On NOT being a Desi Girl

1935 American Girl

“The average American girl possesses the valuable qualities of naturalness, honesty, and inoffensive straightforwardness; she is nearly barren of troublesome conventions and artificialities; consequently, her presence and her ways are unembarrassing,”

We often see ourselves differently than other’s would see us……

I love going out on the weekends with my husband.  Especially now that he can’t drive his motorcycle and we are forced to hire a taxi (aka: a real car with doors and windows and none of that rickshaw business).

Side note:  He is still healing from his illness and while he can get out and about, driving the motorcycle is a no-no as per his doctor for at least another month.  Yay for me as its Monsoon season.

Not only is it an opportunity to get out and about, but it’s also my time to enjoy being around a crowd of people I don’t know and don’t have to talk to.

Yes…I’m a people watcher.  And India has given me a plethora of people to observe.  It’s also made me come to terms with the plethora of looks I get as a non-Desi girl married to a Desi boy.

Ah the world-renowned Indian Stare.  How familiar I’ve become with it and all that goes behind it.  I’ve even come to label some of them.  Here are some examples:

Innocent: This is when someone looks at you out of interest and then while looking their mind starts off on a line of thinking and forgets to tell their eyes to look away.  Either that, or seriously dude, they’ve just never seen the likes of you before and probably won’t ever again and want to get a good look so they can tell their friends, family and neighbors.

Ignorant: These are the ones that just don’t know any better, don’t realize how uncomfortable they are making you or what it feels like to be a fish in a fish bowl.

Irritating: These are the ones that are 98% of the time going to come up to you and say “Hey Baby.  You are being so sweet I have the tooth ache.”  Avoid at all costs.

Irate: These are the stares you get from the Aunty’s and Uncles.  Also known as Angry Aunty’s and Upset Uncles, but I’ve meshed them together for easier use.  This is the death stare to end all death stares.  This is the stare that says, “Look at that!  That Gori is holding that poor sweet Desi boys hand!  She’s RUINING him!  I bet his parents don’t’ know!  Let’s go tell them what we think right now!”  Avoid these at all costs as well.

Side note:  I went shopping in D-Mart with my husband this weekend.  I wore a nice dark blue, long sleeve kurta with loose fit (and warm) jeans and sneakers.  It had been raining and we had to walk a ways….jeans were far warmer than a salwar.  There were three Angry Aunty’s in that store and only two Innocent Indians.  Those two were really sweet and actually stopped to talk to me and my husband.  The three Angry Aunties’ I avoided like the plague, but upon leaving we had to wait for the taxi to come and pick us up.  I sat on a long waiting bench inside.  Angry Aunty and her child came over.  The child didn’t want to sit next to me so sat at the end of the bench.  Angry Aunty didn’t even want to sit on the same side as me, so she promptly shoved her child over after arguing with him to move.  Then she sat as far away from me as possible.  Leaving her poor child to my evil clutches.  Siiiigh

That encounter got me to thinking about the perception of Non Desi girls here in India.

Really, I hadn’t thought too much on it previously.  I just figured you either liked me or you didn’t, and mostly if you take a moment to talk to me I’m fairly certain you’ll like me.

But now that I’ve started to take a look around me and see that quite frequently I am being looked down at or stared at in some form of hostile way, I’ve also started wondering why?  Am I not smiling enough?  Did I say Namaste wrong?  Is it because I’m married to my Desi husband?

Many Indians rarely get the chance or opportunity to travel abroad to the US, so they rely on what they read in the papers and see on the TV and Movie screen to tell them things about the US.  Perhaps though, part of the misconceptions about the west is due to the subliminal messages that are conveyed in Movies, TV Shows and even advertisements.

I read an interesting piece on subliminal messages in Indian advertisement while perusing the Pune Mirror.  In it, Prahlad Kakkar states that he believes that the messages are getting worse and more unsophisticated.  Not even bothering to hide most of their intent.  He also feels that India is still laboring under the inane belief that white equals might as far as money and power go.

No other third world country has their own ethos; they are driven by some white director. We have an original execution that is Indian in every way.

— Prahlad Kakkar

Why is it that India Network channels pick some of the worst of the worst to offer people for the English-speaking movies?  The good ones are mainly the dramas or the family situational comedy, but anything with action or horror or thrill almost always shows the extreme bad side to the American people.  Why is it that more often than not, the backup dancers (in even less clothes than the hero/heroine) is always the white guy or gal?

Even Nokia vilifies us in the following commercial.  This commercial used to be one of my favorites as it has Sharman Joshi in it.  However, now that I’ve seen it half a million times (here in India, there are 15 minutes of commercials and 10 minutes of show), I started realizing that the Platinum blonde was being seen as the naughty one instead of Sharman’s character.

On top of that, the Desi girl got to try on pretty and modest clothes while the Platinum blonde with the newest hairstyle, was trying on tight, short outfit after tight, short outfit.

And finally, the music, while innocent in a way for the Desi girl, was hard rock and sexy for the Platinum girl.

I’m wondering if, in the simplest terms, this commercial is a 67 second commentary on how the east views the west.

What are your thoughts?

