Two incidents from around the year 1997 comes to my mind. The first one I was with a friend of mine and we were walking down the road after classes at NIIT and were waiting for a bus. Suddenly my friend started flicking his ear and told me that something like a tiny insect had flown into it and it was irritating his ear. So we cross the street and went to a small store – where you get snacks, some groceries, soft drinks and tea/coffee.
He asked the guy at the counter for some “buds” (meaning cotton buds to clean his ear) and the guy turns around and gets something from a shelf behind and asks “Is this to for here or do you want me to wrap it for you?” and my friend replies “No, it’s for my ear as I want to clear our something that went in!” And the guy at the counter stops in his tracks, dumbfounded, holding two bread buns in his hands -cause that’s what he had heard, buns instead of buds, and he was wondering what kind of person would shove a bun into his ear!
The second incident must have happened a few months later; a cousin & I had traveled by bus from our ancestral home in Mattancherry to Aluva where our uncle lives. We were there to take his car and drive it back to Mattancherry as another uncle wanted to borrow it for a few days. So we drove the car back and joining us was another cousin from the house in Aluva. On the way we stopped for a bite to eat and a soft drink and my older cousin wanted to buy smokes too. So we stopped at a small shop by the road side and ordered some snacks.
One cousin wanted a 7up and the other wanted a Pepsi and I told the boy, about 13-14 years old at the counter that I wanted a Mirinda. On hearing this the boy looked stunned and then went to consult with his father, the owner of the store. The dad came up to the counter and asked me “What did you want to drink?” and I repeated “I want a Mirinda”. The owner then laughed and said “Oh, ok, coming right up” and went back smacked his son on the head and said “He said Mirinda not Mother India!” My cousins and I were laughing at that for a long time!