“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?