Advertisements

39 thoughts on “On NOT being a Desi Girl

  1. GR, thanks for your reply and for the disclaimer above haha!. You never know who kicks up a storms here after reading the first two lines of the comment. Even though you have taken the pains to write your views about the points I made, even if you had not done that, I would have understood. As I said, I know better!

    No society is without problems and prejudice but in India the chaos is unending, a major reason for that is the sheer pressure our population puts on its resources. The crook minded are more aggressive and gobble up things before they are even available to the general public.

    Your perceptions about India before coming was the same as many Indians have about Britain. They have never seen contemporary Britain to know that today nothing more than a shadow of its past. All the talk of the “sophisticated” British man goes down the drain after one night of soccer match.

    Similarly, modern India is anything but land of the Kama Sutra. Cities are on a massive drive to modernise (read westernise) themselves (which apparently only consists of a new shopping mall every other week?). Every politician, without knowing what they them self mean by it, wants to make it an “international city”. Courtesy, soft-spokenness and good manners are considered weakness on the streets and are meant only for your boss.

    “Sex is not an idea that came out of the west…..sex is a natural condition in the worlds ecosystem.” – Of course, we have proved it in our latest census 😛

    “2) Revealing Clothes: Well, I never liked revealing more than my legs or arms and most of my friends were the same.” OK! what else is left??? Joking.

    You know, showing of the female naval in American movies was banned until the 1970’s. American is one of the most prude societies in all of the western world. All of the “Bible Belt” remains deeply socially as well as politically conservative. In fact many people argue than this Hindu conservative talk of morality is an imported one, firstly as a threat from Islamic invaders and more importantly from the Victorian era morality. We as a society were way more free and liberal. In fact that’s the reason people find it best to shut the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s mouth with the Khajurho argument. haha!

    • Oh So True!

      You have no idea how much it pains me to see all the money that goes into the plethora of malls that pop up on every corner but not one red rupee towards crumbling structures hundreds of years old! It breaks my heart! How many times have I gone to forts or hill stations or temples only to have to pass by mounds of trash to get there? The rivers? Don’t get me started. Makes me want to cry! India is so beautiful with so much history and everyone is in too much of a hurry to catch up with “society” to care. ::sigh::

      I won’t even touch the topic of glad handing and Babu’s and rupee lined pockets in higher society or politics. Just get’s my blood to boiling!

      2) Revealing Clothes: Well, there’s the ankles (I always wore socks) and the calves (knee high socks) and knees (scabbed over so covered) and belly’s and…..uhm you get the point. HAHAH!

      PRUDISH AMERICA!!! I LOVE IT!!! First Desi to every tell me that and know it’s the TRUTH! 😉 Coming from the Bible Belt myself, I know all too well the prudishness of my own culture and the lengths that it will sometimes go too. 😉

      Granted, we had Sex Education but it was to teach about the biology of the sexes and what happens during pregnancy. Nothing more taboo then that and God forbid we discuss anything else! 😉

      • You know in many ways, it can be argued, the Bible Belt is exactly the opposite of what is fed to the outer world through CBS and Star World. Unlike say a New York or LA, most of its cities are less cosmopolitan in nature. Unlike say the north-east of the US, its states have deeply religious societies, where to hear about stories of stray incident of racism is still not rare. If you remember the 60’s movie To Kill A Mocking Bird, and how the black guy is wrongly convicted of trying to ‘touch’ a white woman. Imagine that happening in today’s America. (White American women today are themselves running after brazen east-Indian boy wanting to marry ‘exotic foreigner’ Haha!. And what’s with number of tan cream tubes being sold in American today. Lol!
        The starkest difference perhaps, I guess, would be the treatment of a child born out of wedlock. While, say in LA or NYC no one would give a damn, to survive for a single mother in these states would be nothing more than a daily struggle, much like it would be say in India.
        It comes to me as no surprise that the Bible Belt is all Republican and how the KKK still thrives in the “deep south”. It may be the exact opposite of America that is shown to treat wife-swapping and having friends with benefit as normal as having a hamburger, where young men and women struggle to find secure jobs and dream of moving to big American cities, just as people in the third world do.
        I’m thinking of those sex-ed adverts they used to have in the 60’s and the 70′. A stoic north-eastern accent telling how you can be an “accidental” father warning you not to make those “mistakes” young adults make out of “peer pressure” of losing your virginity on the prom night. Hahahaha! Hilarious!

        Here’s an ode the Bible Belt, enjoy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGF4ibgcHQE):
        The stars at night are big and bright
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The prairie sky is wide and high
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The sage in bloom is like perfume
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        Reminds me of the one I love
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The coyotes wail along the trail
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The rabbits rush around the brush
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The cowboys cry, “Ki-yip-pee-yi”
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.
        The doggies bawl and bawl and bawl
        (clap, clap, clap, clap),
        Deep in the heart of Texas.

  2. *Before anyone takes offense at this comment….please be sure to read it in full and carefully….you’ll find that Pakkashadai is saying what it’s been in his/her finding as far as the prejudices against Western Women and not what Pakkashadai believes is true.

