Friday, June 02, 2006

HUNGRY HUNGRY BRAHMINS
AND THE CRAZY LADY OF KAVERI


Today's Vocabulary Words:

Reservations - affirmative action set-asides
Browsing - internet cafe
Timings - schedule



This morning I performed in front of a live audience (ie, I ate breakfast) at Nalpak restaurant on Devaraj Urs Road, a main shopping drag. It was early and I sat in the family-friendly upstairs dining room where some men in white dress shirts sat chatting and reading the newspaper. While consuming Kesari Bath and Vada and reading The Times of India I looked down and noticed that the cars parked in below had people (men) in them who were eating breakfast. Then I saw that they were being served by a waiter. Imagine, iddly in your Tata Sumo. If only one had a car....one would probably be dead.

While unlocking the scooter afterwords I heard the Pink Panther theme. I turned around and saw its source; a big old white Ambassador with a red Chicago Bulls sticker on the back, backing away from Nalpak.

From today's newspaper: Hungry, out of work Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh are applying for jobs as sweepers (traditionally an Untouchable or Dalit job). But first they had to prove they were worthy. "The officers were so astounded by the frailty of the applicants that they did away with the physical test." It begs a band name: The Hungry Brahmins.

According to Matrika those men who push in front of one in line aren't doing it merely because they're men and one is not, but because they're Brahmin men with a brazen sense of entitlement. Speaking of which.....In Karnataka state, upper caste students and medicos have been protesting against reservations for "backwards" and lower caste students at state hospitals by refusing to treat patients. So much for the Hippocratic Oath... although I think they finally went back to work today.

In led primary series class today I stayed in Utpluthith for Guruji's entire count (ie, I held myself off the floor in lotus for an interminable amount of time). I also managed to hold Urdvha Dandasana (headstand with legs parallel to the floor) for the entire (rather slow) count -- but only because I felt Sharath's eyes on me.

Have I mentioned the rain? My hair is such a mess in the humidity -- never, ever bob your hair and let yourself to be talked into bangs just before a trip to India -- and I've become so adept at being inept (today I was in front of the newsstand preparing to unlock the two-wheeler when the flower man, who was passing by, looked at me and said, "That is not your scooter." Of course he was right) that I've dubbed myself the Crazy Lady of Kaveri.

I finally met blogger Joey today after practice, after nearly bumping into him in the foot-kissing line. He was none too impressed. No more stalking for him.

I'm so pleased I brought my rubbery Bata flip-flops, which unlike me are impervious to the rain.

But I am kicking myself for forgetting to bring the effing Stain Stick.

4 comments:

  1. dreyfuss' valet11:15 AM

    I'll send you a stain stick, as long as you go back to the bathrom with the piles and take pictures so we can all see when you get back to the States.

    Also, see if you can have someone take a picture of you trying to unlock the wrong scooter or forgetting your scooter key, or one of your other Lucille Ball moments.

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  2. Sh*t, I'll send you a case of stain sticks & 2 gallons of Clorox bleach if you shave your head
    Sinead O'Connor style and rip an 8x10 glossy picture of Gahndi in half in front of the Nalpak restaurant?

    What say?

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  3. Well, now that I have been here a little longer I am revising what I told you about the Brahmin men. The book I read that in was written by an Indian (not-Brahmin) man, so HE has Brahmin men butt in front of him. I agree with you that men of most castes seem to butt in front of women here because they are just women. Wow, sometimes it is good to have a reminder that women's rights are very recent and that women are very fortunate to live in western industrialized countries. This happened to me twice in the last few days and both times I said in the firm voice that you use with a dog, "I am NEXT in line." And I ended up being next... but what a wearing struggle and possibly I only got away with it because I am foreign.

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  4. Anonymous11:24 PM

    This is the most uninofmred take on casteism I have ever read. I am an Indian, men cutting lines has nothing to do with being a man or a brahmin man. It is simply, lack of civility and pushing the luck to see if he can get away with it.

    But I guess, Indian men not respecting woman is almost a cliche, that it can suit any observer's own prejudice.

    This is how it works. The author of the book calls the guy a brahmin and therefore he cuts the line to assert his superiority and Matrika intreprets it as chauvinistic men cutting a raw deal for woman.

    I am an Indian and from a backward caste, but at no point do I accuse brahmins for anything that goes wrong with respect one individual.

    The world is too big, please spare us your sarcasms.

    I wonder, if a caucasian cuts the line ahead of me, is it because he is an ass or he is a racist? go figure!!

    vignesh

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