Tuesday’s convocation, the eleventh, of the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute of Management Development (SDM-IMD) in Mysore was remarkable for a delightful faux pas by the chief guest of the evening, Captain G.R. Gopinath.
In the presence of His Holiness, Veerendra Heggade, in the presence of the faculty, in the presence of the parents, and in the presence of the hundred-odd graduating students, the chief of Air Deccan uttered the M-word.
Transliterated, son of a widow.
“Lo, Srinivasa, munde-magane,” Captain Gopinath said, as the VIPs squirmed in palpable embarrassment and the audience which understood laughed and the audience which didn’t wondered what the fuss was all about.
The incident Captain Gopinath narrated, which produced the M-word, went back to his days as a farmer in Hassan district in the late 80s when he had retired from the armed forces, pooled in land from his family, and was thinking big.
Soon, his parents began pestering him to get married. A suitable girl was found.
When his pleas to scrap the wedding fell on deaf ears, Captain Gopinath says he invited the lady, her sister, and their mother to see the circumstances in which he was living then (in a tent) before they made up their mind.
On D-day, the “poor” farmer, i.e Gopinath, was lent a bullock cart by a neighbour to go and fetch the visitors. But, the wheel had not been fitted properly to the cart, seeing which the neighbour shouted to his servant, “Lo, Srinivasa, munde magane, are you planning to get them all killed?”
Captain Gopinath’s use of the M-word, although seemingly sexist, was remarkable because it brought some much-needed levity to the solemnity of the occasion. But it’s also interesting to see its easy acceptance as a part of the patois; as if by common consent no other word would have come close in conveying the spirit of the remonstration.
I asked VB, a well known social worker close to Veerendra Heggade, if SMD-IDM would conduct a homa to clear the air of the slur.
“Not here, but if it had been uttered in Udupi, maybe,” said VB.