    Irrespective of your nationality, there are some stereotypes prevailing of all white women in this country (just as blacks and Chinese-Japanese-Koreans are seen as one homogeneous group all having similar/identical characters.)
    Since you are a white girls, I’ll just innumerate the ones prevailing about them. When I was dating a white Scandinavian girl when I was 21 about seen years back, here are the things I noticed about stereotypes about them. I’m best able to innumerate them now as I’ve been able to analyse them over these many years better:

    They are all sexual predators: This basically means that unlike us Indian, white women sleep around and are willing to sleep with anyone, no matter how unscrupulous. They have numerous sexual partners during their lifetime and some even do it inside the framework of a marriage. They are largely unfaithful and would have numerous other male friends even after marriage.

    They wear revealing clothes: All white women irrespective of the families they belong to like to wear small, sexy clothes that show a lot of their white skin and invite a lot of Indian male’s attention. This is true up to some extent but has been exaggerated many folds. For natural reasons most whites live in countries and regions which are considered cold for Indian standards. When many of them come to Indian they prefer to wear something like tank tops or sleeveless tops. That is the case mostly in touristy area of the cities but has been picked up as a generalisation by most.

    They are controlling bitches: Another negative stereotypes. They will steal the Indian boy from her mother and will hypnotise him to be her slave and make him do things her way. This way territory (the boy) will be lost to the foreigner, just as it was lost to the British Empire over a century ago :P:P:P.

    White women do not make good wives: Indian wives being brought up by Indian men/women are better as wives to an Indian man. The white woman is fiercely independent and will put her interest before the interest of the couple/family and this is precisely the reason they do not make good wives/daughter-in-laws. They would obviously not like to be a sit-at-home housewife and after a hard days work in the office would nag if asked to prepared hot, home cooked meal for her husband at the end of the day.

    And finally, if you have happen to magically fall for one who doesn’t fit into any of the stereotypes above i.e. she knows how things are in India and prefers less revealing clothes/she is not aggressive and is willing to learn/you know for sure your son and she are truly in love, then this should defiantly work: They are Christians, and hence incompatible into our family: This is the ultimate, time-tested, nuke-for-destruction-of-intercultural relationships. Its self explanatory and arguments against it will fall into social realm and can be easily countered.

    I must re-iterate that the above is not what I think but what I’ve learnt people think. Over the years I have seen the number of inter-cultural marriages quadruple here in Delhi as well in Pune. Even though I was fed with this BS for a long while, I know better and I have seen better. From western women who have blended perfectly well into their new families/roles to those who have made great wives, as good as any Indian girl, if not better. And also those that have not been able to survive the test of time. No matter how hard I tried to find the practical of the white-women theories above, I have come across so many relationships that seem exactly the opposite of those theories. The generalisation have very rarely stood the test of reality-check.

    • Pakkashadai,

      I must admit, I’ve heard quite a few of these points that you’ve mentioned with regards to why Western Women are so horribly bad. But I’ve found that most of these perceptions were created and sustained out of fear, obligation to another’s view point, ignorance or just plain meanness.

      For example, my favorite complaint is against the skimpy clothes that supposedly all Western Women wear. 1) We dont’ all wear that crap. It’s generally too tight and not at all comfortable. The younger generation may wear it to clubs where it’s appropriate, but you won’t see them walking down the street in broad daylight wearing that stuff. Heck….most “lady’s of the night” don’t wear that stuff either….it’s a Hollywood thing. 2) In the west, the Sari is one of the most revealing and exotic things imaginable. It reeks of sex and come hither essence to some Western mentalities. Exotic. But here, it’s no big deal. Women wear it to clean in, sleep in, jog in and police in.

      Before coming to India, I had the perception that Women were seen more as equals or treated with a higher level of respect because of the Goddesses that Hinduism has (coming from Christianity where it’s all male male male and women are bad). Once I got here though, I realized that I had been wrong.

      Dowry burning (heck…dowry at all), Caste-ism, Eve Teasing, Social Stigma’s, Forced Arranged Marriages that ended in death or affairs, endless endless things that I never in a million years would have imagined coming from India. In my mind, India was beautiful, and enlightened and peaceful albeit not without her own internal problems, but I never imagined what it was that I found.

      And to be honest, it made me wonder why the fingers are always pointed so hard towards the West, when a majority of the problems have been around for century’s….even before the British. There has always been war, discord, jealousy, power plays, deceit and affairs (lust)….you have only to read the Mahabharata to see some of that. India was once an extremely advanced, proud and powerful nation…..and she still is….but her problems did not begin in the West.

      As to your points….they are excellent ones and the most prevalent that we have to fight against. We as in White Girls in relationships or married to Desi boys.

      Let’s see if I can give my viewpoint for every point you made:

      1) Sexual Predators: Hahhahhahahahahhahaha. No way. Granted, many more girls in the West explore their sexuality at an earlier age then is done in Asian country’s but that’s as per the statistics and there are several problems with that. Perhaps because there is less advantage in the west with having one or the parent home more frequently, a lack of a closer familial bond or perhaps it’s because girls in the west are encouraged to explore their own freedom and power over themselves and their surroundings. Who knows? One thing I do know is this…..the west does not hold the patent on sex. Hello? Where did the Kama Sutra come frome? I saw that book once when I was 23 and it made ME blush….also I walked away pretty darn quickly! 😉 Also, statistics are a generalization and are very dependent on how truthfully the test subjects answer. In the paper here, every day there is a story about an affair that went wrong, or some girl killing herself because her lover wouldn’t leave his wife or a young couple committing suicide, or rape of a woman, rape of a child, and the list goes on. Does that mean that my city is full of this kind of debauchery? No, it just means that these people are human and fallible…just like everyone else. Sex is not an idea that came out of the west…..sex is a natural condition in the worlds ecosystem.

