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An Eid Special Interview :-)

October 12, 2014

Dubai Sheikhs VS. Seth-Bhais VS Local Thuluks ROFL 🙂 🙂 

my humble attempt to educate a rural Tamil girl on the most important issue pressing India right now…

(Post originally penned in the Vijayadasami (Navrathri-Dushera)-Eid weekend – longest one this year. Inspiration for the post came from … satires, satirists, humorists in all forms… This is what happens when you keep reading too much of satire!)

Border skirmishes continue in Kashmir, as I write this post, with Pakistan troops firing relentlessly at civilians on Indian side killing on the spot women and children. Indian forces are reacting a wee bit late. If this is the scene in the western border, on the east we have dreaded China. Looks like a well worked out strategy by India’s 2 arch enemies. Double-pronged attack to weaken the Indian state, tire our defence forces and play havoc with our economy. In short this is a proxy war waged by Pakistan and China – not surprising given that this was expected even from before our Lok Sabha elections were held, which Modi’s BJP was expected to win.  After all the Kargil war happened when BJP was in full term for the first time,and even then Pakistan had an elected democratic government in place with the same Nawaz Sharif for PM.

Anyway, confined to bedrest in last couple of days, with son picnicking in Kerala coasts, I had too much of idle time in hands over the weekend, the longest ever beginning with Vijayadasami holidays and finishing with Bakrid. Tomorrow I must be fit and fine as fiddle to carry on with my daily chores.

To kill time, I conducted this Eid Special interview with my part-time maid who comes in to clean & mop my place on daily basis. Every morning she is in for 1 hour and every evening for about 30 min. Rest I manage on my own. She is like a little sister to me, a girl of about 33 years, a mother of 2 kids. She is with me for over 10 years now – I treat her well and she is most loyal to me. Refuses to work for anyone else. The village girl who married a local labourer is so sincere, hardworking. Her only world is her family – she takes care of her in-laws, cooks for the family, cleans up after them and then comes to help me out in her free time.

I have already asked her once this set of questions to confirm my stand when I was reading Khalid Hosseini for the first time. Now repeating the interview just for the heck of it. I am reproducing here what we spoke about yesterday – it was such a fun!

My questions are printed in blue and the answers given by ‘S’ my maid are printed in green.


Hello ‘S’ i have some questions for you.

What. Any pills you want for stomach cramps – i can get from the medical shop. (always eager to please).

You know I don’t take pain-killers, as if you do! I only want you to stay for a few minutes with me. Its so boring and tv is horrible. Entertain me! I want to ask you some questions to amuse myself! Don’t mistake I am not teasing you!

Sure, carry on. My work is finished and I am free.

I want to ask you about ‘bhais’ in your place. (Muslims are referred to as ‘bhais’ generally in TN)

(she surprisingly recollects. I think she may be thinking i am obsessive with this subject – or may be i am?!) You already asked me once!

Never bother I am asking you again! Tell me what you know about bhais – any bhai – and what you think of them.

There is not much to say about them. Bhais all run their ‘kasaapu kadai’ (butchering shops/meat shops) in my village. Here in Chennai also all the butchers are bhais i see – i am getting you chicken from a bhai only, you know already! Bhais here cut the chicken fine. Bhais in village give us biryani for ramzan!

Sure, I want to ask you about other bhais – there are many in this world, not just tamil-speaking bhais. You know there are ‘seths’ who are also bhais and bhais who are also seths!! (we refer to north Indians as ‘seths’ in the south – one general sweeping word/terminology just like all northerners refer to all south Indians as ‘madarasis’ . in general, all hindi-speaking people are ‘seths’ for us madarasi. so this seth-bhai is quite a combination! by this new coinage which is mine (to be copyrighted soon), i mean north Indian muzzies or urdu speaking muzzies)

Yes i know there are some hindi (meaning urdu) speaking seth-bhais – which is why we call them ‘tulukkan(s).’ (another name for muslims we use in tamil slightly derogatory – but not really.)

