An open letter to the girls and boys of India from a Bangalorean aka Different People Are Different aka You All Equally Suck.

Yeah, so we saw an Open Letter by a Mallu-Marathi gal to all Delhi guys. Then we saw a Delhi boy respond. Somehow in the midst of all this, I feel the larger issue is being missed. And this, I can spot by virtue of being a proud Bangalorean who looks down on anyone who’s not from the Garden City, which, well, is the rest of India, and half of Bangalore, not to forget the pseud-Bangaloreans.

And it’s Open Letter day, I want to throw my hat in the ring as well, get some hits.

And being from NITK, I did see National Integration in some form. So I’m not entirely biased against those from the north of Hebbal Flyover irrespective of the number of times I call them Amit or Isha. The point I make this this: All of you suck equally.

The Mallu akka there might blab about her matrilineal tradition, but others from that same tradition, more notably the female M.Tech candidates of NITK from Kerala, do not believe in the concept of women stepping out after dark. They also ask their husbands’ permission before each and every outing. And also, articles like this one. Not exactly bra-burning shining beacons of womanhood and women’s lib, are we?

And well, I must admit there’s something about Northie fellas, or I wouldn’t have spent a good proportion of my teens sighing over them. It’s probably the self-confidence they ooze. That said, the hooters and whistlers at NITK seemed to have a large proportion of folks from the other side of the Vindhyas. But then, I can’t deny that scary incident during semi-Pro night at Incident ’07 where my friend and I got harassed by a bunch of Gults. ย Cheapness seems to be a universal trait. And I’m not sure the gender-segregated Sathyabhama types are any less despo and creepy. The point is, it’s not like these folks all end up Forever Alone. There are several million Northie and Sathyabhama girls who find these sorts of displays of affection attractive and will probably say I overreact or I don’t know to deal with it. There’s a market for these guys, and while it might not include me or the Mallu-Marathi akka, how does it matter, since we’re not in the target audience anyway?

And yes, I cringe at the English. I used to cringe even more seven years ago. But that was until I attended a Freshers party at NITK. Everyone introducing themselves. Entire class, with significant representation from the Northeast to the Southwest. You know what I realized? What I’d previously considered a ‘neutral’ accent or a ‘normal’ accent or a ‘good’ English accent was actually just a Bangalorean accent, and it was ‘good’ because it was what I was used to. And it could be replicated and parodied. It could also be just another stereotype. Probably not as popular as a Mallu stereotype, but it’s only a matter of time till Lingo Leela goes mainstream.

Then, the food. You know what, everyone liked well-cooked food, irrespective of cuisine. Or maybe that’s what happens when you survive for months on horrible North-South mishmash food which pisses everybody off, and then one day they make really really awesome Pongal and Bisi Bele Bath in the mess and even the most Chapati-oriented gal wishes they made this every darn day. Point is, every cuisine has quirks. Like this one time, my friends and I were lunching, most of us Southie, one a fresh-off-the-train Northie. We were having our curd rice, and curiously regarding this fella eating jalebi with curd. And then he pipes up with “How can you people eat curd with rice?!!”. There’s no such thing as weird, only unfamiliar.

I don’t know where the stereotype of the ‘Fair North-Indian’ or ‘Dark South-Indian’ comes from. I know way too many counter-examples of Northies who are dark despite not being exposed to Sun TV, and southies who are fair enough to be racist about it.

You can rant about all the Northies reading Chetan Bhagat. But you know what that’s better than? Not reading.

Plus, not everyone reads only C-Bag. There’s a thriving Hindi literature scene. Also, most of India doesn’t really have libraries well-stocked with the latest and the greatest in Literature, and not too many bookstores like Blossoms or Nagasree either. Start with adding Chetan Bhagat, then, I dunno, add a few similar authors, one of who might be, say, Lavanya Sankaran, and maybe someone’ll make a few mistakes and stock Sivasankari’s translated works… well, we need to start somewhere.

I’m snobbish about reading, and judge non-readers harshly. I find myself judging people across the country, and even in my own bookstore-rich city. The hatred of books is a general human trait, and every ethnic, religious and cultural group has some people who don’t read, don’t like to read, and need to be hung, drawn and quartered.

And, I don’t know, I seem to be mistaken about the whole judge-people-by-accent-and-reading-habit thingie. You can be an AynRand-tard in any of the 14 official languages it turns out. You can be snobbish about your heritage or denounce it in 14 languages and 486 dialects. You can put forth polished sophisticated-sounding arguments about why women should stay home and take care of the kids in a sexy neutral English accent. And um, do you know what we call people who speak flawless English? Call center employee.

And when it comes to the melting pot of the 21st century which is Bangalore, we find people from everywhere are jerks. None of you bother learning Kannada, all of you act aggressive everywhere, totally changing the mild-mannered politeness of my beloved city. You all live in your own ghettoized crowd. None of you have a family life and slog at work all day, ruining it for those of us locals who can’t help but have a family life (and heck, everyone should have a life outside of work which is not just movies and malls), making us look bad in the eyes of the Boss who in all probability belongs to your part of the country and has a similar lifestyle. All of you drive like retards, all of you litter like retards. None of you bother to contribute much to the culture of the city other than asking DJs city-wide to play Sheila Ki Jawani all the time.

