Sunday, May 21, 2006

All's quiet but the minds whirring ...

The mind, like a fan inside a calm hut. Just keeps running...

Its been a long time since I posted anything and I am afraid I must have lost my readers - the few I may have had...

Guess I am a person addicted to rhythm I think. Last 3 months were busy like hell. Well, I am almost always busy. But it’s bad when I have to travel a lot - that is what breaks my rhythm. When I am back home it just too hard for me to continue life as it was. A month's intensive traveling means a month or two of getting back to home life!!! It’s like I have to either cool down or warm up.

Anyways, after weeks of blankness, something strong struck my mind. And the thought got generated by some foreign colleagues who I read off in the Thai blog and who are so protective of the Thai culture. It almost sounds like they do not trust any other foreigner to do justice to the local culture, even though they are foreigners themselves. Sounds wrong. No?

But then it struck me that this is exactly the same way when I think of North (the region around Delhi) & South India. I am from North originally, (thankfully in a location closer to the Himalayas which in my opinion is gentler) have my family there, but I have spent most of my time down south and partly in west and East. Still, I do know North well, have been there enough, but my heart and learnings and everything lie in South - where I stayed most of my life.

Delhi, India Gate: From where power flows...

Whenever I travel into mainland North I hear stuff about South that is at the least ... racist and ignorance. (Not everyone is like that. But enough, to get my antenna rising. In fact in my experience one never hears such views if we travel East, West or right into the hills of North. But mainland North is another thing.) Which is exactly opposite of what I felt. In fact, in the South, there are places, people and ways of life that I cherish on the top of my mind. So, when I hear such bias being expressed, I just keep quiet, because I cannot see how they will ever appreciate what I say, without telling me that I have drifted away from my own culture... The problem is that the people from Mainland North think they own this country and its culture and whatever it must mean.

So, I keep all the things I like close to my heart - the excellent movies from Kerala; the fantastic non-veg dishes and their variety here including sea food; the depth of culture and understanding; my discussions with some of the most conservative & orthodox elder ladies about everything under the sun including sexuality; the various home medicinal food which my friend's parents give me which can almost cure anything; and the depth of discussions I have had with friends from across the classes and the skills I have learnt from them...No one would understand it in mainland North.

This is where happiness flows from. Fish Curry - South style.

However, up in mainland North, they think local movies are all junk and kitsch. They think the only food that is tasty is curries up there (after all, the whole world eats eat it); they believe that people down here are only hero worshippers and the temples are mere historical locations; they think the orthodox people have no depths and are out of phase with the modern life (but I know how shallow the people who think they are modern up there really are. Its just aping West. They have no clue how deep about life and universe some 'orthodox people' here really are.) ; They feel the food eaten here cannot make anyone healthy and they generally feel the people down south are well... a class lower!!

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Unlike popular perceptions, I can talk almost anything under the sun to people who beleive and are considered conservative..

As far as I can see is that people up mainland North are more casteist and child like. Sometimes, I am scared when anyone comes in touch with anything that I cherish. I feel they will listen to it alright and be politically correct... but when they are away they will mock it. At best they will use all these things to their benefit without ever paying respect, being humble or being one with the people they meet.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple again.

Basically, I fear their barbaric nature - one aimed at owning things and not one that is disposed to sharing. Of course, I am generalising about either side... but thats how fear & love works. No?

So, sometimes I am really quiet and inward when someone like that is discussing my life here. Its only when I am sure the person has evolved - is honest, respecting and sensitive - do I open up... sometimes its worthwhile, but sometimes I repent after finding out that I mis-judged the person's nature.

Of course, I have many many friends from mainland North who know my life, worldviews, in an out. But then they would not me my friends if they did not fit a certain bill!

On the other hand I am much more open with foreigners about my life. For some reason I trust the ones I typically meet or talk too. So, its funny, when I find that some foreigners living in Thai, in the Thai way, do not trust their own brethren? What is that they see in their countrymen that I do not? Or what is that I see and they do not! So, if I feel they are wrong in their possessiveness, then most likely so am I about mine?

God, never lets a mind rest... especially in these global times!!!