Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tu Manush ahe ki....


Just the other day, me and my wife returned from somewhere. The main door of the building where we live in a rented accommodation was bolted from inside, so we rang the bell. The old lady of the house came to open the door. We did a little chitchat standing right there and found out she was all alone at home and hence the extra cautiousness. Everything was ok till she said…heard another news?? A Nepali servant has poisoned the family he used to work for ( this, in the wake of another ‘sensational’ news of a teenager Arushi and a Nepali help, supposedly killed by her doctor father) So, our landlady went, “In these times you got to be careful.” And then she went on to proclaim…”Nepali log toh waise bhi hote hai khatarnaak” (Nepalese anyway, are dangerous people). I was so taken aback by the comment that I didn’t know whether to laugh it off or to get angry at it. I am a Gorkha, which the poor lady of-course didn’t know. I was shocked and hurt by what she said. It reminded me of a comment some people make about us, that all Gorkhas are mercenaries. It’s so shallow. This generalization of people is so disgusting, yet we all do it. I mean, we don’t even realize that we are doing it all the time. It’s fed to all of us at home to be wary of ‘others’. ‘Others’ are discussed over dinner tables at home. How ‘they’ are different, how they are so not ‘us’. It’s just everywhere. I was reading an interview of well-known playwright Vijay Tendulkar long back and he was talking about racial profiling. Supposedly when his teacher in school would get angry at someone he’d scream,”Tu manush ahe ki musallman??” (Are you a human, or a muslim??)

I remember, when I started in advertising back home in Calcutta, this senior copywriter found out I am a Gorkha, and he ‘joked’, “oh, so you are a Gorkha! How come you are on the other side of the door??” Or sample another gem from him, “O ki idea korbe, o je nepali.( how can he come up with ideas?? He is a nepali after all.) Well, he sure has a sense of humour. And I am glad I forever have had a sense of humour for people like him.

8 comments:

arnab said...

Bravo! Great to see how you've 'arrived'. Not just to the other side of the door but also to a position to show 'him' the door. Throughly enjoyed reading this. All the best!

Kanga_Mama_22 said...

Ego...unconciousness and dysfunction...without it we wouldn't feel the need to distinguish "others" or us/them. What does it do for us anyways except create the falacy of togetherness and safety to the exclusion and detriment of others...

Great book...A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, while overlooking his new affiliation with Oprah...he is an outstanding writer who speaks of just this...this biological need for separation of self and other...for those who are spiritually sleepwalking through life at least...with awakening we find ourself part of this world, undefinable and undifferentiated.
No reason to say them any longer... for then we realize...this is just an illusion.

Great insight....open eyes are the only things to see the world through!

machu.picchu said...

how true. even people from NE are discriminated against, especially if u have mongoloid eyes, commonly referred to as chinky and commonly believed to hav come from jungle. but if does it to u again,u can always show him d door.

ritzzzz! said...

hahaha....loved reading this, though there were no bikini clad pics. The thing is we all have such kinda notions about a particular community.

yeh sardar hai...isko kya samjhega

Aye gorkha idar ayo (a call for any durwan)

Sorry no miya's allowed here in this buidling

Bengali tourist log bahut kanjoos hota hai...khali bargaining karega aur moori khayega!

So it's kinda ok dude...we all feel the same. As long as someone really dosent mean to insult you...dont think one deserves a punch for making such statements.

Btw i had the pleasure of being there with you when JB had made those comments. Guess he never thought we make it anywhere in life. So feels nice to prove him wrong

divya said...

We humans are full of dicotomies. While on one hand we are scared of the 'others', these very 'others' become one of us whne they have some great achievemnt to their credit.
For eg. 80 % of the nation will consider a female child less than the male and will go to gruesome lengths to show their dislike. THe same 80% while counting great indian acheives will name Susuhmita Sen and Ashwariya Rai.

vimsical said...

@Arnab: :D gracias

@kanga_mama: thanks

@machu.picchu: the obsession to tag people is very frustrating.

@Ritz: saala bangaali sherpa!! muhahahahaha!!!!!

@Divya: yeah, we need our 'Durga' and 'Kali' as and when it suits us.

Koustuv said...

Why do I have this feeling that I know this copywriter? :-) Public perception is driven by stereotypes, and in advertising we make sure it stays that way, otherwise the lowest common denominator might miss the point... in spite of all our collective repulsions, the next ad we do tomorrow will have the same generalization... sorry dude, I am not sore with you, just can't help feel responsible for what we do to make a living...

vimsical said...

@ Koustuv: Ditto my feelings :)