Sunday, January 31, 2010

No bindi...no Hindu...






It has indeed been a very long time since i penned something here..or rather blogged here.But then,what with a very non cooperative laptop (we simply cant seem to agree on our common working hours) and a matching lazy attitude to go with it..lets just say i cudnt make it to my blogspot page.However, it dosent mean there is a shortage of topics to blog about..there is plenty happening around which will be updated shortly..but as of now..my inspiration for this renewal of my online time is one particular incident which happened 2 days ago. And for most of you who know me...my reasons for blogging are either frustration,boredom or anger. Well this time, the category is the third..pure plain boiling mad rage..and you ask me why? well here goes why.....

A friend of mine.. after being tired of staying in a dingy hostel room with three other roommates finally decides she wants her own personal space and decided to venture out on a hunt to find herself a single room/studio apartment. Since i was well aware of the hardships in this 'treasure' hunt [I had gone through the same when i was trying to relocate after nichu moved to London :(, believe me..its horrible..especially for an unmarried working girl !! i finally settled down for a hostel for college girls !], i tried my best to persuade her to give up this fruitless activity. The end result of such house hunts are always some lucky autodrivers..who make a fortune after the numrous trips to different ends of the town.

Well..all that said and done.. and she with her persistant behaviour, hunts down probable houses. Last friday, i get a call from her saying that she has found a house with a single room available..but unfortunately..as she would be late in leaving office on that day, she wanted me to go and check it out. Reluctant as i was, i finally heeded and went off to inspect this so called house straight after work.

Its a quiet lane with houses which are attached to each other and with all weird shaped gates and with 'waves'[Kolam] on the roads. I stop in front of the house with the number mentioned in her sms to me.A small girl, around 8 to 9 years of age is sitting on the steps and trying to weave something out of the few flowers and leaves strewn around her.I stop short of the gate and i ask in plain pure english

'Is this Mr.Brihaspati's house?' [From my experience in banglore,Kids learn to speak very good english at a very young age!]
She stares at me. I hastily think i am mistaken and i rephrase my question in what i assume is proper kannda.
'Brihaspati mane ya ithu?'

She is on the verge of bursting into tears and while i look around frantically..she lets out a heart wrenching yelp which sounds something like 'apppaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa' and runs into the dark interiors of the house.
As i stand wondering what next, out comes a middle aged man in his white dhoti and a white baniyan and asks a very brisk 'What?'.
I move forward in an attempt to open the gates and tell him about my arrival here, when he abruptly moves forwards laying a protective hand on the latch of the gates.I look up at him and tell him that i happened to hear about a vacancy of a single room in the first floor and that i am here to see the place.

If looks could kill, i am sure i would have been burnt to ashes by the piercing glare he was giving. He was staring at me and i could feel his stares burn the centre of my forehead. While i am trying to comprehend the situation, he shouts out
'No muslims..only hindus...go go...shoo shoo'.
And i turn and look around half expecting to see a cow or some other four legged animal probably wearing something which resembles the 'burkha' worn by muslims.
I was pretty sure he is shooing some animal away..
and he still continues his shooing gestures repeating 'no muslims no muslims'.

It took me a while to realise that it was me he was shooing away....and by then it was too late..the wooden door had already been slam shut on my face and the figure which rudely shooed me away was safely protected behind it.
I stand bewilderd and shocked not realising what struck me.
And then it hit me..the constant glare at my forehead and his assumption that i was a muslim... i had no Bindi on my forehead.
Yes,I dont keep bindi's. If you ask me it's a big effort. For starters,it dint take me long to realise that my skin is allergic to whatever the glue that is used to stick the colorful paper onto my forehead.So i tried my hand at the liquid paint stuff. And this became an even more nightmarish experiment,because by mid day my face would look like some amteur artist tried making a art work which went haywire.The paint would have been smeared all over my face and i would end up looking more ridiculous than ever..so my stints with bindi's are very limited and done only on days when i know i can afford to be very very careful with the little colored paint on my forehead.

But i never realised that the absence of that one small dot could make a difference in getting a roof above my head or being shooed away like a wild animal!

Why? why does appearances and accesories have to make a person?
I wear toe rings and i love wearing them because i think they are cool and look nice..and umpteen times i have been asked where my husband is or which company he works for? Initially it never struck me why i was being posed with such questions? I simply presumed probably they are just taking a wild guess from my age..but its only later i realised that it was the one small ring on my toe which made all the difference. And from that day i resolved never to have it removed !!
I know plenty of married women who dont wear a toe ring or sindoor.. they are never asked questions..so why ask questions when its worn? If the absence dosent matter...then why should its presence matter????
Why does accesories make a religion? Isnt religion a person's comfort and not something which is imposed?

I repeat..i am not religious...i am just spiritual [copyright - shiff].
As long as its god you are calling,what difference does anything else make?
Sorry folks..no offence here.This incident has deeply shaken me up and hurt would be an understatement.

