Thursday, May 21, 2009

It’s irrational .. but that’s us

Indians are an irrational bunch. We are so emotionally attached to things that people in other countries consider trivial.


The monsoons always evoke serotonin in even the most depressed Indian. That first rain brings some sort of weird hope/relief/excitement amongst us. I'm sure even Ram Jethmalani (He's probably the most depressed/depressing man I can think of in India) looks forward to the first rain! It's always been related to good rainfall giving good crops and a plentiful harvest, but most of us have long divorced the agrarian profession yet somehow the love for rain remained in our genes. The funny thing is that in the west rain is usually a spoilsport. People are depressed seeing rain, for them somehow sunshine is what brings cheer. Even in Hollywood, you'll always see the most depressing scenes associated with rainfall. In the west, you plan around the rain, watch those stupid weather channels, see if they predict rain and plan your day accordingly. India however is not challenged (There are rare exceptional days in Mumbai) by the prospect of rainfall in the disposal of their daily duties. Just pick up your lungi and walk around, through or over it. Somehow I believe a lot of bachelors dream of their honeymoons as being stuck in a cave with their new brides with torrential rainfall outside! It's irrational, but that's us – We love the rain! (As long as it spares our cricket matches)


Food never has been only a nutritional activity for us. How attached we are to our food is evident in the hours of hardwork we put into cooking our food. TV Dinners have never been and will never be a success in India. Even those who are most pressed for time will sacrifice sleep to cook himself a good meal rather than grab a TV dinner. Bad food is bad mood! And we need lots of it.. Don't decorate a plate with some green goo and a couple of cucumbers and call it French cuisine and charge us $200 for it. We'll pay you $210 for a healthy plate of rice, sambar, curd and pickles or a healthy helping of Dhoklas and amazing green Chutneys or freshly fried Pyaaz ki Kachodis or Spicy fried fish with boiled tapioca and crushed chillies or wholesome Aloo Parathas! We love different things in India, but we love it with the same vigour evenly across the country. If you want me to cut on my food to go to size Zero, I'd rather be size 6.. Don't you come close to my plate! Our attachment to food was well portrayed by a practice in the Mangalore area. Brahmins who have always been known to feast every day had this unusual custom of reciting the seven names of the Yamraj and keeping 3 morsels of food to the side before they began their meal. Their logic was that they wanted to please the Yamraj so that he would not take them away before the meal was over. So they're reconciled with death, but even at the time of the inevitable, they tend to ensure that they are not taken on a half-filled stomach. It's irrational – the west may call it gluttony.. But that's us!


Spirituality comes naturally to us. We may not exactly be the epitome of religiousness – no mass every Sunday.. maybe a temple/gurdwara now and then, but nobody can ever disassociate us from our base belief of somebody watching us. I bet even Prakash Karat at times of distress (like now!) looks heavenwards, hoping for a miracle. Some of us wear it on our necks, some on our tattoos, some in our wallets and some on our walls. But in India God is everywhere. He's the one that gets those 11 rupees when India needs 6 runs of the last over, or we need 12 marks to pass or to ensure that Shaalu doesn't look as ravishing as you do today and hence Akash will ask you out instead. He's the guy you think of albeit for a second when you start off a huge initiative in your life. He's the one even Sachin Tendulkar who's been blessed with more runs than other people have hair, looks to when the scoreboard gets to 94. We never doubt our confidence in our abilities, but never forget to ascribe our success to his benevolence. It's irrational .. But Inshallah, by god's grace, bhagwaan ke kripa se we've got him with us.. But that's us!

(For all the feminists, please replace all the masculine references to God with feminine references before reading. Don't blame me, Hollywood and Bollywood gave me the perception that God looks like Morgan Freeman, Amitabh Bachhan or Rishi Kapoor.)

Indianize everything

There's something that the Pramod Muthalik types will never get; that we're as much an influence on other countries cultures as much as they are on ours. Where else in the world would McDonalds separate out Veg and Non-Veg cooking areas and Kentucky Fried CHICKEN have a vegetarian menu. Bring in the Butter Chicken Pizzas, the Aloo tikki burgers, Schezwan dosas and don't even get me started on the Indian Chinese food. By far our youth listens to more A.R. Rahman than they do to Britney, Westlife et al. No matter how much the west may call our movies silly, we still are dedicated to it. A movie isn't a movie without a few songs, an item number, a fight sequence and the guy getting the girl in the end. Our Saas bahu serials still worked until the IPL began. The biggest evidence of this effect we have on the world can be seen in some so-called desi clubs in the US/UK/other rich countries that have H1B programs! As long as the DJ plays English music all the desi guys and girls have this strange 'cool' ritual of dancing without moving much of their body. Turn on the "Rang Barse", " Tunak Tunak Tun", "Dhagaala Lagli", "Aa Ante" or "Appudi Pode" and every desi guy and girl (even some non-desis) have their Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra and Tamil Naad uprooted from within them and in full flourish on the dance floor. It's irrational – You non-desis may call us crazy.. But that's us!


Unmana said...


About the rain - don't you think that's because it comes as a very welcome end to the heat?

Sujeet Pillai said...

Well.. I love the rain even when it's in December.. It's just exciting to see the weather change and an overcast climate gives a cozy feeling.

masood said...

Fantastic post!!!!
Glad I dropped by. Will keep visiting.