Tag Archives: Culture

#1 – Annoying Allegation

When travelling to India, you always have to mentally prepare for the deluge of ridiculous questions/allegations, statements and assumptions you will be met with as an adult who has lived abroad for over 11 years. I’m going to attempt a list and the responses I wish I could give – and would give if I didn’t really love my parents.

Annoying Allegation #1

Oh, but you are so westernised and you’ve become a Norwegian lady now.

Desired Response Lost in Chickenshit-ness

Really? What gave me away? My underwear with the Norwegian flag on it? Lady, I could spiritually be a Martian and it would still be none of your business.

And what has made me Norwegian? Do I speak my mother tongue with a trace of Norwegian accent? Or any accent at all? Do I vaunt unnecessarily over Norwegian life? Do I shrug my shoulders at the dismaying ways of fellow Indians and relentlessly diss the country of my birth? Do I complain about the roads, the water or the service in hotels and shops?

No. I take it for what it is. I can be uncritical about the things that don’t really matter and critical about those things that do. How Indian I feel has nothing to do with the colour of my passport or where it was assigned. Or whether I wear capri pants and a short top and disagree with your parochial views, while leaving my hair unoiled.  But for you, its all about appearances and streaked hair and everything that is insubstantial.

Escaping your cretinous ways is one of the greatest joys of living abroad.

See, my biggest problem is you. And the fact that you are in my face with your shallow crap. So take it to someone who’s buying.

And FYI, using deodorant doesn’t make you less Indian, but it will make you a sweeter smelling one. Give it a shot.

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Norway Has More Than A-ha

Thomas Dybdahl is one of my favourite singers. Its wonderful to be awash in the velvet of his voice.

He is a boy from the local Norwegian hood. His hometown is now mine and the very fact that I can see him at a cafe on an occasional Saturday makes me ridiculously happy for no reason. Because, even after all the accolades he’s received, he is still painfully shy and hides behind all his facial hair. He smiles with awkward sweetness when people go over to him and..

Man. It makes me want to stick my tongue in his ear just to make him giggle. It’s that cute.

Some extra notes.

1. The video is from Monster Thursday – a lovely, sweet and sad film also made in this town. I’m going to go all out and say that we have some of the best acting talent Norway has seen and some of the most amazing small-budget commercial films you can pick up.

2. The purrty girl in the video? That is Silje Salomonsen. She is so talented that it makes your head spin. She’s an actress and a musician and she’s also my yoga teacher. Silje is a thousand shades of fabulous because she is the only woman I know who stands on her head effortlessly when she is seven months pregnant.

3. That beach in the first shot? Thats where I love to escape to.

4. That wierd language they speak? Thats Norsk. They are speaking the local dialect that is my norsk too.

5. When Thomas performs in town, his family, all his uncles, aunts and cousins come along and cheer him on. And by that I mean they practically stand on their tables and clap. You couldn’t see a more enthusiastic family or a prouder artist. Going to these concerts never gets old!

Enjoy this little taste of Norway!

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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”.

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