they address him as such to a third person. Think this is weird stuff :)

8:36 PM  
Blogger Mukta said...

I've had help who referred to several different groups of people , including a congregation of Sindhi women going for satsang, as 'bhailog'.

And you know what 'bhailog' translates into in Mumbai, right?

'Woh bhailog miley the Joggers Park ke baahar'!

I gave up jogging! hee hee!

10:19 PM  
Blogger transience said...

ah, there you go! you have such a cute way of resolving problems.

6:43 AM  
Blogger venkat said...

" A WONDERFUL LIFE" to have tea in the bed and hot breakfast,Somebody to cook,clean and do most of the work at home.According Forbes, a financial monthly, one should have atleast $500,000 after tax income in New york to have an affluent life style. I wonder how much that be in Bombay.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a Bummer!

Must be funn-ier when your brother comes.


8:12 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

uma: I have been reading about your life so don't tell me you need more of it. :)
I wonder why she would call him that too...

mukta: You can't be serious! Calling bhajan singers "bhailog" is sacrilege! Hehehe!

transience: Thank you. Thank you.

venkat: That will be enough to feed all the underfed in our country.
I guess having help is one of the advantages of living in Bombay or rather India. :)

parna: She has learnt the word "Bhai".

11:59 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

ambuj: Welcome! Will let you know if I need help.

pallavi: You bet I can put up Bai Cronicles. Remember those pre-shaadi stories ;)
RanjanLeena told us they were coming here in May and we were wondering what happened and there they land up in Blore!
Have fun.

12:04 PM  
Blogger mis_nomer said...

Haha! Great story, and great solution!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

As pointed out by some, many tamil women address their man "yeanna". Even my mom does. Its more a way of addressing than calling before someone.

I think her husband's name wd be "Anna" or one of its variants (We had a CM by name Annadurai some 3-4 decades ago, who was/is called Anna).

2:59 PM  
Blogger Miss Sea said...

so now your husband is your anna aka big bro?!

lovely post!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Me said...

first time here......came thru ur comment in alpha's blog....i do agree with chakra...ask her abt her anna's :p name

10:37 AM  
Blogger Stone said...

that was a laugh-riot!!

12:30 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

This is hilarious!! :D

Very good solution I must say.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Great story! I had to get around the language for a moment, but once I understood that "Anna" meant "brother" I could keep reading with great anticipation. Funny that she would refer to her husband in that way...

Very cute how you kept misunderstanding her though... and kept thinking she was talking about YOUR husband. Good thing her comments didn't go any further than that and she didn't start talking about her "personal" interaction with her "Anna" too much! That could have made some intersting problems!!

3:49 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

mis_nomer, nupur, stone: Thank you, thank you. :)

chakra: That's interesting. Must ask her.

me: Welcome. Will ask definitely.

tipsy: Look at life's irony, I have been subjected to this too!

weary hag: Hey, I know it must be confusing to be reading these strange words in a foreign language.
Actually now that you mention it, I am waiting for her 'personal' interactions! :)

4:03 PM  
Blogger @$#!$# said...


A simple solution to a pretty complicated problem...


5:39 PM  
Blogger Khushee said...

Must have been confusing for you for a while there! :)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Ashish Gupta said...

wow thats pretty cool post :) loved reading it all through!

Huhh... household blues :-<

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Ashutosh said...

This was a great story. Life is full of such smiling happenings. I kept on smiling for long after reading your blog. Keep writing...You do it real good. I shall wait for your next one...

5:37 PM  
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4:55 PM  

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