Thursday, September 09, 2004

the desi grad student romeos .....

hi all ... am back after an extended hiatus, took some time off for the labor day weekend, and had to fight off some major deadlines at work ... but am finally back with more transport phenomena (whatever that might mean!) ....

here is something i had received as a forwarded email when i was a graduate student .... it was hilarious, and you could certainly identify someone of almost every type. the fall semester/quarter is underway at almost every university in the US, and as a new batch of graduate students is in ... it was fun to come across this again ..... i do not know the source, but i would like extend due credit to whoever wrote it ..... there is ofcourse plenty of stereotyping, exaggerating, sometimes its gross, and a bit painful at others .... but quite enjoyable all the same

Since the annual induction of new recruits is under way, let me start the ball rolling on the touchy topic of the intrepid romeo's courtship ritual... I would love to say that any resemblance to people living or married is a coincidence,but unfortunately that isn't really the case. It has been my misfortune to come across despos who fit at least one description very well.Some of the descriptions here are based on the outrageous opinions expressed y our dudes in private in an all-male environment, usually in a stag party while consuming egg-curry and the
ubiquitous 'chole' and raita, and chugging cheap beer.They probably did not expect these clandestine details of the courtship ritual would become public knowledge... so sue me.

SMOOTHIES :The Smoothest, The Slimiest:
We begin with the SMOOTHIES...those who have been ere for a year or two, some of whom are resigned to spending a couple more years on their Ph.D., and have that magic phrase "I have a car".Having thus established their solid gold credentials with the new girls as the "guys-to-be-smiled-at-so-that-they-can-be-asked-for-rides-to- roceries", they are the elite of the desi student circle.
Common come-ons used by the Smoothies include: [THIS PART SEEMS TO BE INCOMPLETE]

THE TALENT AGENT: (Romeonensis Recruitus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hello,I am Dr. Breslauer's RA."
The romeo who uses this line usually has been working for 3 years with a well-funded prof in the epartment, whose RA'ship offers are being actively sought after by the freshies.He really has NO say whatsoever in the decision, but until the RA'ships are decided, this guy is sitting pretty.We would advise him to move quickly and snare a naive new student before the RAships are assigned.His answering machine usually gets a lot of messages in the month RA'ships are assigned... he only calls back the female callers... the guys will just have to call him again...

THE SLIMEY GROPER: (Romeonensis Gropius) ( Also known as the DANCE MASTER )
Favourite Pickup-lines: "Hi, would you like to take the ballroom dancing class with me?"
The oldest sleaze-bucket trick. Ulterior motive: To grope and fondle forbidden flesh. This is the smoothie who religiously attends all the new-student orientation parties...scopes out all the 'fast' ones who venture out on the dance floor... generally goes for quasi ABCD's or Bombay types ..The only species of romeo who is sleazy enough to even hit on married women. A standard approach is to pay a shallow compliment to half a dozen girls (one at a time, of course!) such as: "Hello, you have very nice voice.Just like MS Subbulakshmi." OR "Hello, you dance very well.Did you take dance lessons?"
Our lady-of-the-dance-floor invariably giggles and says: "No, I only took bharatanatyam when I was little." Hmmm...Excellent candidate for hitting upon later.So our groper invites her over (with some other friends, of course) to his house a couple of evenings for dinner...and then pops the question... "There is a ballroom dance class every Tuesday evening. Would you like to be my dance really well (yeah, of course!)" . Some of the intended victims see the slime dripping all over him, but there is always one innocent girl who falls for the oldest trick in the desi-lothario's repertoire... and our groper-friend is all set to get his paws ready for a semester's groping and fondling,all for just 45 bucks registration fee (split 22.50 each, of course...). Plus he can look forward to being taken out to Pizza Hut by drooling roomies and wanna-be-slimeys who get their kicks by his serious XXX-rated description of each dance-class. He struts and brags, and within a day, the entire romeo community is aware of his conquest.A couple of his cronies call him up (even long-distance!) to "congratulate" him on his success at luring yet another freshie with the old trick: "saale, hat-trick maar diya, last year Pooja ko pataaya, last sem Rajni ko, aur abhi isko bhi thokne ka plaan bana raha hai kya? Kya class le raha hai, saala, Lambada sikha na usko!!Heh heh heh, Saala, congrats yaar!*sneer* *smirk* *nudge*". All his friends snigger in the background and start making plans to hit upon the poor girl who, of course, is absolutely _thrilled_ at being the "popular" girl...

Poor chick (who may still be in denial of having fallen for such an obvious trick) gets the reputation of being "fast", "dumb" and an easy lay;is doomed to fighting off sleazy advances from every desi desperado in town for the rest of her sojourn at the Univ.After she graduates and leaves, she becomes a legendary figure, the yardstick for measuring "fastness", and the stories just get embellished more for the entertainment of new students for years to come.

