Monday, June 26, 2006

Hate Criminal/South Indian separatist? Not me!

I was looking through my comment space, and found a comment - which, though it raised several valid issues - which said that I was attempt to create animosity between the North and the South of my country.

I would just like to clarify a bit on that. (Digression: I just realized my blog seems to be on its way to becoming a complete drag. It's time that I begin to lighten up once again. I guess I will, immediately after this post!)

I am not in favour of another partition of India, or anything of that sort. But to deny that no animosity exists is also equally ridiculous. Human beings are divisive in nature - one just has to live awhile in the UK to see the number of divisions in this tiny little island.

I had made the previous post only after great deliberation, and after extreme provocation over a period of time. And I did so because it was the first time I had seen anything of this sort.

I studied in a Kendriya Vidyalaya, and count among my friends people from every part of India. I am fluent in four Indian languages, and if I choose not to tell, there is no way anybody IN India could say which part of it I am from. So what I had written had nothing to do with general divisions, but just a particular person. Erasing the boundary - which exists - can be done not by denying it, but by accepting it and trying to change attitudes.

As for the whole arranged/love marriage concept, I have nothing against the former. I am a product of an arranged marriage, for chrissake! But what I do have a problem with is the refusal to view women as equal, or try to view them as inferior partners - which is often the case when it comes to an arranged marriage. I also cannot agree with subordinating your own wishes or desires in order to make anybody else happy. Though if anybody chooses to do it, it is their choice. And finally, I do not agree with the concept of choosing a woman from the same caste!! I detest casteism!!

Anyway, I hope it's all done with, and I can get back to being the clown I am.

Oh, and Dhaval, I don't like Arundhati Roy because she's a raging hippie without a as well be honest!! Because she's so successful and I'll never be as successful!!!!;)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I was sitting down in the kitchen with a couple of friends of mine, and having an intellectual discussion, as is my wont.

It was then that my moral flatmate (regular readers may remember my allusion to him during the post on 'moral Indian girls' -- too lazy to search for the link) decided to walk in, equipped with his voice like a foghorn, and his radical Indian (read Hindu) concepts.

Some idiot was unfortunately stupid enough to start the topic of Mr. Modi's pogrom in Gujarat. My moral flatmate could no longer resist. In a voice that would have put a racecourse bookie to shame, he began to wax eloquent on the evil that Muslims represent, and how the liquidation of Muslims would be a perfectly logical thing to do.

I listened to him, though trying to cover my ears (I could have heard him perfectly clearly a mile away), wax eloquent on joint families, how cheating the Indian government of its taxes was completely legitimate, how arranged marriages where the girl was chosen by the chappie from a list was perfectly legitimate, and how Muslims were the scum of the earth. I was tempted on ten different occassions to interrupt him for I found the following unacceptable:

a) His treatment (both in speech and real life) of women as commodities.

b) His belief that Muslims, who are as Indian as me or you, were in some way subhuman. In fact if he were white and anti-semitic instead, Hitler would have embraced him with a jolly Seig Heil for his intolerance.

c) How he felt bilking the Indian government by not even bothering to pay his taxes was perfectly legitimate. As an Indian, I found that bleedin' disgusting. It's the progeny of rich, uneducated, brown trash businessmen, like him (who have no qualms in griping about the state of indian roads - which are built out of taxes that these arseholes don't pay) that have got India to where it is today.

d) His murder of the English language. For chrissake, English is a National Language, and as an educated Indian (in the UK, for heaven's sake), one would expect him to have a rudimentary grasp. Messrs Wren and Martin would have turned in their respective graves at some of his sentences - 'The government are slapeing me in the faace. I am not tax payment.'

e) His belief (though not expressed at the moment; expressed several times in the past) that South Indians were black, ugly, subhuman, unintelligent, and incapable of speaking in Hindi.

f) His equally uneducated, ignorant and bigoted belief that South India = Madras (mispronounced), Idly, Sambar (mispronounced) and useless.

