I have been blog surfing for the last few days. I must say I came across quite a few interesting ones. The most attractive blog title was Anna Mosaranna. Being the eternal mosaranna (curd rice) lover, I realised that I shared this passion with at least one other person: the mystery writer of Anna Mosaranna from Boston. Anyway, another potential Thayir Saadam blog was that of Asal Tamizh Penn. It’s humorous, and makes for good bedtime-reading. But, these blogs, coupled with a repeat telecast of the Big Fight on NDTV yesterday on racism, set me thinking about things that one is not supposed to take seriously anyway.
To start with Anna Mosaranna, à la Anna Karenina, it says very little about mosaranna of any kind. It devotes itself, rather disappointingly, to the principles of Economics, both real and imagined. 🙁 Moving on, Asal Tamizh Penn is, well, very Tamizh. While I recognise and appreciate the humour with which most of her posts are written, a tiny bit of me can’t help but wonder why we Indians are so…clannish. It’s not as if I am the most inclusive and tolerant person in the universe. But, I try. I try very hard to sound as cosmopolitan as I possibly can. Despite my best efforts I do sound very Tamizh sometimes, notwithstanding the fact that I am not Tamil, at least, not genetically. I mean, are we not better off without out caste-based, language-based, region-based, or whatever-else-based identities? Why must I be expected to behave in a certain way simply because I was born into a certain caste/religion/region etc.? Every post by Asal Tamizh Penn (henceforth known as ATP because the name is too long to type) reinforces a stereotype. Want to know what?
- All Tamilians are obsessed with Engineering and Mathematics
- Tamil = Brahmin = Vadama Iyer (or Vaathima or Brahacharanam or Iyengar depending on who the writer is)
- All Tamilians watch Metti Oli (or whatever else is on now) on Sun TV as against Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Girlfriend Thi (oops! Bahu Thi…) on Star TV
- All Tamilians can’t speak (or refuse to speak) Hindi because it is injurious to their rather fragile Tamizh pride
- The only place worth living in (if you are Tamil and Brahmin) is the overly crowded and increasingly intolerable T Nagar.
- All Tamilian parents have this general obsession of getting their sons married to a nice, well-educated, homely, fair, intelligent, and cooks-like-Madisaar Maami Tamizh girl. Actually, that is true of most Indian parents irrespective of language or region. Just replace Madisaar Maami with Sanjeev Kapoor and you get the general idea.
This, and many more stereotypes are reinforced by Ms. ATP. Well, you know, there are people in Chennai. People who are not Brahmin, Tamil or engineers. As unlikely as it may seem, the rest of the world is not as…uhm…stuck up…as our conformists are. What’s this about conformism anyway? Why is it so hep to be conformist? Guys, cmon! Lighten up. It’s fun to break rules. It’s fun not to be traditional. Ever tried sneaking into the kitchen when mum is not around to steal a sweet or a toffee? You must try it some day. It’s thrilling beyond measure. I assure you it’s just as thrilling not to be Asal Tamizh Penn. Try being not-so-asal. It’s fun.
Ok…now, moving on to the Big Fight. It was pretty ridiculous to see intelligent individuals talk about how racist India is. Casteist, well…that’s true. But racists? How the hell can Indians be racist when there are so many different skin colours within India itself. Of course, being fair is considered paramount for women. But not too many people really care about the complexion of men. And, the last time I checked, Andrew Symonds was a man. It’s simply stupid to argue that Indians taunted Symonds because he was black. Other Australian, English, Pakistani and Sri Lankan players have been taunted by spectators. Of course, such behaviour cannot be condoned, but to call it racist abuse is simply going overboard. All I can say is, let’s stop exaggerating issues and tackle those issues that really need to be addressed. Can’t decide what is important? How about female foeticide, education for all, economic development and empowerment of lower castes? Symonds is a sportsman. He must learn to deal with crowd behaviour. Nothing can be done to 70,000 spectators. The mindset must change. And that change will take time. In the meantime, the Australians would do well to learn a lesson or two about not racially abusing people too.