I want to talk to you about them. You know a land – err – like a state like our Tamil Nad or Andhra for instance (my maid cannot comprehend anything more than that, poor girl. she knows Andhra because she regularly visits Tirupathi) of bhais? It is called Pakistan. It is near Delhi, Bombay (!). If you go there, you can see they are all seths and they are all bhais! No Hindus like us! They are all one and only seth-bhais but not like our local seth-bhais! they are a bit different. Once upon a time before India got independence they were with us. now they have gone their separate ways. the bhais did not want to live with us Hindus. So these seth-bhais from Pakistan, you get them now?! 

Slightly confused look – so i persist:

See they are seth-bhais but not our seth-bhais! that’s the difference!

Really?! Only bhais? And they are all seths?! How can this be? All shops are then chappal shops and biryani shops and butchering shops only there? But bhais make the best biryani. But other bhais are here! some seth-bhais also. 

Yes, some bhais did not want to go there so they are still here. you see not all bhais are butchers or cobblers or darning tailors, you must get that first. These seth-bhais in Pakistan are different. They make bombs and put bombs on others. Remember Bombay Taj Hotel attack. It was them. (lolz) (my bit of social service and PR for Govt of India). All bombs here – its they who put. 

(Swearing) Why we are letting them. No police in their place? Oh i know. The police are also seth-bhais. Seths committing rape all the time. I am seeing in tv. Seth-bhais are doing bombs. Scary people. What are they doing this for.

Hello hello, now don’t confuse seths who rape with seth-bhais who make bombs. they are 2 different people. rape seths are in delhi. these bomb seth-bhais are in Pakistan, got it? They are doing this for money mostly, what else. Also they want us all to become bhais like them. You see these seth-bhais from Paak, they are not like sheikhs in Dubai. 

Enlightenment dawns in my maid’s face quickly to be replaced by some confusion.

Dubai sheikhs. You mean dubai sheikhs are bhais?! 

Ofcourse Dubai Sheikhs are bhais, how many times should i tell you that. Been telling you for ages but you are getting confused. Now remember this, i will ask you anytime again and again:

Dubai sheikhs are richest bhais. but they are not seths! got it?! they wear that white dress.  It is from them in dubai we are getting petrol. it comes by ship which is why it is costly.  but dubai sheikh wives wear black dress. our bhai women who wear black dress are copying from them from dubai.

Yeah now i understand. so our bhai women are copying the dubai sheikh wife dress. but why are our bhais not copying the dubai sheikh white dress. so now i get it, dubai sheikhs are all bhais. but they are not seths!!

Hurray! I want to kiss ‘S’ now!

Oh that’s good question. you are really learning fast now. our bhais are not wearing the white dress like dubai sheikhs because our dhoti/lungi is most comfortable hahaha! more airy!! the dubai sheikh white dress cannot be folded up and lifted like our lungi. their white dress is like our ladies nighty. one straight cut that’s all. 

Oh i see. Will the dubai sheikhs be wearing anything inside?!

One gem of a question. lolz.

Here our bhai women who wear black burqa come out to markets everything wearing very old/torn clothes like nighties inside. black dress is better that way. you can wear anything inside and no one will know. dubai sheikhs, what they wear insides?!

For once i am lost for words.

Next time i go to dubai, i will catch hold of one and ask straight away. (blushes) now do you know what we call dubai sheikhs – we call them ‘arabs.’


I did not try to attempt again, already i was imposing too much on her brains. Like a sponge S was absorbing anything but I know from experience, she also forgets fast. That’s because all this is news to her. She is not an interested party.

Anyway back to the seth-bhais from Pakistan, do you know how they dress. you see seths here sometimes in sherwani. they dress like that everyday. women wear salwar kameez.  but they are poor. these seth-bhais are poor bhais, not like our dubai sheikhs.

But they are putting bombs. even if they are poor. (in my maid’s viewpoint, all rich people are baddies and all poor people are usually kind and generous and good-hearted.

Yes. they are mean! you know this is what happens when someone eats too much biryani. and they eat beef biryani not like our bhais who eat mutton or chicken biryani. that makes them very violent! we are worshiping cows and they are killing and eating our Lakshmi. what will happen to them?! and do you know dubai sheikhs eat camel biryani?!