About an hour later into his monologue (which probably kept half the building awake), when he was by implication damning my 'disgustingly Western liberal' parents, and their 'filthy western' concept of a nuclear family (and their willingness to allow me to choose my bride), I could take it no more.

Primarily because his voice, never pleasant, had begun to grate on me, and secondarily because his bigotry was unbearable.

I said, 'Dude, arranged marriage is like a VB application with radio buttons. Select the girl you want - only one selection allowed - and click OK. The girl's wishes be damned. She's a girl after all.'. In Hindi - so that he could understand it as well.

He then glared at me, and began a prolonged attack on my family values - and the immorality of a family that had brought me up to actually respect a woman's choice as much as a man's. The filth of a family that actually told me that it was okay to decide for myself whom I would spend the rest of my life with. Citing specific examples of what he thought my near and dear were like, with the caveat that he was not attempting to offend me. While he was doing so all along.

But I did not react. I had become quite used to the bigoted attacks of him and his acolytes.

Over the past one year, I have had my friends back home called black and ugly because they're South Indian. I've had my mother tongue ridiculed and made fun of. I have listened to several jokes the butt of which was the colour of South Indian skin. I have had everything that I value and hold close to my heart made the butt of a tasteless, racist 'joke'.

He continued, this time on Muslims.

I have Muslim friends. They are Indians. In fact, they are more Indian than this racist bigot. They are my friends. They have never ridiculed me. I do not wish to see them slaughtered by people of my flatmate's ilk.

Everytime he starts off on his (perfectly rationally and calmly spoken) ideas of a pogrom against Indian muslims, I think of Sam. I think of Imran. I think of Shadab who carved 'India' on his forearm with his blood! I think of my President, who is much more of a man, and much much more of an Indian than him! I think of every Indian who just happens to be Muslim, and who has to face people of this kind in their country just because of their religious beliefs!!!

At some point, something snapped within me. I asked him how he would feel if after 9/11 the Americans decided that every brown person was a terrorist, and began to slaughter his beloved Patels.

He glared at me and started screaming,

'Shut up! You are offending me!! It is my caste (sic)! Take it back'

He said it three times - the last time he said, Tony Blair probably woke up with a start at 10 Downing, wondering what on earth the racket was!

I screamed an 'Ok fine, I'm sorry. Happy now?'

He picked up this pint glass full of water, and glared menacingly at me. For a minute, I expected him to throw it at me. He could, with one stone (or glass, in this case) disfigure a subhuman, black South Indian, a person who considered women equal (!!), and a creature who thought Muslims were Indian.

A part of me wishes he had thrown it at me. I may have bled, but then he would have seen that Great Britain is not India (where his rich father could get him off the hook after having assaulted a fellow citizen). He may hve understood that you do not go about preaching hate and assaulting people who disagree with you.

But he did not. He threw the glass onto the ground, smashing it into a million pieces. And he stormed out of the room, screaming, 'YOU DO NOT INSULT PATELS!'

The chap probably knew too little English to understand that I had not in any way insulted his Pateldom. Patels are as Indian as me. A Patel, to a rational mind, is no different from a Warrier, an Iyer, or an Asghar Ali. But, ah well!

I just had to blog about this.

When I stepped into Europe, I was scared. I was scared of racism. I was scared of white people throwing stones at me and beating me up because I was a brown Paki.

But in the one year I have stayed here, I have never once been insulted by a white man or woman. They have always treated me as their social and intellectual equals. I have never once been called a 'Paki' by a white man. I have never once been called a 'Darkie' or any other racist slur by a white man.

But I have been called a 'Kaala Madrasi' several times by my own countrymen. I have had to tolerate them teaching a foreign woman the word (without telling her the meaning).

I have had my fellow countrymen look at photos of my family and friends back home, only to comment on how black and ugly they look. I have heard them speak of how filthy a Tamilian (read South Indian) is. I cannot take this anymore. I have never felt so racially discriminated against as I have in the past one year. I spent an entire semester hanging out outside my flat - with white people (!!!!) - to avoid the racial slurs and discrimination. I spent an entire semester eating outside as I could not digest the insults and humiliation I have had to face for my ethnicity and my opinions whenever I entered our common kitchen. I have had to listen to humiliating innuendos being made about the relationship between a good female friend of mine and myself!

