Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Master of Fundas

Funda - Short form of Fundamental. A slang form used to denote any concept or fact stated to explain things / phenomena wherein not many people are really interested in the explanation.
That's what I use the word Funda for and I guess a lot of Indians (read Engineering graduates from India) use it in a similar way. e.g Professer Kulkarni gives a lot of Fundas.

With the Funda of "Funda" explained , I shall continue this post. I am about to describe one roommate of mine who was extremely good at belching out Fundas. This guy is a hard core gujrati and a MBA grad. When I joined my first big job in Bangalore , we happened to share apartment along with a few more guys. A lot of people joined with me and he was one of them. Amongst us he was relatively older and more experienced as well as with virtue of a post grad also among the more educated people on the job.

He talked about anything and everything in the world with a lot of authority. Naturally when he talked rest of us listened. I guess it was more out of repect for his seniority then anything else.
He had a "funda" about everything. Whether it was the way one should drink lot of alchohol without getting drunk or why we should have a well set up kitchen instead of eating outside.
Although on careful thought and practical experience I ended up agreeing with a lot of his fundas (at least the alchohol thing seems to work) I thought it was funny the way delivered the fundas.
I mentioned this guy being a hardcore gujrati (born and brought up in Gujrat). He thus had a highly gujrati accented hindi and english.

Before him the only gujrati speaking people I knew were from Bombay who didn't have much of an accent. However with our Fundamaster I had to work hard to understand what he said and what he meant.. Boss was pronounced like Bose, Gas was pronounced more like guess and the list continues.. His Fundas weren't very effective as we mostly nodded our head in agreement even though we wouldn't have understood half of what he said. We just wanted to lure him into thinking that he convinced us so that he would stop coming up with more Fundas.

Soon I figured out the key to his pronounciation ... he found it difficult to make some sounds and the altenate expressions changed the whole meaning of the word he was speaking. With the Key discovered I figured a few more words and their alternate accented expressions. I explained this key to the rest of my roommates. The idea was to help them understand what he said in the first go instead of blindly nodding the head. But corrupted as we are the explanation took a complete U turn. Instead of appreciating what he said we discovered alternate expressions for a lot of new words (some he hadn't used since sharing apartment with us). Soon we had a whole parody of a a popular hindi song written with some of his most used words.

Although I respected him for knowledge and maturity and often talked to him about a variety of things , I always remember him for his accented Hindi. It was afterall, behind his back, a free source of entertainment for me and one of my other roommates for a long time. I remember the time when Mr Funda used to sit in the living room watching news (gaining more information for future Fundas) we used to sit in the other room quitely singing the song.

All said and done, Mr Funda did have a lot of confidence and was quite mature. He has been a man close to his family and as the elder brother,he did pick up the responsibility for rest of his siblings very early. Some health problems in his family meant that he had to leave a good job and perhaps a rewarding career in favour of staying close to his family. He was the first to shift out of our place in Bangalore which soon gave me the position of Master of Fundas (not that I can match him but I try). However I shall always revere him as "The Master of Fundas"

Sunday, December 11, 2005


This guy reminded of one of my all time favorite movies - "Anand". The protagonist of the movie - Anand aptly enacted by Rajesh Khanna, had a jovial outlook to life.The character Anand is a man with a mission in life to spread happiness and cheer to everyone.. even if he himself is destined to live only a few months more having contracted Cancer. Of course unlike the movie my friend here is quite hale and healthy but he definitely seemed to have the same mission in life.

A joke for every occasion and smile even when he may have a sadness buried inside him.
As they say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. This guy certainly had it in him to try and smile all the time.
I remember the one time when we had to check him into a hospital due to a certain fever(pardon my lack of knowledge of medical terms) for about a week. He had grown weak due to the fever and could talk with a lot of difficulty. Me and my other roomates were visibly worried and the cheer on our faces was gone. However our "Anand" always had a point to talk about. He said he needs to get better soon. After all he certainly needs to look good for the next time when his new female friend (an female intern at the hospital) drops in to check his blood pressure. The moment he talked about meeting her we had a smile back on our faces. Of course he did not have much energy left after that comment but he certainly had us thinking that it wouldn't take him long to get of that cot.

Although a lot of jokes are branded as PJs (poor jokes) and he talks a lot about anything and everything ... he is one person who you cannot help but like.
Over the years he has turned into one of my best friends. I have shared a lot of good times and bad times with him and know him not just for his jokes. However I'll always remember him for his simple outlook to life - laugh and let laugh.

The Chef

I met first met this guy in Pune, India. We worked in opposite cubicles and so his desk was one of my break time hangouts. We discovered a common interest in Tandoori chicken very soon although we never ate chicken together..
A few months later we became roommates in Richmond, VA... USA .. and guess what was the first thing that interested this enemy of the Hen - The Kitchen .. His suggestion "lets cook chicken ."
Within a week we were cooking chicken in our kitchen. I was not much of a cook myself nor were my other roomates then. But that did not hamper this guy's dreams to consume the chicken. Like a pro he entered the kitchen with the apron and a knife. He was very particular about the ingredients , how the chicken legs were to be sliced or for that matter how much of yougurt and chili to prepare the marinade. Always wanted the tomato puree for the gravy even if it meant rushing to Kroger at 9.30 pm.

The first time it was beyond 11:00 pm on the friday night by the time the chicken was ready .. but the taste was so good that I couldn't remember eating better chicken in anywhere else. So the first time it was chicken masala .. then butter chicken. Soon we led by our one and only Chef we had conquered Tandoori chicken ... Friday nights became better known as "Friday Night Chicken".. with chicken, appetizers, chips, orange juice and of course who can forget the drinks.

Over a period of time I got to know this guy and his all round prowess .. be it work, sports, home(I mean kitchen) or whatever he chose to do. One thing about him is evident and that is a passion with which he does every thing he undertakes .. It is one quality that I aspire to pick up in my life.

As I write this blog he is on his way to an MS in computer science. However I'll always remember him as the "The Chef" ... The guy who proved that good tandoori chicken does not have to come from the earthen ovens back in India .. A good chef can utilize even an electric oven to get the same effect.. I am sure he is not looking for a career in the catering industry but I look forward to having another opportunity to eat what he cooks .