Saturday, 1 September 2012


Received what I believed was a forward via BlackBerry Messenger a couple of days ago. Turns out, not only was it not a forward, but had actually happened with the colleague who sent the message earlier that day.

The brave guy was relying on the city's crumbling infrastructure to get somewhere, and hence found himself on a local train. Sitting next to him was apparently an extremely pretty girl, with distinctly Oriental features. Of course, a conversation had to be struck (initiated by him) and with some luck, the rest of the train ride (and whatever else) would be made more pleasant.

So the guy (let's call him S) comes up with (what he believed then to be) the prefect opening line -
S: So what do you think of India? Isn't it a beautiful country?

Now for the rest of the conversation -
G (the girl in question): Yes, it is.
S: Do you like India?
G: Oh yes. I've been staying here a while now.
S: Really? So have you been staying in Mumbai long?
G: A while, yeah.
S: So where are you from originally? (names a couple of the Far Eastern countries, hoping to hazard a lucky guess and get even luckier)
G (complete with deadpan expression): Actually, I'm from Nagaland... India.

Basically, our South Indian hero didn't just put his foot in his mouth, but both his feet and his hands too.

By the time I was through with alternating between rolling my eyes and laughing, I texted back to know just how big his black eye must be.

Turns out he apologised profusely to the very much Indian girl, muttering something about not making assumptions any more. No phone number in his wallet of course, just a cold shoulder.

And then we talk about unity in diversity, cultural melting pots and (hopefully lesser) racism.

What makes it sad is the fact that such is the state of our country - one section doesn't recognise, let alone acknowledge the other as its own. Diversity that clearly co-exists with ignorance, indifference and apathy. Who's to blame? The powers that be for letting things get this bad? Where there is no communication - let alone connect - between one part of the country and another? Where there is neglect, and chaos, and a constant feel of being alien, the outsiders? There's loads more that can be said on the subject, and probably none of it may suffice. I guess all we can do is hope and pray - and act - for change.

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