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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Misconceptions

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?

17 comments:

artnavy said...

One North Indian who does not call all of the south- MADRASIS.

I used to take it very personally. Then i decided every people have their quirks and we stereotype inadvertently - at the other extreme even the brainy SI maybe a stereotype.

But hurray to all people who can look beyond race/ colour/ gender and credit a human being for what (s)he is

The Visitor said...

Talking shop ITW

You know generally talk, like talk about the weather for want of something else. Nothing seriously meant I'm sure. :)

R.E.B.E.L said...

I am totally with you.. I have no idea where these people get such concepts about South Indians..

Those people wear lungi and coat on formal occasion naa. -- Trust me, I ve heard that loads of times!

The Kid said...

I know this comparison really does not help... but I got a good one: There has not been one single religious (hindu/muslim) violence in south india (the 4 southern states) in the last century.

I am so proud of the south.

Hip Grandma said...

Let those with a problem with their higher center say what they want to.You cannot stop them.Life goes on with or without them.Get on with it.

Rohini said...

I just hate it when people judge little babies on things like the colour of their skin, their height, their milestones or their weight. I mean, give it a break already.

Ayaan had some feeding problems in his early months and while he is all healthy and fine now, he is still much thinner than the average baby (though now he is catching up). I constantly have to hear things about how thin he is, how I should feed him more ghee and even one person who suggested it was linked to the fact that I was a working mom and maybe the kid would eat better if I was at home to feed him. It's another matter that Ayaan eats like an angel with the maid but behaves like a monster at dinner-time, which is my turn to feed him.

An essential part of motherhood is that you have to develop a thick hide to be able to ignore such kind of people, with their unsolicited advice and unnecessary judgements...

Twisted DNA said...

Comparing children should be a crime. There is really no win-win there, one party always ends up hurt. I strongly believe there are a certain set of people who derive pleasure in hurting other people.

@rohini:
I can so empathise with you. We are teaching our kid to eat on his own. He is only 19 months but he slowly eats with a spoon. We spend a lot of time making sure he gets enough food. But whenver anybody sees him eating on his own the first thing they say is, "That's why he is so thin." That infuriates me. Without knowing anything about how we raise him, just after looking at him for 2 seconds, they come to a conclusion! Drives me mad.

Nee said...

ITW - Next time she makes such comments, please tell this lady, "Auntyji, you may think my child is dark and tiny, but yours is a BIG FAT MORON who's got the mental capacity of a buffalo. I think I lucked out, thank you very much."

I never get how people can make such hurtful comments to someone else. Sorry you and your Mom had to put up with that!

itchingtowrite said...

art/ grandma- all types amke the world
vistor- u r so optimistic.. nice
rebel- why can't they phrase out their doubts better...
kid- good one. south is generally more peaceful

rohini- u r not alone- happens to me also - mine throw such a tantrum when i try to give them their food. and yes we must shut our ears during pregnancy and motherhood
TDNA- ur kid must be enjoying eating by himself. and you and your wife has a lot of patience supervising him
Nee- LOL, in fact to be honest, neither did i find her grandchild fair nor are my kids dark, yet she had to pass that judgement.

Kalpana said...

Judging without knowing completely is really bad. Some people are like that, not all, right? It's just in the mindset.

mommyof2 said...

*sigh* anpad idiot..

actually my hubby is from Pune & Im from Punjab. Now he is not that dark but all my family thinks he is south Indian. Even they say like that I don't correct them cuz this is just stupid.. Even though my family act like that I have to say they are stupid to think like that.. And look how many guys from south india are here & have nice jobs where lots of people from North are driving cabs here.. *sigh
*

I say Compare that if you dare.. but "kutte ki dum 7 jaman bhi nali mein dalo to voh tedi he reheti hei".. so sad..

controlfreak said...

preconcieved notions?
no i think things go deeper than that,i think its a power play here because i see this happen a lot of times when people come over .Very subtle remarks about punjabis (as they are not)
food habits,
style of dressing(honestly people who comment on that should first look at themselves)they find great pleasure in critisising c9ommunities other than there own,i remember one of my own family members use to crib and cry over settling down in a different city after she got married,the place she came from was filthy,polluted(i once almost colapsed from breathlessness as i inhaled everything except oxygen standing on one of the streets
i never commented on the sorry state of (her land if you please)
yet i noticed that any given moment initially she would blast my city where she too lived now but i refrained from correcting her as i found her stupid and behaving imaturely as as the years progressed she has refrained from lamenting.
so moral of the story let people say what they have to its just a stunt to put u down,in the end you have the last laugh.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I hope some day we will stop stereotyping people! I can't stand the word Madrasi! On the other hand there are many people who call all non south Indians- north Indians! I know so many Bengalis who get offended when they are called that :)

itchingtowrite said...

control freak- welcome. i know it angers one a lot if people talks ill of one's city. but what u said is true- have the last laugh
IQA- touche'. in my apartment complex also some people say- these north indians are spoiling the atmosphere- since I hang around with both groups, i get quite indignant with either comments

HANE said...

This is so irritating...i dont believe that ppl can say something like this....dont they understand that we are all Indians??? Thinking "south indians" as "madrasis" is something they shud come out of.....
Frankly speakin its not only abt one part of India against other...The whole nation spks against each other....i feel offended when ppl spk against "biharis"....this is a huge misconception and now its high time that ppl shud change there views n ideas...lets start thinkin each other as "INDIANS"

Usha said...

Made me so livid - in this day of television and internet, this is all they know about another part of their country?
And what about sensitivity - talking like that about your husband and children? This is how prejudices are perpetuated.

Usha said...

put a pointer to this post in my latest - are you ok with it?