THE SLIMEY SCOPER: (Romeonensis Scopius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I have olympic size swimming pool in my apartment. I can teach you swimming...?"
The lesser twin of the Slimey Groper.Moves 17 blocks away from the University just because the apartment has a swimming pool.Always plans elaborate "pool-parties",which invariably end up with a dude-dudette ratio of 14-to-2(one of them being the ever popular "dance class" victim who is always invited to parties for all the wrong reasons...).

THE CHAUFFEUR: (Romeonensis Mobilus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I am going to K-Mart.You want ride? I have one extra seat..."
Actually, there will be two extra seats vacant,three if you count that ragged one with the funny oil-stain...but of course, the chances of a freshie saying yes to going anywhere alone with him would be slim ... so the reassuring "one seat is vacant..."implying that there will be other people present...

THE CHAUFFEUR DELUXE: (Romeonensis Mobilus Ultra) (Romeonensis Mobilus Alpina/Pioneera/Aiwa/Audiovoxa)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, I am going to K-Mart.You want a ride? I have a car stereo..."
A sub-species of the common-or-garden Chauffeur. The distinguishing mark being that funny noises bearing a passing resemblance to an old Dire Straits song occasionally emanate from a wheezy speaker hidden in the recesses of his automobile.

THE MOVIE MOGUL: (Romeonensis Cinematicus)
He doesn't have a car.He doesn't have the Slimey Groper's ability to cheat and deceive.He has tried asking newbies out to ballroom class, but somehow, all of them have seen through him, and the really dumb ones have already been snapped up for "ballroom-dance-classes" by the Slimey Groper. But he does have that master ace up his sleeve, or more accurately, perched precariously atop his tv... the magic box that has the power to induce women to stay past midnight in his apartment... the VCR. Manages to get some newbie dudettes into his apartment to watch "Nayagan" or "Roja", or that old reliable, "Sholay". (editor's note:This was first written in 1992.Hence the Nayagan/Roja reference.I dunno which movies are currently in vogue for this purpose.) Ten minutes into the movie, Movie Mogul changes into his lungi.His roomie plays the good host with nachos & cheese dip. He makes coffee with his lungi hitched up in half & a kitchen towel on his shoulder. These dudes try to impress their guests by shouting dialogues a good two minutes before the scene.Sonia, from Delhi, has no clue what is going on.The next time she visits, it will only be for help with Math 805 assignment.

THE FATHER FIGURE: (Romeonensis Paterfamilias)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hello...No, no! Don't call me uncle."
He is the one person on campus who has the one quality all other lotharios envy: an aura of harmless trustworthiness... Full sleeve tericott bush-shirt (Amba Tailors, Rajajinagar), tight dress pants, Bata shoes recently replaced with black Reeboks, same nylon socks - all 4 seasons. Need I mention Brahmi Amla Hair Oil? Has lots of "Platonic" friendships.Hates Plato.Wishes Plato had never been born.
He is usually on excellent terms with the veteran desi females on campus.This gives him instant respectability among the newbies. Always trust-worthy, courteous and helpful. Other desi guys hate his guts, because newbies soon learn that it is far better to ask him for a ride than one of the other desperadoes...Keeps an umbrella in his office. Walks chicks home on rainy days.Of course, he dares not try anything for fear of losing his reputation...Always afraid someone will discover his stash of porno magazines hidden under the bathroom sink.

THE INTER-RACIAL: (Romeonensis Miscegeneticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi, this is Debbie, my date."
The guy who is on top of the world.For the moment.The one with the "gori" girlfriend "Debbie".He speaks not of Diwali, but of Thanksgiving. He has the respect and admiration from all the juniors. "Saale ne gori ko pataa liya yaar." His seniors don't particularly care because they know that Debbie was a drunken loser the semester before he turned up. He dreams of getting a green-card through Debbie, the US Citizen. This dude has never been south of Chicago, but has contracted the Southern Drawl from his g.f. Tries to convince everyone that Debbie was really a virgin until he met her.He has tried to convince others so hard of this that he almost believes it himself... Debbie Dumps Desi when she gets a real job and moves to another town.

THE ECLECTICUS: (Romeonensis Eclecticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Like, hi man, what a scene.Like I was totally lubed man... totally like an Ephemeris video dude... like blow me man."
Very, very rare - this dude listens exclusively to new age, drives a beat up Bug with psychedelic murals on the fenders and a stained glass rear-window... has Dali posters in his living room, a nude he sketched himself in his bathroom, an open condom pack on the counter. This dude actually brews his own beer. Long hair and an earring seems de riguer. Never tries to pick-up desi chicks...usually accompanied by a pale, skinny, raggedy blonde with a nose-ring and a tattoo, and a couple of pot joints in her pocket...

