Thursday, September 15, 2011

When funny doesn't happen

Teh interwebs were aflame yest, at least here in Delhi and India, with this post by 'A South Indian Girl', that perhaps started out trying to be funny but ended up being vitriolic and venomous, and kind of making the case for a nice big SMACK.*

It made me cringe, because I like to think of myself as a sambaar (not sambhar) eating, dark skin loving south Indian girl from a family that abounds with wry and sarcastic humour, often at the expense of stereotypes, but somehow, when I came to end of that tirade, I wanted to say, no! I am not that kind of south Indian girl. This is not to say that I don't think there is a positive goldmine of fun to be poked at Delhi boys, some of it in her post, especially when seen from the perspective of Chennai/Hyderabad/Bangalore girls. I think it could have been done better. In fact, it could have been done like this, wittily, and then would have made its point and been funny too.

The thing is, dark skin and ability to pronounce dosai aside, desi boys are desi boys, whether Delhi or not--they all have their problems. No, I don't want to hear you talk endlessly about engineering, coding, banking or whatever 'higher' form of intellectual pursuit you think you indulge in just because you went to IIT, South Indian Boy. I don't want to hear about your BMW or party life either, thanks Delhi Boy. Read a book. Both of you! And no, Chetan Bhagat is not a book. Neither is Business: The Ultimate resource. Or Algorithms & Data Structures: The Science Of Computing.

Ask me about myself. Yes, really I am a person. No, seeing your eyes glaze over when I say I studied English is not appealing, SIB. Yes, I know it's not engineering, science or commerce. No, it does not make me a wasteful burden on my parents. And no, DB, just because I went to St. Stephen's I'm not a snob. Really. I don't know designer brands, and I rather like my whiskey cheap. That's right, no single malts.

SIB, your IQ might be an astounding number, but it doesn't entitle you to look down on people, or to stand in a corner and refuse to talk to people you haven't known since you smoked up and headbanged to Fear of the Dark in 1999. There is more to life than academic/career excellence. If you spend all your time at work and can only talk to people you see at work anyway, then you better be dating your colleagues. DB, you might have the looks of  <insert Bollywood hero of choice> but I really can tell when you're looking at your reflection in my glasses and not actually at me. Both of you, the size of your bank balance does not make up for the size of your personality. And no, not the 'haalthy' type personality. 

To be fair though, my favourite kind of desi boys are those who don't grow up in their home states. Just the ability to understand that normalcy is defined differently in different parts of the country, and no one type is better or worse than the other is a great help. also those desi boys who are used to SIW. There is nothing sadder than the boy who is petrified and emasculated by a woman who sees no need to make him feel like a MAN. The desi boy who meets an SIW and matches her stride for stride, word for word, who genuinely listens to ehr and considers her opinion, without dismissing it just because you know he knows better cos he's a guy, or he went to IIM--that my friends is the best kind of desi boy. And the rarest.

*There's this one girl i know from Hyderabad who posted this big quote with the link when she shared it on fb. I'm like girl when have you EVER lives in north India, let alone Delhi! You have to have fought off the gropers in the mudrikas, beaten an auto driver down to come by meter (though Chennai girls are exempt), had a slanging match with your khadoos Punjabi landlord, had abuse and lascivious suggestions hurled at you from passing cars filled with Delhi boys, and so many more rites of passage before you have the right to slang those boys. You hafta LIVE the war to tell the stories and have the PTSD.


  1. "DB, you might have the looks of but I really can tell when you're looking at your reflection in my glasses and not actually at me."

    One of your best! :-)