Friday, September 25, 2009

Stereotyping the Contemporary Intellectual - 3

Continued from Part 2 here

  • Belonging to Vasudaiva Kutumbakam 1 - A direct implication of the example in the Mary/Peter category – Soru. I am not sure how prevalent this habit is, but a lot (a lot, yes, but not all) of these “intellectuals” religiously eat food from everywhere in the world – Ethiopian, Mexican, Chinese, Spanish, etc. I have nothing against any of these cuisines and it is nice to have a wide range of options, but these things irk me –

    1. I, who unabashedly, wholly does NOT belong to this group, who is quite content with half-decent Indian food (or absolutely any food which is prepared in a safe [read purely vegetarian, far away from eggs, meat, fish or poultry] location), find myself ridiculously left-out and outvoted when in the company of such folks (on the rare occasions it happens) and
    2. Remember again that a lot of these folks (at least most of the ones I’ve observed) are MCSI-Brahmins? Which means they’ve been vegetarians for most part of their life. Whether these "intellectuals" are (newly-turned) atheists (agnostics, integral humanitarians, etcetera) who continue to be vegetarian (even though they discard god, a few “intellectuals” might continue to stick to vegetarianism and being “intellectuals”, they need to have a strong feeling towards anything => if vegetarian, they believe in it strongly) or (minority) the still-believing-in-Brahminism/religion junta, eating in restaurants overflowing with non-vegetarian food simply reeks of hypocrisy. How, oh how on earth they can bear to see dead animal pieces next to the food they consume, I cannot understand (I am, in this sense, an "antillectual", if you might).
    3. Among the minority that are still-practising-(pseudo)-Brahmins, but anyhow eat with relish in every such (God-forsaken) international restaurant, and then talk (often in a dreamy-eyed manner and/or ethereal tones which is supposed to convey that they are in a Kadavul-induced-trance or state of divine bliss) about what Maha Periyava says about Brahmins or throw at you the 6th stanza of the Soundarya Lahari, asking you to marvel at its beauty or wax eloquence at Dikshitar's krithi and it's profound philosophical/religious inspiration - to me, it simply doesn't fit. I am probably dumb, athi-moorkaha or whatever, for linking two irrelevant issues, but this whole package doesn't come across as genuine/true.

    Note here that I am not an Indian fundamentalist promoting Indian food and advocating that Indians eat only Indian food. I love my filter coffee and feast on Paneer, knowing fully well that neither is indigenous to India. But the point here is eating something just because it is another cuisine, and doing so often enough, just to prove that you are a global citizen. It is almost like people who start smoking because they feel cool doing it. And whether the food is nice or not, trying to enjoy it so that you feel good at having eaten international cuisine.
    Which now leads me to another sub-classication of these international-cuisine-folks -
    • Never cook at home.
    • Eat that Bruschetta at the Italian/Spanish restaurant, come back home and start making it regularly (if married, often with the spouse) and then start a food blog. Include chweet lines like "The husband made some panini bruschetta sprinkled with toasted almonds today. Yay! Love you, dear!" and other corny equivalents. Seriously.
      And no, this is not a whine from a singleton who is calling the grapes sour because he doesn't have a wife to dote foodily on.

Intriguing how most of the "intellectual" couples either love cooking together, often multi-cuisine delicacies or not cooking any cuisine at all (hey, didn't you know how healthy the food is at Chipotle's, Subway, Taco Bell, etc.?).

  • Philosophical Thanni - Ha, this is one elite group, I tell you. Again, I wouldn't want to hazard a generalization like majority of the "intellectuals" or something (though I won't be surprised if such a generalization is indeed valid), but this much I can be sure - majority in this sub-group is obviously guys (again, it might be my ignorance too, but I can say only as far as I've seen). So then, these "dudes" obviously drink. Fine. No big deal. But the justifications and explanations for their drinking - nothing short of poetry. "Enakku thanni adikka pudichirukku, I derive pleasure from it, though I know it's bad" - apdinu sollittu poinde irundha naan edhukku indha maadhiri oru bullet'a ezhudha poren? Starting with social drinking (which, IMHO, deserves a separate punishment in the Indian Penal Code, by itself), they go on to put all kinds of weird fundae into the heads of ordinary, un"intellectual" folks like me, so much so that after a point of time, we (the un"intellectuals") feel ashamed and philosophically backward for being non-drinkers (or teetotalers, to be more general). Really, I mean it. I've personally gone through this once, the dude in question being the same guy who spoke those priceless words in the Mary/Peter category.
  • Belonging to Vasudaiva Kutumbakam 2 - Applies to all types of "intellectuals" - whether atheistic, agnostic, totally-believe-in-Brahminism, currently-believing-in-Brahminism, etc. When it's time for Dum Dum Dum, anybody and everybody will do. Though the still-Brahmin kinds will initially stick to believing in same-caste marriage, they will, in due course of time, come around to trashing it, having moved on to "higher" things and realizing the utter insignificance and childishness in such beliefs.
    A few memorable quotes these "intellectuals" use to justify their inter-caste marriage (these people specifically belong to the born-Brahmin-believed-in-Brahminism-for-almost-all-their-life-and-even-now-selectively-believe-in-Brahminism-but-are-going-to-marry-inter-caste category) -
    a) "
    i believe its upbringing thats imp and providing the right atmosphere, attitude and opportunities that will promote preserve the culture
    i believe i can do that.
    i knew that h** family and (?)he have the right mindset and background..wrt education/appreciation of arts and culture..apart from that there will be differences.."
    b) "
    but i realised that brahmin-a eruntha mattum pothaathu... its the personal behaviour which makes u what u are.."
    Quiz: Can you identify the gender of the two characters above? [MP, MM, PM, PP]

    In future, I see this attribute being upgraded to a version whose traits will include looking down on same-caste couples; upon seeing a person wearing the Veebuthi or Bottu, staring at the mark for an unnecessarily-long time, intentionally starting a related topic and concluding that wearing such marks is anti-philosophical, anti-spiritual, etc., ending up making you feel like Manohar Parrikar when he lost the confidence vote.

And I shall stop right there. I wanted to include these two categories as well -

  • Do Jalsa and show Jilpa via the blogs they write. ;-) [Remember, the "intellectual" isn't necessarily always an Indian in USA]
  • Return from USA and direct movies like Hyderabad Blues.

But since I am sure there is a massive group out there that (whether "intellectual" or not) overwhelmingly supports such "intellectuals" and will be after my blood just because I mention them in this list without understanding that my calling them "intellectuals" is more light-hearted satire than derogatory criticism/mockery, I shall digress.

In my observation, I have tried to remain as objective as possible (by me ;), without criticizing or frowning upon the "intellectual" characteristics I observed, something I usually do. I admit there might've been one or two instances where my exasperation got the better of me, but I suppose that is understandable, because of the weight of that issue. I must also admit that I fall under one or more of the categories above, so if you feel I'm pulling your leg, understand that I'm pulling mine too (ok, my knee or foot...leg only for thoroughbred "intellectuals" :D).
blog comments powered by Disqus