Social Ones

Some thoughts on everyday social issues/observations one comes across

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oota Aita!

Strange are the ways of some humans, even stranger are the traits in the varied communities among them. I've been residing in Bangalore for well over six years now and during this time I'd never quite observed this one particularly interesting trait among the hardcore Bangaloreans (rather Kannadigas).

I happened to meet a school friend of mine after nearly ten years and over coffee he happened to ask me if I used the phrase "Oota aita" frequently, which according to him, was the most used phrase among Kannadigas. My friend (a surd ;-), I got to know, dealt with a whole lot of people in his business and he would end up answering this question every afternoon to everyone he would talk to!

We parted that evening, but then this discussion remained with me as I started to notice this among many of the folks I came across - right from family members, relatives, colleagues, friends, servants, car cleaner, mason, plumber, my fiancee - damn! anyone you can think of. It got to a stage where I even began to maintain a count of the number of times I would hear this during the day - an occasional call to mom late afternoon and bingo, first question - Oota aitha! Fiance (now wife) would ask this question EVERYDAY!! Countless colleagues would ask this everyday!! My stock broker put me on hold for quite some time one afternoon and
well, to make up for that, very apologetically asked "Oota aita, sir!"

This strange trait, which might not be actually sound strange to a common Kannadiga, got to an irritable stage in me, whenever I would hear it! Worse would be when in the middle of work or while trying to sort out a messy issue. When I gave my car in for servicing, I was promised delivery on the same day. As it would happen, I did not get the car and the Service Engg promised to deliver it the next day. Well, I eventually got my car back two days later and on each occasion the Service Engg failed to call and inform me about the delay. On the afternoon when I finally got my car, it was not before I sounded a piece of my mind to this guy
and AGAIN as if to make up and rebuild any lost customer relation, he did not miss asking me "Oota aita sir!" This was the last thing I wanted to hear after an agonising wait for my car! The poor guy must've cursed his stars, cos I let out all the built up "Oota aita" frustration on him that day.

Though we must appreciate the genuine concern one has about "Oota", it has a damning effect on those not so used to listening to it, especially during trying times!