Sunday, July 20, 2008

Poor little Indian

Let's just accept it honestly. Indians DO have a fascination for white skin or so I discovered a few days back. Even in a cultural melting pot like Mumbai it happens. And I am not talking about middle-class, white-collared Indians. Here we have the so-called suave and cool folks from Gen-X. What happened was a series of instances happening with amazing predictability! Ok, here is a short background:
I work with the Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai which is the branch of the "Goethe Institut" of Germany. I work here as a Project Officer and my job entails in short handling activities related to Music Germany and Mumbai. And I got this job because of my previous experience as Musician in Mumbai and now because I also can speak fairly fluent German.

Now, we had a guest in the form of an extremely genial German gentleman called Ralph Christoph. Ralph is an electronic music expert from Cologne, Germany and he heads an annual international music festival called C/o Pop. He was here for researching the electronic music scene in India. I was here called on the job of helping him network with the right people from the Bollywood side and from an otherwise underground independent music world. Usually Ralph, I and Anja would travel together for these appointments. Anja was the Intern with Max Mueller Bhavan at the time. Here comes the funny part.
Whenever we would meet these other Music directors, Music label heads or anyone, they would greet only Ralph and Anja. And of course I was the poor little Indian. Then after 5 mins when I would have faded into oblivion, Ralph would feel really embarrassed that nobody was taking me into the discussion! Then while leaving, Ralph would normally turn to me and ask me something very vital, or my opinion about something or then I would stand up during a discussion and motion to Ralph to end the meeting because we would have some other appointment lined up further and then he would jokingly say, "I have to listen to her."! :-)) And it was THEN that the "poor little Indian" was noticed. Then they would ask me my name and tell me theirs. The truth is I knew not just their names but their entire musical biography which was exactly why I brought Ralph there in the first place!
Yes I felt very angry in the first few meetings. But later the awkwardness on their faces when they realised that the person whom they dutifully ignored was the one with whom they were going to have to deal, was what I started enjoying! I thought, "Oh! Poor little Indians!". :-))


Trinaa said...

sad...our mindset still belongs to the pre-independence era i guess!

Gaurav said...

yes, poor little indians.

You see we are tribal people who judge each others by thier tribes and where in hierarchy those tribes are.

Westerners on other hand deal with a person on idividual basis (mostly). They see what a person does and not which tribe (caste,creed, religion etc) he is form.

In India we could be Tamil,marathi, north, south indians, muslim or hindu, Brahmin or dalit etc....and we tend to derive our pride more from our tribal affliations than as an individual.

And it is ironical, because in Highest of hindu tradition, Same force is source of everybody. Same omnipresent.