On being Dravidian

Being of Dravidian origin, especially in the self-declared Aryan north of this country, can at times be hilarious. Most often it is not funny; people drag you into interminable arguments over who is superior. Of course, the whole thing has no factual basis, as geneticists have determined that there are no genetic differences between 'Aryan' north Indians and 'Dravidian' south Indians. Terms that were once used to differentiate languages, have mistakenly been applied to racial and cultural characteristics.

But this post is supposed to be funny, so I will leave my ranting alone. For there are indeed some very interesting cultural traits that go with being a Dravidian. And I was set into thinking about what these are, during a visit to a barber in Lottegolahalli, a suburb of Bengaluru. What he did could only have stemmed from being a Dravidian. What about others - bus drivers, beauticians, bloggers?

You know your barber is a Dravidian when he spends ten minutes cutting your hair and fifteen minutes shaping your moustache, and considers applying fairness cream on you at the end as a mandatory step. (After I refused him, he was quite offended!)

You know your bus driver is a Dravidian when there are framed pictures of Balaji, Murugan, Velankanni ammal, Sathya Sai Baba above the dashboard, and a much larger picture of Rajkumar/ Chiranjeevi/ Rajnikanth/ Mammootty dwarfing them. As a clue, the incense sticks will be right in front of that.

You know your cook is a Dravidian when her chana masala looks suspiciously like sundal, cucumber raita looks like kosambari and dal makhani tastes like sambar. Because that is, in fact, what s/he made.

You know your superstar is a Dravidian when he plays the lead romantic role and can drive actors one-third of his age and three times as handsome out of the market.

You know your restaurant waiter is a Dravidian when he can rattle off the names of forty kinds of dishes in under twenty seconds, and will then tell you that nothing other than idli sambar is available.

You know your bus conductor is a Dravidian when the tiny picture on the pen in his shirt pocket has changed overnight from that of Kalaignar/NTR/VS/HDD to Amma/YSR/Chandy/Yeddy.

You know your political satirist is a Dravidian when every article he writes has references from all four southern states to avoid offending anyone.

You know your beautician is a Dravidian when after all the facials, manicures and pedicures, your hair is still massaged with coconut oil and tied into three plaits.

You know your hotelier is a Dravidian because you have been supplied with Mysore sandal soap in generous quantities, and is surprised that you are considering a hot water bath after the sun has risen.

You know your doctor is a Dravidian when the letters before the name are his/her initials and the letters after the name are his/her qualifications. And s/he recommends Avil for everything anyway.

You know your reporter is a Dravidian when the Telangana issue is reported as earth-shaking and the cabinet reshuffle in Delhi seems a mere provincial affair.

You know your zookeeper is a Dravidian when he has named the pair of Javan rhinoceroses as Ashok and Lakshmi, and rears them on balls of rice and jaggery.

You know your blogger is a Dravidian when he starts writing a blogpost on being a Dravidian and does not know when to stop, even though the joke is turning stale.


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