The "Seniors":
This is the underclass of the desi lothario heirarchy. Those who have been here a scant one or two semesters, and have not yet acquired a car.Some of them purchase a VCR and turn into wanna-be
movie-moguls. But they haven't yet acquired the smoothies' savoir faire, and the easy sense of 'I belong here' that distinguishes the sleazemen from the sleazeboys.

THE TOURIST GUIDE: (Romeonensis Peripateticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Last month, when I was in Grand Canyon..."
This is the guy-on-the-move, the going-places dude... or that is the impression he gives. Overrates the already over-rated. Doesn't mention that he had never left the premises of the campus until that big trip to the edge of the Grand Canyon.Drove a rental subcompact crammed with 5 desis singing to Kishore Kumar songs on the tape player all the way. Always argues about whether Yose-might or Yose-miti is the right pronunciation... although he hasn't really ever been to Yosemite. His main drawing power is the tale about how his co-driver was caught speeding on the highway.Feels smug until someone mentions the ticket he got for reversing into the freeway from an exit-ramp. Will try to pick up newbies by talking about how he can rent a car with his American Express Chaarj card. Fails spectacularly.

THE PHOTOOO-JOURNALIST: (Romeonensis Autofocus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "This is me in front of Universal Studios..."
Carefully documents his summer vacation with the photooos taken in front of prominent landmarks,including uncle Chunnibhai's motel in Bakersfield. These photoos are commonly referred to as "Patel-Shots". His approach is not "u have to see to believe it", it's more like "look at this foto, yaar, I have been there" showing a patel shot. Invites people to his apartment to see the pictures. Hardly any success...

THE NOT-SO-GOOD SAMARITAN: (Romeonensis Nefarius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "You are taking 'Advanced Computer Calisthenics'?No problem.Friend took it last semester. Will get you the book. It costs 40 dollars."
Freshie giggles and simpers a thank you, thinking, "what a nice guy!", and our samaritan extrapolates this into a wild fantasy. "She wants me!I bet she wants me baaaad!", he keeps telling himself as
he runs to the university book store through the pouring rain and buys the book (sorry, no used version available). Two weeks later, ladki bhee gayee, paisa bhee gaya.How does he manage to
afford this? Well, he takes the book back from the freshie at the end of the semester and returns it for a 60% refund at the bookstore.

THE FRUGAL GOURMET: (Romeonensis Gustatus-Parsimonius)
Favourite Pickup-line: "No, no.Taco Bell doesn't use lard.And Taco Bell has unlimited Pepsi refill macha!! But MacDonald's has good milkshake."
Apart from being the fast-food aficionado, he has also mastered the art of making tostadas at home.Expert on cooking advice, though most of his dinners comprise of two burritos to go and unlimited small pepsi. Gets one and only one "date" to go to Taco Bell.She doesn't talk to him again for the rest of the semester.When questioned,he only says, "oh, she wants to go out again, but she is too busy. "She, on the other hand, usually changes the subject when the topic comes up.

THE WANNABE MOVIE MOGUL: (Romeonensis Cinematicus Minora)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi.I have VCR."
Has very little success with that pick-up line.Wonders whether he should not have spent that 150 bucks on the Korean VCR...Has got into the habit of eating Doritos and Coke for dinner while sprawled in front of the telly. Uses room-freshener and cologne inter-changeably.Generally dejected at not havin' "patao"ed a single chic in spite of the VCR.Doesn't realize it may have something to do with the fact that he tried to trick a freshie dudette into getting "hot" by watching a XXX-rated movie...

THE ASPIRING INTER-RACIAL: (Romeonensis Miscegeneticus Minora)
Cut-offs, "just do me" T shirt, coasters from payless shoes, $2 reflecting sunglasses with neon threads, baseball cap worn backwards, just like Puke-Daddy-MC on MTV. He hangs out with the smoothie interracial (refer to description above) all the time, and picks up enough skills to have moderate success in the ABCD crowd.Has hopes of someday getting out of his relationship with the ABCD, but chances of survival are pretty slim. He is usually married to the ABCD by the time he graduates, or very shortly thereafter. The juniors, of course, marvel at his girlfriend, and try to hit on her so
that she can get _them_ dates.

THE IIT-ian: (Romeonensis Clanicus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "Hi. I am from IIT-B.I was 247th in JEE.My name is Raj."
Has even lesser success with that pick-up line than the wannabe-mogul. None of the "smoothies" use this line because they have realized no one gives a damn.Our IIT-ian still clings on in the fervent hope that the cachet of his undergraduate institution will make nubile young things swoon with awe. Sure,ex-IIT-ian chicks hang out with him, but hey, we all know that ain't worth squat... Faded blue Levis, round-neck Tee, mostly wears bathroom slippers from hostel days. No wrist watch.Hasn't given up smoking yet. Main source of entertainment:the e-mail list of all his IIT batchmates... Can't understand how that other guy, a non-IITian (gasp), gets all the dates. Drowns his loneliness by hanging out with wing-mates from IIT-B and reminiscing about old Katre, the Taklu tutor at Agrawal's.
When introduced to new IIT-M arrivals, always asks them which hostel they they were from: Goda or Mandaks?

