Thursday, June 15, 2006


Just a few days ago, I had to travel to a suburb on the Western railway track. I chose to go early morning thinking I would thus be safe from having to jostle with the commuters to get off the train. It didn’t happen the way I had hoped for. I had to stand for at least five minutes in close proximity with a wall of them at least five deep. I have a nose for body odours – other people's, that is. A mere whiff can set me off. They're the bane of my existence, the chief reason why I shudder to board local trains, admittedly a faster mode of getting from point A to point B in Mumbai. Well nigh a decade ago, I met a jovial American architect in Guam whose b.o. was sharper than his wit. It didn't seem to bother his stunning Scandinavian live-in girl friend one whit, though. It's indeed within the pale of possibility that she mistook it for the scent of virile manhood. Like beauty and the eye of the beholder, b.o. too resides in the olfactory orifice of the smeller, I daresay. Guess what the Chinaman told the man with an offensive body odour? "Yu Stin Ki Pu." If you have the stomach for 'wit' in a similar mildly offensive vein, slink to

(read out aloud the following phrases, mumble the English meaning sotto voce and duck before he starts kickboxing):

1. "Sum Ting Wong." ["That's not right."]
2. "Hu Yu Hai Ding?" ["Are you harboring a fugitive?"]
3. "Kum Hia Nao." ["See me ASAP."]
4. "Dum Gai!" ["Stupid Man!"]
5. "Tai Ni Po Ni!" ["Small Horse!"]
6. "Wai Yu So Tan?" ["Did you go to the beach?"]
7. "Ai Bang Mai Ni." ["I bumped into a coffee table."]
8. "Chin Tu Fat." ["Maybe you need a face lift."]
9. "Wai So Dim?" ["It's very dark in here."]
10. "Wai Yu Mun Ching?" ["I thought you were on a diet."]
11. "No Pah King." ["This is a tow away zone.]
12. "Wai Yu Kum Nao?" ["Our meeting is scheduled for next week."]
13. "Lei Ying Lo." ["Staying out of sight."]
14. "Wa Shing Ka." ["He's cleaning his automobile."]
15. "Yu Stin Ki Pu." ["Your body odor is offensive.]

Goom-bye for now.

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