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”.