      2) Revealing Clothes: Well, I never liked revealing more than my legs or arms and most of my friends were the same. We would wear shorts in the summer time because it was hot and shorts were cooler and easier to play in. Short sleeves or tank tops for the same reason’s. It was pretty typical to see this everywhere. Short skirts were the fashion for a time but most parents banned them and most establishments would walk you out if it were too short (at least where I grew up). At clubs you would see the skimpier wear but you expected it. For us, the Sari is too revealing and explicit in it’s exotic allure. You just don’t see it everyday so it’s not as accepted. Now reverse it for India….I think we see the difference. It’s a matter of perception. And asking someone to wear the clothes of the locals is ridiculous. I mean, be respectful yes, but asking an Aunty to not wear a Sari because it exposes her belly and body shape and her top is slightly see through so instead she should wear blue jeans and a blouse. She would feel weird and uncomfortable and she’s already in a place she feels both just for being in. Why put her through that? I think a little latitude is needed on both sides of the board.

      3) Controlling Bitches: Yessss I am an evvviiiilllll controlling woman! LOL My husband just laughed at that. He’s far more controlling then I am as he’s able to run circles around me in the manipulation field or the fact that he runs circles around my logic with his own! 😉 I am independent though and I am vocal about what I want. I want what’s best for my husband and I want HIM to want what’s best for himself. I want my family to be well cared for and not be naughty and go against their doctors orders (I’m talking to you Parents). If someone is being rude or threatening to me or my husband, I’m going to point it out and I don’t care who you are. Being raised in the west, I did learn respect is very important but I also learned that I deserve it and can strive to attain it. I’ve also learned that we are all equal in deserving that and having the advantage of age should have taught it to you….if not, then I will point it out…. respectfully. 😉 I encourage my husband to be all that he can be and wants to be. I support him or nag him depending on what the situation calls for….but I never control him. Because I like him as he is…. independent, healthy and human.

      4) White Women do not make good Wives: Dude, I kick butt as a wife! 😉 I clean, I cook, I help care for our family, I participate in family functions or help arrange them, I support my husband and help with his work, I learn family traditions and recipes on his side, I share the same from our side, I wear modest clothing and remember to always touch the feet of my elders. Not only that….I truly love them and I show it and express it. I’m not fake about it. I don’t touch feet and then disrespect in other ways. I’m not rude or mouthy or back stabbing. In other words, I’m a good person to whom any parents should be proud to have as a daughter or daughter-in-law. I am not a good Indian Bahu…..I am simply a good daughter.

      But ::sigh:: as you said Pakkashadai, all of these things can be said and expressed and even shown but it will never change a person’s mentality if they do not want to it to change. To some people, I will forever be a bad person because I am white and from the west. I can’t change that….but I can continue being the person that I am and hope and pray for the best. 😉

      Thanks for your comment Pakkashadai!

      • 4) White Women do not make good Wives: Dude, I kick butt as a wife! 😉 I clean, I cook, I help care for our family, I participate in family functions or help arrange them, I support my husband and help with his work, I learn family traditions and recipes on his side, I share the same from our side, I wear modest clothing and remember to always touch the feet of my elders. Not only that….I truly love them and I show it and express it. I’m not fake about it. I don’t touch feet and then disrespect in other ways. I’m not rude or mouthy or back stabbing. In other words, I’m a good person to whom any parents should be proud to have as a daughter or daughter-in-law. I am not a good Indian Bahu…..I am simply a good daughter.
        So “basically” you are “Traditional with Modern Outlook” which “basically” means this: http://www.samosapedia.com/entries/502/Traditional%20with%20Modern%20Outlook
        😉

      • LOL! Uhm….except I don’t drink alcohol really (once a year maaayyybe and then only for celebrations). And I definitely don’t talk about my uhm …. well you know!

      • Awww, the “Bible Belt Bahu” aka the Gori Rajkumari from amrika is not allowed to say OR-GA-SM.
        Awwww, What will the ma-in-law think of her immoral upbringing. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!
        Hasn’t her eras been already filled with the amrikan wife equals chinese salary, British food and Japanese house talk???? Hahaha! Saying the word would like giving her Kryptonite.

  3. You know, this latest trip to India we went to Delhi, all around Rajasthan, Bombay, Calcutta, and rural West Bengal. I didn’t notice any staring for the whole 23 or so days we were in India. I don’t doubt that you get stared at *at all* – but I’m seriously doubting my self-awareness of others’ reactions to me. 🙂

    • Some days are good one’s and other day’s are bad. Some days I can go just about anywhere in Pune and not get a second look. But then there are those days when I just get evil die die die stares one right after another! 🙂 And, naturally, there are days I’m sure where I just don’t notice if people notice me at all! Plus, I saw your pictures….you looked very Indianized. heheheheh

  4. I really think it’s because the Britush ruled so long the indians are just mad and it’s justified and unjustified. They’re steriotyising when they want to but it’s only because they feel underprivileged and looked at due to skin tone

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for the offer to write. I’ll let you know what I decide soon. I’ve just been very busy with work hence the delay in posting. But, my wife and I would enjoy meeting and sharing perspectives the next time we are in India. By the way, I went to school in Pune and am quite familiar with the place. It is Friday evening here and I’m looking forward to leaving work and chill out at home with a cool margarita cocktail.

