You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

(Because we all just love stereotypes).

  1. Your national element is Indium (In), very malleable and soft, but not useful for building long-lasting structures.
  2. You find it normal for random people to get close on buses, but find the idea that two potential life-partners be allowed to talk unsupervised before being thrust into wedlock, preposterous.
  3. You expect your children to win dance, music, spelling, and math competitions every year, but don’t pay as much attention to finding out if they are really of sound mind and body.
  4. You prefer actors in mythological shows who have prominent vaccination scars on their forearms.
  5. Your prefer Bombay Sapphire gin for your martini over Beefeater not because it tastes better, because you don’t like the name of the latter.
  6. You work for Tata Wiprosys or know someone who does.
  7. You need the Supreme Court to judge whether or not two consenting adults have the right to live together outside of marriage, but are pretty sure that cheap fuel is a birthright enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
  8. You frown upon those who buy “made in India” clothing in India, but not those who buy the same products  abroad.
  9. You know that when a government official is asking for chai-paani he or she is not curious if you brought your hot-water bottle.
  10. You use the same word for a type of dal and species of deer which likes grass more than dal.
  11. The memsahibs in your country have given way to another officious class – the memosahibs.
  12. You translate “mild” to what most Westerners would likely consider Dante’s Inferno on the “spicy-scale”.
  13. You avoid whole-grain bread, because you prefer white over wheat(ish).
  14. You would consider purchasing a soft-drink from a vending machine, but only if the coin was inserted for you by a vendor wearing a uniform and a soft baseball cap.
  15. You feel India needs a “baby” vegetable such as “baby lady’s finger” because the Americans have the “baby carrot” and the Chinese have the “baby corn”.

Disclaimer: I’ve posted many of these thoughts on Twitter.

© Text, 2010-2012, Anirban

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18 thoughts on “You know you’re part of the Indian middle-class when…

  1. Pingback: Global Voices in English » India: Stereotyping The Middle Class

  2. Ha ha ha .. you just took the blues out of Monday. # 10 was a bouncer. Or I maybe missing the obvious. Amazing observation. Great execution. Terrific effect on the reader. Another stereotype of following your blog 😆 !! Brilliant.

    • Thanks for reading, and no, I don’t mind at all.

      I don’t think the Indian middle-class is worse off than any other class anywhere in the world. In fact, the underlying foundations of many of these points are ones I support. My gripe is when we (and I use the royal “we”, “I” and “you”) take good ideas to illogical conclusions.

      Many of these points are applicable to all communities worldwide. Why am I “picking” on the Indian middle-class? Because this is the community I know best. Commenting on any other community would look like it was out of sheer meanness. And I reserve meanness for a future post.
      🙂

      I also like to pick on iconic institutions and the act of stereotyping. I was careful that I didn’t call any particular individual out.

      😀

  3. This is pointed and cynical yet true in many ways but the posting is in its own way as negative and stereotypical too. Why is it we Indians can make cynical statements and agree on them but are unwilling to take any actions to improve our orientation or our country? Why is it we cannot find positive aspects of our heritage and our culture or commend people or communities who make the effort to make positive changes? We grumble about the negative stereotypes people have about Indians yet we constantly confirm their stereotypes with such postings.It is very disheartening. I have lived abroad for many years now and you know what I miss:
    1) the warm hospitality of strangers in buses and trains – who will share their food with you,
    2) the green fresh vegetables and fruits – especially mangoes which are so tasty, yet we think apples and strawberries are tastier,
    3) Indian food is tasty and so healthy with spices and herbs that are really good for you,
    4) the smiles on the faces of the hard working people who smile when they have so little and are so tired, and,
    5) the green, green earth and the smell of the earth after a storm.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Your point is that we should fight what you call negative stereotypes with positive ones. But there is a time and a place for everything. My audience here is primarily people who identify with my background.The underlying satirical tone is only a literary device.

      What do you find disheartening about self-criticism? If we have imperfections why should we be afraid to point them out? Isn’t this a sign that we are mature enough to accept both the grain and the chaff that comes with our own personal identities?

      Of course, this is neither a formal essay nor a white paper, so there is no stipulation that I must be neutral in tone or content in the space of a short post. Having said that, I do appreciate your heartfelt comments on what you miss. I miss a good dosa right now.

      🙂

      As for commending those who make positive changes, I am a firm believer that we can do that too. Take a look at this post for an example.

      Take care. 🙂

  4. You feel you’re part of India…

    when you stay there at least 2 years;
    when you have a close relationship with Indian girls and boys;
    when you’re much attracted into saree and bhindi;
    definitely when you prefer Bombay sapphire than other gin;
    when you always miss our Incredible India even back to home country. Jai Hind!~

  5. Its amazing how such a painfully boring article can get such a good response.
    @the writer : sad. But hey,maybe it was your first
    piece.

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