On regionalist prejudice

The other morning, like all mornings nowadays, i got into a DTC 543 Ext. to get to college. Had to run for it so I wouldn’t miss it, even as conductor sahib stared amusedly out his window. and commented on my breathlessness when i was buying my ticket. Holding on to the pole in front of me, so i wouldn’t go crashing into something, or worse, someone, when Vin Diesel in the driver’s seat made yet another swerve, the urbane chick in me was irritated when this big shawl-wrapped, decaying-teethed, dirt-streaked bugger from god knows what sad part of the country wanted to seemingly stamp all over me to get his ticket first. so i elbowed him out a bit, pulled the earphones out, and yelled “bhaiya, 15 ki dena!” at the bus conductor, since he was happily ignoring my proffered fare. clutching my ticket, i elbowed the jerk a bit more, so i could get to a seat. once settled, breathing again, i plugged in my earphones again, pulled out my book, n was about to get around to finally enjoying my morning solitude, when there was a sudden commotion right behind me. pulling out the earplugs once again (disturbing John Mayer’s newest rendition a second time thus), i turn around to see the jerk from 5 minutes earlier yelling at a man for, apparently, taking his seat. all forms of garbage was spewing forth – “ye tere baap ki seat nai, *********“; “hum pehle aaye the, tum kya samajhte ho tum kaun ho,**********” This turned into a bit of filthy hair pulling, which provoked the other to tear the former’s shirt. The conductor, as you may have guessed, waited till this precise moment to intervene. Calling them both names, he said he’d throw them both out if they didn’t stop it. Which got them to stop mauling each other, but the words got even filthier than the buggers involved. Conductor sahib directed the fellow already sitting to come sit next to him, in the seat permanently vacant next to the conductor. And now, a ‘gentle’man sitting in the third row pipes up, in full Indian patriarchal my-opinions-matter style, “pata nahi kahan kahan se chale aate hain ye gawaar, bihar kya chhota pad gaya. dilli mein pehle hi itni bheed hai, aur gandagi failane chale aate hain. jao bhai, waapas chale jao, nahi chahiye tum log yahan…” This expert opinion was cheered on by a few, fully and completely agreed with by some others, and tittered about by almost the entire population of that bus. at this, the jerk attempted a retort, which was silenced by a suited-booted man with a deep voice, who had gotten tired of not being able to give gyaan on his phone because of the excitement. But the ‘gentle’man continued to discuss such unwanted migration (i doubt if he even knows this word) with a sympathetic auntyji, who kept nodding and shaking her head vigorously, tch-tching at the right places.

Now, where do we go from here?

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11 thoughts on “On regionalist prejudice

  1. haaaah!!….Well having been around sizeable portions of our country in the last 2-3 years(specially south)..these kinds of incidents suddenly find a resonance in me. The funny part is that during each of these incidents I would proudly proclaim Delhi to be free of this regionalist prejudice.
    This perhaps doesn’t seem to be the case and I am actually a bit hurt/surprised to hear this….!
    What I really like about your writing here Nidhi is that you have kept is very realistic and did not add any unnecessary drama to make it more spicy to read..looking forward to more such posts which can make me relate to the Delhi of today..something which I have lost touch with! πŸ™‚

  2. Nidhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii if prose could win the oscars this piece would be my bet.

    I love the language and the punctuation is brilliant.

    (Whenever I read I take special attention of the punctuation. Jugglery with commas and periods has always made me happy)

    As Always, Nicely done.

  3. Chandu, thanks for that priceless story from so long ago. apparently, not much has changed.

    Shishir, thanks. πŸ™‚ and no, u haven’t lost touch, you’ve just forgotten the worst bits about ‘home’, being so far away. xxx

    Anand, thanks man. your nomination alone means loads. hugs! πŸ™‚

  4. We go nowhere from here. We hit the ‘preacher’ of a man on his head with a newspaper (HT) and tell him that Delhi has no ONE regional identity.

  5. I agree with ankita.. but, i guess instead of HT lets take the constitution and throw it on his head. not that he will die under its weight anyway. but also, that we can freely travel and stay in any part of the country,,love the way u wrote it. very vivid. and so relatable delhi’o delhi.

  6. @ what? – yea yea. maybe we do. it’s THE place.

    ankita, good idea. SWAT! should make him sit n do analysis. πŸ˜›

    riddhi, hahah! i agree! n thanks!

  7. Well, tell me about it! I have faced my share of regionalism down south myself and it is sad that we are still bound by boundaries and migrants who are part of any city and a vital one at it too are treated this way… It’s not just prevalent in Delhi though… take the example of Chennai for instance-other southies-especially Telugus (Gults as we are called!) are spoken to in a similar manner. “How much more of Madras presidency do you want? ” haha (yes someone actually said that to me!:D )
    And now, as i watch AP and Andhrawalas fight for separate state (Technically Telanganites) it leaves me confused and wondering.
    On another note, i really like the suggestion by ur friend-throw the constitution on the heads of such losers!!

  8. I was in a Kolkata bus one day and there was a Delhi-ite there I think… he had asked the conductor to let him know about his stop and for some reason (maybe bus fares had gone up by 25 paise in 2002), the conductor forgot. We had gone a few stops ahead, when suddenly the poor dilliwalla was informed that his stop had been left behind. This was in the morning and everyone had to get to work, but believe me, the passengers actually made the bus turn around and go back to the stop… And from there to Delhi buses, its great fun. Imagine, a morning scuffle, a verbal abuse in the afternoon, a preacher in the evening and a drunk at night! Its been a hard day’s night and we’ve been working 8 days a week, i say we do that constitution thing… Let the fights continue… Great amusement on days when the i-pod is missing, or you realize that the print is too small…. πŸ™‚

  9. ohh great throwing constitution has picked up.. i like myself.. thank you all.. I would like to thank my parents, teachers,.. friends. and nidhi for giving me the platform.. heheh πŸ˜€

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