There must be something wrong if my own countrymen treat me the worst.

P.S: I spoke to a Tamilian friend of mine -- an extremely intelligent and erudite economist -- the other day. I asked him, 'Where have you faced greater racism? Here in the UK, or in Gujarat where you lived?'

His answer was immediate, 'Gujarat!'

Friday, June 16, 2006

Eurotrip -Part I

As I have tirelessly reminded my (pitifully few) readers over the past few weeks or so, I am just back from what I euphemistically call a Eurotrip. However, if any one of you has watched that timeless classic, it was absolutely nothing like the movie. Though I did rather loudly claim that my Aryan ancestors left the Caucasus because they could not stand the sexual licentiousness of those of my ancestors who ultimately moved to Europe, I did not do anything to reclaim as my right some crazy European sex. However, I did buy a book titled ‘The A-Z of being Single’ – not that it has anything to do with crazy European sex. (If you didn’t get a word of what I just said, watch Eurotrip!)

In any case, it was a bright, pleasant Glaswegian morning when I got onto the BA Connect flight to Paris. I was expecting a large, spacious airbus with young, pretty hostesses to take me to the city of romance. But what the (&&(*&*( at British Airways gave me was a small tinderbox of a plane that was once used in World War II by paratroopers – which additionally stopped at a place called Birmingham where they charge you 4.5 pounds for a single burger. Oh well, it’s cheaper than the exorbitant rates charged inflight.

Two more uncomfortable hours later, I was in Paris – the sex, romance and tramp capital of the world (er…make that the sex and romance capital of the world. Calcutta is still the tramp capital of the world). A few minutes later, I learnt three things:

a) The French don’t speak English.
b) The French don’t like speaking English.
c) The French in the Lonely Planet Guide was insufficient to get me to the toilet, let alone a place called Porte de Bagniolet somewhere in the middle of Paris.

However, sign language was to be my saviour all the while I was in France. That, ‘Pardon, Monseuir. Parle vous Anglais, sil vous plait?’, ‘Merci’ (if the answer to the above was yes), and ‘Nik ta mer’ (if the answer to the first question was no…I’m kidding!!!)

I went up to the ticket counter and signaled – using complex movements of my head, arms and legs – that I wished to get a train to someplace where I’d find the famed Paris metro. It worked, and the woman skinned me for 8 euros before giving me a ticket.

Where one arrives when one gets off the train which starts at Charles de Gaulle airport (pronounced nothing like how a normal person would read it) is another station called Gare du Nord (which I think means station of the north, assuming they misspelled North).

The French make one concession to those of us who are stupid enough to not have learned a word of French. They coloured the metro lines – and red, blue and green are presumably the same everywhere in the world.

However my requests for where I could find the ‘dirty green’ line were met with puzzled stares.

In any case, we managed to find our way to the Youth hostel, stopping to ask for directions only sixteen times along the way. The Youth hostel, we learnt, was located just outside the Peripherique, which is a kind of ring road around Paris. The significance of this seemingly trivial fact is that the law outside the Peripherique bears several similarities to the law of the jungle. I realized that as soon as I saw some African bruddas drinking their beer noisily on the footpath, all the while directing strange looks at the two foreigners who’d stepped off onto the streets.


An interesting observation I made about my bruddas in Paris was that they dressed exactly like my bruddas down on 8 mile road. I wouldn’t have been particularly surprised if one of them began to rap freestyle and scream, ‘De 811, nigga, and the 313, nigga – dis is de free world, muddafucka’ while brandishing his gat. International black subculture, I guess – they all look so bloody cool! Being cool seems to come as naturally to Africans in the West as saying ‘Where is the party yaarrr? This pub is jhakaasss, b***c***!’ louldly, and dancing like hippopotami come to us Indians (those of us from down south being particularly proficient at the last).

And we wonder why we don’t get any! 

!End digression!

