The Angrej in us

(thanks BACHCHU for editing)

Finally, the summer that lasted 69 days was over and we were back in our campus in Lucknow. The first thing I wanted to do was to go out with my friends for dinner. To add to the happiness of meeting all the friends after a long time, I came to know that Nidhi had received PPO in her internship. We decided to go to one of the costliest restaurants in Lucknow as it was pending in our to-do list. Though our group comprised of foodies who loved checking out new restaurants, these were the prime chunk of Lucknow’s food joints that we couldn’t visit due to our helpless empty pockets.

We split into the groups of 4 and took cabs from our campus to a restaurant. Our cab was the first to reach the venue. Once we took our seats, we started going through the menu. As it turned out, it was a buffet, out of which we could order anything. I went through all the dishes offered and I found one fancy name among them. When everyone ordered a different soup for themselves, (I still don’t know why I ordered that particular one) I suddenly said, “Lemon Coriander!” Rest of the people joined us afterwards. They started asking about our order. Ankush told others that I had ordered Lemon Coriander, and everybody started laughing and joking about it. When someone joked, “Dewa will eat Lemon water with Coriander”, I realized the blunder I had made. All it took me to understand it was splitting those words apart. And that is precisely how terrible it was when I tasted it. But I had made a mistake, so to save my face I had to drink it. But it was so unpleasant that I couldn’t drink it after few sips. When everybody got busy in drinking their soup or chatting, I just slipped my soup towards the other side of the table without anyone noticing. Thinking about it, I looked around. I was embarrassed. But then I thought, “Was I only one who is so Angreja?”

The person sitting just in front of me has cheeks resembling that of the typical younger version of Hrithik Roshan in the movies – too chubby. That is why we sometimes call him ‘Chhota Krish.’ I had started mocking him about those since our college began and used to call him Golu. Though I was his first friend in the college, he got really irritated by this and almost stopped talking to me. Ironically, the same guy now feels elated when his girlfriend calls him Fatty.

Then I looked at the person sitting next to me. Just 8 days back, I had asked her opinion on which mobile I should buy. I had found a good Micromax mobile and asked her whether I should buy that. She was furious about it and asked me, “How can you buy such a locally made phone?” I knew how angry she gets sometimes and so instead of arguing over it, I asked her, “What shall I do now?” She told me that she will come up with some good options to buy from. What she came up with was a ‘One +’ and a ‘Redmi’. Though I agree they are making good phones these days too, but come on!! You are so sure about these Chinese brands but not Indian brands! When the same person accompanied me to buy clothes once, she didn’t like the apparel from Indian Terrain. Then she said she knows a good brand and she took me to Bossini.

Sitting on the head seat of the table was a person who is probably the second best master of finance in our group. Whenever we used to talk about jobs she used to term CRISIL, SBI and ICICI as ‘not-too-good’ companies. She wanted to work for Bank of America, Master Card, etc. I know these companies are different, I am not denying it. What I am saying is, she could never come up with any good reason to defend her strong perceptions, except that the latter were MNCs. It was just deep fitted in her psyche.

The next one in the line was a guy with whom I had partnered on a few projects. We had had a discussion on one of the projects just before coming to dinner about plumbing services and we were making some assumptions. During that discussion he repeatedly said, “The work won’t be inferior there; it’s not India.”

Lost in thought, I was not enjoying the moment. I made an effort not to think about all this and start enjoying. I started concentrating on food and chatting. The talk had gradually shifted to a different topic. The tallest girl in our group had suddenly said, “Wow! This is such a delicious food! I surely want a guy who would at least cook food for me.” Another girl from our group replied to her, “You surely need to go outside India. Choose an Indian if you want, but he must be living in US or Europe; they are very helpful to their wives in the house work. And most importantly, only there will you get a tall and handsome guy who will match your personality.”

I was surprised to see how all of us have that element of “Angrej” directly or indirectly. The irony was we were Indians and the proudest tag that we carried had also started from Indian (i.e. IIM) People tried very hard to attain this tag, sometimes preferring it over any international university. The fact is that our attire might have been changed but from within, we will remain Indian.

There are so many reasons that are given for such a behavior, for example. people want best for themselves and aspiration of the youth has been going up. Some say its era of globalization. For me, the best argument was that I had heard from someone in the past, that we were ruled by the British for long and they were considered supreme. Even when they left, they left the impression on the Indian hearts so deep that anything outside India is better. Instead of it getting out, it has probably found a permanent place in our psyche.

One thought on “The Angrej in us”

  1. It is so true that after looking at foreigner we feel ourselves inferior and them superior which itself is wrong. Slowly gradually that is changing but this changes taking place at snail pace and that too for metro cities youth.
    Regarding your blog, well said and written.

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