So far, by God's grace

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do People in India.....?

So, everyone and their mother-in-law has had their say about Oprah Winfrey's views of Indians and the "some people" in our country who "still eat with their hands". I'm not even going to go there. Enough has been said and we all know how we all feel about it.

 Don't know what I'm talking about?? just google her name and those words of hers that I put in quotes.

 I've had my share of ridiculous questions asked to me by Non-Indians. As a kid, I had a pen friend named Sarah Milett from the UK. She asked me if I go to school by elephant. You could forgive her. She was a child after all!
 At my workplace, I get asked all the time "You're Indian! Where did you learn to speak such good English?" I always answer them "The same place you learned English. Home and school!"

 And then there are those who are surprised that I am a Christian.
  "You don't do poojas at home?"
"No. I'm a Christian"
"But you're Indian!"

And then when they know I'm married, they ask "So, do you live with your husband's parents and his extended family?" 

Once I was writing to my pen friend Sarah, and I had drawn a little picture for her. A village scene with a few huts, a couple of trees and a washing line. My mother refused to let me send it. I'm glad I didn't send it or the next letter would have had "Do you have your own room in your little hut?" or something like that!


  1. I have had that "How do you speak so good English" thingy too. Westerners sometimes think English is their prerogative. Never mind if we know Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam Or Tamil in addition to that

  2. Really witty post Deepa! I've had people ask me if I knew what pizza was and what my Indian name was (given my first name is Annie and that is what I was know as)! And then oh, the arranged marriage thing- that never ceases to draw out a wonder-filled conversation!

    1. Thanks! It's funny how Arranged marriage is perceived to be some sort of financial contract between two well endowed families! My parents had an arranged marriage and they are very much in love!

  3. Need I get started here??? Never seen so many ignorant people all stuck in one place ! Do you have roads? Do you have electricity? Do you go to the river to wash clothes? Do you have Pepsi and Coke? When my son was in US and had to help him out for his tuition, why do you keep sending him money still? My first job interview in the US lasted only 5 mins. I spend 100$ on cab to attend the interview. Asked me a few questions and was told that I have the job. They wanted to see if I could speak and understand English! At my job one of my high school student in a rage says " go back to Afghanistan you $%&&#!!! I forgot for a moment my role as a teacher and said...'why would I want to go to Afghanistan?' ( For those of you wondering about this behavior in school, this was a school for the emotionally and behaviorally disturbed kids. ) Not that other schools are any different.
    As a teacher I make it a point to get all my students (I have students from KG to 10th grade)to know the world map. Countries, capitals, continents,and how to find a location using latitude and longitudes.
    On the flip side, I enjoy feeling smart in this part of the world!

    1. Mannaunty,
      You were probably placed there by divine purpose to bring enlightenment!

  4. HAhhaah I love your positive attitude.. Sometimes I think a few cells of my brain just drops dead in frustration everyday... By the way did you read my book? Waiting to hear your comments..

  5. HI, logging on after ages!:)) Yes, i've been reading a LOT about Oprah and all that she said. I think we are all taking her too seriously. She might be one of the most influential people on television, but we don't really need her to market India. I wouldn't really blame any westerner who asks these ignorant questions. Their questions are only a reflection of their ignorance. I don't see why we are so shocked, when we get questions like this from other indians as well. When i went to study in Pune, and we wanted to go do south-indian lunch once, a classmate was surprised to know we ate more than just dosas and idlis. They were even more shocked to know we ate non vegetarian food. There are so many stereotypes within the country, so why blame a foreigner? Just my two cents:)

  6. Just stumbled across your blog through a picture and encouraged by your passion and heart for Christ and sharing fun stories of life in India too :) keep it up!

  7. :) dont get so ruffled. we have our question moments too in regards to societies we dont understand or see from the outside.

  8. deepa...

    well i live in america and i have had a bunch of these questions too... the one that made me laugh out loud was do u have internet in your home in india... Ummmmm... but on the flip side, we indians are no less on the idiotic comments front either.for instance, we "love" our children more than americans because we dont make babies sleep in their own rooms and feed them ourselves instead of handing them the spoon and expecting them to feed themselves...we respect our elders more cos we bend down and touch their feet and not smoke and drink with them...

    what everyone has to remember is that not everyone from every country has seen and experienced india for themselves... the stereotype that other people have have been the result of what our books and movies have portrayed. there are jerks in every country who ridicule the customs and traditions that are not their own. the tolerant ones ask questions out of a genuine curiosity about our country. its up to us to show them who we are. so in that spirit, i never take back pictures of cows on the road or the slums or the beggars or even the monuments... i take back pictures of our awesome houses, our cars, our malls and flyovers.