Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tulli cone?

A US-based friend was in town for a couple of weeks recently. Since such occasions are usually a pretext for us to nosedive into our shared past, we made a trip to the Defence Colony Nirula's where we had lost our pizza-and-burger virginity more than 20 years ago (having previously encountered these mythical items only in Archie comics). The food was as good as it had always been, but we were unprepared for how tidy the restaurant had become. The chairs and tables were gleaming, the floor wasn’t splattered with tomato sauce and crumbs, the service was fast and there was plenty of seating room even though it was a Saturday afternoon. Despite the comfort food, this sterile place seemed worlds removed from the favourite haunt of our childhood.

Anshul was disappointed. He'd come home after a long time expecting to see and experience things that reminded him of his school days. Instead people have been dragging him to see the new malls in Saket and Vasant Kunj – indistinguishable from their counterparts in American cities – and now even good old Nirula's had let him down. So I could understand his excitement when he finally had an experience that was uniquely, unquestionably Indian. "Dude!" he yelled into the phone one morning, "You'll never believe this. Do you know what the Delhi Police uses for breathalysers when they want to test drunken drivers?"

He had been driving home late the previous night when his car was stopped by a policeman who threw him a probing look, asked him to step outside and then handed him – okay, you're out of guesses – an empty paper cone, the interiors of which were slightly moistened. Whether the cone was a leftover from a chana jor garam stall or had been quickly fashioned on the spot is unclear, but Anshul was asked to exhale into it. "The whole thing was so bizarre," he said, "that I didn't even realise what was going on until the guy took a few deep sniffs from the cone himself, after I had breathed into it. That’s when I realised he was checking for alcoholic fumes."

The scientific efficacy of this method of breath-testing will probably never be determined, but Anshul was quite impressed when the policeman waved him on: apparently he had had a couple of small drinks earlier that evening but was confident – from previous experience in these matters – that he hadn't exceeded the legal limit permissible in the US. “It only proves once again that western technology is no match for homespun Indian wisdom,” he thought to himself patriotically, getting back into the car. But as he drove away he noticed a number of other cones lying about the road, and the policeman appeared to be swaying on his feet.

23 comments:

  1. Really. You made this up. Specially the last line.

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  2. did you friend suffer from halitosis, by any chance? that could make a thulla sway about.

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  3. India will remain India always. Thee bloody malls and western styles can not change us, at least not our proud Police :P

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  4. this is better... in blore they come right up so close to u to test it that u really cant breathe

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  5. Hi Jai,
    How come nothing on Dostana from you as yet?? Lakshmi (Chennai).

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  6. Smoke screen: well, there might have been a bit of tasteful exaggeration in the last line, but the rest of the post is factual.

    Feanor: heh. but that would be an occupational hazard, no?

    Lakshmi: haven't seen it. Doubt I would have been able to write about it even if I had seen it (unless I was reviewing it for someone) - very pressed for time these days. Abhi saw it a couple of days ago and liked it generally.

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  7. Truly hilarious!

    Or should I say, Truly breathtaking? :-)

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  8. At least they use a cone in Delhi. Here in Bangalore they simply ask you to exhale into their faces. I've tried this with Vodka and they are never able to catch this.

    I only wish they had pretty ladies as cops, the way they have it in that Colgate advertisement.

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  9. Pun, Jabberwock with a pun! Or not?

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  10. Ashes the ad you are talking about is for Mentos or some similar mint candy.

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  11. Kanika:

    Here is the ad: http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=m0xUBGy8P-8 starring the Brazilian model Bruna. It is for Colgate Max Fresh Cooling Crystals.

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  12. *Chews the humble pie!*
    Is that really Bruna- either she has learnt to speak great Hindi or she got her voice dubbed and if its the latter case then it pains my heart to see the Indian obsession for firang babes. What can be a bigger joke than the fact that the reigning actress of bollywood is the one who can neither act nor dance and horror of horrors - can't even speak Hindi!

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  13. Kanika:

    Yes, that is Bruna. And she has been obviously dubbed.

    LOL @ the reigning Indian actress. But I do not go by the box office success.

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  14. Hey ashes,

    You totally stole my comment. I was going to go one up on the Delhiites with an account of the large leaps in technology made down south in this area.

    But just imagine those poor cops' lives -- spending weekends smelling bad breath.

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  15. Kanika,
    It's unfair to talk about Indians' obsession with foreign (read white-skinned) women in this regard. The model Bruna looks like an absolutely sizzling Indian model in most photos (because she looks brown with black hair and oh such deadly looks). In the ad she looks like maybe a Punjabi chick with her hair dyed.

    Besides it's redundant now to be defensive or apologetic about liking European women. People like people from far away places. Dark skinned people are often similarly found to be handsome in Northern countries. Moreover someone like say Yana Gupta who made her career in India isn't someone to be apologetic about. She's simply beautiful and sexy and deserves to be liked!

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  16. Oh and I am glad you talked about Katrina coz she's half Indian and looks like it! And there's no reason why us Indians have to be deprived of such a heavenly beauty on Earth simply because she couldn't speak Hindi (now she can do that too!) Don't mind, but maybe I sense envy!

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  17. Hehe, excellent post, Jabberdude.

    Yeah, I second the interest in Dostana. What about Yuvvraaj? Tell me I'm not a silly lump for crying when Anil is sad.

    When you said pizza-and-burger virginity, I thought you were making some weird sexual allusion.

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  18. Hey d,

    Had it been as simple as the attraction of the "other" then all north Indian women- (Kashmiris and Punjabis etc) should have been drooling over African men (and I'm not talking Afro- American) and we would be having them shaking their booties as chorus dancers in item songs!! But sadly, that's not the case. And yea if Katrina deserves to be bollywood's Queen Bee then Rajnikanth should be hollywood's next big thing!(heavy South Indian accent,dark skin- should be irresisitable for the phoren babes)

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  19. And yea about the jealousy thingie-why would I be jealous of an actress for god's sake. I'm not that insecure a person. I mean I would rather be jealous of a goodlooking friend's in whose presence I would have to fight for attention in a company. Somebody who doesn't affect my life doesn't make me jealous!!

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  20. Funny post..

    I can totally relate to your friend, since I have been an NRI all my life, and each Indian visit I look for such "indian" experiences!

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