Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How strange is no strange

That is how it sounds in the latest column in To The Manner Born:

  • The truth is that India is perhaps the rudest country when it comes to making its rules. We don’t like outsiders. Unless they come with money, fame or status. Even then we tolerate them till we have a use for them. For example, we are almost subserviently polite to diplomats. Why? We think in the long run they will help us jump the line when we apply for a visa. Ditto bureaucrats. Or politicians. Or industrialists. But will we let our Gujarati heiress marry a Punjabi investment banker? Only if they threaten to run away and cause embarrassment. Otherwise we would prefer to keep things within the baraadari.

  • What is even more reprehensible is that the more educated the class of Indian the more logical their disdain. They can argue a sane person into believing that it is a sin to accept difference. And that they are merely carrying out their dharma/karma by keeping their community free of impurities. Most young people are so convinced that they buy the logic that an arranged marriage is the only way to find happiness. Love has been thrown out of the window.

  • A few years ago Mumbai was labelled as India’s rudest city but the truth is we are perhaps the most liberal of all Indian metros. In Mumbai we are kind to strangers. We talk to them in bars, we invite them to our homes. We even let our most beautiful girls marry them. Many of Mumbai’s top models are married to or living with their foreign partners. Each one of these men is an Indophile and has contributed to the city’s cosmopolitan culture. I guess we are polite enough to live up to our reputation of being a “melting pot”. Too bad the rest of India ignores its perpetual slogan of unity in diversity.

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