Being from the second largest populated country on earth, chances are that you have come across most of the personality stereotypes if not all; Some enthusiastic, some lunatic, some intellectual, some sober, some boring, some touchy-feely, some sick; We can go on and on till our vocabulary supports us!!
While you zip across the length and breadth of India, you could experience the highs and lows of being treated as an alien, as an immigrant or even a local depending on your own inclination and your adaptability. The food, festivals, fashion, dance forms, traditions, diction, pronunciations, even the mindset of people changes from one zone to another. It is no wonder then that we often get referred to as “MANGO people in a BANANA REPUBLIC”.
So I would like to bring out the ‘fun in the pun’ of our diversities.
Statutory warning: The pun is only intended for FUN, it does not intend to hurt the feelings of any caste or community or region. Its written for the contest CONDITIONSERIOUSHAI but this blog is !(CONDITIONSERIOUS) in technology terms. In short, it brings the humor out of our diversity and demonstrates that “ANEKTA MEIN EKTA” in true sense.
So as a Marwari from Rajasthan, having spent my early years in Calcutta and having worked in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, I will take you on a roller coaster ride of my experiences with the myriad of colors that India possesses.
SOUTH – the Intelligentsia
You go to South and they find you too brazen, too loud, too candid and too close for comfort in the first instance. They hate the shor-sharaba, the glitz and over the top antics in our festivals. The Karwa Chauth is more of a fashion show of new jewelry designs and there is nothing/little religious about it. They believe that the ornate arrangements you do in your weddings is a sheer waste of money which could have been better spent on thick gold chains or buying a piece of land.
The street smartness, the go getter and JUGADU nature (resourcefulness) you show is too blatant to their liking. The north indian girls could do with a little more “sanskaar”, usage of the 6 yards of silk and and politeness to be a real BHARATIYA NARI. The fluidity of the the girls using the slang and the men remembering the mothers and sisters so unhesitatingly, shocks them to the core.
It is their belief that their IQ is superior(IIM & IIT admissions prove this!!) thanks to their imbibing the knowledge and culture during their formative years rather than focusing on JUGAAR and glamour which is home to north India. They take pride in the scientists they have produced, the poets, the theater, the politicians and their actors who are the real idols. Where else can you find the Rajnikanth frenzy, the Rajkumar fever and the NTR phenomenon. They are proud of their classical dances, the rhythm and grace which can never be compared with the pelvic thrust and hanging hands in the air supposed to be symbols of hysteria.
NORTH – India ka DIL
You go to North and they find you too slow and boring. They are sure; you have never had any fun in life whether it is wild, adventurous or kinky. The concept of “Good boys go to heaven, Bad boys go everywhere” couldn't be further from the truth.
They sleep while you hear the classical singers with great interest. And their only reason for attending classical dance concert might be to position themselves as connoisseurs of art. The "HAITCH" for "AITCH", "ESS" for "Yes", is a topic of great humor for them. After all, what is the harm in stressing on the alphabets while you clarify the word? Americans eat their alphabets and we stress on the alphabets, tell me who is better?
You can never enjoy your rice with your bare hands in front of them. The moment you mix the rice and sambhar and start making the divine RICE LADOOS with your palms and bring the tongue out, they would look at you as someone from another planet. Who will enlighten them on the bliss of eating with hands?
More often than not, our north Indian friends consider everybody from Southern India to be a Madrasi wearing lungi, eating idlis and the patent white tika on their foreheads.. I wonder how many of us that Southern India comprises Malyalis, Tamilians, Telegus and so many other castes and creeds like iyers and iyengars with rich traditions and even richer wallets? It is like calling Punjabi and Marwari the same!!
They are masters in getting work done via others and also get the credit. They are the masters of networking, working smarter instead of harder.Whether you hate them or love them, they cannot be ignored and are the life of any party.
You can enjoy the amazing roadside local and seasonal food in any season. In 2 degree Celsius in winters you can get amazing hot kullhar ki chai whereas in 45 degree Celsius in summers you can get chilled matka kulfi. Well but the magic is whether its 2 degrees or 45 degrees, females there never feel the cold or heat of seasons. Ask how? They never fall short of displaying their heavy lehenga and jewelry in weddings.
