Let’s get something straight. I am a North Indian. I was born in U.P. Of course, it wasn’t my idea. I was bred just so that one day, I could come to Mumbai, steal local jobs and snigger every time someone used the words ‘fakta’ and ‘ho’.
I’ve lived in Mumbai since I was eight, but thanks to the hardliners, that detail is irrelevant, just like the script in a Katrina Kaif movie. In fact, on their social scale, I would rank somewhere between ‘puppy killer’ and ‘cattle molester.’
But that’s alright. I’m not going to respond to poisonous rhetoric, especially with immature innuendo. For instance, I would never ask the hatemongers to "suck my golgappas." That would be wrong.
I want to stress here that I’m not upset, nor am I looking for a fight. This may sound surprising, given that North Indians are known to carry guns everywhere, including the bathroom.
This gun culture also results in some awkward seduction scenarios, described as follows:
HOT SEDUCTRESS: Oooh, is that a gun in your pocket Mister, or are you just happy to see me?
NORTH INDIAN MAN: It’s a gun. *points it at her* Ab kapde utaar.
The thing is, I never thought I’d see political filth being flung at the Almighty Sachin Tendulkar, a man who has spent 20 years adjusting his crotch on national television.
Seriously though, some of the local anger is justified, given that North India is responsible for various social evils, such as KRK. But that’s not the only reason why fundies want to play ‘Riot Riot’ with my people.
Another grievance I’ve come across often is that while portraying Maharashtrians in cinema, Bollywood has displayed the sensitivity of a brick. “Why”, fume the fundies, “was the servant in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun played by the great, late Laxmikant Berde?” (I don’t know why. Maybe Ashok Saraf was unavailable.)
The above arguments, though cogent, do not earn the award for ‘My Favourite Anti-Outsider Statement’. No, that gem was witnessed by a friend while travelling in a jam-packed local train. There he was, enjoying the perks that come with such commutes — like the Unintentional Full Body Massage and Free Armpit Tourism — when a man tried to wriggle closer to the door, maybe to take in the fresh sewage-flavoured breeze. However, upon failure to reach the door, he looked at the guy in his path and growled, “Kya tum log Marathi aadmi ho hawa bhi nahin lene deta.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a golden quote. Even as you read this, some immigrant who got here last night is slapping that quote on a bunch of T-shirts and will be hawking them in Dadar by tomorrow. That’s the kind of city this is. Of course, this immigrant will also find himself in a politically protected slum that exists just so its gazillion residents can vote for leaders with the charm of roadkill and the maturity of a Roadies contestant. Because that’s also the kind of city this is.
Given the current scenario, maybe I should make an extra effort to explain how and why I’m a loyal Mumbaikar. Then again, as a true Mumbaikar, I just don’t have the time.
Ashish Shakya co-writes the satire show, The Week That Wasn’t. Sometimes he’s even sober while doing so.