Since it was just about six in the evening, and because France wasn’t Britain (where everything except places to get drunk in and stab your neighbour close down at half past five), we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower

If I were the chappie that ran the Eiffel tower (in a manner of speaking, of course, as the Eiffel Tower generally prefers to stay put), I would have called it the Eiffel queue. A few minutes after I had got the mandatory snap of me in front of the tower, I had managed to squeeze myself into the queue, in between a Romanian family having a family row (unfortunately in Romanian – nothing is more entertaining than a family row in a language you can understand) and an Indian family that was trying to break the queue and squeeze along to where their parents-in-law had ‘caught a place for them’.

The Indian family managed to achieve the impossible, leaving me all aglow at the thought that wherever in the world one was, nobody is as adept at breaking simple, easy-to-follow rules as an Indian.

After about thirty minutes of waiting, I managed to get out of the queue waiting to buy tickets to enter the Eiffel Tower and into the queue of people waiting to enter the Eiffel Tower after having bought the tickets. Another thirty minutes later, I had managed to progress onto the queue of people waiting to enter the lift to get to the first level.

We spent a moment contemplating the price tags on the garishly lit (and overpriced) ‘official’ souvenirs of the Eiffel Tower – which cost merely twice as much as the equally garish unofficial souvenirs sold by the Indians, Algerians and Africans outside the Eiffel Tower. That and a few more photographs later, we joined the queue to get on to the lift to the second level.

A few (more breathtaking) photographs at the second level later, I decided to go upto the top level, asking my cousin (who has vertigo) to wait for me here for a few minutes. I spent thirty minutes waiting to get onto the lift to the third level. As soon as I reached the head of the queue, I realized that this was, in fact, the queue to get down to the first level and the queue to get on to the third level was the mass of human beings at the other end of the tower. But never let it be said that the Warrier soul is one that admits defeat. For I stood in the ‘real’ queue for three-quarters of an hour, arguing with an American chappie about which one of us could take the cold better.

American: ‘I’m telling yaa, in Arizona where I come from, the temperature goes all the way down to the twenties and thirties.’

Me: (scoffs) ‘Ha! In India where I come from, the temperature never goes above the forties – and the nights are often in the twenties. In fact, in Edinburgh where I live now, the temperature sometimes drops below zero.’

The American stared at me incredulously.

‘Edinburgh warn’t that cold, y’know!’

‘Ha, that’s cuz you went in the summer. In the winter, it was -5 degrees Celsius.’, I retorted, and thought for a minute if I should add a bit about how I felt my most private parts turning into ice.


‘-5 degrees Celsius. 5 degrees below freezing!’, said I, proudly.

‘5 below freezing? That’s 27 degrees, dude!’

I realized he was talking in the Fahrenheit scale!

Bah, Americans!!!

I ultimately managed to get all the way to the top and was happily snapping photographs of the river Seine, when I observed this young Indian couple on a honeymoon lovingly carving their names, ‘Divya and Devasahayam’ on the railing. I could not help but think, ‘Ah, now all you’ve got to do is piss on the railing, mate – and you’ve recreated Fatehpur Sikri in Paris, thank you very much!’. But I did not bother to intervene till I saw the idiots begin to carve ‘INDIA’ in big letters across the railing.

That was too bloody much – the fecking philistines! (as an Irishman would have said it – assuming the aforementioned Irishman knew the word philistines)

‘Excuse me, you may wish to consign your names to infamy, but can you please spare our country the ignominy?’

‘What?’, said the man belligerently.

‘Stop carving MY country’s name on the Eiffel Tower. I don’t want them to think that all Indians are mindless idiots who deface monuments.’

‘None of your business’, said the man.

‘I’m calling that chap over there who’s supposed to be looking after the monitor. Enjoy yourself with the French gendarmerie. They are about as gentle as the Indian police.’

The man immediately apologized and disappeared, probably thinking deep dark thoughts. I wonder if he wrote ‘India’ at the other end of the Eiffel Tower, as the arsejackers in the picture here have.