    Regards,
    Glenn

  6. Well spoken Mohit- I will add that it’s not that Westerners don’t bother or care about their neighbors. I’m used to people saying “hello” or some other kind of greeting, not the long extended stare..
    And Aurora. I’ll just say it here how impressed I am with your blog. I think it’s amazing that you have created this life in India. I’m really pulling for you!

  7. Regarding the stare , I will just say that mostly its because of curiousity and and to determine ,where are they from , why are they here , what are they doing and sometimes plain admiration of beauty 🙂

    I know, that people of western countries dont bother about others.And they dont really care , who has come in the neighbour and what are the couple doing in the park , etc etc..
    These things are part of our culture(?) you can say, effects of collective upbringing to know about everyone , everything , no matter how intrusive it may be for the concerned person.

    And it it is the result of social structure also , where there is no place for Individualism and you are supposed to justify you every action according to the the established social norm.

    Take the example of marriage in India. More than meeting of two soul , its actually the realtion between two family and thier extended family.Where compatibility between the girl and boy is the last concern , before that finacial status , social standing , political connection are considered with for greater scrutiny.

    Cultural sensibilities are aslo different in US and India. Public display of affection is mostly discouraged in India while in US , nobody really cares about it . But in India , you have to be very sure of even holding the hand of wife. 🙂

    But yes , Nobody in India hesitate to piss in public place but its a complete No No in US.So , basically for us , somtimes, kissing is worse than pissing in public.This attitude explain all.

    But I tell you this is not the real Indian culture , these conservative Ideas were the outcome of hundreds years of Muslim Rule in India.

    Ancient India was always an open society with lots of freedom and liberalism in every walk of life , be it business , marriages , love , intimacy,politics , economics.

    And we have ample proof for it. I cant imagine if VATSAYAN could have written KAMASUTRA if the society at that time was not open to it or liberal in thinking. As literature is always the mirror of society.

    Stories of romantic relation of Lord Krishna with Radha strongly back the fact that ancient India was open to love realtion between Individuals.

    The sculptures in khajuraho , depicts various Lords and common men in very sensual position and surprisingly even in most romantic form of affection ,which we call frech kiss , now.Some studies even say that modern french kiss was started in india first.

    So , for me , India is the only country who is climbing the ladder of success from UP to Down in respect of social , personal and economical liberty.

    That is the Irony. But Be sure this is not the real India , which was always looked upon by the world for Finacial , Social , Cultural and Spritual wisdom.

  8. Most of the Aam Admi (ordinary Indians), have an idea about Gori’s either from 60’s clichéd Bollywood movies or stories they have heard from their newly returned NRI uncles. People tend extrapolate those ideas too far sometimes. Branding all Gori’s as evil/naughty is simple lack general awareness about the culture.

    /Indro

    • Absolutely Indro….another good point! Returning NRI’s and the incomparable “story” about life in another land. We all do it, we all make things bigger, better, worse than they really are. I’m sure there is quite a bit of hand me down prejudice too.

    • Don’t understand, how do the aam aadmi have perception about White women from the 60s? They never had blondes dancing half-naked in those movies.
      Only the run-of-the-mill, “I want to make something different” bollywood director feels the need sport them as it gives the film an “International look”. Somebody needs to get over their colonial mentality!

      • Pakkashadai,

        I think you mean the producers/directors need to change their colonial mentality, right? If so, I 100% agree with you! Also, I would like to see some India Originality instead of ‘remakes’ and ‘copies’. When India comes up with Original, she does amazing work….but copies and played out remakes are just not worth the money they put into them! 😦

      • Yes I mean the modern Mumbai based director/producer, (the south-Indian film industry is way more original). The whole of the industry seems to be in an experimental mode and all they are doing in films that cannot sustain themselves for even a week at the BO. You are totally right. We are great when we are original with almost ANYTHING. And we are even better when that thing has originated on our land. Sex for example 😛

        No seriously, when it comes to say classical music or classical dance or Hindu style meditation. Even till today the west has been unable to come up with anything as good as Vedic/Indic forms/techniques of meditation (and westerners/Indian alike know it, the lines outside Osho ashram are anything to go by). The fact is that we are not good at being aggressive and have always laid emphasis on non-violence, this was the reason Gandhi was able to lead the masses while the revolutionary (though well-intentioned) inspired nothing more than a handful. Its the same reason why the Shiv Sena have hardly been in power after decades after its inception. Even in a Maratha dominated city like Pune its influence is limited to the Marathi dominated suburbs like the Peths and Kothrud.

        Point is, the fake aggression, whether its towards foreigners or towards women has been a result of numerous aggression by foreign elements, starting mainly after the loot of Mohd. Ghazi of Kandhar who burnt the world’s first University-Nalanda’s-library (which is said to have burnt for four full months). It was only then that foreigners were started to be seen as aggressors and destroyers. Since these loots also included mass rapes and killings, the natural need to “protect” women and the need for them to cover up (though this is arguable that clothes have nothing to do with sexual aggression). The liberal Hindu culture was seen as immoral by the aggressors and rape, as it always is, was used as a technique to bring the Kaffir to its knees.

