Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Incredible India!

Or, Facebook status update now I am going to adopt an Indian beggar girl!

It’s barely forty-eight hours since you left the airport and checked into a South Delhi hotel. And you begin flooding our inboxes, our phone and our facebook pages with growing louder by the minute screeches of ‘India is truly incredible’. We assume you find the people, the colours, the sights, the sounds, and the smells incredible. Or the squalor sitting right next to the affluence unbelievable. Or maybe you’ve chanced upon Tehelka and are amazed to read how two disparate mindsets coexist and despite all advancements in communication still find it impossible to comprehend each other. But then you follow it up with ‘I am going to adopt an Indian beggar girl’. Well, we should have known better. For, you aren’t a perceptive observer or an expat out to earn a quick buck or even a mere tourist. You sir, are the saviour we have been waiting for.

Or at least it seems that’s what you assume you are. Now that you have arrived you immediately proceed to find the first beggar child you see, preferably a little girl and begin to not only feed her hot croissants and soft rolls from the hotel breakfast trolley but also hollow dreams. In your infinite stupidity and immeasurable insensitivity you follow every impetuous whim that takes root in your head. Without even pausing to access how your actions will impact your own life let alone the life of the little child. For you sir, are too enamoured by your own goodness and the greatness of your vision.

And it is, to be honest, so easy on the conscience to be good and great and visionary in India, especially when you are there only for a few months. Talk to a beggar, feed a handicap, go to the Hanuman temple on Saturday, visit a dargah and finally get a picture clicked in an auto posing as a kitschy Bollywood star. We all know the drill by now. Well done sir! Hope the demons in your head are satiated and you can sleep in peace tonight.

Never mind that the country you have fled to make easy money in India is going through a crisis of its own. Has suffered the harshest consequences of what it’s like to discriminate against humans of a darker shade than white. Or has made others suffer the consequences of not being white enough. Or how such passion never made you act impulsively when you were there. Or how you didn’t find the beggars somehow endearing enough to randomly distribute fresh rolls. But we understand sir India does that to you.

For what is the point of fucking up in London or New York if a few months in India can’t make everything better. Your life, your conscience and yes not to forget your bank balance. But maybe we’re being too harsh on you. For, you do intend to visit all the nightclubs, the amazing malls (with their decent selection of cheese), look for the purest (and incredibly cheap) grass you can find and do those ‘truly incredible’ trips to the Himalayas, Goa, Rajasthan, and Bombay. We all know the drill by now.

So come lets roll another joint. And get real. We’ll not judge you provided you leave the little child alone.

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