Mar 30, 2016

Roti and Rice, are they so different?

Roti and Rice

For the last 30 years or so I am traveling to North and Western Indian states and always I travel in Indian Railways. Every time I meet people from different parts of India. And every time people talk about the differences in the cultures, food, clothes etc. Most of them feeling superior than South Indians. I ignore such talks. Couple of months ago I heard a woman from one of the Western States whining relentlessly about the difficulties she is facing in Chennai. Her problem was that people of Tamil Nadu are dark in color, they wear lungi, even rich people! They eat rice, idly and Dosa sitting on the floor, they eat with hands. They always speak tamil. They don't have rich culture like North or Western states of India. Really? I am not from Chennai, still I don't agree.

I am from Karnataka and I have traveled to almost all the states of India except for the North-Eastern states. I have always seen this discrimination. I have never understood what is wrong with idly-dosa or rice? They are as good as or much tastier than dhokla or aloo paratha or pav-bhaji or roti. Well, masala dosa is one of the 'must-have' food in the world! Southis wear lungi because of the hot and sweaty climate. Almost all Indians eat with clean fingers, Don't they? I do. But, this post is not about roti and rice or lungi and pyjama. It is about the attitude of the people towards the cultures of other regions.

Well, it always makes me think! Discrimination and some kind of superiority is always there with some people wherever you go! I lived in USA for almost over a decade. I lived there happily as I did in my home country. But, still I have experienced some discrimination time to time. In a remote place in Arizona a man at the front desk told me he will not sell anything from his shop including car fuel to dark people. Well, after hiking on the shadeless trails of American South-West my skin was charred. I cursed my fate and drove on with 10% fuel in the tank, on the deserted roads of remote Arizona in the pitch dark night! But, I rarely recollect that incident and treasured loads of memories of the kind Americans instead.

Discrimination is there everywhere which comes in different packets. Some encounters are serious and some you can just forget feeling silly. Outside India it could be between white and colored. In India it is between regions- North and South which indirectly again comes back to color of the skin, then food, clothes and culture. That doesn't end there. Again in South- I visited Tamil Nadu last year. Was browsing through the shops. Interestingly an old woman at a shop asked me if I spoke tamil. Obviously, I replied with a NO and explained her that it was my first visit to the state, so I haven't had enough time to learn the language of the land. Lady sternly spoke- Speak tamil discount speak kannada no discount!

There is more ... in my own state- Karnataka! My parents are from coastal area which is called Karavali. We moved from Karavali to the North which is called Bayaluseeme (plains) when I was a child. The people of Bayaluseeme who worship Lord Shiva had an attitude towards the Brahmins of Karavali. There we had a neighbor who was originally from a town called 'Sagar' which is located in the Western Ghats region of the state called Malenadu. Whenever the woman got a chance she proclaimed that Malenadu women are prettier than that of Bayaluseeme! She sang a kannada song Malenada henna maibanna ... in her donkey voice! Ahhhh!

What I have mentioned here is very basic silly stuff! There is a lot of discrimination in the world based on different factors which lead to serious consequences. I am neither an expert nor qualified to talk about those things. But, are roti and rice so different? What is all the fuss about?

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  1. Oh what an insight into Indian society. I was under the impression (based on nothing really, maybe Bollywood) that there is a gap, maybe discrimination, between the rich and the poor or from one social class to another. Sad that there still exists in life blatant discrimanation wherever we go.

    1. Having pride for our culture, language, food, land or whatsoever is good but, demeaning others is not fine. It actually puts us down!

  2. I am from Karnataka too and I so agree with everything you have written. We lived in North India for sometime when I was in school and my classmates were not ready to even talk to me, just because I was from South India!

  3. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

  4. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share


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