Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Indian? - South, North, East, West or Central

Being an Indian, brown skinned, dark eyed, black lustrous straight locks is definitely enough to attract those lovely blue eyes. Aadhya often grabs a heap of attention on the train, bus, park and nursery for having those beautiful tuft of hair with lovely black big eyes.

When I met an English lady:

Waiting for my turn to come at 'Supercuts' and Aadhya sleeping on my lap, seated besides was an old lady. She was lovingly looking at Aadhya and asked me if Aadhya eats well, sleeps well and if I get enough rest. Humbled and touched with her queries I answered.

The first thing she noticed was Aadhya's tuft of dark hair. She loved them and mockingly said,'I would trade anything for those lovely black locks'.

I smiled and started stroking Aadhya's hair and realized once again that they are lovely.

Looking at my toe-rings she must have guessed about me being Indian. With a twinkle in her eyes she said,' I had been to Kerala long ago. I still remember those lovely long hair with freshly cut, woven flowers tucked in. How jealous I was then?!'

Getting a bit carried away she continued, ' I love India. Kerala, Rajasthan are so beautiful. I had been to the Ajanta caves too. Explicitly beautiful. As a memoir I bought beautiful fabrics, sarees with golden borders for my friends and family. That trip to India was so currilicious and aromatic.'

Full of charm, diversity and so much of variety to offer, India for outsiders is like a different world. It hurts when anyone mentions about poverty, corruption  and rapes though.

I must confess that by now I was missing India to an extent that I wanted to board a flight right away! This was India for her probably she only shared the best and probably kept the worst experiences with her.

Meeting an Indian in the UK:

Coming back to track, we Indians are blessed with very attractive sharp features. Some of us are so blessed that they guess right from which part of the state you belong to on the basis of skin color, height, accent, ornaments etc etc. 

Brown skin, big eyes, distinct eyebrows and raised cheek bones is enough for an Indian to make out that I belong to the southern part of India. Are you a South Indian? My patriotism towards Maharashtra and Karnataka is being questioned then. I reply, 'My mum is a Kannadiga, well from North Karnataka and Father is from Maharashtra.' The next question shoots, ' You said Trupti Sharma, which sounds non-Marathi'.

Well I expect this question these days and then with a smile I reply,' I am married to a Punjabi'.

We are so inquisitive about xyz's origin. To speak to an Indian one has to know whether he/she is from South, North, East, West and Central.

Meeting an NRI in UK

Recently on my journey to Cambridge, I had to change my train from London Paddington. First timer on a tube at Paddington and presentation at Cambridge this time, I was a bit nervous. The tube arrived and I stepped in. Unsure whether to sit or stand, at times I am so indecisive about small things and finally perched, noticing that besides me was a gentleman wearing a 'Kadaa-bracelet' symbolizing that he was a Sikh (I too am blessed with guessing ability). Settling down, opened my bag and took out a map, which was tucked in a novel that I was reading. With some handwritten points on the ma,  it was evident to anyone on the tube to make out that I was a first timer travelling on  tube. 

When nervous, diffident and upset 'soliloquy' helps a big deal. I whispered a little louder to myself, 'Good, you are doing well'.

Folding the map and tucking it in the novel, I packed my bag waiting for St Pancras station. 

'Hi, I am Michael', said the gentleman perched besides me.

'Oh Hello, I am Trupti', I replied with a smile.

'Are you a first timer on the tube? You seem nervous', asked Michael.

'Yes I am but I should be fine. Earlier it was with my husband that I had been on tube and this time I am all by myself' , came my reply.

'Don't worry, I am walking towards Kings X and I can accompany you', with a very English- English accent showing his concern.

Not sure whether to say yes or refuse, I finally agreed to walk with him. 

After knowing that I am off to Cambridge for a presentation, he definitely was impressed.

He hesitantly asked me, ' I guess you are a South Indian'.

I quickly replied, 'Partly. Now that I am married to a Punjabi I feel that I am an Indian first then anything else because I feel that I am part of a National Integration program. My daughter will have traits of Maharashtrians, Kannadigas, Punjabis and if we stay her for a bit more longer then English too'.

Michael laughed and said, 'I guessed that you are a South Indian as I saw that novel in your bag. There is something very classy about South Indians - 'Books are for them'. 

He chuckled and added,' A Punjabi with a novel is a rarity, instead a can of beer suits better than a book!'

We both laughed off.

I unconvincingly said, 'There are some exceptions though. My husband likes reading only Science Journals but not a can of beer'. He too agreed about this exception.

We spoke volumes about the current scenario in India, changes needed, scope of progress and touched many topics about India. Some discussions may not lead to a Eureka moment but might leave you feel happy and satisfied. This was one of them.

At last we reached our destination. Saying 'Good-bye and Thanks' I had almost forgotten about my presentation and nervousness was miles away!

Got into the train and couldn't stop thinking about how being Indian is sidelined when it comes to South, North, East, West and Central! India has more to offer besides 'curries and chutneys' and why is there a necessity to tag ourselves with South, North, East, West and Central?

Conversing to an old English man on the train long back, his sentence struck me like a lightening that forced me to think.

 He said, ' I love India. For me India is India and I don't believe in South, North, East, West and Central'.

He questioned to me, 'What about Indians, do they feel the same?'

I was speechless and without an answer.

The best I could do was only smile. To my rescue my destination station had arrived.

Rushed to the door, alighted the train with lot of thoughts in my head but a blank face!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Deepti. Have you ever come across any such incident? I am sure you must have...:)