Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The North Indian Boy

I don’t like North Indians. Okay wait, if I am really honest, I am more uncomfortable with them than anything else. May be because, they look nice and are usually thin. And therefore, one derives that they are wicked.

Was it not Julius Ceaser who said, Let me have men about me that are fat… sleek headed men… has a lean and hungry look… such men are dangerous? He said that for Cassius, I think. But really, it holds true for North Indian people, especially the men.

I haven’t got to meet many of them, of course. I mean, my school hardly had any North Indian kids, and ditto for my under-grad college. There were a number of Malayalis in college though, but I liked most of them.

It was only in Journalism school, I met them. In large numbers. I usually avoided them. It worked for the best for all parties concerned.

In spite of all this, it must be the recurring bout of fever and extended dose of antibiotics that made me feel friendlier than usual and meet boy from my journalism school this evening. The boy is a North Indian guy, is generally very lonely and works for one of the news channel.

On campus, one avoided anybody North Indian. My friend T, a worldly sort of person, who took me under her fold, told me that, anything that is Delhi MUST be avoided. It was like a BIG warning sign. Of course, they were the nicest looking people. But they were scary, as they always roamed around in large groups.

I developed an intrinsic dislike of this mob of North Indians. The big part of my dislike for the Delhi people was that they chose to call Madras, Chin-I.
Chin-I Yaaru, most sentences would go.

I still recall that eleven years ago when this most inexplicable name change happened, I and my family felt very cheated. We figured that, while we can do nothing to resist this change, at least for us, Madras will always remain Madras.

Okay, so you want to show respect to the politicians. You want to keep it official. So, call it Chenn-Ai no? What is with Chin-I?

However, a month ago, I got a mail from one of the avoided-brigade of boys. His mail was hesitant. Apologetic. I know we hardly spoke, he said. It demanded for my help, so that he could find an apartment in the city. He still said Chennai, but, he also added that, T Nagar would be his first choice.

I warmed up to him quickly after that and put amma and the network of neighborhood maamis on the job to find him a suitable place.

After a week, this ever resourceful network of maamis found him a place, in Venkatnarayana Road, no less.

Boy seemed happy and I was happy too, in spite of every pet North Indian people stereotype that I religiously believed in. By the by one realized, this boy was harmless, boring and socially just a little challenged. I forgave him then. He also seemed to not just know about, but be a fan of Harry Miller. Not many Tamizh boys would know about him either, I was rather impressed.

Of course, as one knows, familiarity is the quickest path towards contempt. And things went downhill after that.

Every time he pinged me on messenger, I winced. For he started on the whole Poor-North-Indian-In-Madras-Whine-Trip:
• It is so HOT here
• The women on the other hand are NOT
• The auto fellows are all crooks
• Dhaba Express does not deliver dinner after 11 pm
• People don’t speak Hindi
• People are very unfriendly
• There are no cheap booze places, unless you take the Shobha and Sridevi Whiskey places
• No manicured gardens

Typical sort of stuff.

Your Chin-I, is how he began many of his sentences. With a slightly accusatory tone also.

Ho hum. I remember asking him on several occasions, where he was originally from? Delhi, he insisted. Every single time. I am of course ignorant, but I don’t understand when people can trace back their ancestors only up to Delhi. Were they descendents of Bahadur Shah Zafar, I am not sure?

Somebody came from somewhere and settled in Delhi perhaps, I suggested?

After some probing, he admitted that he was from a place called Sitamarhi (the birth place of Sita), in Bihar no less. Oh dear, was the only thought that came to my mind.

As if to quickly cover up, he asks, Why can’t you speak Hindi?

I can, I just don’t want to, I tell him. He thinks, it shows less tolerance and is racist like behaviour. It also suggests that we are not proud about our Indianness.
I first learnt Hindi, when I was in school, taught by a brilliant Tamizh woman, in a school where cramming is (okay was) religion. Always done with surgical precision. My Hindi marks were insanely high, much to amma’s and appa’s amazement and worry. Amazement because, well, it was amazing. And worry because, it is a bit worrisome for any Tamizh parent when the daughter tops class in Hindi but not in Mathematics.

The superlative marks notwithstanding. I never speak in Hindi. Because most people I knew/know, think in Tamil and speak in Tanglish. And besides, it was embarrassing. What if I spoke good Hindi? That would be awful.

