I still feel like a sad bag but reading Sarah Macdonald’s Holy Cow has been an antidote to my dreary morning. Macdonald’s summary of Indian men in her travel memoir makes me want to laugh out so loud for the hilarity in her expressions and her accurate analysis. This ‘highly visible minority’ as she calls them are the ones in the streets of north India, especially Delhi. They follow you everywhere, they try to grope you at any given chance and according to Macdonald, ‘seem to suffer from a chronic urinary tract infection’. Oh how true! Men in India piss anywhere – beside the road, up against any building, in a park, you name it. She writes she was sick of ‘the cocky display of the penis’. LOL, and that is the reality of the demeaning Indian male, some of them.
Getting down to a bit of navel contemplation, having lived in Delhi for 15 long years I was so used to being around men whose families would look for ‘suitable girls’ to get them married off. By suitable I mean the ones who will pander to the wishes of the in-laws and everyone in the family, not just the husband. The suitable girl is a very traditional girl with a set of values, not showing any streak of independence. We north eastern girls by din of our looks and independence were off the benchmark. A case in point: a north Indian male would have an affair with a north eastern girl but he would never marry her because she would not be accepted by the family who perceives north eastern girls like westerners as being immoral, tacky and drink alcohol to top it all! FYI Northeast India is the easternmost region of the country consisting of the seven sister states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim). Northeast India is ethnically distinct from the rest of India and has strong ethnic and cultural ties with East Asia and Southeast Asia.
In gatherings here in Melbourne, I find the Indian families are very proud of the ‘values’ they have grown up with and instilled in their sons. I am highly amused by how young, bearded and overgrown sons often accompany their parents to all social dos. Parents well up in pride talking about how these boys have their Indian values intact growing up in a western society (where the chances of going astray are high) while grooming to be professionals – accountants, engineers, doctors, enough to marry a decent bride. Despite their very western accent and hip hoppish dress sense, these boys are no different from their middle class Indian brethrens back in India who even after the age of 30 cling on to their mommy’s pallu. Mothers in India still buy underwears for their 30- year olds in some cases. Such is the level of nurturing and care.
I have been working with Bobby (name changed), a second generation Indian. He has turned 30 and is about to get married to a girl chosen by his parents from overseas. They will have the fat Indian wedding soon. Bobby is the benchmark of a true Indian boy with good values: he has a good career, does not hang around with friends too much, does not go to pubs, is always there for every family and community functions and has never dated a girl.
May be there is nothing wrong in arranged marriages and nothing wrong with Bobby, except that I find Bobby utterly boring. I can’t have respect for a man who depends on his parents to find a spouse or who culls out most girls from his friends list. The likes of Bobby, I think, have no identity and grow up under such parental control that any sign of independence is quelled. Is this healthy? And yet Bobby has no complains about his life, he is happy living with the values taught by his parents. There are so many Bobbys in Australia, with the result that the more I think about Indian men, the more they add to my dejection!