Sunday, May 06, 2007

"Leema, i got transferred"

This is the line that sister and me dreaded everytime we were in a particular city for about 3 years. My dad has a transferable job and he is one of those few employees who LIKES transfers.
A 'few years' back to when i was 6 yrs old (i am not very old) when dad got transferred to Madras (Back then it was Madras) In fact he wanted to transfer himself to Madras for he wanted 'without Mallu accented English' speaking daughters. So we shifted ourselves from Alwaye (Kerala). Madras gave us a slight culture shock. Children conversed in English and my knowledge of English was restricted to 'cat', 'bat' and 'rat'. Others spoke Tamil- a word of which i didnt know. I didnt speak for a month to anyone outside home (for ppl who know-this should surprise them!!!). In a month we joined our new school, learnt the new language (English and Tamil-all the English i know today and my accent is courtesy our stint in Madras), ate tamilian food etc. All this for 5 years....

Just wen we got comfortable, the dreaded fone call came. “Leema, I got transferred”. This time we packed off to Bombay (it was Bombay back then). From now on the cultural shock was less, cause we were used to city life. But now everybody spoke hindi and i had to study marathi for school.

Two yrs later, the call came again. This time to Kerala- a stint we or rather i didnt enjoy much. We lived near our relatives, so we HAVE to meet them every sunday for some function. I didnt miss my cousins anymore, so i no longer had the excitement to meet them. Dad saw this coming, he too felt that we relegating back to the 'rice and fish' culture (i would like to mention here tat dad has the highest regard for mallu culture, but he didnt like those functions eating into our study time)

then the calls became frequent- Kerala to Delhi, Delhi to Chennai(ya then it became Chennai), Chennai to Delhi- then in Delhi for 6 looong years. Till the call came again....this time to Mumbai (name changed!!)

Thanx to transfers, we have a cosmopolitan upbringing, we know more languages, more places, friends in these places, 7 schools (thankfully only one college) i did grades 8-12th in 4 different schools!!! Transfers made us bold and confident. We are 'non mallu accented english speaking' girls!!...But transfers also made us thick skinned and hard hearted. We longer feel very close to people. We are apprehensive of getting close to people, cause we know that one day soon we have part. People say that we have friends all over, but line 'keep in touch haan..' is just a formality. Nobody keeps in touch- even with the advent of orkut, hi-fi. When we go to any place, we have an identity crisis- we are not south indians for an ordinary south indian- we are dilli or mumbaiwaalis, while we are in the north, we are tambis!!

But Dad was very particular that we always see transfers in positive light, we just could not complain about a transfer. “Every new place holds new opportunities”- thus spake dad. Lets see wat oppurtunity this mumbai stint has in store....