Friday, February 20, 2009

When smug gets in your eyes


Milk here comes in handy 500 ml plastic bags that look like little square pillows. The usual brand we see is called Milma and the milk is advertised as "double-toned"- we've yet to figure out what that means. The milk here is a mere Rs10 per 500 ml, or .50¢ a litre! Curd (yogurt) also comes in the same useful little packs. 

Between our house and KK Road are 3 "corner" stores. They are handy little attachments to someone's house that open on the street side to provide a sales counter. They carry some basic items like milk, flour, salt and small amounts of fruit and veg. If you are missing just an item or two for a meal, these little shops can save you the 45 minute round-trip up to the main drag.

Miles, almost 8, has started taking trips, by himself, to one of these corner stores to purchase bottled water and milk for us. He has learned, as we all had to, that although the words "milk" and "curd" are used here (as well as their Malayalam equivalents, paalu and thairu, respectively) and are even written in English on the packets, pronunciation is all important. You must ask for milk-e or curd-e (an extra vowel sound on the end that makes the same vowel sound as in book) to be understood. So Miles walks himself up to the store, tiptoes so he can be seen on the other side of the counter and asks for " 2 milk-e" and deals with the rupees and change all on his own. Pretty impressive.

So one day about a week ago, Miles comes home with a different brand of milk and pops it in the fridge. I am the one who usually decants the milk and curd into the pitcher and plastic tub that we keep in the fridge. I pulled the milk out of the fridge and cut off one corner to pour it into the pitcher. The logo stopped me in my tracks. Miles has just purchased "POOP" milk! Rob was out, Emma was in the shower and the boys were deeply engrossed in a game on their computer. Having no-one to share the humour with, I pulled out the camera and took a photo of the remaining unopened packet for proof. One must always have proof. Later that evening, I related the story to Rob and we pulled out the camera to have a look at the photo. We had a good chuckle over the could-not-be-more-inappropriate branding of the milk. Poop milk, a classic bit of Indoglish. For days afterwards we would look at each other and mouth "poop!". We were smugly superior in our ability to see such an obvious error in nomenclature judgment.

A couple of days ago we were at Chitra's filming the making of the awesome duck and pidi dishes (more on that coming up in a later post) and as she opened the fridge, I noticed that she too had Poop milk. Rob and I, chuckling away to ourselves again, attempted to relay the humour of this name to Chitra. I thought we were coming up against some kind of untranslatable humour-barrier because although Chitra is very smart and has an excellent command of English, she had a confused look on her face. We tried to explain in more detail. You know. 'Poop', as in... She set us straight. She knew what we meant by 'poop'. She shook her head, opened the door of the fridge and pulled out the packet. And lo and behold, there it was before us, what we were unable to see clearly before. The brand PDDP. No wonder Chitra was baffled by our mirth! But, overflowing with the PDDP of human kindness, she let it pass. I felt like such an adolescent. A not very bright one at that.

A little crow with that duck?

1 comment:

miles said...

Great post about the Poop milk.




Miles