Of course, now I have successfully managed to unlearn most of the Hindi that I have learnt. Which is a good thing.

But really, the biggest reason I dislike these North Indian folks is because, they make me feel all protective towards Tamizh people in general. I am suddenly feeling den- mother like towards Iyengaar boys even. Of course, they are not insane, I must insist. It is depressing.

After our disastrous meeting, he sends me a message saying, No matter what I think of this city, we are friends. I would say, I am fond of you even.

Really, how can someone like me, without being in love with Madras and everything that makes it up?

48 comments:

Prabu said...

"Really, how can someone like me without being in love with Madras and everything that makes it up?" - Confusioonnnnn

Anonymous said...

This is why it is easy to hate you, but tough to ignore. But then, you probably know that.

T said...

I had an idea, this post was coming! :)
Remember the lessons that you have learnt, not insane, is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Haha, you Tamilians are so strange! Funny blog, this is.

Brat said...

@Tamil Penn : Aren't you being just a little bit too prejudiced, maybe?? I do appreciate the passion in your post though :-)

Krish Ashok said...

Hmm..Why don't we speak Hindi, they always ask.
Answer options:

1) Why don't you speak English? English has been around in India for 400 years now. The Hindi, as propounded by the saffron brigade is actually much younger surprisingly. While contemporary Hindi derives from several languages, such as Bhojpuri, Magadhi and a whole lot of Urdu, by itself, it is pretty young. There was no such language called Hindi 400 years ago.

2) Ofcourse you could save yourself the trouble and simply say "Saridaan Poda/Podi."

Kadambari said...

You heart-breaker, you! :D
Does this mean, you like Tamizh baays?

rebel said...

I would have to say that you are a tad too prejudiced!

Anonymous said...

Bang on! And very very annoying. Such a waste of an obviously good writer.

Rajasthan Boy said...

I am very hurt.

Anonymous said...

*Sigh*
Why must you do this ATP?
Are u not hated enough already? Does this make you happy? It is a little strange, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Let the girl be, folks.

North Indian Boy said...

Tsk! :)
I love your prejudiced self. One day, I shall convert you.

Anonymous said...

Go away, you racist South Indian bitch. and how much you tams get upset about vulturo and confused when they say stuff that is tongue in cheek. this is worse.

Robin Samuel said...

//• It is so HOT here
Oh!.. Delhi is extra-cool then..

//• The women on the other hand are NOT
Beauty is a matter of personal opinion.. Fair Skin is not equal to beauty..
//• The auto fellows are all crooks
If you dont know the language, auto fellows everywhere become crooks..

//• Dhaba Express does not deliver dinner after 11 pm
11PM is sleeping time.. baby..

//• People don’t speak Hindi
I never complain in other parts of India that people dont speak English/Tamil
//• People are very unfriendly
Yeah! It has to do with individuals not with a society
//• There are no cheap booze places, unless you take the Shobha and Sridevi Whiskey places
Drinking is injurious to Health.. Atleast it is better than Gujarat..
Also get hold of a localite, he would show you the place u r searching for.. [this alone u North indian delhite that u have made very few friends]

Robin Samuel said...

[this alone shows that u have made very few friends among localites..]

Anonymous said...

Hmm, your blog is a perfect example of, what is wrong with Tamil folks. But hell, its your Blog.

Anonymous said...

And therefore you are free to be the arrogant and racist bitch that you are.

Anonymous said...

LOL! The comment-space of this Blog is a fantastic showcase for all the hate that is floating around in the Blog world. Where is you don't sit on the fence, you are in trouble.
While I disagree with this girl, you must hand it to her that she is far more entertaining than most other hate bloggers.

Liy said...

Sweetie, never mind all these bitter folks, I love you. No. Really.

Neutral Person said...

It is so HOT here
• The women on the other hand are NOT
• The auto fellows are all crooks
• Dhaba Express does not deliver dinner after 11 pm
• People don’t speak Hindi
• People are very unfriendly
• There are no cheap booze places, unless you take the Shobha and Sridevi Whiskey places
• No manicured gardens

Are not all these assertions true? Perhaps your response to him is to do with your own insecurities? Being unattractive is not a crime. May be, that is why it hurts you, because you probably think it is directed at you.
Harsh as it might sound, tamil women are hardly beauty contest material. I personaly find them attractive, but I know most non Tamilian men don't.
You are a kid, but please grow up. And how can a woman blogger be so unladylike is beyond me!!!

