It does not take more than a few seconds for people to conclude that I am a north Indian. One reason being my surname. Apparently,Suri is a very common surname in Punjab. I say apparently because I am not an expert on Punjabi surnames and the only Suris I know are Sanjay Suri and Suri Cruise :). Second reason being I can speak Hindi well. Sometimes I do not bother to correct people because a) why would I want to waste time trying to explain to someone the story of our ancestors’ migration to Andhra Pradesh and b) it is a lot of fun watching people struggle, trying to figure out how one moment I speak on the phone in Hindi and the next moment talk to the cab driver in Telugu :).
This has been happening for quite some time now and am sure happens to a lot of other people too. But what I find interesting and sometimes annoying is how people stereotype. It is okay to like some habits and dislike some. It is also perfectly okay to like some people and dislike some. What is not okay is basing these likes and dislikes on petty things. We all come with notions and ideas thanks to our upbringing, education and friends/family. But, any kind of upbringing, or part of education or friend who leads one to believe in notions such as being dark means being not attractive is preposterous.
I find it amusing when people find it very complimenting when someone says “you look like a north Indian”. Are north Indians by default good looking or ,are non-north Indians by default not good looking? We all belong to different regions and hence, we all obviously do not look the same. But, from when did being different become such a bad thing. I have personally known many people – both guys and girls – who look at a dark complexioned person and dismiss him/her off as ‘south Indian hai’. Most of these people are North Indians and a few of them are my friends. They are nice people but this mentality of theirs is a rampant disease. Okay, he/she may be a south Indian or maybe he/she is just dark complexioned. Why this stereotyping?
A part of the fault lies with us southies too. We need to stop obsessing over fair skin. Come on, we have our own set of features to be thankful for. Yes, we may not be blessed with genetically fair skin and yes we may not become fair even after applying layers of Mysore sandal talc but, that is okay. Why do we have to fit in when what we actually want to do is stand out. And on a lighter note, wearing lots of gold will not do it :). Speak any language which you are comfortable in. It may be English, Hindi, Telugu or Tulu. Embrace your colour. Do not try to be someone you are not in an attempt to please others. I genuinely hope that people go up and talk to someone because they want to know the person and not because that person was a particular color and looked like a particular type of Indian!
It pains me to see and hear educated people harbour such narrow-minded notions. I am not trying to create a controversy here by taking sides. I am a southie who speaks 90% of the time in Hindi. Not because I think it will make me look cool but because most of my friends are/were Hindi speaking and I am fluent in it. I do not take a statement like ‘you do not look like a Telugu girl’ as a compliment. I do not take a statement like ‘you look like a north Indian’ as a compliment either. I look like me. It is as simple as that.
PS: A serious post after a long time. I decided against writing content like this because people invariably took the writing out of context and jumped to conclusions. Also, I was having a good run with all the fun writing. And for the record this post has no agenda to serve!