An hour and two queues later, I joined my cousin at the second level and we began our walk down the Eiffel Tower, sick as we were of waiting in queues for lifts. After this, we decided to eat at an elegant little Parisian bistro where I ordered some godawesome steak and learnt the nuances of French pronunciation from a decidedly insane waiter who spent 60% of his time smoking cigarettes and the other 40% dancing about the tables – I would have protested, but what with strikes being as much the mood of the moment in France as it has always been in Kerala, I didn’t – though I almost missed the last metro of the day thanks to fifty minutes spent waiting for the bill (or the check, as my cousin seems to call it! :P )

To be continued, if junta don't find this stupefyingly boring

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Close Encounter with the Rowdy Kind - Part II

For the first week of what Mrs. Peters had referred to as my close association with Kaveri, things moved smoothly. I managed to speak less than a trappist monk normally would, and if I did at any time have to speak to her, I managed to keep my gaze affixed on some convenient wall in the middle distance. Kaveri had, after three days of my company, probably decided that I was either
  1. homosexual,

  2. incapable of speaking to the opposite sex, or

  3. possessed by one of those women who call themselves girlfriends, but would have been referred to as keepers in a less politically correct world.

The day of the open house dawned. Those of us who were unfortunate enough to have been press-ganged into presenting research (which in my case consisted of a collection of posters which included weak anagrams, and a few words I had stolen out of the Word Power section of a Readers Digest issue from the 1950s) to children with water in the brain woke up early in the morning and made the arduous journey to college through pot-holed roads. Others who had avoided their lecturers’ eyes got away with two days spent lazing around, flicking through the television channels hoping to stumble upon some Mallu porn. There were still others, mostly of the porikki kind, who saw this as an opportunity to stagger drunk (even more than usual) into campus and ogle any schoolgirls who happened to stray their way.

It was about two in the afternoon when my worst nightmare began to unfold. I had hoped that Amar and co, tired after having consumed a full three-quarters of Kandan wines’ stock, had gone home to dream sweet dreams of dancing in the rain with Simran. But they had merely been invigorated by the best that Mr. Kandan had to offer.

Of Mr. Kandan the man, little is known. He may or may not have consorted with the prostitutes in Kodambakkam, contributed to the coffers of the DMK, or been kind to children. But of Mr. Kandan, the purveyor of alcohol, paens have been sung by engineering college students over the years. He may not have been willing to extend credit to even the most regular of his customers, but the alcohol he supplied definitely did pack a punch.

It was with a full litre of organic compounds sloshing about within them that Amar stepped into the room allotted the English department. I muttered a quick prayer, commended my soul to God and hoped I’d been following the right religion all along when I suddenly realized Amar paid me no more attention than a dog would a bone when offered a rump steak instead. He and his goons marched towards Kaveri and spoke,

‘Aey! We wanttt to see…this ejjibishun.’

Kaveri merely glowered.

‘Aena dee summa vaekapaddarae…kaami dee!!’ (Why are you pretending to be shy? Just show it to me!)

The acolytes guffawed at the double entendre.

Kaveri took them to the first poster and began to explain what an anagram was. Robert Langdon would have possibly done a better job, but given the circumstances, Professor Langdon would have been hard-pressed to keep the attention of the current audience from wavering. Kaveri, on the other hand, faced no such problem. Amar and his friends were very attentive – their eyes never strayed from her breasts even for a moment.

After about the third poster, something snapped within Kaveri. If at this moment she had taken it upon herself to kick Amar in the solar plexus, nothing would have ensued except severe embarrassment for the same (though he may possibly have gone out and ridden his Splendor over a few dozen arms and legs in revenge). But what she did was completely inexplicable.

She turned to me and said loudly,

‘Siddhu, why are these fellows troubling me? DO Something!’

Those who have seen me know I am no He-man. Us Warriers have always been cerebral people – I would probably have worsted Amar in a debate on American policy in Afghanistan, but a fistfight was another story altogether.

I squirmed, and wished I had left earlier when I had had the chance. For now, all the porikis turned towards me.