Anonymous said...

Paavum pa namma tamil ponnu. Freeaa vidu.

Sriram said...

cool delhi and bangalore are good for honeymoon and short trips but to live you need a bright sunny and hot madras!!

Karthik Sriram said...

SUper!

I hate anybody who comes anyplace above theVindyas...

usual North Indian dialogs:

1. Dont you talk Hindi? Its our national language.
2. Are all tamizh heroines fat?
3. Do tamizh people like being fat?
4. Why cant auto guys talk hindi?
5. North Indian food is healthy.

ANd worst of all in US, as soonas u meet a N.I, they start talking at u in some hindi... dont even care to ask u if u know indi - bigots!!

LKS

Anonymous said...

Fuck you, bitch. You make some of the other morons seems like angels.

Anonymous said...

Folks, stop it. This is too much. This girl hardly sounds like a bigot or a racist. If at all anything, she is probably finding this whole reaction to be very very funny and having a good laugh.
And don't Tamil speaking male Bloggers, write the most racist posts ever? At least, this girl is funny and a natural when it comes to writing.
Congrats Ponnu, after some two months of posting, people now dislike you for yourself and not because they are all missing Nilu's puke posts. You have truly arrived. Keep it going, I say.

Anonymous said...

I find that comment on "being protective of our makkal despite yourself" interesting.. puts into words what I've felt before and been pretty bemused about.

Prabu said...

ATP, I finally understood what you said but maybe you should change it to:

Really, how can someone, without being in love with Madras and everything that makes it up, like me?

Toxi said...

Tsk tsk! :) And just a while back you were feeling insignificant!
Did you not go for the Humma Humma thing?

Artful Badger said...

Quite funny. I get the same crap from my North Indian friends.
Then I purposely annoy them with my bad Hindi and they shut up.

RAMYA said...

ofcourse, a few people have told you that you are stereotyped but hey, who is not?!
I have had good North Indian friends since childhood but both parties have their own attitudes and stereotypes.
Some silly things that I see in the North Indians are
1. How they cannot differentiate among the four South Indian states- all of them are Madraasis. Ever read Geography in class V??
2. A "madrassi" is one with a dhoti and holy ash on the forehood and speaks Hindi in a funny accent which they think is Tamil.
3. They love idli-sambhar and the sambhar-vada but hate the rice.
4. They think they are "superior" and "intelligent" than the south Indians just because they are fair. Not necessarily good looking.
5. You speak Hindi and they look at you with raised eyebrows and wide lenses and mean to ask "How come?"
Grow up babies!

Thoppai Mama said...

Naan enna paNNuvaen theriyomo? Maha mattamaa indi paesiravaendiyathu.

UdhaaraNatthukku, "Mera naam ATP gai. Myn bagut accha indi bolenga. Myn T nagar meyn regtha goom. Tumara naam kya gai?"

Picchindu odallainna kaeL!

Prabu said...

how about:

ek gaon mein, ek kisaan, regathatha..

or

ek gaon mein, ek kisaan, raghu thatha

Mithraah Indiirh said...

Love the entry...
Love the blog...
Love trhe passion...
Keep up the writing :)
Totally agree...
me one of them Delhi-haters too...
Love the city though...
For its monuments...
Miss Chennai :(

Aarthi said...

What a heck of a lot of typos in this post! I am a true nitpicker, so forgive me.

Anonymous said...

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Aarthi and Rebel have cracked this Blog. It is certainly one maintained by a Bigot with poor writing skills. It sucks. Go back to your hole.

Blogeswari said...

Tamizhpenn ,How can you forget the N.Is' irritating "Soueeeeeth Indian log... " aarrgh!! yempaaa, they cant even say South.. adenna Soueeeeth!!! arrgh!

But I must tell you, post Sivaji, being Soueeeth, more specifically tameeel is cool.. really, itees , my NI /Maharashtrian/ Bong / colleagues would vouch for it.

Tamizhpenn : You rock! way to go!

Su said...

Interesting and entertaining :) I like your frankness in expressing your views. The point is, however politically correct we all sound, all of us have our own views on different people not all of them being positive.

Hyde said...

