Monday, November 9, 2009

Shall We?

"Love how Sri Lankans say "shall we?" when they want to make a move"

Wrote, or tweeted, a friend of mine the other day. It made me smile, in a bit of a Sri Lankan way.

You see I was brought up in English, but it was an English that was littered with Lankan phrases and "Api yamuda?" was one of them.

I remember being at those very Sri Lankan get togethers, the ones that happen in England. All the adults would be great friends and there'd be dancing, drinking and back slapping and a bunch of second generation young kids scattered around scowling at each other and trying to win the competition to be the most English kid in the house.

Winning was achieved by displaying the most contempt possible towards all things Sri Lankan. This meant insisting on the use of cutlery, never ever dancing to the baila and quite a lot of general skulking and attitude.

The really brave kids, the ones who probably went on to become NGOs, lead singers or overtly camp interior designers with unusual looking business cards, would claim a dislike of rice and curry or even, yes seriously, NOT refer to the adults as Uncle or Aunty. None of us were ever brave enough to do it overtly, there was always a slightly mumbled sound so that the adult would think that they had been addressed correctly, but the thought was there.

Then there'd be a couple of girls, invariably with those uniquely Lankan rhyming names, like Sonali and Ronali or Shahila and Ashila. All the rest of us hated these girls but in a slightly envious way. They were the teacher's pets of the group.

With only a hint of a request from one of their parents, usually the Father, these girls would break out into a song and dance routine that would make one of the songs from High School Musical, either one, two or three, you can choose, seem like a Stigmata gig when they've decided to try and sound a bit heavier than usual.

All the older generation would cheer and clap and commend the parents of the girls on having such talented and lovely daughters. The rest of us, the kids, would scowl and huff, pretending that the last thing on earth we wanted was to be like them.

After all the merriment, the eating, drinking and dancing, remember this was in the days when drinking and driving was positively encouraged, especially among Sri Lankans, there'd be a brave wife or husband who'd look at their spouse, do that very Lankan head twist, raise an eyebrow and say


Then people would leave. Obviously, what with most of the people being of Serendipitious origin, the leaving process would take about another three hours, but eventually it would be done.

These days, on the seemingly rare occasions me and C are in the same country, I find myself a bit of an expert at the "shall we?" The words are often unsaid, the body movements are barely perceptible to a passing suddha. It's a quick bit of eye contact, the slightest bit of facial rotation ( I reckon about 3 deg though that's not scientifically proven) , just the merest raising of an eyebrow and the message has been conveyed.

Sometimes there's a little bit of lip movement but it's more miming the words than anything.

And, three hours later, we go.

Turning into my Dad? Me? Never?

Happy Monday all.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post've captured the kids attitudes really well!Haha.!!Hmm...I think that eventually we all turn into our parents...and I'm more scared for my kids than for myself on this count!Poor poor things!


Anonymous said...

oh yes you are!!! ;)

Sach said...

Haha good one mate.
And I swear you, more than once I've heard the reply comes as "shall shall"!

Cadence said...

Nice post RD. Thoroughly encapsulates Sri Lankan-(ism?)

ViceUnVersa said...

My fav is;

'Must go now, no?'

GDMRD and the best for the weekend to you too.

Resident Princess said...

Your spot on about the whole thing. I used to be one of those sulky kids. Thank god Ive changed! But I do wish the goodbyes would be quicker. :)

Have a good Monday yourself!

PseudoRandom said...

Haha anyone would think you've been a fly on the wall at the social gatherings I was taken to as a kid :D I guess some things never change eh?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

F - Thanks, it's also amusing to see our kids occasionally behaving like us isn't it? They hate the thought of it as well.

Anon - Never!

Sach - Yes, very true, or "why not"

Cadence - Ta v much.

DD - Yes, then it's another 2 hours until leaving. GM2U2

Resident Princess - Perhaps you haven't changed as much as you think!!

Pseudo - Yes, it's a strangely comforting thought to know that we're not alone!

Anonymous said...

Do you think the new kids have evolved into something else entirely?

Anonymous said...

:-) enjoyed reading this.So true!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely ! & Spot on !... you analyze these concepts with such brilliance...!