Hans is the self proclaimed master of oriental names. His claim to fame is that he can remember the names of all the members of some half dozen Japanese heavy metal bands. There is a story that he brought tears to the eyes of one of the band members when he recited all their names. I had to believe him when he pronounced correctly the 'Na' sound in Kannada (as in gaNesha). Even he had trouble pronouncing the name of my new Thai colleague, without getting his tongue into a double reef knot. I remembered that he had introduced himself with a most disarming smile "Hi I am Jabberwocky Ectoplasm Thingamajig***,” (What the…) ” but you can call me Boat" (Phew).
Boat; the most fidgety guy I have met. He is technically brilliant for his age, but to converse with him can be exasperating. For every word he utters, he shrugs his shoulder once, winks a couple of times, and moves his hand around in the most unpredictable ways. And in between words too his mouth is constantly moving; it’s like watching a badly dubbed Hong Kong movie. And to compound the problem, he is yet to master some very important consonants. The other day he told me "Lion is a bad man". Only 10 minutes, and a lot of clues later, I realised he was talking about Ryan. He is also the single biggest reason for many of our meetings getting delayed. This is how he told us that the system crashed on the fourth day (For reasons of brevity, the pauses and the fidgeting have been edited);
" first day....'tsok"
" second day ...'tsok"
" third day .... 'tsok"
"But....." longer pause, while he twitched all the muscles he could control, and the mood on his face changed from glad to sadness."...fourth day..." Oh the tension was killing us. "Not ok" !!!!!
*** Name changed to preserve anonymity. Real name available on request; well, as soon as the author learns it himself.