Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dileep - Crazy Roomies III

"How many room mates have you had" ? 11 years of living with people (includes my bro).. Some day, I will count. as of now you do the math.

Room mates come in all types. "Dileep" is among the most extreme of those. How can I forget him...

It was a typical winter in jersey. I was depressed like hell. Some said it was the winter syndrome. Lack of oxygen, Too much t.v. and super sized fries. It was much more than that, the dingy absolutely negative place where I lived in. Not to forget, the feeling of "expecting to be laid off" and my two room mates "Trevor" and "Dileep".

My previous room mate "chetti" kicked me out of the house (the lease was in his name) because he was getting married (actually he got pissed, because I forgot to close the salt lid). I was looking for a place to stay when I stumbled across "Trevor". Trevor was an old school friend from chennai who I bumped in by accident over www.roommates.com. I decided to move in.

There was another guy called "Dileep" who was there. This part of my life was one of the darkest and as an exercise in exorcising all my ghosts (read issues) I am recollecting this painful experience, just to make you all laugh.

So make sure you laugh. In summary two months after moving in, I decided to move out. Here is what happend.

Dileep is a 30 + PhD in laser technologies from IIT and has had over 40 publications in international publications. In US he was consulting for TCS!!!. Dileep never eats out. He cooks all his 3 meals at home. He buys the cheapest potatoes, bread and ketchup (Usually the stock that would be just thrown out). He was on a super saving spree and he would go to any lengths to achieve his savings goals (between 70% - 90% of what he earned). He owned a 15 year old toyota coralla with no heating. So after dusk, he would piggy ride on other people's cars. He never rented any videos of blockbuster. He always rented videos from the local govt. library (free). The t.v. ??. Our first t.v. in India (Dynora) way beack in 1980 was more advanced. This t.v. had knobs for changing channels !!! He hasnt watched HBO ever. Basically He employed all tactics possible to achieve his savings goals and he would one day write a book, "how to save Dollars living in US, even as your life went down the drain". His idea of parties were the stupid desi potluck parties where they talk of green cards, cars, politics back home, kids, sale offers, and cook food for each other. I attended one of those parties. I came back home and puked.

We lived in PP, NJ where so many desi married couples lived. I was careless eough not to do the negihbourhood check. They all made me more than welcome in their clockwork lives. Work, parties, temple, laundramat, hindi movies. If life was tick-tock-tick-tock for these clockwork couples, I was a out of sync Tang-Ting-Talang no two notes repeating itself. The focus of the whole extended families were my wild ways and miserly living of Dileep. They would exclaim to Trevor "Both your roomates are crazy. Vasu parties all the time in hoboken and dileep never has eaten anywhere apart from burger king and McDonalds. You must be having a horrible time !! ?? ". Trevor would smile sheepishly offering no other comments. He never displayed any identity which Dileep and Me displayed. And I hated to be clubbed along with him. So this is how I lived those horrible 2 months of my life.

I always had the feeling that married desi couples used the surpless availability of techi bachelors to crack their stupid insipid bachelor jokes. They will make jokes about apparent desperation in us bachelors' lives and give out really stupid laughs. This dull tame jokes spiced up their useless lives. Some of the wives in that group had a lot of time and patience on their hands (H4 visa holders). I avoided them for mainly two reasons.

1.) I had a flirting problem back then. I mean I was in a flirting spree getting to expand my horizons. I was genuinely interested in women (RR says all women, any women) and was absolutely non-self concious about my ugly looks and south asian swagger. I was putting a lot of guys in discomfort. As I said, I was just expanding my horizons. I dint want to rock the fragile platforms on which these families were built on. I could have easily overdone it and offered a wild experience to any one of these wives. As it is most of them lived a highly repressed lives in recreating home away from home. These were genuinely decent guys and I dint want to hang around them making them feel inadequate because of my flirting problem.

2.) I felt that these wives of friends were acting like mothers. "Dont smoke". "Dont drink too much Vasu". "You are doing so good. Why dont you get married". The assault on my free independant spirit was incessant. I longed for the anonymity and freedom of lodi (zip code: 07644). Worse was when some of these wives would take turns to invite all 3 of us for dinners. Conversations would always end up being asked, so when are you going to get married ? I usually skip these things. Dileep never missed the chance. I always thought it was wierd that Dileep discussed the floral patterns on curtains and home furnishings over dinners.

Even when I wasnt there, I was subject of much discussion. The vagabound tam brahm boy needs to be saved from the evils of the west. Whenever I did happen to bump into them in the launderomat, all attention would flow to me. I just couldnt help it. Once Arun's wife and mother caught me reading "Venus in India" while waiting for the drier to finish. Arun's wife grabbed the book with authority despite me protests. She gave a shriek of blasphemy when she looked at the cover.

Arun's mother never again spoke to me.

Trevor reasoned with me that it was because I missed all those get-togathers that I was being remembered so much. He reasoned, "Vasu just make an appearance once in a while and enjoy the fun and all will be fine and besides, Arun's sister would be there too". I dint know what was the reason, but it worked and I Decided to attend the next event.

The whole married couple's jund (crowd) decided to go for an outing to a temple and a restraunt. It was a huge plan. Took 5 days to confirm and re-confirm and as usual the toyota corolla sat in the parking lot. Arun's sister, Arun and me travelled by my car. Luckily Dileep had to discuss the intricacies of kasur methi (an indian spice) with Arun's wife. Ours was the only car with three people. Arun's mom joined us at the last moment just to keep a watch on her daughter. She was a nice kid, a student somewhere and we really had to watch out for all the protective hawks around that day. I did manage to exchange numbers despite the intense glare from her Mom.

