Author: Adisha
•Friday, August 22, 2008
I just read some insightful blogs about India and our current state as a nation and was reminded of a few lessons that I learned and wanted to share here.

Caste Questions -

We had just come to India after the Gulf war and I had joined school, thanks to the Indian govt's law that any person whose come back due to the war, should be given Immediate admission in any school. Till then I wasn't aware than India was full of Punjabis, Gujratis, Up ites, Goans, Malayalis etc who are very attached to their regional essence and most are automatically drawn to and prefer being with their own community. I was in the Fifth standard, so that would make me 10 or 11. I joined school, quite unsure of myself when during the break someone came up to me and asked me " What are you ?" I replied " Hindu. " She laughed and said, " No, where are you from ? " I was totally aghast. I didn't know what I was ?! That evening I went rushing home and asked my mom what caste we were. She wondered what brought this on and I told her ofcourse. Then she told me, about our " Rajputness " as Singhs and that Dad is from UP and she herself is born and brought up as a Maharastrian. I was quite happy with the answer till it came to telling someone else ( till date I'm amazed as how frequently you are asked this question ) . But since then life has never been the same. Because every time, someone asked me where I was from, I'd say, " I was born and brought up in Kuwait. My mom is a Maharashtrian from Amravati and my dad's from MP, Gwalior . No, it's not a love marriage. ( the next obvious question ) And we are now basically settled in Bhopal. " In time it's become more difficult as I have added another city to my graduation and another to where my husband is from. So, basically now when anyone asks, I start of with " I'm a cocktail . " And move on from there, if the person is actually interested. Their reaction says a lot about Our future as acquaintances. Though that does mean I could never actually belong to any community or organization, but Hey ! it's a great conversation starter and I get equally interesting stories in return !!

Men in Orange Clothes -

Another lesson I learned about life in India, was through my Father. He would never give even a Rupee to people begging but would be willing for anyone who would work for it. I believe this is what instilled in me the desire to earn what I desired. Though he never left us wanting for anything, I always admired him and mom for always putting in that extra effort for the home, which of course in turn made where they chose to give their money mean more. A memory stands out here, when I was playing in our compound and I saw a man in orange clothes ask dad for money in the name of God. My father offered him an hour's work in return for Rs. 20. The man acted wondrously affronted and refused. Dad assured him, there was no insult involved and just needed some help . The man just walked off in a huff. Even at that age, I remember thinking if that man's really collecting for God, then what's wrong with working for it? With other similar experiences like rigged wires in auto rickshaws, people demanding more than they deserved, the use of the name of Bhagwan, Allah I came to the conclusion that people would rather beg, steal and scam in the name of whatever they can use, than earn their keep. I still wonder what makes people believe that they are entitled to someone else's hard earned money ?
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3 Spin Offs:

On October 10, 2008 at 4:03 AM , dreamy said...

i am a cocktail dad brought up in numerous parts of the country..and mom in being brought up in bhopal...goa...pune..
when people ask me what i am..i just say i am an "Indian"..that shuts them up for a while :)

a similar incident happened with my cousin in bhopal...he had come down from US for his daughters first bday and a beggar woman approached him asking for some money..he told her he lived closed by and if she could come over and do some work in the garden he would pay her some money...she just walked off!!

On October 11, 2008 at 2:12 PM , Adisha said...

You're have lived in bhoal n goa is it ? Small world! Where, may I ask? I was in Shahpura and Panjim respectively. I just Love Goa. :)

Totally weird isn't it? How people in India segregate themselves? Now that I'm finally getting to know people in US, I find they have grouped themselves as Marathi,Gujraati,North Indian etc. It's sad that even in a foreign land they prefer sticking with their own. Wat's the point of living in a foreign land if you don't get a little cosmopolitan ... :D What say ?

On October 12, 2008 at 8:50 AM , dreamy said...

I think u should get cosmopolitin irrespective of whether u r in a foreign land or not....and when i say getting cosmo i mean not just people from your own country...but from evrywhere around......but i guess it will tk some time for ppl to get rid of their biases and accept others as they are...i suppose ours and the later generations take some step towards it...

and in bhopal i used to stay near mayur park and in goa was in margao near manovikas this is a freaky coincidence