THE SUPER-TECHIE: (Romeonensis Esotericus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "then you issue an asynchronous sigint to the child process through the named pipe which induces it and fork a subcommand in the same kernel thread which..." As expected, he has little success with anyone, except newbies who need help figuring out how to log into their accounts.Needless to say, these newbies don't understand the detailed login instructions our Super-Techie gives them. While "helping" them, he manages to get their passwords and reads all their personal email for the next two semesters.If this doesn't work, he can break into their computer
anyway.Generally considered a reliable source for gossip about the freshies' private affairs. Freshie guys always come to him for info on how to decode the gifs on When officemate asks about lost car keys, helpfully suggests grep-ing for them iteratively in /usr/office/desk -drawer and /usr/pants/pockets. Usually seen in plain shirt (or whatever mom sent him), pair of jeans, unkempt hair, didn't-shave-or-shower-in-2-days-look.A bold HMT (grandpa's high school graduation gift) adorns the wrist.Survives on pizza, Cheetos and Jolt. Has programmed the vending machine into selling
him candy for a nickel.

The "Freshie" Dudes:
Pretty much nothing to say about the freshie guys.Most of them are preoccupied with settling into graduate student life.So their Romeonating characteristics have not yet come sufficiently to the fore
to enable classification. And since they have not been accepted by credit card companies yet, their ability to go out on dates is somewhat hampered. Which is not a problem, because with the standard opening line: "Hello, I am from Gowripalya in Ramnagar, where you are from?", or the ever popular: "What is your mother tongue?" , they really don't have much luck in getting a date. And the fact that these guys were fighting bitterly over a dog-eared three-year-old issue of Penthouse in the T.A.lab last Tuesday doesn't help their chances...

THEDEHAATI: (Romeonensis Rusticus)
Favourite Pickup-line: "yhou know what haapined when I came out of airport? I got taxi, and yhou know, taxiwala was Indian!"
Always speaks about a couple of octaves higher than necessary.Responds to the name "Babloo".Just arrived from Gorakhpur.Absolutely thrilled that the taxi he took from the airport was driven by a Jat dude from Faridabad. Exchanges phone numbers with taxi-dude and resolves to keep in touch with the fellow.Writes to mom about it. Contacts relatives in "Buphalo", "Peetsburg" and "Batlimore" (no, not a typo) on the first day to inform them that 'he has arrived'.Gets confused by the answering machine at his cousin's number in "Arijona" and leaves a completely undecipherable message. Buys a large economy size bottle of Brut on his first grocery trip. Before stepping out of the apartment, BRUT goes under arms, on shirt, back side of shirt, inside shirt, inside the VIP brief... While some desi romeos buy Aqua Velva (utmost parsimony),the Dehaati pays a few cents more for "achcha khaasaa boo". Suitcase filled with latest line in safari suits from Gorakhpur. Wears kurta-achkan and shiny new Reebok sneakers to orientation. Wants to buy Haanda Civeec. Wants to patao sitijen or haraa pathey waali. No wonder, dude is chasing our younger cousins (aka undergrad ABCDs).

THE SLIMEBALL: (Romeonensis Mucus)
Silently scopes out all the 'chicks',with help from his mentor, the Slimey Groper.Tries to score but strikes out because the slime is still a little too obvious.Hits on other people's wives/girlfriends at the
orientation.Tries to hit on every American girl who smiles at him. Backstabs to get assistantships. Insists on walking girls home from department at night. "Arrey, very dangerous, you know, not like Mylapore.Last week only my friend Rick got mugged on Maple Avenue...Chalo, chalo, let me walk you home...Oh you want to work in lab for two more hours? No problem, I can wait..." In the end, the poor girl ends up calling our trustworthy Father Figure (see the smoothie section for description) to escort her home. Father Figure smoothly whisks the maiden away, ignoring our slimeball's scowl and flashing him a cordial smile... Consummate geek that he is,recycles centuries old jokes he reads on rec.humor.Every alternate sentence is punctuated with a reference to beer.Has practically memorized the list of reasons "Why beer is better than women".But two cans of pissweak lager make him tipsy. Manages to hitch his wagon to his idol, the Slimey-Groper and begins to try out some tricks but without immediate success...shows promise... If people still trust him in two years, he may turn into a successful Slimey Groper.Until then, he organizes pot-luck parties.


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