"There were a number of Malayalis in college though, but I liked most of them."

I like the back-handed compliment. What if the said Malayali boys spent most of their life in Madras? Would you like them more?

Madras Chick said...

Wow!!
This is a hilarious post, although a tad too long. OMG, you really made my day :-) I've had similar experience from most of my NI colleagues and believe it or not, including one from Orissa! And the "Don't you know/speak Hindi?" part living in the US, almost always from the N.Indians.

I love your writing style, BTW. From some of the other comments, looks like you're in a hiatus? Y? Y? Y? Can't wait to read more of your "Thamizh feely" stuff. I really hope, it's not some of these nasty comments from the anon NI visitors, that's keeping u from blogging.

Now I wonder, why hasn't Nilu mentioned you in his blog, (puke or not). And I just realized I like your satire, more than I like his.

Kavitha said...

Good job! I randomnly bumped into your blog and found this interesting stuff
:)

-Kavitha (with the 'hech') ;)

Anonymous said...

haha. i am so happy i landed on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Guys,
You should all read
Pravin Benjamins

DA VIJAY CODE: The Exit of the Nehrus
It is a brilliant exposition of india's north-south issues.

http://www.amazon.com/Da-Vijay-Code-exit-Nehrus/dp/1419613340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196382426&sr=1-1

Annamalayaar said...

Through this blog of my fellow Tamizh woman, I would like to tell certain things to fanatic north Indians, which are as under:

* Don't try to thrust your language(Hindi) upon us. Your language is in no way superior to any other language in India.

* Please don't forget the fact that right from Kashmir down to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to Arnachal Pradesh Hindi is being spoken as primary language only by 30% of Indian population. Infact, non-Hindi speakers comprehensively outnumber Hindi speakers.

* We actually want to bestow on the same respect to Hindi as that of other Indian languages like Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Marati, Urdu, Nepali etc.

* Just because some partison politicians have elevated Hindi to the rank of "National Language", undue respect cannot be bestowed on that language

* Last but not the least, this blogger has brought everything to the limelight and no north Indian would be justified for abusing her.

amruthavarshini said...

I am AMAZED by your writing - KUDOS!!! Agree to every word...

With ref to some comments here I think the right thing is to give back good:

1. I am a North Indian ... "OOOHHH Bihari va?" takes care of the Madrasi bit ;-)

2. "Arrey yaar - aap log sirf rice kyun Khaate ho? Hamaare North main no one really eats so much rice you know..." A witty Thanjavur friend of mine shot back in equally sing-song northie drawl "Kyun ki hamare yahaan rotiyaan sirf kuttoan ko do jaati hai yaar.."

Somewhere else I read about NI's cribbing about development in our lands and their so-called torture having to come here ... but since they are here lets show 'em we are as Indian as it gets ... only we believe in being a Roman in Rome!!

Meanwhile.. kudos to the many Tam's who speak Hindi like a pro and the TONs of NIs who have mastered any of the SI languages, live amicably amongst us and refuse to go back to the North - "Yaar wahaan reh nahin payenge - agriculture ke bina koi culture nahin hai waha - illa?" !!

Ranjani said...

I found this post extremely amusing. I am a third generation tam-bram Delhiite. My great grand father migrated to Delhi before partition, so I am unfamiliar with Chennai and the rest of South India. I have never thought much about being a tamil in Delhi, until I read your posts. In retrospect, I blended into the cultural parameters of Delhi so well, and never experienced being "Tamil".I moved to the US 8 years ago for my undergrad, and stayed on. It is only now that I feel a little bit more Tamil than I had. My husband is an ABCD but a Tam bram Iyengar none the less. It amuses me me that he considers himself to be more Tamil than me(who is from India..hello!)
I found this post amusing, perhaps the Delhi guy was just getting used to his surroundings and was badgering you with his thoughts. I do believe that the divide in the way things function b/w the north and the south of India is significant! Your post is making me feel more "tamil" strangely enough!
A very enlighting post...sorry for leaving such a long comment!
I really like your blog.

Varun N. Achar said...

No matter what anybody from the North might say, it will always remain a fact that you and me, all of us, belong to the civilized part of India. We know what culture means, what good food means, what music means. And yeah, we know all of India better than they do, and we're proud of it in a more sensible way than speaking Hindi because it's the "raashTrabhaasha". Screw it!