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January 26, 2008

‘Vag Berger’ served here…

And you can see the sign for yourself: At the ‘Nescafe’ stand, the international terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Welcome to India.

“You can buying many things in India and you still have many money. You can eat many foods in India – some very much spicy – and you still have many money, all this I learnt when I went here in Delhi two weeks back,” she said to me. The Indian hosts whose party it was and their guests roared with laughter at her description of India. Someone said, “I just LURVE her accent.” She was French. I swear the grammatical mistakes she made – or fucked up English she spoke – was EXACTLY the kind of English many Indians (or most) speak. Yet, no one loves an Indian’s accent. It’s funny but never sexy. And fuck the world, even most Indians get embarrassed when a fellow countryman speaks broken, faulty or bad English. Why? Shrug, I don’t know, it’s just one of those things.

So I was at this party and everyone was smiling and drinking when this tall Indian lady with hair down to her hips walked up to me and slapped by bum. It’s become cool I think, girls slapping each other’s bums to be hip. Even as I tried hard to not rub my posterior (it stings in the cold… and rubbing your bum in public draws attention), the Indian lady chimed with all her lower teeth flashing, “Happy Australia Day!” Of course, it was January 26th. I thanked her and wished her “Happy Republic Day” instead, January 26th being the Indian Republic Day as well. The day this country adopted its Constitution and decided to govern itself and became the world’s largest democracy (some would say we are still trying, I would agree). She was somewhat taken aback, then flashed the rest of her teeth and responded, “Oh yeah, I forgot, I surrendered my Indian citizenship last year and now am an Australian citizen.” She even had a little Australian flag – a washable tattoo – on her neck. Of course in India, it’s better not to have anything to do with the national tricolour and definitely not advisable to have it anywhere on your body. Unless you can walk around with a pole with the flag on it because that seems to be the only place the flag will not be disrespected.

Then I was reading what my blog-friend Plum (a Scotsman) writes about his harrowing trip to India. He says, “You can't do fast in India, it's impossible. I found a taxi driver who took me to Colaba (Mumbai). Unfortunately he charged me 500 rupees when it should only have been 50. Ripped off again. They could see me coming a mile away. I hadn't mastered the art of haggling yet. I was going to have to smarten up very quickly or I'd be skint in the first week. I ended up in a hotel called The Seaview, and I can assure you, there was not a fucking drop of sea to be viewed.” I completely empathise with him… I have lived in Qutub View apartments with no sign of the Qutub Minar, stayed in Park View with a little green lawn being the “park” and am now in Green Glade apartments, and sure enough, there’s hardly any green and definitely no glade around. Shrug. But hey, don’t hate us for trying to earn some money… It’s a nation of a billion plus and survival is tough. Like it is perhaps in other parts of the world.

For instance, on another evening at the Australian embassy, there was friend and me talking to this real-estate agent in Oz. Someone who sells high-rises on the Gold Coast. “But is it not a really shitty area to be selling houses mate?” asked my friend. The broker – oily haired, ugly faced, bulging paunch – replied, “Of course it is, but I sell it to the Indians,” and he winked and drank his champagne. In another evening in this supposedly Irish-pub called Dublin (at ITC Maurya Sheraton), this same fucker ran his hands up and down my arm and tried his oily-best to cozy up to me despite knowing I was dating someone else. An Aussie trait or just that of a cheating, unethical bastard? But of course it’s only the Indians, no? And of course good little Indian girls will like every white guy because “white men are loaded and are your ticket outside.”
And of course the same fucking world – no less thanks to the media, both in India and the UK – make Shilpa Shetty, former item-number, hardcore pin-up girl, the very icon of Indian womanhood, the martyr of modern-day racism. Pray why? Because a dumb actress called her a “dog”. And yet funnily enough, Indians on every other red-light, or when jumping lanes or when denting each other’s cars can be heard calling each other “sale kutte”. Shrug. (bloody dog) So my friend jumps red lights and insists on driving on the left side of every passing car. When I scream that he cannot do that, he responds, "But your Mayawati does it too." Yeah sure. And the US has George Bush as its president and Australia had that Howard "leading" for 12 years. And that means what...?

So while one country is a nation where everyone is trying to cheat you, another rips off people because it’s business. While one country celebrates by drinking and decorating in yellow-and-green, another country belts out the same old Lata Mangeshkar songs at 7 am, in school compounds. And the monkey and the dog become the symbols of racism and intolerance…
It’s fucking confusing. Happy Republic Day. Happy Oz Day. Whatever.

PS: Point of this post being? Coming to terms, or what you will. And yet perhaps, there might be just be some sense... Like the fact that, "It’s fitting that one of the best test series in a long time is being played over the respective national days of the two opponents, India and Australia."


Rima said...

hey.. am a regular reader of ur blog but a first time "commenter".. and this has got nothing to do with this post.
just saw u on the ndtv bit.. i think u were better than the more famous (as u put it)bloggers.
keep up the good writting!

Eve* aka jb said...

Hello Rima, thankyou for having been reading and taking time out to leave this. wrt ndtv, you're being very kind; however, none of us on the show were competing and personally, me thinks everyone made valid-enough points about what they were doing and why.

Maxine said...

Such a good read and I was waiting for some good thoughts to follow as comments.

Racism,me thinks,is about love,in an extended form.Loving your own skin,or your country men's,more than other's.Love which becomes hate so as to ridicule the other.Love which forgets all difference within when confronted with a foreign skin.In simple words,awaking the sleeping monster in you.

Was driving through a quiet neighborhood sometime back.There is a stop sign after which I have to take a left.I could see a bicycler coming on the same line as mine,but he was very far.So I took my left turn.I was half way out and he came and hit on the middle of my car.The moment i got out, he called me'you Indian bitch'.lol.The guy was drunk,so he was just full of words and the moment I suggested to call the cops,he opted out.Oh,and there were other passerbys who was so pissed off with another skin knocking off a poor same-skin .duh.And funny thing is ,even if you keep your cool and speak in good way,they always think its because you feel inferior,or you don't know to talk.Some people only understands the fuck word.What Ive learned,living outside India,is that you have to keep talking and talking even if it doesn't make any sense.Like what I'm doing right now !;)

Vinay said...

awesome blog, Jhoomur..
Reading through your posts was like a feeling that one might experience after getting an adrenaline shot.

A Quentin Tarantino-ish punch!

Really enjoyed reading through the posts.. I loved the BOLDness element a lot.. keep them coming.