Raymond is now Sumit, who, as the Indian name of the program proclaims, will take care of everything. He’s got a nice little Indian family that stays in the upper-story of a two-story Indian house, while his mom and dad, along with his unmarried younger brother (who is in Indian Police) stay downstairs.
They are a colorful Indian family with ingredients from all over India. His mother is the only one who looks like a Punjabi (and I learned that she actually isn’t). His father appears to be a Jat from western UP (A northern state of India). His brother is almost as robotic as Raymond’s brother but about half his size. Sumit looks like he could be from Eastern UP or Bihar or even Bengal, and his wife looks like an urban Indian with unidentifiable roots.
(If you crave for the geographical details, here’s the map of India.)
I heard that “Sumit Sambhal Lega” is a licensed Indian version of “Everybody loves Raymond.” India first got acquainted with Raymond some three or four years ago, and I too loved Raymond. So when wifey told me that Sumit is, in fact, Raymond in an Indian avatar, and that it would start airing on Monday – August 31, 2015, I planned my day in a way that gave me the leeway to watch the first half-hour episode uninterrupted. I finished my chore of getting milk from Mother Dairy, took the dog out for her walk, and switched off my computer. Now I was ready. So were Mom, Dad, and wifey. The dog decided to ditch the program in favor of her place on the couch, that dad wrests from her whenever mom and dad come visiting.
So we all were there to watch the first episode of “Sumit Sambhal Lega (SSL)”
First there was that familiar long shot of the house, only the house was an Indian one. Then there was that familiar crazy sequence with objects and children flying whichever way, except that the objects and the cast was Indian. Next were the interiors of the house that looked pretty much American. Then came the characters – in all colors of India. From fair to wheatish to copperish to ebonish. His mom and dad looked natty as Yin and Yang – black and white, thus explaining Sumit’s brownish hue.
To cut a long story short, here are the salient points of our SSL-watching experience on Monday and Tuesday:
Mom pointed it out first. She watched it till the first break then exclaimed, “They don’t have a maid? How is that possible?”
I agree. A middle-class Delhi family living in a posh neighborhood won’t have a maid or a Kaamwali bai, as they affectionately called – is unheard of. Not having a kaamwali bai is a crime that can only be compared to blasphemy.
Mom was right. Sumit kya khaak sambhal lega? When he can’t even afford a bai for his house!
In the Tuesday night episode, Sumit was drooling over his mom’s Rajma-chawal. When you see a non-Punjabi drooling puddles over Rajma-chawal and rejecting lemon-chicken, it makes you wonder if the guy is alright in his head. I mean who except a thorough-bred tandoori-roti-breaking Punjabi would favor Rajma-chawal over Lemon-chicken?
But then Mom can explain everything.
“Puttar, it’s because his mother made the Rajma-chawal. It was full of his mother’s love – that’s why.”
Wifey who hasn’t even earned her learner’s license in Punjabi, but likes to crash-drive her Punjabi into all conversations, butted in.
“But Mummy Ji, odi wife kya do channte jad ke khilandi si?” (“But Mummy Ji, did his wife serve him the lemon chicken with two slaps instead?)” she chimed, her voice bordering on the shrill.
Thankfully the break ended and their attention was refocused on Sumit’s miseries.
Then it was time to Analyze.
Mom went first.
After a slightly abrupt end of the second episode, Mom enquired, her glance sliding from Dad’s face to mine, “Sumit’s mom is so fat isn’t she?”
“She is,” I said, hoping that this was what she was fishing for. Dad stayed silent. Her second sentence made me realize that his silence was a sign of his wisdom.
“Fatter than me?”
I was caught between the devil and the deep sea.
Then I heard Dad’s voice.
“Just turn around,” he said to Mom.
Mom pirrouted and gave him a flirtatious smile.
“Of course, she’s at least one-and-a-half times your size, if not double,” he said.
I watched the expert and learned.
Next it was wifey’s turn.
”Her curls aren’t real,” she said almost fifteen minutes after the episode had ended. I had trouble placing her remark.
“Sumit’s wife’s. Whose else?” she grumbled, unhappy that I had forgotten it all so soon.
“Oh, hers? Yes, you are right. They aren’t natural, not like yours; and they mustn’t be this soft either,” I said, looking over her shoulder to meet Dad’s eyes.
He gave me a thumbs-up!
The last remark came from Dad, and it became the title of this post.
“Sumit khaak sambhal lega. Koi aadmi sambhal saka hai aajtak?”
(“The hell Sumit will take care of it all! Has there ever been a man who has been able to take care of it at all?”)
A Quick Round-up of the Cast of Sumit Sambhal Lega:
- Raymond – Sumit Walia (the Sumit who’ll take of everything) played by Namit Das
- Debra – Maya (Sumit’s wife with her artificial curls) played by Manasi Parekh Gohil
- Marie – Sumit’s mom (who is twice my mom’s size, in dad’s eyes) played by Bharti Achrekar
- Frank – Sumit’s dad played by Satish Kaushik
- Robert – Sumit’s brother played by Vikram Kochhar
Translations for my Non-Hindi/Punjabi visitors:
Puttar: Affectionate Punjabi way of addressing a son or a daughter.
Khaak: This one’s tricky. Khaak could mean dirt or nothing, or insignificant. Sumit khaak sambhal lega would roughly translate to: “The hell Sumit will take care of it all!”
Ji: is added to any form of address, in order to give respect to the person you are addressing. For instance, you are my Visitor Ji.