Friday, December 30, 2005

What's In A Name?

He's been very helpful ever since we arrived at 5:00am on December 26th at Spencer House. He pointed out a place where we could sleep until they fixed up our room, squeezed us in the reservation book for 6 nights, arranged breakfast in the courtyard with 'milk tea' and gave us advice on how to make train reservations to Goa.


"We appreciate your help so much. What's your name?" we asked.

"Veal-suhn," he replied.

Pause.

"Umm, pardon...?" I said apologetically.

"Veeeeeel-sssuuuhhhhn," he repeated patiently.

"Right...." Andy stalled. "I'm sorry, what was it again?"

"Veal-suhn!"

Extended pause. Small cough as diversion.

"Wilson???!!!??" I suddenly questioned incredulously.

"Yes. Veal-suhn. " he said with slight sparkles of exasperation and resignation in his dark eyes.

"Wilson," we said, embarassed and relieved. "Um, thank you again for your help, and good night."

We exit quickly, courtyard left. And feel better the next morning when we hear him on the phone with some other person repeating the routine.


And that, our friends, is the legacy of colonialism in South India!

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