VatT, BailyS, Anbu, FreeT, Gopics, MonT
All dialogues and characters in the act are real. Ooper Bharath is a patented term of the Lunch Gang not to be used without express permission of members of the Lunch Gang who are all (save one wannabe Ooper Bharath) biased towards North Indians; unless of course you are equally biased as well. The Lunch Gang Against Ooper Bharath Motto has always been, “We didn’t start it. They did. We swear.”
A hot, sultry day on a corporate campus in Mysore. Three people are walking towards an empty Cafe Coffee Day to kill time and to parch their thirst.
Mr. B: A man in a very dapper outfit and shades
Ms. V: A woman in a very classy outfit and shades
Ms. B: A woman in very high heels but without shades
Ms. B: Can we please sit? I cannot walk with these heels anymore. There’s shade here.
Ms. V: Ah, but we don’t need the shade. We are wearing shades.
Mr. B: (Grinning wickedly) Yes, we don’t. We should sit in the sun. That’s why you need shades. We are cool people. We have shades.
Ms. V: Yea! We are shade buddies.
Mr. B: I want to sit in the sun. Back in London, I missed the sun so much.
Ms. B: Oh no, we are back to the Back in London stories.
Ms. V: Ai, fascinating, ya. You tell us about Back in London stories.
(They all sit in the sun. There is a slight maneuvering so Ms. B without shades will not have to face the sun.)
Mr. B: Well, you know there’s nothing much to say, it’s just jolly old London after all. But since some people here don’t want to listen to it, let’s talk about something else.
Ms. B: Thank God for small mercies. Let’s play a game. Free Association?
Ms. V: Yes, let’s. Oh, that’s fun.
Mr. B (same time as Ms. V): Oh God, that’s kid stuff.
Ms. V (instantly and very agreeably): Yes, that’s kid stuff.
(Ms. B rolls eyes in disbelief and much discomfort. The sun is really scorching.)
Ms. B: Listen, you two; we either go sit inside in the shade where my back doesn’t get burnt and I don’t get tanned to soot black or you suggest something distracting and interesting.
Ms. V: Okay, I’ll tell you something funny about my Hyderabad trip.
Ms. B: LOL, that’s funny. You and your Hindi. God, I can’t believe you even passed the damn exam.
Mr. B: Really, that bad?
Ms. V: So I go to this shop in Hyderabad and keep pointing my finger at the shopkeeper and say, “bhaiyya, dikhao, isse dikhao.” And he’s leering at me, the stupid basket, and saying, “Kya dikhaun, behenji? Abhi dikhaun?” My friends dragged me away from the shop and explained what had just happened. So I didn’t shop much at Hyderabad. Went to the Westside there and bought gifts.
Mr. B: That is funny, but I bet my Hindi is much worse than yours. Don’t you think so, B?
Ms. B: Are you kidding? Haven’t you been listening to this woman?
Ms. V: No, maccha, no one’s Hindi can get as bad as mine.
Mr. B: Let’s have a contest then. Let’s see whose Hindi absolutely sucks. So B will give us a sentence in English and we’ve each got to translate it, okay?
Ms. V: Sounds good.
Ms. B: But why me? God, I hate the people and the way they assume everyone knows their language and must speak it.
Ms. V nods sagely.
Mr. B: Yes, but don’t you want to see who sucks at it? Or did you get used to the sun? (Looks challengingly at Ms. B)
Ms. B: You are a manipulative bitch, is what you are. Fine then, translate this, “Automan, I need to go there.”
Mr. B: Who says, “automan”?
Ms. B: I do. Now translate, please.
Mr. B: (saying things slowly and haltingly): “Automan, mujhe iddhar jaana hein.”
Ms. V: Nonsense, it’s, “Automan, mein iddhar jaana hein.”
Mr. B: Okay no, that’s grammatically incorrect. It sounds grammatically incorrect.
Both look at Ms. B
Ms. B: Yes, Point 1 for V and O for B. You seem to know grammar even if you take 30 years to translate, B.
Mr. B: Too bad then, pick up.
Ms. B: What the fuck. What’s to pick up in that? Okay, “The festival Diwali is celebrated in Northern India.”
Mr. B (laughing smugly but actually thinking): Oh, I know where that is from.
Ms. V (laughing hysterically): So, “Diwali,” what was that word, da, for festival? “Tyo-va-haar? Ooper Bharath mein manatha hein.”
Mr. B: Okay, here goes, “Diwali tyohaar uttar Bharath mein manaya jaa raha hein.”
Ms. V: What’s uttar Bharath, dai? It’s Ooper Bharath.
Mr. B: Ooper Bharath?
Ms. V nods very convincingly at a confused looking Mr. B. Ms. B looks incredulously at both of them.
Ms. B: What on earth is Ooper Bharath?
Ms. V: North India, da. North India is Ooper Bharath.
Mr. B and Ms. B both burst out laughing.
Mr. B: And how do you figure that out?
Ms. V: See it’s Ooper, no? On the map. That’s why it’s called Ooper Bharath.
Ms. B: No, you stupid child, it’s North. North is uttar.
Ms. V: Nonsense, even I know uttar is Answer.
Mr. B (acknowledging defeat): Never mind, I guess it proves beyond doubt that V sucks at Hindi more than I do.
Ms. B (smug and suffering): You are both terrible.
Mr. B (smiles): But Ooper Bharath is such a cool name to call those weirdos.
Ms. V: That weird Ooper Bharath chap called me again, da, today; or look at the way he assumes I know Hindi, bloddy Ooper Bharath basket… Nice, I like the usage.
Ms. B: (Not knowing when to shut up): Pah! Can’t even speak Hindi, idiots! Sitting in the sun and wearing shades, it seems. Nonsense!
Mr. B: B, what is your mother tongue?
Ms. B (looks suspicious but falling into the trap anyway): Kannada?
Both Mr. B and Ms. V (laughing together, say): Oh, “Khan-na-dah,” is it?
Ms. B: Bleddy bitches, I’m going inside. You sit in the sun with your stupid shades. I’m going. Bleddy bitches, fuckers… (curses to fade)
What the phoonk is Himesh doing?