Yes, we Bangaloreans are way better than all that. Everything is just about right all the time, always. Right from the weather to the amount of concern people on the street show you, to the grinning helpful policemen, to the zillion restaurants to the list of places and events you can go to on a free weekend.

And um, am I saying Bangalore boys are better than the rest? I’d love to agree based on personal experience, but then, shit happens.

Like we say in Kannada, every house’s dosa has holes in it.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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13 Responses to An open letter to the girls and boys of India from a Bangalorean aka Different People Are Different aka You All Equally Suck.

  1. a traveller says:

    Brilliant. Thank you.

  2. Radhika says:

    Heartwarming ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Nanga Fakir says:

    Thanks for bringing attention to the raging wars destroying our motherland.

  4. Arjun says:

    Sakkatagi bardidiyamma. The whole thing from “..all of you act aggressive everywhere..” to “Sheila Ki Jawani all the time” is very well put.

    About Bangalore being just right. You and I think that because we’ve spent our lives here. Other people complain about how we go to sleep at 11:30 PM. Just how we complain about Mysore going to sleep at 4 in the evening (@_quale can suck on this). Our auto-drivers mostly suck, fuel prices are appallingly high and the city seems to be in a constant state of “almost done, juuuust a little while more..” when it comes to infrastructure. It’s like being in love, you don’t see the flaws that others do. If Bangalore were a woman, she would be carrying my babies by now. But other people would not even touch her, maybe.

    About North Indian and Pnjaabi stereotypes. We seem to have horrible luck when it comes to meeting representatives of these fine lands. We never meet a Shah Rukh Khan or an Amitabh Bachchan — funny/eloquent/clean. We instead meet the guy who inserts most of his fingers into his nose and ears and then, with the same unwashed fingers, kneads some dough and asks you “Rotiyaan banaa loon? Har roz rice khaa khaa ke thak chuke hoge tum”.

    I thought that girl’s letter was funny. And the dude’s response was way too serious. In the words of his people, “take a chill pill, yaar”.

    Yeah, fucking Yeddy and Darshan made it impossible for us to stay on that pedestal, didn’t they? Darshan is boy-aa? I am baby.

    Have you met ‘Software Dad’ Kannadigas? Most of them are irritating. After sub-stereotyping amongst my own people like this, I had a profound epiphany: most people who are not me suck.

    Yes, almost as long as the post. My life is complete!

    • harish says:

      Oho objective, dispassionate analysis by Arjun here, worthy of a Rajya Sabha membership.

      Over the last few months, I have had as classmates, a few north Indians who go against all these stereotypes, are nice people, have lived in Bangalore for quite some time and are genuinely appreciative of the city and its people. And even at my workplace, I had a few similar north Indian friends who loved listening to Kannada music too.

    • wanderlust says:

      i dont know about the downsides of bangalore. i doubt anyone from anything less than a tier-2 city can complain about infrastructure or autofellos or city going to sleep early. and, well, folks from chennai have no right to whine about bangalore autofellows ๐Ÿ™‚
      i’ve actually seen most people have a very positive view of bangalore, the opportunities it affords for hanging out, the chilled out attitudes, the easy connectivity and general safety (of course it’s not as safe as mumbai). all the whining is secondary. my friends who worked in other cities say people there regard bangalore as if it’s on par with new york or san francisco or shanghai ๐Ÿ˜‰

      i feel bangalore is that pretty girl next door who is compared to the diva by fawning people, who then keep putting her self-esteem down by saying she is not as good as the diva, not pretty enough, not smart enough… all the while showing her off as a piece of arm candy.

      yes, i (and probably all of us) find people who are not me sucky, too. i found myself stereotyping at such micro-levels one day, i decided to give up. there’s no point. by doing that, you miss the good in a lot of people and the evil in a lot of other people. i have more realistic metrics to pass judgement on people now ๐Ÿ˜›

      i found that girl’s letter funny at first, but it reeked of too much hate after a while. it is nice for random personal post, but when you scream that out from rooftops at national level, it seems lame, bigoted and all that. and that guy’s post was eno ondhu, random. im surprised these things went viral, actually.

      and.. we love long comments. and long replies to long comments. makes the long post seem worth it!

  5. Anupam says:

    Well, you go on to say that “Different People Are Different aka You All Equally Suck.,” but I don’t see you doling out an open minded treatment here either. This post is definitely Bangalore Chauvinistic.

    Being from Bangalore myself, I hold that the cornerstone of this city has been the nature in which it has been most accommodating. I agree that most of the immigrants don’t do justice to that virtue. But I can’t sat that I missed some words here which display chauvinistic overtones.

  6. Well well, that was nastily vented out, but I find myself saying attagirl !

    No mall, chalo Lalbagh!

  7. Siri (@pjux) says:

    Hahah. How did I miss this brilliance!
    Awesome one wifey!

  8. Hey, stumbled upon this and what luck! Agree with most of the things. As a Kannadiga non-Banglorean living in Maharashtra who has seen Bengaluru ‘before’ and ‘after’, I agree with most of the points.

    Kudos again.

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