‘Dai Peterae!! Watha ingae vaada, ommallae!!’ (Yo Englishman! Fucking come here you motherfucker)

All I could mutter was a ‘Anna, enna aachu?’ (Big brother, what’s wrong?)

Amar decided at that moment to walk towards me. He placed a very firm hand on my collar.

I tried to smile one of my winning smiles. But Amar did not seem to be in the mood for winning smiles.

‘Enna da illikirae, tevidiya paiyya!!???’ (Untranslatable really, but I’m sure non-Tamil speakers get my drift)

I had always imagined that it was only in the movies that a single hand gripping the collar of a shirt could left an entire human being up. I realized at that moment that the movies weren’t lying. I squirmed as I tried to get my feet back on terra firma.

‘Annaa…’, I bleated.

‘Unnakku aval koodai enna paechu? Watha Englishillae avaltae kadala podariyaada?’ (Why are you speaking to her? Are you flirting with her in ENGLISH????)

‘Illae Anna – enakku avalae theriyaadu.’ (No, big brother, I do not even know her)

‘Honestly, I haven’t done anything. I’m not interested in her!’, I almost screamed, as my neck had begun to hurt and I was worried my shirt would be torn in two ere long.

‘DAIIIII!!! ENGLISSILAE PAESEE BAYAMPUDATARIYAA…?’ (Are you trying to scare me with your English?)

I realized that all I could do was take what was coming to me, and silently cursed all womankind in the unkindest of words. It was then that my guardian angel came through.

Robin was a porikki alright, but with me he had been a genial old soul ever since the day in the first year I gifted him a packet of cigarettes and spoke to him in Malayalam.

He walked towards Amar and said,

‘Machi, freeyavidu! Ivan namma paiyyan da.’ (Dude, leave him alone! He’s part of our gang!’ – to translate loosely. Though this is not exactly what it means. A namma paiyyan is actually a chap – usually far removed from the gang – to whom a gang member feels a patronizing affection towards. To be a namma paiyyan is quite useful, especially in situations like these.)

Amar reluctantly put me down and warned me not to even lay an eye upon her. I wondered idly, as I straightened my collar, if this disallowed me from tearing Kaveri apart into little pieces, and the little pieces into littler pieces, while laughing a maniacal laugh all the time. I decided that asking this of Amar would be imprudent. He wanted to sing Vaadi en manmatha raasa to an undivided Kaveri; not one that had been disemboweled.

I disappeared from the room and the campus as quickly as I could, and did not return till the next day whereupon I had to listen to Mrs. Peters talk for an hour of how devotion to the cause among India’s youth had been steadily diminishing since the Battle of Plassey in 1757 (where she purportedly carried the wounded off the battlefield).

But I was merely thankful that my ordeal had ended without a Hero Honda Splendor running over my forearm, and smiled beatifically as she berated me.

This story clearly explains to every pretty woman who’s ever wondered why I didn’t ask her or anyone else out. I may be free, single and good-looking, ladies, but not necessarily of my own volition. A slightly built ‘Peter’ has to make sacrifices to survive on Chennai’s mean streets.

Siddhu Warrier now lives 10,000 kilometres from Chennai, and has not seen a single poriki singing a lowe song in the last 10 months. Additionally, he has not been called Peter once during the same period. However, he is still single and cannot understand it. Pretty women are invited to rectify this sad situation by sending him an e-mail at He additionally guarantees that he no longer lives under the delusion that the navel is where a woman’s G-spot is, and knows all about sex from watching Discovery Channel everyday.

P.S: In case you were wondering if you were safe from porikidom after you’re going steady with a woman, think twice. A friend of mine was once approached by a poriki with a request (or more precisely, an order) to supply his girlfriend for a period of six months so that he (the poriki) could have a bit of fun for himself. The poriki, being a particularly nice poriki, promised to return her clean, (possibly a little tired), and definitely-not-pregnant at the end of the stipulated period of exchange.

And no, I’m not making this up!

P.P.S: I’ve been writing a travelogue of my trip across Western Europe. I was wondering if the readers (if any) would prefer me posting it here, or creating a new travel blog for it.