Friday, September 16, 2011

Yet Another Open Letter!

Unlike this lady Shahana, who wrote an Open Letter to a Delhi Boy, I cannot dare to write on behalf of others. And this blog’s purpose is not to criticize this deeply disturbed lady (there are others doing the same job fabulously, for example: MadMomma, who I think has done her ‘community’s’ image a favour after the damage inflicted by the racist, Ms. Shahana) but her blogpost has divided the ‘www’ into a north and a south, and all this drama raging on blog-o-sphere has managed to topple my personal apple cart. But it is the apple I like to call: ‘Bengali born and bred in Delhi’ that has suffered the worst bruises.

To hell with the South Indians of the South and the North Indians of the North!

I’m a Bengali, born and brought up in the capital city by Bengali parents who’ve spent a greater part of their lives in this city and are currently in mourning (though they won’t admit it) for having to relocate to the motherland, Kolkata. I was born to a fair mother, a brownish father and voila: I look like Complan and I tan purple in summer. I was reared on a very suspect diet of all that was considered healthy in the north and the east and this beauteous mix contributed to a rather healthy (halthy as some well meaning Aunties call it) constitution which is still very much in evidence (the diet also impacted the nature of my appetite such that it leans towards voracious). I can give any South Indians a run for their money in terms of intelligence and I lag behind plenty of highly intelligent North Indians in the same department (OH THE HORROR!!!) And you know what, my Punjabi or UP-ite friends (of the fairer skin and svelte bodies) didn’t make fun of me. Or rag me. Or bully me. And to clarify, I may have a hand full and if I stretch it, maybe two handfuls of Bengali friends while the rest are ‘North Indians’ and a couple of the very best I know are south Indians (fortunately they are unlike Ms. Shahana’s ilk).

And thus I feel left out in this regional debate. I feel marginalized because I don’t come from the North-South extremes of the country (although Delhi is hardly extreme north). This brings me back to the issue of my private woes for not being considered Delhi-ite enough by these uninformed, narrow minded and ever defensive immigrants! What am I? An alien?

It also makes me wonder do other people, hailing from different regional backgrounds, who’ve grown up in Delhi or have constructed a life in Delhi not feel the same way about the city as I do, so they not develop some sort of affinity to the city? Do they not resent the fact that Delhi is characterized purely as a North Indian strong-hold (I admit there are more of them) and mis-characterized as a stronghold of North Indian miscreants?

I cannot write in defence of any Delhi Boy, some of them will have to do it for themselves if they so wish. But about Delhi girls she writes that they are obsessed with designer duds, weight, beauty and kowtow to their husband’s will. The worst part is, according to her (and I do feel resentful towards other bloggers writing for and against) I don’t even qualify to feel offence, since Delhi girls are obviously Punjabi! Oh, and, I like money, I like SUVs, I would love to be able to buy designer shoes (may never be able to fit in their clothes) and I consider Butter Chicken a staple.

Does that make us Bengalis, Kashmiris, Tamils, Keralites, Assamese, Gujaratis, Biharis, Maharashtrians etc societal glitches?

All this bile expunged for systems in the name of homogeneity (regional, cultural, linguistic etc) disturb me. Very much so.

But now I will have some boiled tea, curse Indians in general for not knowing how to brew tea and then forget about all this as I face another day at LSR. Despite Ms. Shahana’s views, LSR isn’t a figment of peoples’ imagination. Neither is St. Stephens Collge. We actually exist. We are very real. And no, our brothers aren’t homicidal and our parents aren’t suffering from brain damage.

Lastly, I would some day like to be able to re-write this blogpost using ‘we’ in place of a lot of the ‘I’s, but I’ll desisted for now for lack of proof!