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Friday, January 21, 2005

Hindi-Chini bhai-behen ?

A dear friend who shall not be named has complained that I'm giving away too many secrets on my blogs. So, as an apology, this post is dedicated to him. The topic is one that is both very dear to him, and also segues beautifully from the previous posts. This is about Oriental women, lovingly referred to as chaptis.

Right - so I wonder what it is about chaptis that gets some Indian men all worked up. Is it just some kind of irrational fetish, or is there something deeper?

The first thing that strikes me about Chinese women is that they tend to be small and fragile-looking.
(Note, however, that this impression is invariably misleading. Anyone who has seen Chinese women at the gym will have noticed that they can usually clock up a couple of hours on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. In all likelihood, they can outlast most Indian men in a cross-country challenge. If you want more proof - check out Zhang Zhiyi in any of her leaping roles)
Anyway, back to the point. I think the apparent fragility of these women is an immediate turn-on. Hindi cinema has always played up the 'nazuk' sensuality of their heroines. 'Sheeshe ke ang' sounds pretty scary to me, but then I suppose most guys prefer it that way. Women like these provide just the right opportunity to strap on the shining armour and mount the white steed. Makes them feel all strong and manly, and I'm sure the women don't mind the attention.

I think thats the big reason. The other thing that is common to most Orientals is their surprising lack of body hair. This, as we all know, is a huge advantage for the women. The psychology behind such thinking shall be explored on another post.

So to all those who feel the India-China rivalry is getting out of hand, I say - make love, not war.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Colour coding

Speaking of people of other races - I'm sure every Indian gang in the USA has their own little code word - in whatever language they are most comfortable with - to describe people of other races.

Our gang of grads here at Northwestern is no different. Sadly, the terms we use are not very interesting. They go something like this -

Blacks - 'Kallu' (very standard - a bit offensive, I suppose, but only if they knew what was being said). Alternatively, among Bongs, we occasionally use the term 'Shyamborno'. Other interesting words I've heard are - 'Danav' (very offensive), and 'hupsi' (pronounced hup-see, hup rhyming with pup). The last word I heard used by my friend Gaurab, who is Nepali. Apparently hupsi is Nepali for black. Again, not much imagination, but its so bizarre-sounding, I don't think anybody will figure out what it means.

Chinese - 'Chinkie' has outlived its usefulness, since by now all Orientals know what it means, and are offended by it. So alternatives have to be thought of. The one we use is 'Chapta/Chapti'. It refers to the noses of the race in question, which tend to be a little on the flatter side. Also, its broader in scope because it covers all nationalities from Japanese to Thai to Mongolian. I don't think its terribly offensive either. One person I know uses the term 'ding-dong', which doesn't make much sense really, so I don't use it.

Latins - The only expression used for these people is 'Makku', which derives from the English 'Mexican' - i.e. residents of the nation of Mexico. Its used for all people South of Texas, and I'm quite sure that the Colombians would be outraged if they knew that they were (essentially) being called Mexicans, but what they don't know can't hurt them now, can it?

Whites - The obvious one is 'gora'. If you want to be a little rude, you can say 'chikne/chikni' (as in - "Yaar, ye chikni bachhiyan itni maal kyon hoti hain?" - very few real Hindi words used but I think everyone follows). Also for White Americans, there is 'Amroo'. If you're Bengali, you just use the correct word, which is 'Markin'. Like many Bengali words for people of other nationalities, there is no obvious link between it and the English word. I could also think of 'Farashi' (French), 'Tashkar' (Turkish) and so on, but I digress.

So the final question is - is it racist to use these expressions? Personally, I think it is. After all, we are typecasting people on the basis of their (different from us) skin tones. And its easy to fall into the trap of making insulting remarks about a community just because they can't understand what you're saying. That said, I will say that in a list of activities spreading hatred, this one lists right at the bottom. And I can live guiltlessly with something this minor against my name.