        The problem is with the half baked techniques, like having half-naked blonde dancers in a song called “Desi-girl”. Or the ineptness of not being to transform a colonial and racist/casteist system according to modern Indian needs. Its when these people come up with so called fusion techniques, which are nothing more than mindless rip-offs of things being done in the West, has no relations or locus-standi to the Indian that the problem occurs. No formal or proper training is given to people to adapt to those system and then there’s a complete and utter chaos, because people don’t know how to do it. In absence this knowledge being widely dissemination, the system is manipulated by the negative elements like touts and middle-men who then charge double to the hapless. That’s how black money is generated and then a Baba sits the middle of Delhi on a fast and is unnecessarily made out to be a hero of the masses. Although, I’m not against people trying whatever they want to, but to thrust systems without properly customising it according the Indian needs is pure madness. This precisely explains why so many systems including the law itself renders itself to violation. When things are done with enough imagination and thought being paid to it, they work out brilliantly and the Delhi Metro is one such example.

  9. Oh, I should probably mention, though, that Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is actually worth seeing, just ingore the white girl issue I pointed out earlier. This film was definitely trying to be more “western” on issues such as divorce. I still think it was interesting though b/c this film put a different spin on desi marriage and divorce. NOT that I am condoning divorce at all, but the fact that people can move on and feel positive about it is a new topic for Bollywood for sure (not to give too much away 😉

    • Ok, then I shall re-think the whole “Not gonna watch that movie” attitude and watch it with an open mind and closed eyes at the white girl part. LOL Thanks Milky Chai! 😉

  10. I can totally relate to this post. I’m newly married to an American Desi and we recently spent 2 months in India visiting relatives and sightseeing. The staring drove me nuts. I just wished I could blend in and just walk into a store without feeling like I was on display. And restaurants- it’s so creepy to feel like my every move was being watched. I’m very fair skined and blue eyed so I know I look different but the staring was a source of stress for me. I know we’ll be making another trip this year and honestly I’m not really looking forward to subjecting myself to it again. By and large I was treated very kindly but with regards to the staring, I wish the average Indian knew how rude it is.

    • Hi Citizen and thanks so much for the comment!

      I remember my first visit to India. I loved it….but the staring? Ugh. I feel your pain! I’m light skinned as well, but I’m more olive toned so I don’t look so pink and therefore not so totally out of place. But I do have light green eyes and reddish curly hair, which does put me out of place! And eating in restaurants is the worst, it’s like their all watching to see if you can handle the roti properly or remember not to use your left hand unless serving, etc. So I always ask for a spoon and never get anything I have to eat a roti with. I save roti eating for at home where I can tear it any ole’ way I wanna!

      It does get better as you go along and depending on where you are. For a good long time I just didn’t notice it if it happened. Seriously, my husband would ask me if I saw such and such and I would find that I had been totally oblivious to it! I’ve just started noticing the hostile glances again recently and I think it was due to the research I’ve been doing lately on the relationship (political, economic and emotional) between the east and the west. But if you aren’t thinking on it, and are only focused on seeing what’s around you and enjoying yourself….the staring kind of regulates itself into the back of your psyche. Or, you can do what I sometimes do and have fun with it. “Hi!!!!” and “Aap kaise ho?” 😀 LOL

  11. Hi,
    I’ve posted and e-mailed you in the past. My wife is a white American and I can vouch for all these American qualities. She is refreshingly honest and barren of pretenses. Her naturalness is beautiful to me and is one of the foremost qualities for which I married her. I love her dearly. She is bemused at the lack of straight talk when we visit Mumbai, which is where I grew up and just wonders as to why Asia’s can’t just be open in their speech :). Americans tend to be precise, specific and clear with their objectives in their speech. This is also true of relationships between a man and woman. I’ve learnt a lot from my wife especially in terms of not thinking that any job is too low or just being able to make fun of myself and laugh at myself. Also, in general, American women are not influenced by social pressures in that if they love a man, they will stand by him though anything. We have been married over eight years and I appreciate these qualities even more now.

    I can sympathize about the stares. When I visit India, I sometimes ask the person if there is anything they want from me or if I look ridiculous (hence the stare) just for kicks :). My wife sometimes does the same and waves at them, which I find totally hilarious. She does this intentionally, although in America it is considered polite to greet people or smile at them when passing by. However, I’ve warned my wife to skip the smile at people in India as it would be totally misconstrued.

    The Indian media is horrible and quite false about American women. American women are actually modest in most cases and would not just want to go out with a guy, as portrayed in these movies. The movies portray a minuscule part of America. I would dare any Indian guy to try to act flirtatious like in these movies with an American women and then just see how fast he gets the shove-off.

    By the way, don’t feel bad about the number of views of your site lately. You have a good thing going and your honesty is refreshing.

    Perhaps, if you like, on a future trip to Mumbai, where I still have family, we would welcome the chance to meet you and your husband.

    Regards

    • Hi Glenn!

