Pinne, a five letter word in Malayalam which is ideally used in different contexts but most of the time used as a sarcastic dagger that rips your self respect apart. For instance, when I told my Mom that Shashi Tharoor read my blog, she had the same look that Nana Patekar usually had in his eyes and said "Aaah...Pinne", meaning "Yeah...right". Then there were times when I tried to ask a Malayalee girl out, but she would smile back and say "Pinne...not now", meaning "Later". And there's another context that the word is generally used in, for instance, when I gave the same news to my sister, she went, "Yawn...Pinne?"...meaning, "And then?". But this word to me is just not a word to be used in limited context, to me it's a sound that came out of an Angel's silhouette, a sound that helped me see dawn, it's a sound that made, that fading speck, a full moon in the sky, a sound that said "Brother, you are not alone"
I, along with my gang of slaves of the 21st century decided to come out of these shackles of captivity and apply for a leave on Friday which would have given us 72 hrs of self inflicting sinful intoxicating sessions. So we decided to leave for Diveagar, a haven for sea food lovers, beach lovers sans babes or humans for that matter, a place where we could remove the lid cast on us by society which had limited our imagination, a place where we could give our creative side some leverage and create sand castles that looked like office cubicles. Diveagar is 180 Kms from Bombay, another 17 Kms from Diveagar is Shrivardhan, another paradise in the Konkan.
Alongside the roads that led to Diveagar, all we could find was authentic Konkani restaurants, which was not desired by the divas within our group. "Do we have a Pasta joint here?" queried one of my friends, which needed that sarcastic jab. Using my inherent mallu traits I said "Aaah...Pinne". Behind me was my friend Matthew Varghese who knew what I meant which led him to pat my back and give me a look which said "Nice". The Diva said "Yeah...Penne sounds good.".
Penne? Pinne. Poda (Me and Matthew)
The night was stark dark, potholes were roads, we moved on as the headlights illuminated the swaying trees. This, three hour pursuit of ecstasy, was taking longer as signages were our only hope, at the same time they were a rarity. None of us knew what our resort looked like. We stopped by and called up the resort. A woman picked up the phone and spoke in what seemed to be Marathi spoken in Southern America. The phone rotated amongst us and all of us through our conversation with the lady could only make out two words - Ganesh Chowk. It was almost 11 now and we were still searching for Ganesh Chowk. We couldn't find a single guy on the road or a signage that would lead us to the aforementioned place.
11:45. We had delved into deeper convolutions and had found absolutely nothing. We moved, with my friend Aditya, almost giving up the idea of moving ahead. That is when we could see a dark silhoutte with it's back towards us fading into darkness. We rushed ahead right next to him and without wasting much time asked him in Marathi -
"Ganesh Chowk kuthe aahey?" (Where is Ganesh Chowk)
The guy seemed pretty reluctant and conservative but replied back in Marathi -
"Asa jaayecha..." - (Go this way - in Marathi)
"Tasa jaayecha..." - (Then go that way - in Marathi)
"Pinne..." - (And then - in Malayalam. What?)
Before he could say another word, I jolted on my seat and before I could derive my conclusions I scanned him thoroughly like an American Security staff scanning Shahrukh Khan for all the wrong reasons.
Sleeves rolled up to just above the elbow - Check.
Two buttons from the top open - Check.
A Lungi - Check.
Folded just above the knee - Check.
Green Lungi with fluorescent green flowers - DOUBLE CHECK.
Paragon Chappal - Ok, I'm asking for too much now.
But that was it. Without a speck of speculation in my mind, with my eyes now widened, my mouth open in shock, I stammered with my words not finding my tongue or my tongue not finding my words, I managed to ask him -
(If a Malayalee meets a fellow Malayalee, the thumb rule is to ask 'Where in Kerela do you reside?'. The 2 words "Natile Evade" solely means that, but has sentimental inclination which means "My brother, how are you coping? Are you Ok here? Have you enrolled your family to a Malayalee Samajam yet?")
As he heard my question he stopped abruptly. He looked at me, so was Matthew Varghese, absolutely clueless as to what was happening.
The string of words that followed was similar to listening to Malabari Rap. The guy who seemed to be a conservative Maharashtrian had transitioned to my coconut tree loving, chamandi podi hogging, ever complaining Malayalee brother.
He gave us every detail of our destination, also giving us details about stones 23 metres away from our resort. When we parted, he stood there waving his hand till the car became a tiny dot whereas Matthew Varghese and me leaned out of the window just like the Pomeranian from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, waving back at him vigorously till we could see the last flower on his lungi. Eventually the resort turned out to be a room with 5 beds (on the floor) and a toilet.
With tears and sparks in my eye, I narrated the entire episode to my Dad, who was seemingly unperturbed and with the world of confidence shimmering through his face he just smirked back and said "Son, right from being placed in fine leg of a cricketing field to being appointed by the General Assembly of the UN, we've come a long long way. Congratulations." And we sniffed in happiness.
- A proud Malayalee.
P.S: After reaching our room, my friends got sloshed and were pillow fighting.