Has it happened to you that the person often asks a different question which you hear as something else and well give surprising answers? In my case, it is almost routine since my bouts of cold leave my auditory senses only partly functional. But many a time the pronunciations and accents are so perplexing, you end up giving funny answers.
Case I: First day of office with the head of the Engineering Division.
Sir: Okay what’s your (u) sername?
Sir: Illai ma, what is your (u) sername?
Me: (Now a little perplexed) Chandrasekhar only sir.
Sir: Aiyo! Ellai maa..OOSERNAME…the one we put on the computer..!!
Me: Oh! That…(I walked away minutes later thinking maybe his impression of my IQ must be hitting rock bottom!)
Case 2: To the Cashier at the desk:
Sir: Kiske saath ho yahan par? (Who are you with here?)
Me: Ten others sir.
Sir: You are with ten people! I need all their signatures on your salary voucher.
Me: You need the signatures of my PS mates on my voucher?
Sir: Yes, 10 of them. Which department here has 10 bosses? (Thankfully in English)
Me: Oh! No no, I have just one boss. (Only then I realized the first question was about the boss)
Case 3: With the Head of Finance (A true blue Oriya)
Sir: Are you a (some word I didn’t understand) Trainee?
Me: (Nodding vigorously upon hearing trainee).
Sir: How come it says Engineering department on your voucher?
Me: I’m in engineering department.
Sir: How come you have management trainees in engineering department?
Me: I don’t think we have management trainees in the engineering department.
(He was now positively gaping at me and slowly shaking his head in disbelief. Only later, another Ps mate told me that he had enquired about me and was relieved to know I wasn’t a management trainee after all!)
He reminds me every time he meets me “Since you are from an engineering college you are an engineering trainee, understand? Management trainees are from Management Colleges”, before telling his colleagues “Some youngsters just don’t have the IQ , its genetic you know”.
I went to get my final voucher approved from him today and he asked me something I didn’t understand (I had already asked him to repeat his question) and just caught the words “yahan par?”
I instantly replied “Till 13th June sir!”
He smiled and said “I actually asked who your boss here is, but your information was useful too”.
“Babu Sir”, I said sheepishly.
“Finally”, he said “You told me the name of your boss. You shouldn’t be so scared to take his name you know”.
I’m sure the heads of finance and engineering are putting their heads together and muttering something darkly in disbelief every time I pass. I just can’t stop laughing at myself imagining their discussion about me!