So the blogosphere is rife with open letters, some Madrasan girl wrote an open letter to a Delhi boy, read it here, full of rants, overkill and absolute crass. Another Madrasan girl wrote a much more classier reply , here and one Delhi boy wrote a self-apologetic reply which was very Un-Delhi like, not only it did not contain any references to Black label and Chicken Tikka, but also was subtle, a word I think unknown in that region.
But nothing succeeds like a direct, blatant and obtuse hate letter. 2357 comments till last night and counting, it has actually become news material. I couldn’t sleep the whole night post reading the open letters, not that I was worried about the National Integration or why my blogs never get so many comments, I can swear I am more imaginative that Texas Chain Massacring someone’s face !!?
My motives are more altruistic and grandiose.I was worried about my beloved Rajasthan, once more it’s been left out of the debate and publicity generating, mudslinging, thriving-on-stereotype pen wars. While the Madrasnas and Punjus are fighting and Bongs are either silently observing and not downgrading themselves by commenting on literature much below Rabindra Nath Tagore’s or maybe they are too strung out, and of course the Gujju Bhaai and Banes are too damn busy minting money sitting comfortably in ‘A-mae-reeca’, we poor Rajasthanis (literally and figuratively) are feeling left out as usual. It’s like seeing your neighbor having a party, music pumping, girls splashing in the pool, booze flowing but not getting an invite because you are so un-cool.
So being a true blue (blue blooded too mind you, nearly all Rajputs descended from Kings, doesn’t matter even if king of an one square kilometer village) Rajasthani I had to do something about it, even if nothing more than cry hoarse and wallow in self-pity.
First of all we don't have any cool nicknames for us like Punjus and Bongs and Madrasis. Ok maybe all people club us as Marwaris but that is more detestable than being a non-Punjabi Delhite and being called Punju and being a Kannadiga and being called Madrasi, blah blah blah ….. And for the record I have stayed 4 years in Bangalore and 1 in Hyderabad and can differentiate between Telegu, Tamilians, Kannadigas, Malayalis, can or rather could speak some atrocious Kannada. Have stayed 2 years in Delhi, again could understand leaving the most ‘theth’ Punjabi. Half a year in Calcutta, can understand a bit of Bengali. And in nearly most cases can tell which part of India a person is, after talking to him/her for an hour. Now back to being Marwari, when I was in Bangalore, my first out of Rajasthan time, I was always assumed to be being from Delhi, as much as they cry foul that all North Indians call them Madrasis and don’t understand the difference between the 4 states they are no better either, they assume all North Indians are from Delhi, all things North Indians as Punjabi and the likes. I had a tough time explaining that I was not from Delhi, Kadi is not a Punjabi Dish and people dancing in the baraat with their arms in the air happened in Rajashtan as well. In Calcutta when told I’m from Rajasthan next question with a crinkled nose was that if I’m a Marwari? Then I had to ask that did they mean the caste Marwari (the basket in which they place all Baniyas), the place Marwar (the belt containg the places Jodhpur, Pali etc) or what. And in Delhi, let’s just say that they either assumed I’m from some Gujjar –Meena highway blockade party or totally ignored me completely coz’ I neither had a car, a huge built nor the statement ‘Oye tu jaanta nahi main kaun huun, main yahan ke <insert any random high ranking bureaucrat here> ko jaanta huun”.
But this is not what saddens me. While they there are fighting over the superiority of Dosa and Butter chicken our Daal Baati and Gatte and Rabori are thought of nicknames in some alien language by others. While they have M.S Subbulakshmi and Jasbir Jassi to grow up on, best we could manage was Ila Arun, of ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’ fame, whose mere mention in my house raised my mother’s eyebrows. Girls here never heard of Vogue leave alone Fendi and how severely Jimmy Choo can get distorted here in Rajasthan I can only imagine.
Bharatnatyam and Bhangra have shot to national fame while Kalbeliya (yes the name is funny enough and yes it’s a type of folk dance) remains confined to shots of women dancing it to the background of the desert signifying the scene is from Rajasthan. They are fighting over who looks better Priyanka Chopra or Aishwarya Rai while we had to import Shilpa Shetty (a Bunt) as our team’s face in IPL . Delhi people start conversing in Hindi or Hinglish (You know this top looks very good peeche se but you know, it would look much better if it had a little red and a little peela color in this) if they are the upper class which they think is the default language of all Indians, South Indian people will talk two sentences in English and then two more amongst themselves in their local language and the Bengalis will coalesce into Bengali and ignoring outsiders completely after the second drink or the first joint. We on the other hand don’t even know proper Marwari, Hadoti, Mewari and other sub-dialects of Rajasthan. We are sending truckloads of people into IIT and IIMs either directly (proper Rajasthanis) or indirectly (from the Kota coaching center network) and there is no mention of us being intelligent or intellectual anywhere, zero, zilch . We are deprived of Huge Statures and white complexion too (I am fair though, in case you are wondering, you can ask my good friend Ankur to confirm) and let’s just admit it that bigger is better, always and in India fairness (of the skin) is valued much more than any other kind of fairness. There are not so many Mercedes in our whole cities as would pass me in South Delhi while trying to cross the road. We want Flashy SUVs, Ed Hardy t-shirts (fake or otherwise), Gadgets imported from the US and the Gulf, houses in NYC. We are not getting any action in this department, and in THE department, Rajasthan seems to be most sexually repressed state of whole India, UP people and Haryana people at least get to rape women across the state border.
So while Bengali people are having endless cups of tea over fish cutlets post 5 o’ clock and discussing politics, Madrasis are either working in US or Gulf in that time, or working for US and Gulf in that time and harboring money and dreams of wives dipping in gold , Punjabis are taking out their amplifier fired SUVS playing ‘Amplifier’ and pouring black labels and thinking which area to molest girls in today. We on the other hand are wondering why are hell are we here, saving up pennies and getting monikered ‘Kanjoos Marwaris”. Delhi has it’s cleavage showing female side of the population, Bangalore has them tattoo sporting, Calcutta has them parading their pierced belly buttons while here they are covered from head to toe to save themselves from the sun. It’s like never using your iPod as you never remove the wrapping. And in Bangalore they are fighting for the discs to go beyond 11:30 while here they shut down liquor shops at 8! As Abhay Deol says in ‘Manorama: Six feet Under’ (a must watch film and has true feel of Rajasthan) “Is mardood raet ke jungle mae mae apni choti-moti pareshaniyon ke saath, apni choti moti see gumnam zindagi jee raha huun”.
P.S. – Of all the REPLIES to the open letter I liked G.Khamba’s the best – Here
You might also like – Jai Rajputana