Saturday, September 25, 2010

NDTV Journal: weeks 3 and 4

It’s official: the firangs have declared the Games Village unfit for human beings (unfit for human beings!). Their Indian peers, though, shake their heads and shrug with a smile: it’s okay, this is India. Apparently that’s all one can expect here.

It’s like the time I got harassed in public by a large group of Indian boys, in Toronto no less. When I complained to the Indian uncles and aunties nearby, they too shrugged and smiled. Boys will be boys, they’d told me, I was probably just not used to it. I’d been raised overseas after all.


Why should I have to get used to it? Why should I have to get used to perverts? Why should I have to get used to streets that look as if they’ve been bombed? Why should I have to get used to the presence of diseases like malaria and dengue in India’s capital? From what angle is any of this even remotely acceptable? Who put a cap on our quality of life, who taught us to say ‘it’s okay’ when it’s not? I don’t want to have to get used to anything. Lo ho gayee chhutti, I may as well just stay at home then and wait for the sky to fall on my head.

But I don’t want to settle. I want to stay hungry. I am not okay with the way basic facilities are managed in India. I am not okay with how Indian people behave outside or inside of India. I will never be okay with anyone who not only gets used to mediocrity but who actually defends it. I will never be okay with Indians who, instead of sharing the outrage, treat their Indian critics as whistleblowers and just plain ignore their foreign critics. This is India, I’m told, this is the real world. And I’m what, supposed to feel proud of that? Is this what our patriotism is tied to? Lo ho gayee chhutti.

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