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24 September 2011

Another lament... and a response

Since my husband's Lament of the Gelf Returnee evoked such a great response, I decided to dig up some more of these verses that he tosses off without a moment's hesitation. He does have a flair for penning verse...  Heck, call it doggerel if you want, but since I cannot write poetry to save my life, I envy him his ability to come up with rhymes in a jiff. I mean, remember Fatty from the Enid Blyton books? Well, he's like that - give the man a topic and he can stand there and spout nonsense - in rhyme!  Actually, give him a topic, any topic, and he can also read you an educated lecture (not for nothing has he been referred to as the 'walking encyclopaedia'); but that's my lament for another day. 

Many months ago, there was an article on Mint by a lady named Priya Ramani, where she bemoaned the fact that she was Indian, and wondered whether she had been switched in her cradle. She also laid out several reasons why she could not be Indian. It was nauseating, to say the least. Her generalisations would have been funny if it weren't so, so contemptuous, so looking-down-upon the rest of India because she had a Masters from abroad. Now, I am no jingoistic nationalist. I am well aware of my country's drawbacks. Tell me one place which doesn't have them! But there is something nasty about a wholesale putdown; I agree about the fake sense of pride, but for heavens' sake, woman, don't you have any?

I shouldn't be giving her any more publicity than necessary, but the following post would make no sense if you didn't first read the article that set it off. So, once that came out (don't ask me how my husband read it in the first place; he reads the oddest of things), my husband decided to respond. In fact, if you scroll down to the 'Most Popular' comments under the original article, you will find the first part of his riposte there. Since then, he wrote another, which is his response to the article itself. So without much ado:

Part 1 (the views of the author herself - as 'versified' by my husband)

The Lament of Priya Ramani (Unlike Grey, I did not write this in a country churchyard)

I am not Indian, never will be 
I couldn't tell paan from misthi doeeee
I will not discuss myself on a train journey
And cricket, what's that, an insect by a tree...?

Oh, I've been to the USA , and got my MA
I like my skin to be the colour of of aquae
I'm blue you see, as you would be too
If you know the things I don't like to do.

Being Indian you know, is a terrible blow
I do not like Bhagat or Paulo Coelho
But wait a minute, he's Brazilian
What has that got to do with me not being Indian...

Oh, I get it... he could be part South American Indian
But I'm from the other side of the Greenwich Meridian
So Paul if you don't mind, I quite like you
I think Brazilian is a lovely colour too

It rhymes with 'Vermilion', a colour that Indian women wear
In little dots on their heads, which are so full of air
Not me you see, I've got an MA
Here I must wave my hands and shout, "USA, USA"

Now where was I? I hate the salwaar kameez
I'd rather be wearing tank tops and capris
And I absolutely hate that loser Ram type
(S'why I never supported St. Louis, they were all hype)

Gurcharan Das, that doyen of authors
Said there are no Indians
Only western scholars
And Indian men are terrible and oily
And have names like Veerappa Moily

So as I sit by my window at Jazz by the Bay
In the city that was once called Bombay
And sip my regular paani you see
Not sparkling or still, or murky grey like the sea
I wonder what will become of me.
I'm past my fortieth anniversary
I must find another place to be not me.

©Sadanand Warrier 2011

Part 2:
In Response to the Above

I thought I'd write a veritable tome
In defence of Ms Ramani's home
The one she likes to dislike so much
And y'know, the fruit, the clothes, and such...

But I fear I'm barking up a wrong tree.
The one who hates a Baganapali
And cocks a snook at the Alphonso
Hates the national anthem in slo-mo
Alas, may never be convinced to alter,
or change in subject, form or matter
Her views on elephant gods and Holi
And the oh-so-so taste of puran poli.

I wonder if she'd change her stand
If she met perchance some Taliban'd?

©Sadanand Warrier 2011

ps: And if you are wondering why my husband is lamenting so much these days, it's probably because he is married to me.


  1. Ha, ha, ha. Loved it! Your husband has a wicked sense of humor, Anu. And yes, I read that article. What a twit!

  2. I never got the time to read this post the last time I logged in... but I did now. My goodness, how vitriolic is this woman?! Her attitude seems definitely pretty narrow-minded; the sort of person who, simply because she's seen a handful of people (okay, or more than a handful) behaving in a certain way, decides it's a good reason to generalise and write a scathing, rude and very unwarranted article. Nasty piece of work.

    But, hey: your husband's fantastic. No other word for it! I thought that bit of poetry was fabulous (I do hope Priya Ramani's reading this!!) :-)

    More, please.

    P.S. Anu, thank you for reposting my comment on your husband's Gelf Returnee poem.

  3. Yes, she was, rather. The irony is, however, that she shows herself to be as narrow-minded and bigoted as the people she is excoriating. More, in fact, because they are not pretending be better than they are.

    I'll tell my husband you said that! He is wavering between being totally embarrassed that I'm putting his writing up on my blog, and totally chuffed that people actually like what he writes. :)

  4. 'Twit' is an understatement. And yes, about the 'wicked sense of humour'. :)

  5. I chuckled through this (not through the original article, though. Someone make that woman shut up!); thanks for the Sunday night laughs.

  6. Your husband should start a blog of his own with all his poems! I would absolutely sign on to see his updates.

  7. Thans, Sridhar. I'll tell him. :)

  8. You're bhelcom, says my husband. As he remarked, I'm giving her even more publicity. :(

  9. Ugh! What a horrible post! (Naah,not you, the original article.) Why in heavens' name did she come back to India anyway? Did she think we were all going to worship at the feet of such benevolence?!

    Your husband has a flair for great satire! Tell him, I wish he had made it stronger. (I doubt it will have *any* effect on her, though. :( )

  10. Why in heavens' name did she come back to India anyway?

    I wondered about that too. An educated guess would be 'because she wanted to look down on the poor Indians whom she had come to uplift'.

  11. Bahut khub, bahut khub!
    more of them!

  12. Will pass on your message to my husband. :)

  13. Your husband's poetry is great, and his humor even better! I have also met these phoren returned people (and some of them returned over 30 years back!) who continue to lament over everything in India - the food, the people, the climate, the groceries, everything, and I am so tempted to ask them why they returned in the first place! They can never understand how I can slip into a cotton sari and talk in the local lingo once I get there and eat the local food instead of the Domino's subs and pizzas which they offer me!

  14. I have also met these phoren returned people (and some of them returned over 30 years back!) who continue to lament over everything in India

    Haven't we just! I go back *just so* I can lapse back into my complete Indianness. I can still travel by local trains and buses, and in fact, much prefer to do that; and can walk the length and breadth of any place, come rain or shine. And who the devil would want to eat tasteless Domino's food anyway, when we have such a cornucopia in front of us, no?

    I'll pass on your compliments to my husband. :) He'll be very chuffed.

  15. Sadanandan (took the liberty of adding the 'an' that every Malayali man has to have attached to his name!) and Anuradhe - I would ADORE meeting both of you. You both rock... From one Warasiyar to another... :)

  16. Lakshmi, thanks for dropping in. I'll be sure to tell my husband of the 'malayaleekarikkal' of his name! :) And from one Warasiyaar to another - Ingeneim kuracchu chirikkande'? Oh, do write to me - warrier14atgmail.com. We can exchange some general Malayali nosiness, disguised as conversation. :))


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