And then again, I'm sure the Chinese have their own word to describe us brown-skinned folk. And I'm betting its not half as polite as 'desi'.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

All generalisations are wrong

As you may have noticed, over the last few posts I have been ranting against people who make sweeping generalisations. In this post, I'm looking at it from the other side. So is it really such a bad thing to jump to conclusions about people?

Miss Marple did it, and solved murders. All she had to do was think who the dramatis personae reminded her of, and presto - you had your murderer.

This brings me to the first issue. In the USA, the police have recently been facing a lot of heat for treating suspects of different races differently. A black man who is speeding in Hyde Park will almost certainly be pulled over and seacrhed. A white woman in Evanston will probably get a friendly warning. Its also not just the police - many people, including Indians will walk the other way if they see a young black man walking towards them at night. These incidents do indicate a degree of racism present in American society - specifically the police. Critics point out that its things like this that are dricing a wedge between the blacks and the rest of the population.

But I'd like to look at it from the other side. If you are a policeman patrolling Hyde Park, you'd know that the chances were high that the driver of the car you pulled over had a gun on him. If you'd seen enough criminals, you'd also know that a large number of them were black. The cop's reaction is only natural given his instincts and his training.

Its unreasonable to expect cops not to work from generalisations like these. By pulling over old white ladies in Evanston, they'd most likely be wasting their time. If they need to be effective, they need to know which arrests are most likely to (not necessarily certain to) catch real criminals.

Again, the Indian guys who avoid all black men on the street after dark may be racists and will probably grow up to be bigots, but they'll most likely get mugged less often.

So do we really want to be policed by open-minded, racially sensitised, liberal thinking men? Or would we be happier knowing that trigger-happy mavericks were gunning down people based solely on their skin colour?

Its one of those nasty questions. But I think most people, if they were honest, would choose option 2. Ultimately when our lives and property are at stake, we can give high thinking a miss.

Probably what Joy Adamson thought, just before the lion's claws connected with her vital organs.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Rupu Gupta benefit match

This post is dedicated to my dear old friend Rupanwita a.k.a. Rupu/Rupesh/Roopster/Rupert, depending on just how pseud you really are. The reasons for this dedication are the following:

a) She just revealed to me that she's always thought I was gay, and my previous post did nothing to dispel that notion (apparently 10 vs 1 is a no-contest)
b) Back in the days of college, she would hold forth on Linda Goodman's views on Cancerians (she's one too) and their likes, dislikes, relationships, mood swings, appetites, hair loss and pretty much everything else.
c) She is my cosmic dual and I just love her too much.

Well, since I assumed earlier that I could blame all my problems on the relative positions of heavenly bodies when I was born, I decided to delve a little deeper into that theory.

Test 1. My physical appearance. (Source)

According to the experts, the following are the characteristics of Cancerian men.
a) Height ranges from short to medium.
b) Plump with a full chest and broad shoulders.
c) Short arms, small feet and plump, stubby fingers.
d) Round face with small chin and large mouth.
e) Light eyes.

Ahem, well. Those of you who have seen me will be rolling on the floor by now. For those who haven't - I'm 5'11'', weigh 63Kg, wear a size 38 shirt and size 10 shoes. Not sure of my glove size, but you get the general drift.

Clearly, the planets not up to the mark here.

The score for the planets: W-0, L-1

Test 2. Mental/Emotional/Fluff (Source)

So this is how I should behave, say the men who know.

1: Often times, your biggest problem in relationships is your moodiness.
2: You are very protective and nurturing, especially toward your family.
3: Whenever there is an emotional situation, you're usually the first to laugh or cry.
4: In love, you prefer to be the one doing the pursuing.
5: People don't have to tell you how they are feeling, because you usually already know.
6: If you aren't getting what you want, you might resort to crying or sulking to get your way.
7: When it comes to dating, you strongly prefer a night in over a night out.
8: You are easily hurt and a bit suspicious of strangers' motives.
9: You don't get jealous easily, only on occasion.
10: When you get in a fight with someone, it tends to get personal fast.
11: You'd like to have a family with lots of children.
12: You have a huge collection of keepsakes from your past.
13: You are good with your money - never wasting it.
14: You've been known to express yourself through creative writing or art.
15: A person's past is very interesting to you, good and bad parts included.

