"Leema, i got transferred"

This is the line that sister and me dreaded everytime we were in a particular city for about 3 years. My dad has a transferable job and he is one of those few employees who LIKES transfers.
A ‘few years’ back to when i was 6 yrs old (i am not very old) when dad got transferred to Madras (Back then it was Madras) In fact he wanted to transfer himself to Madras for he wanted ‘without Mallu accented English’ speaking daughters. So we shifted ourselves from Alwaye (Kerala). Madras gave us a slight culture shock. Children conversed in English and my knowledge of English was restricted to ‘cat’, ‘bat’ and ‘rat’. Others spoke Tamil- a word of which i didnt know. I didnt speak for a month to anyone outside home (for ppl who know-this should surprise them!!!). In a month we joined our new school, learnt the new language (English and Tamil-all the English i know today and my accent is courtesy our stint in Madras), ate tamilian food etc. All this for 5 years….

Just wen we got comfortable, the dreaded fone call came. “Leema, I got transferred”. This time we packed off to Bombay (it was Bombay back then). From now on the cultural shock was less, cause we were used to city life. But now everybody spoke hindi and i had to study marathi for school.

Two yrs later, the call came again. This time to Kerala- a stint we or rather i didnt enjoy much. We lived near our relatives, so we HAVE to meet them every sunday for some function. I didnt miss my cousins anymore, so i no longer had the excitement to meet them. Dad saw this coming, he too felt that we relegating back to the ‘rice and fish’ culture (i would like to mention here tat dad has the highest regard for mallu culture, but he didnt like those functions eating into our study time)

then the calls became frequent- Kerala to Delhi, Delhi to Chennai(ya then it became Chennai), Chennai to Delhi- then in Delhi for 6 looong years. Till the call came again….this time to Mumbai (name changed!!)

Thanx to transfers, we have a cosmopolitan upbringing, we know more languages, more places, friends in these places, 7 schools (thankfully only one college) i did grades 8-12th in 4 different schools!!! Transfers made us bold and confident. We are ‘non mallu accented english speaking’ girls!!…But transfers also made us thick skinned and hard hearted. We longer feel very close to people. We are apprehensive of getting close to people, cause we know that one day soon we have part. People say that we have friends all over, but line ‘keep in touch haan..’ is just a formality. Nobody keeps in touch- even with the advent of orkut, hi-fi. When we go to any place, we have an identity crisis- we are not south indians for an ordinary south indian- we are dilli or mumbaiwaalis, while we are in the north, we are tambis!!

But Dad was very particular that we always see transfers in positive light, we just could not complain about a transfer. “Every new place holds new opportunities”- thus spake dad. Lets see wat oppurtunity this mumbai stint has in store….

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15 thoughts on “"Leema, i got transferred"

  1. yours sounds like a “hum tum” inspired life where the charecters keep travelling to diffrent places all through out the movie. i just hope that like them we two keep bumping into each other often. (if u havent seen the movie, u really wouldent understand what i just send but still “bhavnao ko samjho”)here’s a little analysis i made of what would have been my openion of u had u been moving in the 1st, 2nd 3rd or 4th year of coll.had u been transfered after the 1st year, i wouldent really have much of an openion of u cause i really didnt know u back then. so for me u would have been just one of those book wormish mallu students who really didnt have a life (which isnt really true).if the transfer took place after the second year, my openion of u would have been that of a really really diffrent mallu (which r a rare breed cause u r all almost the same) who didnt only top the class but even knew the deffination of fun (this is in referance to one of those late night chats we sometimes used to have)a transfer after the third year wouldent have made much of a diffrence in my openion of u cause we really didnt interact back then much.after the fourth year would have been quite sad cause i missed that year of coll all togather and u leaving would not really be a v good “welcome back” for me.and now that u r moving after the fifth year, i cant help but look back and think, mabe we could have had more interraction and improved upon our friendship. but i really hate having regrets so i will not :)P.S.: y do i get the feling that the tag of tambi u got in delhi was really my gift.

  2. hey, mallu diaspora! your articla so reminded me of this coz a pal of mine had to write a paper on mallu diaspora. she’s in delhi too. funny. we never got such topics back in our days. (that is not meant to imply i’m old!)

  3. gurl!!!!!!!!!i loved the write….no other place have i read such a beautiful narration on transfer….i connect deeply with your experience cuz ma dad kept changing ma school from chennai to dubai and back and forth again and again and again ….but thing is i kept gettin back to the same school so it was like meetin ma friens back again 🙂 but yeah i loved the part of gettin bolder and learning diff languages….truly like what your dad says tranfers are also a positive thing….every thing is a new opportunity….wish u a pleasant and happy stay in mumbai leema .cheers and keep smiling…..loadsaaa love and yeah keep in touch(heeheheheheheh)

  4. would be better worded if the keep in touch getting to be a mere formality was better attributed to u… i know atleast one person here who tries all he can to keep in touch…. anyways, i lost ma mobile- call me at 9962184537

  5. hmm…seems u r trying pretty much to settle down in Mumbai …getting used to the culture there! After all…”dilliwallas” are not easily accepted in other parts of India…but then….u r not exactly a Delhite…u r one of a kind…u r have the true feel of being an Indian…u know so many people, places, languages and cuisines! I wonder….if ever I have to leave Delhi…how will I adjust yaar? khair….touch mei rehna haan…

  6. I can relate to what u said about not feeling too close to people any more …being uprooted from familiar surroundings and people has made me a thick skinned girl ..no longer my earlier vulnerble self ..And to add to what u ve said ..I ev realized no one except ur close family ( and ur boyfren! ) is irreplaceable!

  7. another chaptr will b added shrtly..that of LONDON…”Ann ji London wale”..btw which city were u in..wen u got that pic clicked with M. Jackson [:D]…hehehn u dint even mention wen u liked one punjabi munda in deli who reminds u of akshay..ahem ahem (blush)…heheh..muauahahaha

  8. @abhishekyes the tambi tag was because of u..thank u (sarcasm levels 99%). lets try to remain friends even after college coz that is the true test of frndship@nihalplz tell her to make a reference to my blog. its a PR exercise @eljothanx. there sure will be a similar post in ur blog afterall u were party to this too@maneeshwell i have stopped blaming, jus figured out that dads dont care abt this anymore (in a way its good)@taurean tramplingthanx..wen i look back i feel pround to hv had such a life@d-grailokie shall make a plan madam@mark ivthank for the effort, but u know i am a bitch!@vidhiya sure babe ‘will keep in touch’ thanx to MTNL@hemantkeeping my fingers crossed@eshayup family is irreplaceable@varunkeeping my fingers crossed to be londonwali,that pic was wen MJ came o chennai :~P, ya panjabi dude stop promoting urself :~P

  9. shit man..u r so popularrrrr…MJ came esply to meet u in chennai..bt somehow only u cld see him rt..hehehe :Ppunjabi munda will keep prmoting himself..untill he gts his due acknwlgmnt…”give the devil his due”.. ,,muahahahhh

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