      First off, wow and thank you for the wonderful comment you posted! It was inspiring to read! It’s not often that people get the viewpoint from the ‘other side’. Meaning, it’s just not that often that you get the guys’ perspective in Intercultural Relationships. So seeing your comment and how insightful and knowledgeable it was made my day (and I’m sure will make other people’s as well)!

      Secondly, with that being said, you should consider either writing your own blog or guesting on someone’s as a guest author. Your writing ability is strong and natural and exact. Not to mention you have a unique point of view being that you married your wife eight years ago when that sort of thing was probably so new it was considered unheard of. My own husband used to ask me if I ever found a perspective from the guys point of view when we were dating. I only found a few posts from the man’s perspective, with the majority being from the woman’s. Either way, thank you again for the insightful post! (PS: If you are ever interested, I would love to have you as a guest ‘speaker’ / ‘author’ for this blog. Just an FYI). No pressure or anything. ::doooo it:: Don’t take tension if you want to say no. ::you want to say yesssss:: Really. :)) See? Subliminal messages are everywhere man!

      I completely get what you meant when you said your wife (and you sometimes) wave at people or ask them if there is something funny they see, etc. I used to do the same thing. However my husband became concerned about how some people might take such behavior and now I have to be careful and judge who I can do that with and who not. Here in India, if you smile it generally does not mean the same as it does in the US. Although, I do find that being polite, smiling and saying a sincere and happy “Thank you! Have a nice day!” shocks a smile and a “You’re welcome” out of them before they know what hit them. My husband says I’m on a one woman quest to change the nation. He might be right. I also get pretty intensely involved in injustices too….to the point that he gets nervous letting me out on my own sometimes. LOL I’ll have to write a blog on that one, it was a good story but scared the hubby half to death.

      We would love to meet you and your wife. My husbands family are also in the Mumbai area so it would be easy for us to visit. And should you be in Pune, then you know who to subliminally message! hehe

      Take care and comment again soon!

  12. Pingback: On NOT being a Desi Girl « Gori Rajkumari | Sharman Joshi

  13. I was still thinking about that commercial…couldn’t they have made their point, without appealing to people’s racism, by putting someone like Rakhi Sawant, or Malaika Sherawat, or even Bipasha Basu in the blond “devil woman’s” part? Good grief.

    • EXCELLENT point! Or whatshername, the one who was in those naughty tapes with Swami Nityanand Paramahamsa? She’s a temptress, why not her? Jeeeez.

      PS: I love that you came back almost two hours later to write that! That is awesome!

      • Yes, you made a very thought-provoking post! Thanks for that! I still need to show it to my husband.

  14. Ha, thanks for the commercial. Did you hear the last song, that was playing, about “devil woman?” Give me a break!

    Good post. It must be hard to deal with being stared at so much, especially when people don’t mean well. I would have a hard time not saying things out loud to people like that aunty who didn’t want to sit near you. You’re a better woman than me!

    • Yep, that’s what caught my attention when I really started becoming aware of subliminal messages in Indian advertisement. I just rolled my eyes. I’m such a devilish temptress. Uh huh. That’s me alright.

      I’m generally like you are, I have a habit of letting things just tumble out of my mouth when I see an injustice or if something really ticks me off. But she had a child with her and I didn’t want to prove her point to the child by acting like the ‘outspoken American ass’ that I’m sure she parades about to go along with the devilish temptress stuff. But the first chance I got, I smiled and winked at the kid and he smiled back. HA! Devil Temptress = 1. Angry Aunty = 0!!! Muahahaha!

  15. This is a very interesting point, and one I don’t hear a lot of people talking about. This is a very common problem, even here in the U.S. I always cringe when we go to Indian functions here b/c I know I’m going to get nasty stares, glares and comments from sour aunties, and even a few uncles. It is inevitable. I can only imagine how much more common that would be in India where their cultural experiences outside of desi culture is extremely limited. What they think they know is very skewed from the media about Americans, I agree. It always annoys me to see in the films the white girls scantily clad and dancing sexy, exuding that white women are synonymous with sex. With the exception of Laagan, that is the only film that I felt did not villainize white women. We just watched Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna this weekend and I was immediately irritated by Amitabh Bachchan’s character sleeping with all kinds of “call girls”, who just happened to be white. India is still a young country yet and stereotyping is typical. The US is just now becoming more aware of avoiding stereotyping.
    They are angry that one of “theirs” did not chose a desi, it’s like a slap in the face to them. I find that it is even more irritating to them when the white partner is even the slightest bit attractive. They aren’t nearly as nasty here if the girl is not very attractive. If you’re cute though, watch out, the claws come out! Weird how that works. Just smile at them anyway 😉

