Thursday, March 09, 2006

being indian...inside and out

being indian in bangalore

inspiration strikes in the strangest ways, and this time it was in the form of my friend laila (whose form i remember in great detail:p).
so i was cribbing on how uninspired i was to write, and she gave us a topic (she's writing now as well... i trust). reluctantly i agreed to the topic, which by the way, is 'what it is to be an indian'.
in all of my 26 years i have never seen myself as anything more than an individual. removing my blinkers for a second, i begin to wonder what it is for me to be an indian. never have i felt a sense of overwhelming pride in being indian. not when i saw 'lagaan', or 'the legend of bhagat singh', or any other 'indian' film. overwhelmed maybe. but only because they were good films. does it make me any less of an indian?
my thali is more of a style statement than a symbol of marriage, says my husband, and he's not wrong. and so is the bindi for me. and i don't feel the need to wear them everyday. does that make me any less married? i don't believe i have to cook everyday and wait hand and foot on my husband. i don't believe that the bharatiya nari has to be demure and subservient. i don't believe she should be scorned for drinking and smoking any more than a man is. if these are not indian values, someone please correct me. i guess i have gone a step further in considering myself as an indian 'woman' here. but i'm still wondering what it is to be indian. does it mean i should know the indian constitution by heart. should know the names of the innumerable prime ministers we've had in the last 56 years? should i know and follow my culture, the way my ancestors did? should i be accepting of corruption and littering? should i know the ramayan and mahabharat inside out? should i be religious? should i prostrate before anyone who's older than me? should i turn a blind eye to people urinating and defecating in public? should i accept poverty, dowry deaths and female infanticides as a way of life for people? should i be happy living in a joint family? if the answer is yes, then i'm no more indian than george bush is. maybe because those are not the things that make one an indian. and even if they are, it doesn't make me any less indian. i don't feel bad about being individualistic after answering those questions. i am first and foremost, an individual, and then female, and then someone who simply happens to be born in india to indian parents. and i am love being all three. for the same reason that you love your parents. they're yours, for whatever they are worth. and i, am an indian female individual, for whatever that is worth.

posted by kalpana, bangalore

being indian in rotterdam

Being Indian to me means a loving noisy interferingfamily who wont give you much space sometimes but willalways give you a lot of love and support andencouragement.Being Indian means having vegetables delivered to mydoorstep and them being fresh and lovely, straightfrom the market, having a little chat with thevegetable man, seeing how his day went, telling himabout mine and hearing his advice for where the worldis headed!Being Indian means understanding all religions areimportant and equally validAnd having respect for people of different culturesand races. It means being able to see divinity in thebell of a temple, the call to prayers of a mosque andenjoying the quietness and peace that comes fromsitting in a church.Being Indian means having to dodge dogs and buffaloson the road, breaking traffic rules all the time andstill ending up in the place you were meant too, inone piece without noticing that you could have died 20times on the way.Being Indian means loving to dance and sing at theleast excuse, loving to dress up and be totally overthe top and not having to be apologetic about it.Being Indian means having great customer service andnot thinking it was a miracle from the magi. It meansactually being smiled at as a customer and evensharing a joke or two!Being Indian means I can just show up at a friendshouse at dinner time and they will put out an extraplate for me without either of us thinking it was thishuge astronomical favour or pain in the ass.Being Indian means not rushing out without a shirtwhen the sun shines and loving the smell of the rainon sand. Being Indian means being slow, being lazy andtaking 5 hours to do something that can be done in 2and not thinking there is anything wrong with that.Being Indian means being as loud and dramatic andemotional as I like. It means not being able to wear ashort skirt and walk on the road. It means havingtonnes of family and friends. It means not growing upwith an understanding that individuality is alwaysmore important and valuable than the community andthose around you.Being Indian means everything to me. Being Indian defines me.

posted by laila borrie, rotterdam at 11:06 09/03/2006

4 Comments:

Anonymous sa re ga ma said...

Nice one, di!!!
This now leaves me itching to write...
:)

6:25 AM  
Blogger KVSSNRAO said...

Hi Komal

People call you Indian because they identify certain common practices at group level. The group will have a certain structure which enables these common practices to exist for generations. It does not mean that some of us will not like it and stop following them. As more and more people stop following a practice a new practice will evolve. It is good to express our point of view regarding disutility of a society level practice. Chaos theory says a very small disturbance in the environment sometimes is responsible for major disturbances in the world. May be our viewpoint will also have the power to change our society.

kvssnrao

8:58 PM  
Anonymous AM I A HINDU? Best Seller said...

, Being Indian to me means a loving noisy interfering family who wont give you much space sometimes but willalways give you a lot of love and support and encouragement.

What you wrote has some truth in it. True it is NOT fun, when people interfere in everything we do.

At the same time, don't you think many things Indians do come from FAMILIARITY & CLOSENESS which we do not see in the west.

For example, whether we like it or not, parents, relatives and friends get involved with our marriage.

The idea is NOT FORCE anyone to marry anyone. Instead it is to make sure a girl or boy did not get married to a wrong person.

I have lived in the west since 1971 and amazing to write, many westerners want to copy what we do. Many of them want to get married to Indians since they have great respect and regard for our culture.

http://www.amiahindu.com/

11:00 AM  
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