Author Archives: Nisha Malhotra

Guitar Teacher

“Why did the guitar teacher get arrested? For fingering a minor!”

Jeena is my older cousin, she’s a mom with three younger kids, so she really enjoys hanging out with our older cousins because she can tell jokes like this. I asked her if she knew any jokes for my Folklore archive, and she said that she had a really good one but it might be, “inappropriate.” She said her husband told her this joke, where he heard it at one of their famous poker parties. Jeena and her husband, Chess, are notorious for hosting intense poker parties among family and friends, and this is one of their traditions; typically they get together with food before the action starts, and during that time, to keep the mood light, someone will crack a joke. This is one of those jokes that she heard. So even though the joke wasn’t hers, she heard it from a tradition she started with her husband for her friends and family, so I thought it was actually the perfect joke to tell at the Easter party with the older cousins, because it brought people together, much like it did at the poker party she heard it at.


“Three girls get called into the principal’s office. The principal asks the first girl, ‘Why are you here?’ The girl says, ‘I was throwing pebbles into the lake.’ The principal responds, saying, ‘That’s not so bad. You can go.’ Then he asks the second girl, ‘Why are you here?’ The girl said, ‘I was throwing pebbles into the lake.’ The principal, “That’s not so bad, you can go.” The third girl walks up to him, soaking wet, and the principal asks, ‘Why are you here?’ And the girl responds, ‘I’m Pebbles.’ End joke.”


This piece was told to me by Sunny Malhotra, who heard it at his all boys’ school. He said that it was among the tamer jokes circulated at the school, and it’s his go-to joke when someone asks him to tell a joke, because it can be shared with most audiences regardless of age. He says that his delivery of the joke is always sarcastic because he recognizes that it’s not that great humor-wise, but it’s more of a “punny” setup. The context of his joke was that I had asked him to tell me one, and so he gave me the one he keeps on reserve for instances like this.

“Turkey in Suspense”

How do you keep a turkey in suspense? I’ll tell you next year.

Jaclyn told me this joke at our annual Easter party with our extended family. She told it in honor of her uncle, Bagu, who tells that joke all the time. Bagu immigrated to Orange County from India, and this was a joke he told his daughter, Sapna (Jaclyn’s first cousin) as they were growing up.  It was the first joke she thought of, because, as cheesy as it is, she grew up hearing it, and she told it to honor Bagu, who couldn’t be at the party that year. I’ve definitely heard the joke before, but Jaclyn was so excited to tell it, so I wrote it down.

Monisha Mantras (2)

“I am anticipating a pleasant surprise.”

Monisha is my older cousin who has taken a longer route to find what she ultimately wants to do, and that ended up being alternative medicine, so she does acupuncture and provides herbal remedies for people seeking less traditional forms of healing. She’s also very into yoga, hiking, and finding oneself, and as a result, she has lots of mantras that she shared with me after she asked me how college was and I told her I was a little stressed. I decided to write them down, because she’s heard these mantras from backpacking trips through Asia, Europe, and California when she goes with groups of other people for meditation trips. She said that she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a long time, but now she does. I asked her to tell me some of the mantras that helped her at our annual Easter party, and she immediately had some to lend out. She said she uses this one a lot.

Oh Good Morning

“Oh good morning, pray how do you do, we are babies come to sing to you. Cheeks like roses, hair all in curl, how you like to be my baby girl.”

My grandmother used to sing this to her daughters after they moved from Mumbai to California. It’s how she woke them up in the mornings. She read it somewhere, in a magazine, and then she would sing it to her daughters, including my mother, to get them up and ready for school. She said she would  go to their room and they’d all put a pillow on their head and shriek, “No!” I asked my grandma to tell me this song, because she used to sing it to me when I was very young as well, so it has a lot of meaning for my family. I always felt special because the way the lyrics are, you can’t sing it for boys, so my brothers never got to hear it; it was special and just for me.