Being born and raised in India gives me some right to create this list.
Buy one get one free? Yes!! A 20 percent off coupon? Great! Mail in rebate? Right now! Where there’s a deal, there’s a desi…er, make that a line of desis. Frugal is a birthright, a religion in some Indian circles.
We love to talk on and on about Indian culture. Trouble is that our definitions vary. Some ABD folks think Indian culture is hip-hop-bhangra. Other 40 somethings fancy it to be Bollywood films. A third kind of auntyji-types think Indian culture is pooja and fasting. To each her or his own. Indian culture (if there were such a thing) can tolerate multiple perceptions and pluralism.
3. The Double Standard
We ogle and ape Western culture. We covet the Queen’s English. We lust after “fast girls.” But we marry the virgin. Then we talk about Culture (#2).
Whether it’s a five day test or Twenty20. Pakistan vs. India or IPL. It’s everywhere. No further evidence needed.
5. Political Discussions
All Indians have a political opinion or a hundred. As we should. I am always impressed by how readily desis will jump head first into discussing “politically incorrect” topics at work, at the gas station or hair salon. We don’t notice (or care) if the other guy seems incensed or freaked out. We gotta air our political thoughts.
6. The Chai Break
That’s chai with sugar and lots and lots of milk. With spices added for that extra kick. (South Indians, i.e. people living south of Uttar Pradesh - please substitute the word kaapi for chai) Indians love their wake up-chai! Arrive at work-chai! A 2 minute meeting with a colleague-chai! Then chai break. Then post lunch chai. Feeling drowsy-chai! Tiffin-time-chai! Neighbor drops by-chai! Dinner is late-chai!
From the dancing Hrithik to the even more dancing Junior NTR, Indians love their films and stars. Be it a rousing Rang De Basanti or the pot-boiler masaala of Om Shanti Om, the multiplexes from Kolkata to Chicago are full of desis lining up to see the “first day first show.”
8. Spicy Hot-Hot Khaana
If you are of Indian born you’d better have a darn good reason to turn down mirch-masaala. I am amazed how even desi kids (no, make that infants, actually) can slurp up rasam along with their Gerber cereal. No one but a desi appreciates the masochistic pleasures of ingesting a meal that induces tears and sweat.
Whether you love namkeen or mithai we can accommodate you. Tiffin time can be at 4 PM or 7 PM. It’s a nice break from working on that deadline. Or a “small” intake of energy before your daily trip to the gym. And, don’t forget #6.
Every desi I know will stop anything for a nice two minute chat. Gup-shup might be conducted over a cup of #6, while discussing #2, 3, 4, 5 or 7. It could be done while sharing some home made #8 or #9. But the best of the best type of gup-shup is when a fellow Indian tells us of a fantastic #1.
That’s euphemism for the movement of excrement out of our intestines. Indians are fascinated by the subtleties of bowel movements. We will tell our doctor, neighbor, sabziwalla and our boss whether and when we went potty today and if our business came out OK. All ailments begin and end with “motion”. Lots of #10 time is dedicated to this topic, especially by desi uncles and aunties of a certain age. Many “motion” problems can be solved by a good cup of #6.
Indian weddings are beautiful. They are the epitome of Indian culture (#2) and you get to eat wonderful spicy hot-hot khaana (#8). And reels of films (#7) have been made on Indian weddings. But careful! Too much wedding food will lead to problems with #11.
13. Jaan Pehchan
Where there is a problem to be solved, Indians search fervently for contacts. Even when the task can be done by dropping an email to a generic customer service address, true desis will try to find a contact through whom to route their demands.
14. Arrival and Departure Throngs
Airports, train stations and even bus depots are choking with Indians who go en masse to receive a relative or to see off a friend. This would be very touching except for the fact that the entourage outnumbers the travelers 5-to-1. Many traffic jams could be eliminated if a good-bye zone were established five miles away from the drop off area.
15. Family Background
As in: “The girl has a good family background.” It does not matter if it’s a business deal or a marriage proposal, Indians have to verify the goodness of the family. Normally this requirement is satisfied if an uncle or a grandfather was a retired District Magistrate.
16. Free Advice
From the best cure for foot fungus to whom you should marry - Indians love to hand out advice. The ammaji who sits next to you on the train will tell you exactly what to do. It’s free and it’s often unwanted. But it will come at you fast and furious. Incidentally, this Indian activity is the cross-generational version of gup-shup (#10).
To be continued...
- How about biskuts in that chai, asks SkD
- Not hiring a babysitter, adds Joules
- Desi people love giving out nicknames notes girlie girl
- We stay away from birds and bees conversations says Never Mind!!
- Desi always seem to be busy or partying
- It doesn't take much for desis to "party" says Joules
- Beth's afraid to check out Stuff White People Like
- Every Indian conversations eventually veers to food says Kamal R
- Pitu consumes one complicated chai
- No proper RSVPs and inquiries without boundaries adds meena
- Kanan has several examples of Stuff Indian People Like
- Indian parents are driven by their kids' rank in school says Cinderella
- What's with this constant antakshari muses Joules and comments on color, weight and height
- Cinderella has an example of that
- Pitu gets harassed about an issue
- SkD's family gets queried about the wealth they amass in the Gulf
- The antakshari from Maine Pyar Kiya in an antakshari drives girlie girl crazy
- Desis and their lunch dabbas by Anon
- Joules' niece has a very definitive idea of dinner and: "please remove your shoes"
- m has some loud pind members over and has her $300 sunglasses busted by some brats
- Gayatri hasn't met any desis who laze around either
- Over Rated has pet dogs that are more trained than some kids
- Tania informs us of gaan baazna
- Sania tells us about the Indian obsession with doctors