Saturday, September 05, 2009
We have an army of keepers in our office. They’re operatively known as ‘office boys’. They wear uniforms, which makes them look rather like flunkies. (as one client once remarked to me).
One of them, someone who works for an entirely different company (but within the same group), walked up to my colleagues desk once, which is next to mine, and asked him whether he knows when the camel race is on.
My colleague, who’s an Iraqi, spent several moments trying to understand the odd request. He then denied any knowledge of any camel race and the office keeper, as I expected, came to my desk and asked in a horribly halting Arabic whether I know when the camel race is.
Why do you want to know? I asked. (I wouldn’t tell him I don’t know straightforward, I’m an A hole like that)
He said, again in a horribly halting and mutilated Arabic, that he wants to send an SMS.
SMS about what? I inquired. Although it’d become clear enough for me to guess.
SMS about the “first camel” as he’d put it, in his appallingly hideous Arabic.
I don’t know nothing about camel race, I said.
He left. Possibly fishing for other Arabic speaking, camel loving Arabs in the building.
Another colleague today tells me that three out of the six awards for Al Freej-style daily riddles have been won by Indians so far in Ramadan. I’m not jealous. I congratulate them all on a work well-done (which invariably includes a charged & credited mobile phone and a punching finger). I just want to know how they do it, even though when the questions are related to UAE heritage and are IN ARABIC. Is there a secret network of informants that go on around asking questions in halting Arabic and then collect and collate the answers and fire them all over the community so that the Shabab can send SMSs and win prizes?
I’d like to be enlightened….
at 1:39 PM