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.