Sunday, May 24, 2009


Viji is the house mother at the NGO where I am volunteering. As the house mother she cooks, does laundry and generally takes care of the interns and volunteers. When I first met Viji I assumed she was about my age, she's a short (at most 4'9") Tamil woman with a high-pitched voice who does a constant shuffle/run around the house and who talks in the 3rd person at times in what I would call "Indian English." At some point I met her 18 year old daughter and realized that she must be much older than I thought. Though she can be very tough at times she is very sweet and She refers to me as "boy" a lot as I'm the only boy in the house right now. Our interactions can generally be summarized by our second ever interaction.

Bobby: "Oh hi Viji how are you?"

Viji: "Boy, what you are doing?"

Bobby: "Oh I'm just hand washing my laundry- I only brought a few shirts and I..."


Bobby: "Oh I know I just...."

Viji: "Boy no do laundry I do laundry!"

Bobby: "Yes, sorry Viji I just needed...."

Viji: "Boy you no do laundry I do laundry!"

Bobby: (defeated)"Yes Viji"

She also loves to feed people to the point where they are beyond full. Which I experience on a daily basis with interactions like this.

Bobby: "Thanks for the dosas Viji they're quite good. I think this'll be enough though, seriously this time I've had six now which is too many."

Viji: "Boy you eating one more I making for you."

Bobby: "Really, this is more than enough I'm very full."

Viji: "Boy Viji just making 1 more you are eating."

Bobby: "Alright Viji, just one."

She slides two large dosas onto my plate.

Bobby: "Viji I said one!"

Viji: "Boy you are eating dosas I am making."

I have been hand washing my clothes when she's not around because I only have 2 shirts that I wear to the boys' home and I need to wash them everyday but it's not enough to justify a whole load of laundry. She has caught me several times and always yells about "you no hand washing laundry!" She caught me haning my laundry this morning and picked up the lid to a bucket and held it over her head like she was going to beat me with it and said:

Viji: "Boy you hand washing laundry! Viji telling you four times no hand washing laundry but you still hand washing laundry!"

At this point I couldn't keep a straight face and laughed as I tried, without much success to blame it on a co-worker.

Bobby: "No, Veena hand washing laundry."

Viji: "Veena hand washing boy's laundry?"

Bobby: "Yes Viji."

Viji: "Veena no handwashing laundry! Viji asking Veena when she wakes up!"

So I'm still fine now because she hasn't asked Veena yet but if I don't post again in the next two weeks you can assume I was beaten by the world's shortest 38 year old with the lid to a bucket.


  1. Haha... I can totally imagine this whole scenario. Laughing for sure. :)

  2. HAHAHA! That was a really good story, keep watching out for lids though.

  3. Roberto:

    This is a great post! Viji is wonderful!


    Wish I could be there to tell Viji how us skinny folks don't eat.

  5. lol that sounds hilarious!! hope you're having a great time!