    • I agree, I haven’t seen that many people writing on this topic. I myself wasn’t sure of posting it until I ran it past Bear for his opinion. He liked it and agreed with a few minor changes I made. Mostly though, his feeling was that this was my experience and as long as I’m not being detrimental, how could writing the truth every be a bad thing? So….I posted it. 🙂 And yes, it’s a daily thing here. Then again, it’s also a daily thing to get the surprised and happy Aunty/Uncle to see the western girl adopting to their hard way of life so well. I’m ok with that one….it’s the ones who get all excited that I’m more “Indian” traditional then their daughters or bahu’s that irritate me a bit. It’s not that I’m more “Indian” traditional, it’s just that I was raised to respect other’s and my wearing the bindi, sindoor, bangles and manglasutra every day is a sign of me respecting what I know makes my husband happy even though he’s never once told me to do any of those things. I always feel like telling them, “I’m not doing it because it’s a tradition Aunty, I’m doing it because my husband likes it”. If my husband liked me wearing goth clothes (and if I still felt comfortable doing it….which I doubt since I didn’t really carry it off well as a teenager) then I would try to wear a few pieces here and there for him. It’s not changing who I am and it’s not hurting me to do those things for him so I do. But telling your daughter or bahu that she should be ashamed that she is Indian born and not even as traditional as me, a westerner, is hurtful to both of us and I don’t like it. So, I think even reverse prejudice happens here too. It’s not just against us farengi, it’s also towards themselves. Look at the plethora of face and skin whitening cream available and the actors/actresses pushing it. Look at the serials, the people that are made fun of are darker skinned. The whiter skinned (and HEAVILY make-upped) always get the good scene, the girl and the great job.

      And, judging by the amount of attention that you and I both receive from those vicious Aunty’s, I would say we are both pretty darn attractive. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Even though if you tell me so to my face I’m just gonna laugh, wrinkle my nose and say “Nooooooooooo!” and then change the subject REAL fast!!! LOLOL

      Thanks for the comment! And the movie avoidance guidance aka Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Laagan I’m still waiting to see, my hubby says it’s very good. Beginning of cricket in India with Aamir right?

  16. White girls, especially blondes are just evil temptresses trying to take away Desi men and dilute the gene pool. This isn’t really a new thought though. Ever hear of a Shiksah? That’s just the Jewish version of this, Goy woman tempting Jewish man to dilute the gene pool, sigh….

    • Excuse me! I am an AUBURN evil temptress! LOL

      Yes, I’ve heard the terms Shiksah and Goy and Gentile. My Aunt was one once upon a time. 😉 Good Catholic girl meets Orthodox Jewish boy. Love ensues. Family enraged. Years to get over it. Now accepted and loved by all. I’m not the first evil white temptress messin’ with the gene pool in my family. LOL

      What I find most interesting about people who get their panties all up in a bunch over the blending of the gene pool, is that they don’t realize that what can happen with dogs can happen with people too (not comparing us to dogs you understand but I know every person on this earth has seen the problems that occur with inbreeding in dogs so it’s the best example I’ve got). Genetically speaking, we are healthier and survive better when we mix the blood pool up a bit.

      Thanks for the comment!!

      • This is hilarious, the evil red-head!!!! You should have seen the last and second-last episode of the Big Bang Thoery! I was ROFL!!! When the Catholic girl meets the possessive Jewish mother. Hahahaha!

  17. Hi,
    How are you.It was nice to read your blog.
    There is really gross misunderstanding of western girls in India and the reasons are same.Media .which includes TV , MOVIES and NEWS.

    But the situation is same for every country.Vice versa is also true.Most of the westeners have same distorted image of Indians , which is based on the general stereotyping.Earlier, according to a common american , India was all about elepahnts , snake charmers and temples.After the IT boom and the export of Indian Engineers to silicon Valley , the general feeling is that Indian earn their money by IT and BPO jobs,even when IT sector is not even two percent of total GDP.

    We have to get easy information to know each other better.

    • Mohit,

      Welcome and thank you so much for the comment. You hit an equally good subject with the misconceptions in America about people from India. Before meeting my Indian friends (I grew up in a small farming community so I had never met someone from India until I moved to a larger city), I had the same views only I got mine from National Geographic, so for me….I had a more romantic view. People still in touch with nature and the animals, living off the land and treating it with respect, great teachers of philosophy and existentialism. But I also knew people who just thought of India as a land of tribal snake charmers who come America to drive Taxi’s and run 7 Eleven stores (see the Simpson’s for further info).

      It’s true that you can find that sort of prejudice and misinformation the world over. I’m not familiar with how other country’s handle it because I’ve never been. But from my limited experience between India and the US, I can say the one difference is that in America people generally don’t care who you are or what your doing….it’s your life you can live it however you want. Of course there is a bad apple in every experience but in general people just don’t get too upset over mixed couples or new cultures. And the staring is a big no-no. If you’re caught, you need to smile at the person.

      Here, it’s completely different. My husband says smiling at just anyone will be misunderstood and therefore I should be careful when smiling. CAREFUL when smiling! Wow. And he was right. I’ve smiled at Aunty’s before and gotten the death stare and cold shoulder. I’ve smiled at Uncle’s and had their randy nephews give me leers and odd, disjointed hand signals that I can only assume means “Come over here, I want to show you something”. Here in India, people care TOO much about what other’s are doing. Family, Neighbors, Friends, Strangers on the street….they want to know your business, how old you are, if your married, do you have children, how much money to you make, do you have a car and what type is it, are you Brahmin (that one really makes me mad…..perpetuating the caste system) and all manner of other questions that in the US would be rude with anyone other than close family. Here, it’s normal and to be expected.

      I like your idea very much…..when more of us have access to easy and truthful information, then we will have a better understanding of each other as a people. I think more people will come to know that we are all very much alike. 🙂

Speak Your Mind!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s