EAST – The cultural capital
You go to East. They will always treat you as a welcome tourist which will never make you feel uncomfortable. But then yes, you always feel like tourist there and not one among them. They are the most laid back, literary intellectual and fun loving people.
They are the most forgotten identities of India. When you see a small eyed, fair skinned person, what is your first reaction? Probably that you need to speak in English with him or her. It is hilarious when you try to explain something in English and he say "Haan Shaaab,,samajh gaya!". how many of us know that almost the entire staff working in Chinese restaurants in India hails from our north eastern part of the country which is probably the prettiest, virgin and unexplored part of the country. They are our eastern brothers and as much DESI as all of us.
Coming to West Bengal, you might start feeling overwhelmed with the crowd and the difference in the strata between the rich and poor. They are very proud of their Rabindra Sangeet and the rich heritage. For them if you don’t recognize "AKELA CHOLO Re" or should we say “korbo lorbo jeetbo re” then you are an illiterate. They can go anywhere on earth, but they would never miss Durga pooja and Saraswati pooja celebrations.
The BABU MOSHAI will always speak eloquently in the most refined and dignified English accent and be a subject matter expert on every imaginable topic under the sun. They love to speak in their native language and if you master that, you win their hearts. They will always flock around their own people and why not, they have so much to share with each other. How many of us have music in our blood and literature in our head from birth?
And you will never find a better husband than a Bengali. With no pun intended, they worship their wives like they worship their goddesses. You talk about football and they would be more than willing to share all their knowledge with you. They are very serious about their hobbies be it music, playing instrument, politics, football or literature. On a lighter note, a Bengali lives and dies for the four F’s in their life – Fish, Food, F*** and Football.
WEST – The city of dreams
Last but not the least, you go to West. Being the financial capital of the country, you would be there at some point or the other in your life and if not for material pleasures, it would simply be worth the visit for the superstars on celluloid. It is in many ways similar to New York wherein people from different backgrounds and cultures have assimilated and become localites thanks to the cosmopolitan nature of the city. They have found a new WESTERN Indian way of living - right from their fashion sense to food to arts to music.
You won’t feel alien there at all, as it has something for everyone. Right from North Indian, South Indian, East Indian food to Lebanese, Chinese, and Italian, anything you wish for, you will find it. It’s funny how you quickly adapt to the slang "Ayela" "Khayenga" "Piyenga" "Bheedu" over there. From Vada Pav to Pav Bhaji, once you have had the roadside food, you will always miss it. Everybody is running there, running behind trains, behind jobs, behind dreams and if not anything else, behind girls. Hats off to the spirit of the people there that the city never stops! Be it rains or bomb blasts, people there never stop. They just rebound in no time and get ready for the next challenge.
Everybody from a dabba wala to driver lives on their own terms and frankly their terms are no less than an emperor’s. You disrespect a bus conductor and the whole fraternity brings the city to a halt. The political undercurrents are highly visible in the city’s anatomy. Whether it’s about celebrating the love day or a controversial movie release, everything is the concern of people (read political people). Majority of the people as I said are migrants, but after 3-4 decades of development in part because of them, these migrants become miscreants suddenly.
Whether it is the Movie industry, fashion industry, banking industry, this is the karma bhumi. Its just mind boggling to see how thousands of people flock around the house of Mr Amitabh Bacchan every Sunday just to get a glance of the legend.
The steep difference between the skyscrapers and the unending slums of Dharavi would compel you to believe in the saying “BAAP BADA NA BHAIYA, SABSE BADA RUPAIYA!!”.
Now back to being an Indian..
The humor I have brought out in the diversities in India is just 1 % of the actual fun. The more you explore, the more fun you can have. So whether you are in a state of #CONDITIONSERIOUSHAI in North, South, East or West, you can enjoy the 5 star and take it SERIOUSLY( PUN INTENDED) now!!