Oh really?!camel biryani?! but dubai sheikhs are still good. do they put bombs? you are going there to dubai. so they must be good. 

Dubai sheikhs are rich you know because they are selling petrol. they may or may not be good. they do nothing directly. they give money to these seth-bhais from Pakistan to do the bombs. like here some people hire thugs to commit murder or finish someone. You have seen dubai in tv haven’t you.

Ofcourse, Dubai, Singapore. I like the Vadivel Dubai joke very much!! lolz ROFL laughing. Vadivel is popular tamil cine comedian and his dubai jokes are a huge hit.

So now you know all about bhais. there are 3 types. tamil bhais – our local tuluqs first. they are good mostly. then the seth bhais from Pakistan especially who are cunning. then there are dubai sheikhs who are the richest bhais in the world.

What, you are telling me the dubai sheikhs are all bhais?!!!

Hey Ram, I faint nearly!!!  No dear S, we are not going into that again!

Now tell me what is the name of the country or place where all seth bhais live?!


I nudge, ‘try, try, its Pakistan!

Its Paak, Paak… sorry can’t get beyond that! anyway you said they are all bad, they are putting bombs here in our place. they all must be rogues, scoundrels. its okay i can’t pronounce their place name!

No dear S, don’t generalize, over 99% of them are truly terrorists no doubt. but there is this 1%. that 1% is also rowdy and rascal, but they are sweet and good rowdies! 🙂 we should never think all are one and the same!

How do you know?! Just now you said they are all bad!

You are getting smart S, i am tired. Thanks for the interview. Have I kept you long? Okay now that your son is in high school, ask him to show Pakistan in atlas – or in his geography text books. He will be knowing. 

No, its alright. If you need any help, just call my cell phone. You know for my son, we did the operation only at a muslim dargah. They did it for free. Bhais in my village are actually good. They are poor but are good. they are poor because they don’t do family planning like us. they have more children. (in conspiring tone: you know they keep more than 1 wife and also set up stepney sometimes!) in my village, if anyone wants to have more than 1 wife they are converting to bhai and taking on the second wife! and both wives live in the same house!! because there are more children, they are asking them to sit in their shops. not sending them to schools.

Well this is something about which my maid spoke about spontaneously. Look at the general opinion of a rural girl on muslims and generally their social life. It needed no prompting – just came out straight from the bottom of her heart. I could see she did not mean ill-will, she was merely stating it all as a matter of fact. Indirectly she seems to understand the correlation between literacy, social advancement, economic progress everything. She connects all these parameters with family size first and foremost. She herself has had her family planning done after her 2nd delivery. Which is good. My girl cannot read or write, she worked in farms upto her 18th year from a tender age of 10, to be married off straight away to her husband, a labourer.

My maid’s 12 year old son needed a surgery last year. Urgent one. She did not want to go to the GH where it is done free but where you have to be in queue in waiting list. Instead she learned of the sunnat done for free in her village by the few muslim families. They asked her son to come in skull cap. Asked him not to open his mouth to talk to anyone and they would explain everything if the organizers/sponsors asked any question. The event was funded by an islamic organization for a no. of rural muslim boys. It was like a free camp. They did the surgery free for him along with on other little muslim boys- but it was crude. The doctors were Unani practitioners. I was worried about the infection and tried to discourage my maid but she went ahead anyway with the plans as it saved the family money and time. The boy healed quick. They sent him back home with gifts and lots to eat. Ever since my maid has only good thing to say about her village bhais.

Yes S, local bhais are good, nice people. I sincerely hope the dubai sheikhs and seth-bhais from Paak don’t corrupt them and make them do anything wrong. Ok girl i think its getting late for you. See you in the evening. Whoever we are, wherever we are, we must be good, that is the point. And don’t you too think all bhais are only butchers and tailors. there are also doctors and engineers and writers among them. you simply have not met them. Do you know the seth-bhais also play cricket?! but they are losers, we beat them in all matches!!

