A friend of mine was visiting India after a long time. He is a research scientist and works for a prestigious company in the US. He was invited for dinner at his cousin’s place (let’s call her M). She is known for her wry wit among her circle of acquaintances.
He had called M and asked the question we generally get to hear from those returning from the US – ‘What do you want from here?’ M was of the opinion that these days the world has truly become a global village, and we can get anything we want in a big city in India … especially in Bangalore. So she politely declined, saying she wanted nothing. But he insisted so much that she finally said, ‘I have all I need, but if you can get me some ilicide, it would be really nice!’ the man was confounded as he had no idea what an ilicide was. But he did not dare ask for fear of ridicule and also of appearing ignorant. Big mistake.
A few days before he left for India, he made enquiries of where he could find ilicide, and was met with either blank or hostile stares. He wanted to buy a present for his cousin M, and it was the first time she had openly expressed a wish to have something. He had no luck, and therefore landed in India sans the gift M had wanted.
At the dinner, he sheepishly presented her a box of chocolates (you can’t go wrong with that most of the times) and apologized for not having got what she had asked for. M was embarrassed in front of all the guests, and hastily accepted the chocolates with a big smile. But our friend could no longer control his curiosity. He pulled her aside and asked her, ‘What is this ilicide, and where do you get it?’
It was her turn to look sheepish. She hesitated. ‘No, it was nothing… I was a bit upset at that time! I really am sorry about that!’ But you cannot give that kind of an answer to a research scientist and get away with it, now, can you? He persisted until she finally gave in. With a quick look around to ensure she was not being overheard, she said, ‘You have heard of insecticides and pesticides? Those are for insects and pests. This ilicide is to keep away pesky in-laws. It has not been manufactured yet in India. So I wondered if an advanced country like America had already thought of it?’
I’m sure our research scientist has something new to invent in his lab after his return from homeland.