Disclaimers : It goes without saying that in a narration so close to real-life as this all characters are fictitious :) Any and every resemblance of the characters to your NRI neighbour is purely coincidental.
Now that I am safe, let me start the narration..
Our auto roared its way on the stony road throwing us left and right, as if in a ketchup bottle! We hung on to dear lives until we saw the wrought iron gates looming big and the auto slowed down and stopped abruptly.
Mom and I got out, feeling like a packet of bones.
Me : "Ethraayi?" (How much is it?)
Auto driver : 15 rupees.
Me : "15 rupees? Nammal keralam kadannillallo atinu!" (We have not gone as far as crossing the Kerala border!)
Auto driver : "Ingane oru road-inde attathu kondu aarelum veedu vekkyo! itil odikkaan 15 rupees pora!" (Who will build a house at the other end of such a road! I should have asked for more that 15 rupees!)
Me : :D atu correct-a chetta!!! (That's correct bro! Note: The safest way to address any TDH here is 'chetta')
Having found a third person to blame, I handed over the Rs 20 note and took the change back from him. The auto driver took a look at the mansion behind the gate and murmuring something under his breath started the auto and roared away.
Sheela aunty,with a (well-practiced)pleasant smile greeted us at the door,err..door..we will call it yet-another-huge-gate. From the slippers strewn all around the car porch, I guessed there would be at least 300 people inside the house!
Sheela aunty serenaded across the airy living room, the pallu of her kancheepuram sari flowing lightly in the air. There, I saw Sreedharan uncle smiling at us, his gold-rimmed glasses sparkling under the crystal chandelier.
"Varu...veedu kaanichu taraam" said Sheela aunty. (Come, I will show you around the house)
Through out the "tour", I was too spellbound to speak a word! The house was like a palace! Sheela aunty was talking non-stop, going by the details of it all.
"Italian marbles thanne venam flooring ennu enikku nirbhandham undaayirunnu...Bedroomil wood panelingum.." (I wasnt ready to settle for anything less than Italian marbles for flooring and wood paneling for bedrooms).
"Sree ettanum njanum koode last time vannathu thanne bathroom-il tiles select cheyyanaayirunnu.." (Sree ettan and I had come to India last time just to choose the tiles for our bathroom)
"Shooo...Geethey...ee veedu pani kaaranam mathiyaayinnu thanne parayallo..!" (Geetha, I must admit I am exhausted running behind this construction work!)
Mom was nodding sympathetically after every line and chirping the same sentence after each of Sheela's aunty's woe-filled sentences "Pakshe Sheela, nannaayittundu ellaam!" (But Sheela, everything looks great!)
When mom thought she might require an aspirin soon, she made a mild remark "Sheela thaazhe pokko..aalkkaarokke vannittundaakum. njangal kandolaam veedu" (Sheela, You go down and receive the guests, we'll go around ourselves)
I felt this was one among the top 10 great things mom had done in last 10 years and deserved an Award for Timely Action!
Mom and I moved from room to room..each one looked a thousand times more beautiful than the previous one.
Me :"Ethra chilavaakki kaanum mommy?" (How much have they spent?)
Mom :"Oru 70-75 lakhs ennaanu paranjey...kettille??" (Around 70-75 laksh..didnt you hear when she said?)
Mom at some point : "Itaano Ja-koo-zee??Angane alle?" (Is this Jacuzzi, did I say it right?) with an obvious effort in her voice to frame the foreign word for her by fetching 3 random pieces from her vocabulary.
"Yo, lathu thaan" (Yes, it is) answered the smart me!
After having a heated discussion over if they would use all this, with mom saying they wouldn't use any and me arguing who wouldn't use it after paying from their nose, we came down stairs.
Still spellbound, I rarely recollect what the menu was. But yeah, an embarrassingly looong burp was heard from many around.
Having bid goodbye to Sheela aunty and complimenting her on her "dream home" (that is what she called it), we took an auto back home with me echoing "allelum dubaikkaarkku entha...kore kaashundallo!" (the dubai NRIs are always filthy rich!)
A week later, back at work, during one of our long telephone conversations I asked if Sheela aunty has settled in her "dream house". Mom replied "Avaru enne thirichu poyi...avide ippo randu watchman-um naalu pattikalum kaaval undu" (They left for Dubai long back. There are 2 watchmen and 4 dogs to guard the house now).
Bottom line : "Ee yogam ennoke parayanatil vallllya artham undu tto!" (No no...a translation here would never live up to its original!! Sorry!)