Friday, February 24, 2006


In case some of you don't know, I'm an engineer. I work in a gigantic engineering and construction company with a whole bunch of other engineers. I don't have an office, I "sit in a cubicle". When people talk about "prarie doggin'", I know exactly what they're talking about. And if you don't know what prarie doggin' is, then you obviously don't sit in a cubicle! :) FYI

Something you may or may not know about engineers is that they are generally really, really boring, geeky people who have absolutely no fashion sense. (Hard to believe, I know.) This works out well for me (the no fashion sense part) because I have not changed my wardrobe since before the first baby was born and I'm actually still wearing my "fat clothes" that I bought for the fifth month of my first pregnancy. (Did I just admit that out loud?!) When I get dressed in the morning, I never think I actually have to dress up or look nice because I work with a bunch of engineers! Who's going to know that I don't look good? These old men who still use pocket-protectors?! (I'm serious.)

Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, there have been some new-hires that have entered the company who are women and they show up every day in their hip-hugging, slender pants with their belly-buttons tantalizingly almost showing, looking all nice and pretty. They're really beginning to make me look bad. But I digress...

What I really wanted to write about today is that every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of some actual life in one of my co-workers.

My current boss is an Indian man (really from India) who is a vegetarian and practices the Hindu religion. There are two people working for him right now: me and another woman who is from Bulgaria. This other woman is very, very, very (I mean VERY) soft-spoken and seemingly very timid.

So, at Christmas-time this year, on the day the door-decorating contest was going to be judged, this woman came to work with a picture of a gingerbread house that she had printed out on her home computer. Across the bottom of the picture, she had printed, "Approved for Construction". (When we issue drawings and documents around here, we issue them, "For Internal Review" and then, "For Client Review" and finally, "Approved for Construction") So, I thought this was a cute little play on words she had created and when she suggested that we put it on our boss' door for the door-decorating contest, I whole-heartedly agreed that it would be an amusing and playful thing to do to our Hindu boss.

When the appointed time came to "decorate his door" at lunchtime, my co-worker came to my desk and asked if I was ready. I said sure, and she pulled me over to her desk. She had created the roof of the gingerbread house at her desk during the morning, out of card board, white paper, candies in the shape of fruit, and decorated cookies from the cafeteria. She intended to affix it to the top of his door!! I was floored. Where did this creativity, joviality, and outlandishness come from?! Surely not from the most soft-spoken woman on the earth! (seriously, when she talks, I have to strain to hear her)

Anyway, we decorated his door and he came in 2nd place. I have the dying poinsettia in my office to prove it.

It is this kind of "secret mind" that I find so interesting to discover in my co-workers. Today was another example.

Another one of my co-workers, who until recently sat in the cube right next to me, sent me an e-mail. This man is another one of those really nice, soft-spoken, Indian (really from India), Hindu, peaceful, could never imagine him making a joke, kind of people. He is from the same area in India as my boss and they speak the same dialect, so every once in awhile, I would hear them chatting away, saying "ha-chah" (which apparently means "yes" in either Hindi or their dialect and not "Ha-chah! That's one nice-looking woman!")

I mentioned to him the other day that when my boss left on vacation, he sent me an e-mail with a list of everything that needed to be done this week. The last sentence in the e-mail said, "Concluding, finish everything before I get back. Good luck." It made me laugh out loud when I read that one.

So, this guy that used to sit next to me told me that when my boss returns, I should tell him a phrase in their dialect to joke with him and get him back for this little "joke" he pulled on me. He tried to tell me the phrase, but we both agreed it would be best for him to e-mail me the phrase and the pronunciation.

This is his e-mail (including the change to red letters at the end):

Subject: Gujarati 101

Badhoo Pati Gayoo - Everything is completed.
  • Badhoo (not like in "BAD" but the other way, and hoo is hoo) - Everything
  • Pati (don't say the first 3 letters like in "PAT" but the other way, and "i" should be pronounced as "e") - Completed/Finished
  • Gayoo (not like in "GAY" but the other way, and yoo is yoo)
You have to be careful with Badhoo though. If you say "Budhoo" the meaning changes completely. Budhoo stands for "Idiot".

Maybe you have to know him, and maybe it's just me, but I found it hilarious. The "not like in ____, but the other way" part. I guess I've been working with engineers too long.

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