An encounter with my faux-friend

cool dude

A new class of angrezi dudes are doing the rounds in our country today. These dudes don’t really care about the English language. They just want to make sure that we know that they know. They see Hollywood movies or read the synopsis of movies from IMDb , simply to spout quotes with an annoying air of ‘I know, right?’. Or maybe, I’m just being bitter. I don’t know.

I was unfortunate enough to make contact with one such dude, a while back. We went to the same school for a brief spell. Different classes though. Normally, when I see one of my old classmates, I can’t help myself. I start gushing about the past, and how it used to be for us, and all that. I usually sober up when they ask me what I am doing now (I’m still weighing my options). But this guy really got on my nerves.

He started the conversation by asking me “How is it hanging?”

He kept calling me dude. And grabbing me(I barely knew the guy). And, he spoke in English. The thing is, both of us share the same mother tongue. When an old schoolmate walks up to you and starts yapping in English, it adds an unnecessary formality to the occasion.

I asked him what he was doing, and his response was chilling. Literally.

Me: So what are you doing these days?

Dude: I’m chilling…

Now, obviously I was grateful he didn’t say he was preparing to clear the screening test for practicing medicine in USA(That has happened to me before). But he had no reason to chill. We simply do not talk like that. It felt like I was talking to a guy who’d just walked out of a Hollywood movie. Why? Why? Why?

Since we were both waiting for the next show to begin, the conversation naturally turned to movies. He said that he normally  didn’t go for the usual Hollywood crap. An understandable sentiment, if it wasn’t for the fact that we were waiting to see Pandora.

He really ‘digged’ European cinema. His favourite movie was the French classic ‘Life is beautiful’. I immediately saw red. But before rushing to judge him, I decided to find out if it was a genuine mistake. I told him l was moved by the scene where the heroine had to choose between which one of her two children could survive. Apparently it was his favourite scene too. He had just defiled two of my favourite movies.

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I love the English language. It opened up a whole new world of books and movies for me. I have been hooked for a long time. But when I talk to a friend, I don’t feel the constant need to punctuate conversations with English phrases and  American euphemisms. I mean, I hear them all the time in movies and shows:

Friend 1: “How’s  it hanging, dude?”

Friend 2: “Heavy and to the left, bro.”

But it feels weird rolling out of my tongue. Talking to a friend like that is just too…fake.

Pretty soon, the movie started. Our seats were in different rows. So we promised to catch up during the interval. The astronauts in the movie were so bad and the dialogues were so contrived, I started getting a weird sense of Déjà vu. I couldn’t wait to get out.

During the interval, my long lost friend pushed across the crowd and hailed me by calling my name. Except, it wasn’t. My name, that is. The dude had not only forgotten my name, but also come up with a substitute. Not my finest hour.

There were a couple of vacant seats next to mine, and this time he sat next to me. As soon as the movie began, he took out his phone. He was updating his status in facebook. I saw him typing ‘awesome’, and stopped looking. Pretty soon, he got into a rhythm. He would bury his head in the phone, and every time the tempo of the sound track rose, he would look up and mutter “What happened”.

Normally I am a very patient person. I look forward to weird and unusual experiences like the one I was having. They give me something to think about. Not this time though. It felt like I was stuck inside a cartoon. I wanted to get away. I told my newly acquired friend that I had to go use the bathroom. He nodded. I got up, left the hall, left the multiplex, got to the parking lot, got to my bike, started it, and kept going.

I didn’t stop.

I was afraid we’d run into each other again if I stopped. I finally knew what Jason Bourne was going through.

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16 thoughts on “An encounter with my faux-friend

  1. It is weird how American culture spreads around the world. I used that same idea in the sci fi novels. Human culture is spreading amongst the alien races. The hero is the only one who seems worried about it… does the universe need to chill with a Big Mac, dude?

  2. malayalam parayadirikkunadum ariyilla ennu parayunnadum fashion anu…. njan ketitundu ende oru friend parayunadu that he thinks first in english then “translate” into malayalam…. eyal evade tanna janichadum valarnadum…..pinne edinna e nuna????

    • I have nothing but പരമ പുച്ചം for such people.
      It is ironic that Rishiraj Singh, a north Indian who came to Kerala as a Govt. Employee speaks better malayalam than some Malayali anchors and actresses, who have studied/worked in Bangalore or other cities for some years, and all of a sudden, forgotten Malayalam.

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