Early Morning Cuppa WTF

I had the honour of dropping Arvind off at school today. And by honour, I mean I was dragged on my heels through gravel at an alarming velocity. I swear I could hear my pumps screech, gasp and breathe their last.

I see a distinctly South Indian/Sri Lankan looking mother dropping off a cute kid. Arvind informs me that the cute kid’s name is Sindhu. I go over to said mother, introduce myself and ask if she is from India.

From Thanjavur, no less. (No, thats nowhere near Assam. Its central Tamil Nadu and Madrasi heartland. I refer you to MiM’s post)

I tell her that I am a Malayali, who can manage a few filmy phrases in the neighbouring states vernacular – Tamil.

“Oh,” she says dismissively, “you look like such a North Indian. I wouldn’t have imagined that you were a Southie.”

I stare at her, gobsmacked. Looking like El Grande Twit.

Ms. Thanjavur, who is all about great conversational antenna, goes on: “You have straight, coloured hair and the way you dress and all..I was sure you were from up North. And you know how it is….” she tapers off in a conspiratory tone with a huge smile.

Shot pans to where I stand, still in El Grande Twit zone, clearly unaware of how it is.

“Oh, you know.. with these Northies, it can be okay sometimes and then it simppply won’t work out. Anyway, its soo good to meet another South Indian.”

Ms. Thanjavur glides away.

Mallu-with-straightened-hair-and-apparently-North-Indian-air left feeling compartmentalized, categorized, judged and incredibly pissed off.

And no, I didn’t say “likewise”.


Filed under Culture

23 responses to “Early Morning Cuppa WTF

  1. Sigh! these Norwegians 😉
    Take them out of the country, but cant take the country out of them etc.

  2. That was the other side of the spectrum !!! I find it amazing that even today people think in these terms.. Not surprise that you didn’t say ‘likewise’ 🙂

  3. Sorry – typo – ‘Not surprised that you didn’t say ‘likewise’ ‘

  4. @June: You’d prolly have been the shattered recipient of a tight slap, had you called her a Norwegian. Egads! Surely, thats a bigger insult in her world than a Northie?

    @Smitha: I wish I hadn’t left it at not saying likewise. I curse my paralysing inability to phrase a pithy comeback. It buggeth deeply.

  5. Shite. What a cow. My sympathies,MGM.

  6. Era

    Wow, disgusting. As an adopted “Southie” I’m apalled. At least you don’t have to invite her to coffee now.

  7. @Dipali: Lets not insult cows:-) But thanks for the support!
    @Era: Yup, I saved me some Bru kaapi:-)

  8. Anj

    That isn’t right! Doesn’t the unspoken rule go like this- Northies v Southies when in India, Indians against everyone else when in a foreign country, and “adopted” country against all other countries(except India ofcourse) in sports and other competitive events…. 😉

  9. *small voice* I am a Madrasi but *louder* I don’t think you are a Northie at all. Nuh uh. Not one bit.


    @ Anj – it is never Indians TOGETHER against everyone else no? That ees the problem.

    What to do? We are like this wonly 😦

  10. Ditto Dipali’s sentiments.
    Maybe you could break out into Yash Johar movie-style Punjabi whenever this babe approaches you.

  11. @Anj: *Sigh* No-one playing by the rules anymore, methinks. I’d have to agree with DG. We Indians are appallingly divided – at home and abroad.*more sighs*

    @DG: Awwww. A “madrasi” vote. How Mere Pass Maa Hain of you! I love!

    @WJ: Splendid idea! All her Northie fantasies coming true in a technicolour moment.

  12. maidinmalaysia

    be empowered. southie-fy yourself. and prove to her that you too can say wonly and wogay in polite conversation

  13. came over from MIM’ blog. thanks for acknowledging assam…some people are cluelees as to where it is…i wrote a comment about this on MIM’s.

    people dont realize how prejudiced and insensitive they sound when they come such comments.

  14. @MiM: But of course:-) Southi-fied till I die types, I’ll be.

    @Sukanya: Yes, if only such people could really hear themselves sometimes! Thanks for coming by and commenting:-)

  15. zeno

    Gasp! how cud one of malabar’s finest be mistaken for a northie?haha

  16. ..but thats strange somehow. i always thought that indians bonded in firangi lands. heck when i spent a part of my childhood in brazil and there there were some pakistanis who used to bond with the indians let alone this north south divide.

  17. @Cynic: Its so funny you mentioned that Cynic, because Indians and Pakistanis bond where we live too.. over movies, cricket, and our usual South Asian passions. Indians however, seem to intent on judging based on appearances, where you’re from.. We have an Indian society chapter here that is just unbearable for all the one-upping that goes on…Too many good Indians,but far too few of them here:-(

    And Brazil, huh? Wow. You should write about that!

  18. I never understood this whole north/south Indian thing. I grew up in Singapore where it was mostly(back when I was growing up 80s) South Indians so Tamil was more widely spoken and everyone from India was thought to be Tamil.(Tamil is one of the national languages)
    So anyways, I got married to guy from India and when meeting his friends, they always assume I am from South Indian because a)I always mix the gender thing in Hindi and b)I am dark skinned.
    WTF right?

    Long comment..came over from MIM

    • shal247

      Hey good to see you here:-)
      Seriously WTF. It would almost appear that people are just on stand by – waiting to judge. Thankfully, there are enough examples of people who don’t do that – and therein lies out saving grace.

  19. So that’s one down your list of possible acquaintances.
    I hear a lot of ” but you look like a gujju/ bengali” when i mention my name with the surname. Pity how people sum us up based on where our ancestors are from..

  20. And with such mentality they come out thumping their chest to be hailed as a patriot. I mean at least know the people from your country first.

  21. shal247

    You said it, Solilo.

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