Saturday, December 12, 2009

The 2 'states' of my life

Though not nearly as noisy as its insect connotation, cricket the game is a religion and let me use it to set a bookmark in the modern history of mankind.


Arguably the best and most remembered year after 1947, India's independence that is.


Three years, four months and fifteen days after India brought the previous, and with it, the next World Cup home, I opened my eyes, blinked oddly at the world, got confused and let out an almighty wail. As I started gulping down the bone dry Hyderabadi air to amplify the intensity of my bawling, little did I realize that one day I would feel just as confused to enter the city of my birth.


Place:NITIE, Mumbai

After taking the BIG LEAP to face the West, NITIE welcomed me with open gates. NITIE is a place where apart from placements - which anyway went brilliantly for us thanks to silly people who wanted to build big houses in the US - there are only 2 things which have attained cult status - timepass and Gults. Now, thanks to my way of doing things and what I speak, I was an inalienable element of both the sets. Everybody does the timepass part. It is of very less significance, if any.

But being a Gult in a multicultural society is an onerous responsibility. Upholding the traditions bequeathed by the seniors is no easy task. Firstly, you had to have the 'aura' of a Gult and you had to be a natural at recognizing fellow Gults, just going by their 'aura', even before you even had a semblance of an eye contact with them. The 'aura' part is difficult to explain. A simple example. Even if you show a printout of this piece of prose to another Gult, it shall be instantly recognized as having written by a Gult.

And there was the "speak-only-Gult-the-world-can-go-to-hell" task to be executed like clockwork. No matter how other people perceived you, you had to steadfastly stand by your 'principles' and 'values' with dogged determination.

There was (and is) this time when after having gotten sick of seeing billboards in Hindi and English, even a movie poster in the mother tongue seen through the muggy windows of a BEST bus seemed like Rasna International to a parched tongue. Gult movies were rare French delicacies, caviar or whatever it's called. And then there were these Hyderabad vs Mumbai IPL games where we looked like Earthlings in Mars wearing a Mumbai Indians shirt and rooting for... you know who. I had the absolute and delightful freedom to hurl abuses at everybody, quietly and loudly. Who cared! Nobody could understand me, remember?

Being branded a 'Gult' somehow made me recklessly proud instead of the usual 'raising an outcry condemning the racial discrimination on a linguistic basis' type of reaction. And yes, there was the usual "Abey, tu Hindi bhi bol leta hai?" look and exclamation, a feeling of utter surprise that I was not duffer when it came to comprehending and speaking the national language. All the bragging was about how great the roads were in Vizag, how Hyderabad was the blue-eyed-boy for IT in India, how atleast one person in every Gult family is a Green Carded software pro in' the States', et al. Whenever I told people that my hometown was a 10 hour train journey from Hyderabad, there was this foggy expression in their face that said "AP itna bada state hai??". There was the all time favourite that was a must in all dance parties "Aa ante Amalapuram" and all the impressing people stuff by telling them that Amalapuram is just a stone's throw away from my hometown. There have been times when hardcore northies had asked me to forward ringtones of Bommarillu. And of course there were the Angrez and Hyderabadi Nawabs and all the impersonations. All in all, I had seen it all!


Place: Some place near the Bandit Queen's birthplace

Tracking a truck that was sent to Hyderabad which did not reach the destination within the designated time, I had an excuse given to me by the transporter that because of the 'political and social unrest' in Hyderabad, the consignment was getting delayed. When I told him that he could give up lying to me because I belonged to the place, I got a question as a reply "Aap Hyderabad se hain?"

As I watch the saga unfold on Nirantara Vaartaa Sravanti TV 9, there is this feeling of divided loyalties that is coming up within me. Should the place that I call the place of my birth my home, or should the place that I call my home be the one to which I truly belong?

Still pondering...

(Disclaimer: The above content is the same run-of-the-mill blah blah...)


Paresh Masade said...


Pavan K Pandrangi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pavan K Pandrangi said...

I just finished reading Chetan Bhagat's 2 States and I started on this.

Quite interesting, in fact nostalgic :O I loved to be reminded of those standard phrases ;)
True, being a gult @ NITIE has to do a lot about 'aura' :D

But then politics is bigger than the 'aura of the gults', it knows no logic bigger than self-gain..

Pissed I surely am..but then hope doesn't die so fast either !

vastav said...

well put...same experiences ikkada kuda...especially surprise part when we speak hindi