This happened few months ago when I went to my Maikaa (parents’ place) Patna with my kids. We went to a distant relative’s house for the dual purpose of visiting them and seeing her grandchild.
As it often happens, comparisons started happening between the 3 kids. My relative started off, my grandchild is quite fair but yours is little on the darker side. Well, who cares!
My grandson is quite “tall” & heavier also. This went on for some time and she went on talking about the hard work she did for her daughter in law so that she would deliver a healthy baby.
After a point, my Mom got fed up and said - Together they were more than 11 pounds when they were born. Can any woman carry more weight than that?
Then her son started spewing rubbish. Don’t mind but all Madrasis (meaning inhabitants of any state beyond Madhya Pradesh) are very “bhayanak” (scary) looking naa. They will be black (check out the word used), weird and ugly.
His Mother- No no, her husband does not look like that- he looks like you guys only.
Me (to myself) – Yuck. If my husband would have been like you, he would have failed at college, would have been stupid, jobless and living on his father’s income.
Son continued- Those people wear lungi and coat on formal occasion naa.
Me- no, infact people in Chennai are very brand conscious, they dress very well at work - atleast from what I have seen in my office and the neighboring offices. Some pubs don’t allow entry without shoes (I am sure he wouldn’t have understood the concept of pub anyways).
My Mother’s parting shot that shut them up- And by the way, you have more number of Tamilians & Bengalis in IIT & IIM than anyone else. And don’t forget the 100% literacy of Kerala. And the software hub of India? Where that is, you know naa!!
What irked me more than anything else was the sad picture he created about Tamil Nadu and South India in general. He who had no identity of himself in terms of career had the gall to even talk about others. All state and state people have quirks but what right does anyone have to dismiss someone else in terms of colour, looks and choice of clothes? And why the degrading description to top it all?
Well, South India gave us Chidambaram, Kalam, Narain Karthikeyan, Kamal Hassan, Maniratnam, AR Rehman, K Srikanth, Kumble, Dravid, Vishwanathan Anand, Hariharan, SP Balasubramanian, Narayanmoorthy, Aishwarya Rai, Hema Malini to name a few that came to my mind immediately. The list will go on and on....
First of all, these people are intelligent and close to “first in class” or benchmarks. Moreover they have great presence and at least are far more presentable than my relative in question. So why that typecasting?
A matter of mindset and preconceived notions?