Monday, March 21, 2005

From the land of the curry 

I was talking to a friend last night abt the importance of the Kamasutra to the Indian man. Any Indian man who has ever dreamt of dating an American woman should know the Kamasutra 'inside out'. Coz that's what is expected from us. I can recall at least two instances where people (who weren't romantically involved with me) have asked me abt my knowledge of Kamasutra and I hesitantly informed them that all I knew was that they made a movie by that name. "What? You people don't know the book fully?" they've asked with surprise gushing out of their eyes. "No! I believe I missed the compulsory class on Kamasutra 1-2-3 in school," I said to myself.

Another thing that is expected from you, if you are from the land of the spices, is complete knowledge on elephants. I remember my friend John asking me if elephants did indeed walk side-by-side to the Indian man in the cities. Even though my head nodded a vociferous negative nod the first three Indian movies John saw with me (Lagaan, Asoka and Guru) all had elephants in them. So I don't think he was too convinced :) To make matters worse, Kamasutra, the movie, also had elephants in it :))

To end, I have to mention what I once told a friend - "Being an Indian and not knowing the Kamasutra is like being an Asian and not knowing karate". Please lemme know if any of you've had similar questions being hurled at you for being an Indian ...

friend of mine was asked if she went to school on an elephant. she said yeah, we have separate lanes for them!
Well, I have been asked how Elephants get drunk? Seriously!
Apparently there was some news article that described some drunken elephants rampages the village side.

Then, of course, the White Tigers.
@antara - i once told someone, "it's very difficult to maintain elephants, so only the maharaja's own them. others buy cars." :)

@paddy - White tigers? Wow! I always thought they are from Siberia - i read this or heard this that someone once told a bengali aren't "Bengals" extinct - thinking that he meant Royal Bengal tigers :))
White Tigers were actually discovered in India and 34% of the World's White Tigers are in India.(Nandan Kaanan Reserve near Bubaneshwar)

Other than that People usually ask me about recipes for Samosas and Spicy Chicken, etc
A prof out here (who was actually born in India during, what he calls the "Raj" times) asked me whether there were cows frequenting the roads in Calcutta even now.
I guess "Calcutta" somewhat enabled me to nod a no...India...aah well, even a decade back, horse-carts apparently regularly plied on the IIT Kanpur main road.
@Biplab - I studied in Pilani where we had camel carts :)
On the same front, Sagnik, ever wondered why every Indian attempt at pornography seems so lousy?
I haven't watched 'Kamasutra' though.
And funnily, I bought my processing rack second hand from this Amru chap...toh in the end he asks me whether I wanted to become like Ravi Shankar.
I mean...d'uh? Why the f**k would I be buying guitar processors then?
@Biplab - oh! I was abt to make a post on porn just yesterday and then got occupied - so will make that in a day or two :) as far as the guitar - yes yes - welcome to the world of mundane questions :)
Take this question:

"So what's the weather like in India?"

When I told one of my clients once that the question was impossible to answer without specifying a city, they wondered how big India was anyway.

So I say "It's 2000 miles north to south, and around the same east to west."


"Wow! That's almost as big as Texas!"

@Rajesh - ROTFL :)) I have got the "How is the wheather is US?" q a million times but haven't faced the opposite that many times.
I am American of Scottish descent (grandparents came thru Ellis Island on a boat in the 1920's), and thank goodness I have never been quizzed about Haggis and all of its nutritional benefits (or otherwise!). Because I know nothing about it! Isn't that a rather biased thing to expect a person to know all about one particular thing (in your case Kamasutra) simply because they were born a certain ethnicity? I took a trip to England several years ago, and actually people did expect me to know all about cowboys and horses, which I found shocking since I had grown up near San Francisco, not anywhere near horses or cowboys!! SO I guess it's just that people have certain associations with things and they think maybe you will know all about whatever they associate with your native country, or whatever. Nice blog, by the way.
@Allison - I couldn't have explained it better. I agree that even in India we have stuck up notions of other places and it's funny and sad at the same time. Thanks for dropping by.
i think the best is when an american says "oh!! but your english is so good" in utter amazement. umm. we were a british colony?!
@anon - it's aronic you mentioned that coz yesterday we were discussing this thing where a fried of mine mentioned that she was asked "wow! you speak English?"
Elephants and the Kamasutra... dangerous combinations. One the more curious questions I have got, is about navigation in India. One of my friends asked me, how we find our way around when driving in India ? No street proper street signs, no mapquest. I didnt quite have an answer for him, except that we as Indians have trained ourselves through yoga to always be able to align ourselves to the Earth's magnetic field, and could do so with accuracies of upto 3 degrees. Being drunk, he nodded and walked away.
@Vignesh - you nasty man, imagine courtesy you sme guy is learning exercises as opposed to buying a GPS :)
A client of ours (from the US) insisted that he wanted an elephant ride.. in between meetings preferably. He was sure elephants, esp stray ones were available for him to ride on.
What was worse that the bosses here actually contemplated getting him a ride!
@j - why blame your client coz i remember richard branson coming for a meeting in an elephant :)
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