What is perspective?

Funny dat I’ve never seen the need to ponder perspective. I don’t even feel like smiling derisively at myself. I’m taking the trouble to respect the person that I am, enough, to listen with an open mind, my own thoughts. And I found myself wondering what perspective was…

First, lets take the blog. I feel uncomfortable with some of the things I write about, not quite sure that it ‘fits’ with some tightly constrained vision of what my blog should be about. A frustration I had always felt until now. Neelakantan’s comment in an earlier post seems to imply that it was time for perspective to come back, that jugaad was not a work in progress anymore but could in fact be archived, on a high dusty shelf, in a back room somewhere, that look like the jumbled displays in the Calcutta Museum. I do wonder if they’ve modernized it yet? It was my favourite museum, because it was still firmly, dustily, old maidishly Victorian, not like the oh so shiny and new British Museum whose elder sister she is. For did you know that Calcutta was once the Eastern capital of the British Empire?

We seem to have a love and hate relationship with Ye Merrie Old England, home of forefathers, [or at least for some, spread across the land over 500 years,but shhh, we don’t talk about these things nowadays] and its just the same in England too. Or so I discovered, but shhh, we don’t have to say anything about these things now. Reading Vijay Prashad’s post as mentioned in the earlier post, made realize Prashad’s true message to his compatriots – Indians are a bloody racist lot. In one way or another, I guess you could say, since India is the motherlode of laidback chalta hai yaar tolerance, we’re open minded bigots. We make snide comments about everyone across the board. Here, let me start…

Tamil Brahmins, the Iyers and the Iyengars, or TamBrahms as they’re fondly called or not, "Bloody Paapaans" are studious, conservative, very religious, have beautiful daughters who fight to act in the films, very miserly, live spartanly and aren’t what they seem. They have to have curds with their sapad, their idlis soft and their dosas crisp, and would choke rather than touch meat. Ayoyo, aapdiye, as they say. Ask me, I was once pretending to be Lakshmi for one such household.

Bengalis, or Bongs, as probably every single one of them who ever studied engineering was called in his youth, poor things, have very unusual nicknames at home, like Rhompa and Jhompa, Tiki and Taka though they might have perfectly good Bengali names like Moushumi and Aparijita, Anirban and Biswajit. Will cheerfully drive a long knife down their neighbours back for a good bowl of macher jhol and baath, come to think of it, so would I. What about the loochis with chana dal, you know, the one that has big coconut chunks in it? Ami bangla booshtey pari, bolte pari na, bhoole gachi, bishoon saal hoye galo.

Coconut chunks in spicy sauce remind me of Malayalis. The Mallus are a strange lot, one race with whom I’ve always felt a kinship with, god only knows why, Shibu do you know the answer? Shibu, poor thing, shared common bathroom and kitchen facilities with me in our final year of engineering, and knows only too well just how much work I won’t do in Sawai Madhopur. His good name was Koshy Koshy, don’t ask, you either ‘get it’ or you don’t, but I don’t have the patience to tell you the difference between the Marthomites and the Jacobites, the Syrian Christians and the Roman Catholics, the Hindus and the Moplas, but that’s just one small state that shares a common language, a to-die-for cuisine, mmm Syrian beef fry with coconut, mor and rice.

Then there’s the Gultis, oops I mean our Telegu speaking brethren from Andhra. To be honest, all I really know of them is that they have weird surnames and are driven to succeed. Scary lot, if you ask me. Though I know the odd Naidu from Old Medras who is more cosmopolitan than most.

Moving to the ‘cow belt’, embaressingly where the roots of my own family lie, we have bhaiyyas from UP, who are superceded only by the Bihari bhai in mulish stubbornness fueled by righteous ignorance for a variety of pointless matters all conveniently under the common heading of "izzat". As in "Upun ka ijjat ka baath he yaar" *rolls eyes* Is all they know how to do is brawl, drink, fight, swear, and occasionally harass women? Really! And the Jats! Rednecks all of them.

Have I left anyone out? The Punju, the Surd – OMG the plethora of Surd jokes, worse than the Irish or Polish ones, that we tell to each other, even the Surds themselves. The cut Surd, the Sikh who cuts the symbols of his faith, his long hair, walks around mingling with the rest, without a beard or turban or iron bangle. Its Khushwant Singh, and of course, good old Santa and Banta, and Milkha Singh and Dara Singh, the incisive brain of one balancing the amiable stupidity of two and the physical prowess of the others.

South Delhi Puppies are a very special breed. These days they aren’t just Punjabis either, they can be from anywhere. But you can tell by their fake accents, their imported cars, toys, gadgets and BLING. OMG the bling. Why are the columnists questioning what Dr Manmohan Singh said yesterday about conspicuous consumption? Don’t they know the Puppy themselves? Doesn’t it make you puke too?

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