My wife, Malathi, has a driver's license and thank goodness for that, because if she didn't have one, she wouldn't be able to buy any beer.
You have to be 18 to shop at the liquor store here. Malathi is much older than that, but it's still conceivable that a sales clerk might ask her for ID, considering all the liquor fumes in the store. And when you're standing in line with a bunch of hip youngsters, who are listening to their iPods or texting their friends on their iPhones, the last thing you want to be doing is whipping out your passport.
Passports are the uncoolest form of ID. You might as well bring your mother to the store to say, "This is my daughter. She is older than 18. Would you like to see some of her baby pictures?"
Yes, the driver's license comes in handy, though, in Malathi's case, it ought to be called a drinker's license. Not that Malathi drinks a lot. She has a little wine or beer occasionally. A couple of times a month, which means that she does a lot more drinking than driving. Unless you count the type of driving that involves me and a wall.
When she goes to work, she takes the bus. It’s convenient, economical and less stressful. She gets to do some reading on the bus—and more than just all the tattoos.
When we go out as a family, guess who does the driving? Yes, Mr. Imbecile. That’s me. Malathi sits next to me and tells me what I did wrong: “Weren’t you supposed to turn left over there?” “Weren’t you supposed to slow down for the yellow light?” “Weren’t you supposed to stay out of the ditch?”
Just the other day, while we were heading to church, I drove too fast on an icy exit ramp, lost control of our car and ended up in a pile of snow down a slope. Fortunately none of us was hurt, but Malathi gave me a look that said, “Weren’t you supposed to bring your brain with you?”
Despite a few mistakes like that, I think I’m a pretty good driver. I wish Malathi would compliment my driving now and then: “Sensational parallel parking, honey!” “Beautiful U-Turn, Melvin!” “Wonderful job getting out of the ditch!”
Better yet, I’d like her to do more driving, so I can do more complaining. But it rarely happens. Even on long trips, I’m usually doing the driving, and she’s usually doing the sleeping.
It’s so unfair, especially since women are supposed to be better drivers than men. Yes, a number of studies have shown this to be true—and some of these studies, believe it or not, were conducted by men!
The problem, it seems, is that men are always driving under the influence. A few are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, but most are guilty of driving under the influence of testosterone.
Scientists are still trying to figure testosterone out, but it's clear the hormone affects male drivers in ways women can't even begin to understand. Consider these situations:
—You are driving down a road when a car zooms past you at a breakneck speed. Female response: "What an idiot! I hope he gets a ticket." Male response: "What an idiot! He thinks his car is faster than mine. I'll show him."
—You accidentally cut off another driver. He shakes his head and blares his horn. Female response: "Oh no, he must be really mad at me. I'd better lower my head and look straight ahead." Male response: "What an idiot! He thinks his horn is louder than mine. I'll show him."
—A driver tries to pass you, but loses control of his car, goes off the road and slams into two trees, knocking them down. Female response: "Oh no, I hope he isn't hurt." Male response: "What an idiot! He thinks his car can knock down more trees than mine. I'll show him."
HEFTY SALARY, NO BRIDE
It used to be that Indian men working in America, whether citizens, permanent residents or H-1B holders, could go to India and have their pick of a bride. They were considered good catches, the type of fish you don’t throw back in the lake. Not anymore, apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Concerned about the flagging U.S. economy, parents of brides are reluctant to betroth their daughters to someone whose job may evaporate. Rahul Tamraker, 32, a consultant in Chicago, learned this firsthand during his fruitless bride search in India. Potential in-laws were worried that “consultant” was another way of saying “unemployed.” One parent wanted to see Tamraker’s income tax return, paying heed to the age-old matchmaking principle: “Good income, good outcome.” Tamraker declined and the marriage talks fizzled.
Poor guy. He’s got a hefty salary, but no bride. Which may be better, of course, than having a hefty bride, but no salary.
The Hispanic man had just lost his home to a foreclosure. He and his family needed a place to stay. He told the Indian-American motel owner that all he had was 50 bucks.
THE KIND-HEARTED MOTEL OWNER
What do you think the motel owner said? (a) “Okay, give me the money. You can stay for one night. One night only!” (b) “Sorry, if you can’t afford my rates, you can’t stay here.” (c) “Keep the money. I trust you.” (d) “Don’t you have Visa? What about MasterCard?”
If you answered ‘c,’ perhaps you know Siddiqi Hansoti, owner of the El Dorado Motel in Salinas, Calif. As reported on NPR, Hansoti didn’t turn Gus Hernandez away, but made him feel welcome. After three weeks, Hernandez offered to leave the motel, reluctant to owe Hansoti money. Instead, Hansoti offered him a job as a handyman, saying if he accepted, he could continue to live in the motel. Hernandez took the job.
"When I had money, I had a lot of friends,” he told NPR, “but when I didn't, Sid was there."
DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?
A journalist hurled a shoe at Indian minister P. Chidambaram.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked for President Obama’s autograph.
A BJP leader in Karnataka inadvertently addressed a rally of Congress Party supporters, denouncing the Congress government before realizing his mistake.
Specifications for Tata Motors’ Nano car stated that it comfortably seats five Indians or three westerners.
The White House hired actor Kal Penn to answer questions about Pakistan from India Globe reporter Raghubir Goyal.
(1, 2 and 3 really happened. Penn was hired for another position.)
DESI FUN ONLINE
A Sock Tube parody of Slumdog Millionaire
Five-year-old old Maya Muttathil says goodbye to her goldfish in this popular video.
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