NIP is a weekly podcast hosted by Shuveb Hussain and me. We pick vague topics and then, talk about (no prizes for guessing) nothing in particular. But I am sure that there is something in there for you. And you. And especially you there – looking as though someone just ran over your puppy. I hope that we can be a part of your car rides, water-cooler conversations, lunchtime discourses and late-evening introspections.
The daily challenges faced by many people in my country do not bother me as much as they used to. Because I let go of the guilt of having had a more privileged upbringing. And I am not skilled enough to fight the system by tweeting about how unfair everything is.
What really bothers me is when the unwritten rules of social conduct are broken. For instance, some of us try to get inside the elevator even when its doors are closing. We do not consider it impolite to ask people to delay their routines because of our selfishness.
Why must anyone set aside their priorities to deal with ours? We are not chasing after Mad Max in a lawless dessert. Unless there is an emergency, we must follow certain rules of social conduct. We simply cannot be inconsiderate of the lives of strangers. Whether or not they can fly is a different matter altogether.
At an outdoor event a few years ago, a group of youngsters was promoting awareness of the rising number of sex crimes in India. They were strongly urging those nearby to just say “NO” to rape. The first thing I wondered was whether anyone had walked up to them and nervously insisted on saying “YES” instead.
The slogan makes no sense to me. The average Indian must be aware that rape is a heinous act. But sometimes, knowledge isn’t even three-quarters the battle won. People know for a fact that junk food is bad for health. That doesn’t stop them from clogging their arteries.
The problem is that many Indians don’t understand what rape is. And it causes them to either subliminally encourage it or passively ignore it.
Chennai, with its wooded forests, shrublands and water bodies, is a bird-friendly city. I should feel lucky that I live here. There is a wide variety of birds to spot. Our residential bird count is impressive. A large number of migratory visitors show up every winter. Their songs fill the air during early mornings and late evenings.
Falcons and pelicans soar – like winged ballerinas – across the graying blue skies. While the sparrows may have been chased away, crows, parakeets, owls, treepies, woodpeckers, and orioles remain our next-door neighbors. For over 100 years, naturalists have been recording bird behavior and writing in local newspapers about it.
Unfortunately, my city hasn’t been friendly to birds in a long time.
in the sky
It is my opinion that most Indians are racists. I am no exception despite being a very dark-complexioned person in a country seemingly obsessed with fair skin. I might be ticked off that discrimination is prevalent in modern society. But I am also a racist. I think that makes me a hypocrite.
You can’t call me that though. Especially if you are lighter-skinned than me. That might make you a racist. Or something just as confusing and stupid. So here are 5 obvious reasons why India, despite the paths it has paved for medical tourism, is also destination racism.
Black is just the colour of our hair
Indians consider fair skin complexion to be an added advantage. In bartering one’s daughter to the most affluent bidder. Finding a job. Feeling self-confident. Skin tone is a decision maker in India. A deal-breaker too.
As writers, we sometimes feel like members of an exclusive club. We can’t wait for others to ask us about what we do for a living. We wait, in baited breath, to nonchalantly talk about ecstasies and erroneous ways of being writer. We want people to believe it isn’t a big deal. However we secretly hope that they do.
At times, we get lost in our delusions of self-grandeur as a writer to the point that our writing abilities take a backseat. We stop trying to fine-tune our skills, and better ourselves in the process.