Oh really. I don’t understand cricket, its boring. By the way you have to warn the street boys. Their rubber ball fell in the balcony yesterday when you were resting. What if they break the window glass.  They don’t listen to me. The ball is also always falling within the compound on parked cars. Don’t later fret if they break the car glass.

No worries S, i will ask them to use a plastic ball. I will flick the balls if they fall here inside

I did that yesterday. I have it right now with me. (giggles)

Ok don’t sidetrack. we were talking about seth-bhai doctors, engineers and …

Dubai sheikhs are doctors?!

Oh no, S, enough for today. we will try that some other day okay? thanks for your time. you are a very sweet sister of mine. Arre, one last question:

Aiyo, not again. But you are also the sweet older sister of mine. Tell me…

Do you know that the seth-bhais are right now trying to fight us – with guns, bombs everything. they are ready for a war with us. Like kerala-tn border, andhra-tn border, we also have border with seth-bhais near delhi. that is where they are shooting with guns right now. many have died.

Aiyo kadavule, and at this time Amma is in jail. what will happen to us?!

Hello S, by us I meant entire India – you know the idea called India?! it means not just us here in tamil nadu, it means delhi, bombay, calcutta, bangalore, kerala, andhra, tirupathi, goa, everything.  JJ has jurisdiction only in tamil naad. you know Modi. he is the one in charge of whole of India. remember, just now we voted for delhi elections – it was not state assembly okay? before Modi it was Sonia Gandhi, you remember? and do you remember the singh?! quiet old man with the matching turban?! watch tv news okay? they are showing the fight.

Yes Sonia. I know. Seth bhais sound terrible.  i will watch sun tv news tonight. i watch only pictures and tv serials. but mostly in news they are talking about Amma only. they have framed her you know!

Yes girl, poor Amma. These seth-bhais are terrible because they eat too much meat. when so much fat is in our blood stream, we will all become violent only. our local bhais are okay because they eat little meat not too much like seth-bhais in Pakistan. These seth-bhais eat a lot, don’t do any exercise. that is why they want to fight. they are diverting their energy to bombs. (uncomprehending confused, baffled look).Do you know they don’t like to go to schools or read books?! (as much damage as possible lolz).Do you know they also have dharnas like us. They probably have even less no. of factories which is why they are so free and unemployed.

After a pause, almost like a concession,

Still some seth-bhais also write a lot! you are seeing our ‘Hindu’ and tamil papers right? these seth-bhais also have their own papers you know. they write in English!

What seth-bhais have English papers? or is it hindi papers. you said they don’t go to schools!

Ok leave it, keep the good things about bhais in your mind, forget the rest okay? good and bad are everywhere. there are rowdy seth-bhais who are really good, there are good hindus who are bad… just remember some seth-bhais are good in writing! (puzzled, hitherto unseen expression). i will remember to ask you this later!  bye for now. see you in the evening. Both of us are dead tired !

Hello hello, S, before you close the door behind you, one last thing – just think hard, do you know Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf, Imran Khan?!! Kashmir?! Atleast Mohammad Ali Jinnah?!

An incredulous look like i have never seen before!  Before S can manage a reply, i mumble, ‘oh sorry, never bother! just wondered if the names would ring a bell. looks like they are greek and latin to you!  ok bye. 

This time I wind up the interview real serious. Poor girl is at the end of her tethers.

Relieved, my girl closes the door softly leaving me ROFL. I laugh hard for the next 20 min thinking about it. I think about it, randomly laugh, think about it, randomly laugh. Like a cycle.

And I sincerely wish I could mail this interview to those like Hafiz Sayed, Zakir Naik (a benign terrorist in my opinion), to General Raheel (!), to Nawaz Sharif, to Imran Khan, to Bhutto (whoever and whatever – oh don’t point to that kid who is like twin bro of Rahul Baba), to Chinese PM & Pres (can never get their names), to Rajapakse. So this is it. This is India for you where there are those who do not even know you exist. Then what is this proxy war for. Try to get good name like Dubai sheikhs and local Tamil bhais okay, you bad, bad Seth-bhais!











From → ROFL !!!

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