the men on my father's side of the family don't lie to save their skin or to gain any kind of advantage. we just use hyperboles in a rather exaggerated way. my sister and i always needle my dad and his brothers about their ability to spin whole kancheevaram sarees out of a single yarn. its hard not to when my dad insists he got his rather long name (my last name) just because his eldest brother liked it more than Narayanan and changed it when enrolling him in school or that he'd gotten his birthday because his sister liked a date more than another.
there was the "true" story of how my uncle (the same elder brother) had won an obstacle race in college. his only contender was this suave individual with jet black hair that was maintained with a host of creams and concoctions(an early metrosexual if u may). after they'd all lined up at the start lane, the instructions were announced..now dont confuse this with your ordinary steeple chase. this was an obstacle race a la the ones in full metal jacket, fauji and other such army tales.so while the announcements abt the obstacles and how to negotiate them were being announced, our hirsuit hero was showing his mane off to the scores of feminine admirers who were watching. at the sound of the starting gun (or the blow of the whistle, how wud i know..i wasn't there) the racers set off. the competition was clearly between my uncle and the brylcreem guy..split end to end they raced to the first obstacle , a set of low ropes under which they had to crawl and get across. at the other end brylcreem slipped out a little ahead of my uncle and raced towards the next obstacle - a sort of hurdle jump. while my attentive uncle nimbly jumped over the hurdle, the other guy, having focussed more on his curls than on the announcement, continued to crawl under these as well and was instantly disqualified. thus my uncle became the world champion of coimbatore in the obstacle race event.
my dad is a more trained exponent of this art having observed his brothers in action. he embellishes and adds to a story in a subtle way that what was once just a collection of gases and dust, quickly becomes a rock and then becomes a new world for people to inhabit. here's an example. when my parents landed here in the US , they went through the customs and as they were cleared to set foot into the Bushland, they noticed another parent couple being escorted to a closer scrutiny by the customs people. at least thats what my mom told me. when my father told it to me the first time, they were arguing vehemently with the customs guy telling him that it was their constitutional right to bring lime pickle into a country and that it wasnt a WMD like he'd thought it was at one whiff. the second time was at a friend's place soon after...by now the "pickle terrorists" were being interrogated by senior customs official and one person who looked like an FBI agent. this time they rejected the husband's passport asking him to catch the next plane back. Seeing this the dharam patni instantly fainted thus converting O'hare International into a set for HAHK2-chocolate,lime juice aur aachaar.
if u know me , u r probably carrying a huge rock of salt around to take with whatever i say. dont worry too much though, unlike my elders, i've learnt to channel all that exaggeration into a written form - this blog.