Well - lets take them one by one.

1: Well, I suppose I am moody - can't say how it affects my relationships. I'll be generous mark this one right.
2: Pretty much. So also right.
3: Hmmm... the old "choose your answer" trick. Definitely the first person to laugh, but I can't remember having cried in 7 - maybe 8 years. So this is a half-point.
4: Though the sample size is pretty small, I'll say yes.
5: Well, I think I know, but how would I know if I was right. Bad answer. No points.
6: OK, how old am I? Wrong, wrong, wrong!
7: Don't really date, but if I did, I think that would be true. 1 point.
8: Another half-and-half. Takes a LOT to hurt me, but I will agree that I'm suspicious as hell. Half-points again.
9: True enough.
10: Nope. No points.
11: Please! Two would be quite enough, thank you.
12: Could they BE further from the truth? I don't possess a single photgraph.
13: Very true - have often been accused of being stingy.
14: Only if this blog counts.
15: Bang on! They don't get snoopier than me, dawg.

OK - so the that's 8 out of a possible 15. Just over the halfway mark, so I'll say they pass.

The score: W-1, L-1

So, its tied but only just. Time to take it into the decider.

Test 3. Relationships (Source)

To begin with let me clarify that I use the word "relationship" in its broadest sense. So I'm including my interactions with ALL people I know from the postman to my mother, and see whether their signs predict how well we get along.

a) Aries, Libra - Severe clash of personalities. Expect ego battles between cardinal signs of different elements.
b) Scorpio, Pisces - Excellent relations. These are the other two water signs, and there should be great chemistry and understanding between you and them.
c) Capricorn - The complementary sign. Very amicable relationship between very different people, with a lot of learning on both sides.
d) Taurus, Virgo - Earth signs. Friendly relations, but no strong emotions.
e) Gemini, Leo - Will affect your life a great deal, but the relationship will not always be cordial.
f) Sagittarius, Aquarius - Not much likelihood of relationships developing.
g) Cancer - Natural kinship between people of the same sign.

Right that was the synopsis. Now considering all the people who have had any major impact in my life and checking their signs we find.

a) Notable Libran - my brother. Clashes - certainly. Though personally I just think its a sibling thing, I'll take that prediction as OK. Few notable Arians, so we'll skip that.
b) Uncannily true. An OVERWHELMING number of my friends fall under these two signs. Also I've found that people I tend to enjoy spending time with turn out to be Pisceans/Scorpions. So this is accurate also.
c) Again true - the friends not covered in the previous category are pretty much all Capricornians. Also includes some people who I really respect. So 3 out of 3.
d) Well, my mother is a Taurean, so we'll say yes there (I know I'm being generous). And also true that I've had very stable relationships with both Taureans and Virgoans. Hmm - these guys are picking up.
e) Notable Geminid - father. Affected me - obviously. People born under these signs do tend to be very interesting - not always in a good way, though. Once again I'll say yes.
f) Hmm - of my many, many friends, I can pick out less than 5 born under each of these signs. My goodness, these guys are on a roll.
g) Well - its a perfect score, I think.

So the final score reads: Planets - W-2, L-1

Post-match analysis.

Expert 1: This was a well-fought series. Though the planets pulled through in the end, they did get trounced in first game, and the second one could have gone either way. I think the team needs to sit down and have a long look at their strategy. Maybe a few changes in the team are called for, and there is definitely scope for improvement in some departments. All in all, I think they should consider themselves lucky.

Expert 2: Lets give credit where its due. They did pull thorugh in the crunch game, and once they got in their stride, they never looked like losing. And you must remember that the match was played on a sticky wicket. If they had a short, fat, whiny crybaby like they expected, I don't think anything could have stopped them.

Commentator: And there you have it - the end of our exciting coverage of the RGBM. Tune in next week for more crap. And now back to the studio.