America is a land of immigrants. A lot of accents in English get imported as a side effect. You can hardly ever escape meeting people of other ethnicity in a day's work and have some interesting accented conversational come agains. The exception of course is if you work for the Telugu Brahmin's Association aka Cisco. The janitor there is one Jogeshwar Reddy or JD. Totally making this up.
Anywise, the accent issue is for real. An ex-roommate of mine - a sensitive fellow - he ran away in fear when first confronted with the automatic sliding doors at Walgreens - had gone to Panda Express to satiate his rice cravings for the day. As is the case, the guy was single - probably had a few unintelligent conversations with the opposite species till that point in his life - referred to unrelated women as 'piguru' - works for Cisco (not all of this is true - you choose what you want to believe). He was yearning for love or as Koundamani would put it - luvsu.
So, here he was at this Panda Express counter - having navigated his way through the one main item (veggie fried rice - egg okay) - two side items - combo and water no ice of course. He was impressed with the smiling lady behind the counter - mostly because she allowed him to order without breaking a sweat. He felt that there was some chemistry brewing here. Things came to a peak at the billing counter. She told the amount. He gave his card (yet to peel off the activation sticker) and was mentally replaying different ways to let off a suave goodbye without burning bridges. The smile was still on when she looked him in the eyes and said 'Yeththukko'. His mind was spinning like it did when he practiced U-turns for the DMV test. Was she actually offering herself to him? For the uninitiated, 'yeththukko' is Thamizh for 'take me'. Kamala Hassan's - 'nee enna bakshanama.. take me take me nu sollara' if repeated will not be out of place. She suggested a few more amorous 'yethukko's before she took his hand and thrust the food in them. He walked away with some 'thamdhana thamdhana' throbbing his head. He confessed to his roommates about this sweet Asian girl proposing to him at Panda Express. The first logical question was - 'how does she know how to say 'Yethukko' in Thamizh'? - Maybe she is one of those Kodaikanal sweater vendor's daughter - you know looks Chinese - speaks Thamizh - and she migrated to the USA to work at Panda Express. Something didn't gel. We decided to check it out.
She did look nice. Too good for him was the unanimous verdict. He mumbled through his order closely watched by his cronies. Her smile was unwavering. Could this guy be that lucky? Finally, at the counter, the sea stood still, sea gulls were suspended in mid flight, palm tress swaying to the wind stopped in their tracks and she did say 'yeththukko' again. He looked at us. I looked at him. Then I looked at her. She was now looking into my eyes. ' To go please!', I told her collecting the food and dragging him away. Fore mentioned sea, seagulls, palm trees all resumed duty.
Back to the one about accents - 'Yeththukko' when uttered at the counter of Panda Express in Mandarin English translates to 'Here or to go' in mundane English. Today, our once in a lunch time Romeo turns on the firangi mode every now and then. One suggestion of Yeththukko and he sobers down.