Wednesday, July 1, 2009


"What is the last thing you take off before going to bed?" the young prankster asked his aunt who went crimson as she groped for an answer and looked at Paddy as if to ask 'you tell me.' "Your feet off the ground" he volunteered with impish delight and scooted leaving behind a gawking aunt.

Meet Paddy, my teenaged nephew, who looks at the world through his own kinky prism. For him a 'serial killer' is a TV channel that abruptly discontinues a popular TV serial. And a male office clerk who collects the school fee is a 'fee-male. Paddy holds that a Western toilet, the 'paper-loo' is a ham-handed version of the Indian 'water-loo'. And then, just because natives of Poland are Poles, he regards those of Holland as 'Holes'.

If Paddy were to be believed, Azharuddin's sisters call him Azhar bhai jaan (a la Azerbaijan, the Central Asian Republic). According to him, Ugaadi is a festival first celebrated jointly by the peoples of Uganda and Burundi. And two master chefs, one each from Samoa and Formosa invented Samosa!

During one of his imagination-let-loose sprees he quizzed me, "What slogan would the striking mill workers demanding the restoration of mill's broken door shout?" I goggled at him in anticipation of enlightment. And it came in the form of 'Eh mill maan-gay door' which, of course, is a spooneristic spoof of the ad jingle 'Eh dil maan-gay more'.

"Inviting tender for construction of lavatories - Second call", Paddy once read out, toungue in cheek, from a newspaper. Paddy can spot gags where others fail to see anything funny. Once he buries himself in a newspaper, quotes like 'hand grenades at throwaway prices', 'take a crash course in aviation', 'government waters down the proposal to increase fat content of milk' or even a 'guitar for sale. Cheap. no strings attached' fly thick and fast.

A dab hand at spinning yarn, Paddy weaved this story about the Indo-Pak detente. When PM Vajpayi informed Musharraf over the phone that he had chosen Agra as a venue for the summit, the latter asked "But why Agra?" And, under the mistaken belief that Musharraf was enquiring about 'Viagra', Mr Vajpeyi ostensibly replied "We will put it under Confidence Building Measures".

Paddy's etymological lexicon has many entries. But one that he cooked up during a South Indian pilgrimage was quite resourceful. After coming across a string of legends at different places, each attributing the construction of the temples' holy tanks to the Pandavas, Paddy wondered aloud if the Pandavas were in fact 'Pond'avas.

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