I somehow endured the bridgewater temple. As we went back to our cars, Dileep is told of the plan to go to a restraunt. He was aghast. I cant afford "Olive garden". He wanted out. He asked me to drop him home before going to the restraunt. I politely told him "Fuck off, take a taxi home". Dileep dint have a choice. Olive garden was a slightly more expensive place than other restraunts. But it was a good place to go once a week. The food was great. Some white wine, Arun's sister was keeping me esoteric company across our table. Both of us were sick of the games married people play. I was enjoying the after temple dinner and for once dint feel guilty of flirting. What a relief.

Dileep was silent. His mathematical brain was calculating all that he ate. His average savings rate calculation left a bad taste in my mouth. He finally ordered a basic salad and was aghast that he paid USD 3 for taxes. I felt good that he had no choice but roll the economy forward. He kept grumbling about the USD 15 he paid for the salad that day.

By the time we came back home, he was almost in tears. "How can these people do this to me". He was aghast. "Why dint they tell me that they had plans of going to "Olive Garden". They purposely planned it". He felt most betrayed by Arun's wife because she was in this plan too. It was a plan to both tame me and to shock him. Tame me by making me bow and go around the temples of bridgewater. I am sure Arun's mother was behind this idea. Like a good boy he should go to the temple once a week".

Dileep dint eat for 3 days. He said he was offering fast to "Lord Brahma". "Let me know if Brahma comes", I said. "I need to ask him when did he create you ? Monday morning before the crap ??". Its a huge rigour living with Dileep.

One evening I opened the refridgirator and it was empty of all beer bottles!!!. Never is my refredgirator empty of beer. He (you know who) had removed all the beer bottles and replaced with humongous pots of paneer makhanwala, biriyani and dal. I was in my pits that day having been laid off, a bad snow fall... and a life that was increasingly going downhill. Dileep's only responsw was, "You dint come to Arun's dinner today.They have given you all the leftover food. There is food for 3 days man!!! hurray !!! we dont need to cook. I had to make space so I removed your beer bottles".

I slammed the refridgirator and mumbled to myself "this is the last straw". That evening I packed all my stuff into the jetta, called "RR" who lived in Lodi and moved back with my old friends. I called up Trevor and told him that I am quitting. Thats it. Trevor understood. He later on advised me about the necessity for me to be patient. He also advised me not to get married anytime soon. I dint know why he said that though ?

Apparently my sudden decision to quit forced Dileep to recalculate his savings formulae. I had rocked his equation. So to reduce the burn and save more he quit the house and moved in with a colleague in Patterson, NJ. Now Patterson is a dangerous hood town. Guns, rap and graffiti all over the town. The rents are 30% lesser than elsewhere.

One day as Dileep and his new friend return from work. They find their house broken open and swept clean of all possesions. Music system, computers, camcoders, t.v. all clothes, even undergarments had been lifted out. Basically all that they was remaining was whatever they wore and luckily they carried their passports along with them all the time. Nothing else survived.

And yes, Dileep had piggy rided along with his new friend to work and his 15 year old toyota coralla was also gone.

For some wierd reason I dont know why, I felt good. I am generally a nice guy who doesent wish evil to others. But that day, I couldnt help it. One cant say admit this to others though. It is not politically correct. But the funny thing was, I found Trevor suppressing an evil laughter as he was narrating the complete disbelieving look on Dileep's face.

Last I heard, Dileep bought a t.v. with remote !!! and has bought a 2000 model toyota corolla. not bad huh..

A week after I moved out. RR asks me. "So Vasu, how was your experience in PP ?". "Totally fucked up two months da"... "Its all in the game", adds the wise RR... Amen..


At 4:15 AM, Blogger NobleThinking said...

Nice blog!!!

I just loved reading it. I couldn't laugh in true punjabi style because I am sitting in office right now. :)

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Archana said...

Ryan, Alok and Hari??? What a cheap lift from five point someone !!!!! Except that they stayed together until the end of the book and that you were no Ryan......the book was an awesome read just as this one!
And Dileep.....absolutely my kind of guy!!!!

At 5:43 PM, Blogger small squirrel said...

vasu... (wheezes)... stooooopppp maaaaan I am peeing my pants from laughing so hard.

you do know how to tell a story. both in person and in writing. you have a gift. we all know a dileep. and whoooooeeee. but this was brilliant. you need to write a book.

two things though...

1. olive garden is SHITE. In february I will cook you proper italian food.

2. How did I not run into you partying in hoboken?

At 4:34 AM, Blogger Vasu the terrible said...

@noble - laugh after reaching home :D... koi gal nahi..

@Archana - Ryan, Alok and Hari is a metaphor on every person's life.. Infact, if you read my review on 5.Someone you would find these exact same words..

>>>The only sad thing (which saruabh also agreed too ) was that our group of seven (a bong, 2 maharashtrians, a tam, 2 punjabis, 1 indori. All varieities of India and of course all varieties of majors - finance, HR, mareting, operations) had enough life experience language skills, hilarious annectodes to have written the very same book. Like A flaring up and fighting with the apartment secretary. All of us pitching in to save Bhalla's ass in the disastrous placement comittee meeting. Ash getting caught :D..We just felt that, man we should have done it.

for further reference read http://vazutheterrible.blogspot.com/2005/07/erotica-brahminism-and-hilarious-five.html

@Squirril - Thanks yaar... I am just a loudmouth who can also type... got a long way to go though for a book and all..

I even know the bouncers out there in hoboken.. It was that bad.. :).. IS february the italian month for me then ??? great.. hope it comes soon enough..

At 8:01 AM, Blogger wookie said...

man what a weird character(i.e dileep) LOL

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Misreflection said...

hilarious....I love the way you are able to see the "funny " side of life.:)Well done!!!

At 5:50 AM, Blogger gulnaz said...

hiliarious indeed!!

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now i know what is meant by a terrorist . very good one

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