Saturday, January 16, 2010

East West North South & me

“I feel Bangalore is a lot better than Chennai.”

I wonder how many Bangaloreans I have fooled with this intelligent rhetoric. Listeners are instantly drawn to believe that I am one of the ‘rare ones’ who understands and stands for the South Indian ‘cause’.

When I came to Bangalore three years back from Delhi, I was desperate and tired of Delhi’s overtly friendly neighborhoods, where folks used verbal abuse as a tactical means of endearment. Tactical because it is sometimes used for exactly what it was invented for…abuse people. Tricky affair if you can’t notice the difference. Unfortunately, my upbringing did not prepare me for such subtleties.

Anyway, the moment I arrived here, I noticed the biases people have about people. Egos were at stake. It was the North Indian South Indian thing. I could notice it more because I am in a lot of ways ‘culture shock’ personified.

Fellow Northis felt the “Aiyo Ramas” were too uncool. They ate tasteless, sour food and boasted of their culinary heritage. The completely incomprehensible languages they spoke did not go in their favor much either. It was difficult to address them because their names often exceeded the word limit CBSE assigns for its exam essays.

Our South Indian Brethren, on the other hand, felt that all North Indian boys are born with in-built two-timing and three timing capability. They had similar take on NI women, only the terms they used got a little more derogatory.

There is a never-ending list of biases which keeps half of the nation apart from the other half.

Obviously, biases are exactly that…biases. But besides that, we could see what the other part of the nation has to offer to us. It offered me …a career. Made me a little more humble, gave me confidence. But most importantly, it gave me friends. Not merely batchmates, classmates, colleagues who turned out to be better acquaintances but genuine friends who probably think almost the same as me… and are there with me in times of distress. I could safely say that I love South India.

The day-to-day diplomacy that I use is like ...being as helpless as a character in a fiction who unwillingly turns into a werewolf and then ... preys. Its addictive when one tastes blood ;) Its not particularly directed against South Indians. Everybody who knows me has to go through this. Those who survive the flattery, word play, cruel satire and get to know me, become friends with me. Either I am a catastrophic enemy or an ultra-amiable friend. You choose.

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