Sadly, as i stay dumbstruck in the lane and give one last look at the door which was rudely slammed onto my face, i see the small face of the girl peeping out through a window by the side and i think....

There's the person who will be slamming the door shut on my children's face too..............it never ends..its just passed on from one generation to the next......

13 comments:

IndianSkeptic said...

Hey girl,
You surely have a gr8 writing skill. Very beautifully narrated incident.
And best of all, I certainly like your questioning the obvious (so-far) in the society :)
Way to Go... Keep it up!

Crusader said...

I agree with IndianSkeptic. And it is often the default and uncalled for judgmental attitude of people that gives rise to (or rather creates) problems.

Only if people could accept things as they are....

Nonetheless, point well raised.

TheGreatOne said...

HAHAHAHAHA! :D
Insha allah, I hope one day that guy gets a muslim tenant who identifies herself as a hindu and then goes on to kidnap the guy's wife/kids and finally murders 'em ruthlessly and robs the house and leaves! Pheww..yeah..thats it! Happy Deeps? :D

Deepthi Rajagopal said...

Thank you folks for the comments!
@IndianSkeptic - I never thought i would have to do such a questioning..but until it came upon me,i had no clue. And now the fury has been unleashed ;) !
@Crusader - Sadly yes.With each passing progress, people tend to be become judgemental for all the wrong reasons.
@Sounak Daada - If any of the things you mentioned happens, i am sure my description will be the first one to be giving to the police!The statement in the FIR would go 'A suspicious looking girl had come few days ago and when she was turned down, she stood outside the gate looking for some hard object to be thrown into the house!'
Luckily for him and unfortunately for me, there were no stones anywhere in the vicinity.I had a good mind to hurl few at the closed door/windows.Frankly, i dont think i can blame the rebels now.After all, destruction is a way of venting out built up anger/frustration!
Ps Disclaimer:I declare - my thoughts mentioned here are purely based on this one single incident and will have no impact on my thought process now or in the future.I generally tend to go slightly overboard when i get to type out words ! No offence.Please see the light humor hidden in all the statements :) and ofcourse as mentioned in the comments above.. the questioning of the obvious!

With Regards Always Jr said...

Wow.. the way u have written it made all the difference. I could feel the anger and the humiliation inside me rise reading the lines eventhough it didnt happen to me. I am fuming now !!! You should have given him one nice jab.

Krappy Genius said...

You painted half a picture there .. what if you HAD been a muslim ?? would that have made it alrite ?

My friend who was a muslim had a tough time finding a house in mumbai ... even in our dear bengalooru we were told on our faces that "no muslims allowed" ...

not so far away is the day ... when bricks n mortar will be manufactured separately for ppl depending on their religion ;-) .. scope for extrapolation is seemingly endless

Shiffy Varkey said...

Ah deeps, I'm proud of you.. Lovely writeup! :)

We've talked about this umpteen number of times. Customs, tradition and even religion..its all a matter of convenience. Take for eg, the way women dress. Initially religion prohibited them from exposing skin... later on, these rules were modified in the name of 'women's lib'.
It's all a matter of who comes up with a new idea first. You then take it further from there, start a new group, a new religion..and Viola! Your name will go down in history.

TheGreatOne said...

No! Never! No religion prohibited from ex..uhmm..ok..leave it! :-P

Sudha Naik said...

Too bad is what is happening in this world. Discrimination with respect to religion.. In some places it will be against muslims and in some places it will be hindus. But is there really a difference between a muslim or a hindu or a christain. I never find anything. I feel everything lies in the beauty of the mind. A loving mind.

Gopalakrishnan said...

Good to break the silence with such a hilarious and thought evoking one Deepthi! I was wondering whether you stopped blogging.

Its pathetic that still people undergo such situations, that too in cities like bangalore.

In my childhood days I loved to see my amma wearing toe rings which she sadly doesnt wear these days since her toe sizes keep changing every day (leg aches- cant blame her).

There had been many of these ladies in school and college who were desperate to get married just to have this sindoor on their forehead.

Referring to metaphors like "absence of a small dot" and "being shooed away like a wild animal"- it adds on to the hilarious situation.
Keep blogging.
Hope your friend has got a new shelter.

ywake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ywake said...

hmmm.... that the guys dont have to wear BINDI, i dono how the so called landlord shooo's them away..!!!

sush said...

Hi,
I came to this blog when i was googleing why hindus are not wearing bindis now a days. Seeing your blog, i have both the opinions. Judjing seeing a face is difficult. But looking into the scenario in the world, i think wearing a bindi helps us in many ways. Infact it has been my experience once that i was saved by verbal abuse because of my bindi.
How much ever we speak of independence, liberal thoughts or modernism etc, people are still following their culture, traditions and why cant we hindus continue to follow.
Its just that we need to think whether its being modern or bindi doesnt match with jeans or i am a hindu and want to wear bindi????