“Straaang. K-level, dude. Strength are there. Cup-max, da. Less, man. Put. Peace.” Drawing inspiration from a scene from the movie The Mating Habits of Earthly Beings, please do not check your eyes or doubt my sanity based on the above. This is the code language in which the human male (hence referred to as HM) speaks. It makes no sense to me, either. Having, in recent times, had the fortune to travel extensively with many such specimens, I got numerous chances to observe, with great interest (purely of anthropological nature), the behavioral patterns of the HM, both in his pack, and otherwise.
A) The HM and his mighty Cam: The first rule of HM sightseeing: the sight at hand—be it the world’s most significant historical monument or the most breathtaking natural beauty—will have to settle for playing second fiddle to its digital image. The invention of the digital camera to HM sightseeing is what the invention of the wheel was to human civilization as we know it.
Excerpts from a very consciously overheard real-life conversation:
A*: “Check out this one, maaann.”
B*: “Strong, dude. Which mode?”
B: “I’m on night mode.”
A: “Naah. Use manual, da. Aperture setting , focal length , zoom . Turn the flash off and then focus with the right exposure and you will get it.” (And here I thought technology was supposed to make our life simpler. Duh me!)
B (who-I can personally testify-does not know zilch about photography) nods wisely and, armed with this new wisdom, proceeds to shoot pictures exactly as good or bad as ever.
*Names not disclosed to protect the privacy of the subjects. And my survival.
B) HM, the sailorman: The lesser said about the cartographic skills of our average HM, the better. Yet, he lives in an interesting fantasy world where he plays Captain Sparrow (if not Johnny Depp) saving the damsel(s) in the pack from the evil streets of Europe with the grand city map he won from the information counter at the railway station. It is downright educational to observe how, especially when accompanied by others of his kind, proving his mettle at map-reading seems to be of critical importance to the HM.
In the unfortunate, albeit common event of losing the way, the HMs, quite touchingly, tend to unite rather than isolating the one responsible for the blunder (though this may also be since all the cooks have spoilt the broth pretty much in unison). The most fascinating part of the damage control in such a scenario is how the HMs will also present a highly convincing case, arguing how the place they have landed up in is anyday better than the one they were aiming for in the first place. Whether, in Amsterdam for example, they have led the group to the Income Tax office instead of you-know-where is immaterial to this unfailing logic.
C) The HM’s socks: Aaah, here is the part the HFs will love. It is quite particular to the HMs hailing from the South Asian part of the planet (Sample space: India). HMs from this part of the world carry a potent weapon of mass destruction wherever they go. Socks. Sit in a train compartment wherein an HM has just removed his shoes to ‘air’ his feet after a day of ‘tourism’ and you will know what I mean. The Indian HF may beg them to wear the shoes back on and spare her lungs of the toxic fumes, but to little avail. Here is a true story where the sisterhood of HFs across borders comes to the fore in an unprecedented way:
Indian HM airing his feet in the train compartment. Indian HF sitting in the seat as far as possible, her face covered with a handkerchief, suffering in silent agony. Enter hot Dutch chick. HM drools (as expected). Tells Indian HF in Hindi how he wished chicky would sit next to him. The Dutch chick actually hovers around for a moment (HM ecstatic). Enter hot Dutch boy friend (HM crestfallen, HF’s rare turn to drool). Dutch HF says something to him in Dutch (everyone has their code) and moves on to look for more seats, not before the Indians catch the word ‘stink’ pretty clearly. Indian HF guffaws and points out that at least they learnt a new Dutch word today. Indian HM sulks (as intended).
Story’s not over though. Soon the empty seat is taken by an old Dutch lady (age evidently slows down one’s senses). But not quite enough. Within 5 minutes she says something to the Indian HM in Dutch (no Eengleesh: ref blog post ‘Love Thy Insurer’). Probably hopeful for a hot daughter’s hand in marriage, HM politely explains how he doesn’t follow her code. Enter Dumb-C: Old lady gestures HM’s foot. Crinkles nose. Gestures shoes.
Understandably, HM grudgingly abides. Indian HF almost chokes on her ‘kerchief.
D) 300: For those who have never had a chance to see one of the silliest (thereby most enjoyable) sitcoms of our times—the series Scrubs—the show hypothesizes that HMs tune out of a conversation as soon as HFs begin discussing shoe-shopping. Here’s the analogy from the other side of the camp: war movies! If you’re a sole HF in the midst of an HM-dominated pack and you make the mistake of visiting a war site with them and the reference to a war movie comes up.. well, God save your soul. Though you are pretty much doomed for at least half a day of an expert review of all war movies in the history of Hollywood, do not—I repeat—do not commit the fatal blasphemy of admitting to not having seen any of them. It is best to keep your relative ignorance to yourself else you run the risk of being told, in good faith I’m sure, how your life is a complete waste for not having witnessed some ‘epic’ with computer-generated armies of HMs slaughtering each other. Worse, they may take it upon themselves to save your soul. Issued in public (HF) interest. Based on real life experience. Sigh…
Acknowledgements: I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to (in random order) Rajat, Sid, Samyak, Raj, Roy, Doc, Somil , Hari, Avishesh, Joy, Yurek, JD and others who have been unsuspecting subjects of my observations. This blog entry would not have been possible without your unconscious participation, guys. I sincerely hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me for this one. If not, try reminding yourselves that I still am the only one who can cook!
“Behind every successful man… is a pretty surprised woman.”