Monday, 23 February 2009

In which I turn Super religious and caste conscious..

Pavement outside a mall, 0230 hrs.
A street side vendor selling tea and paranthas. His "stall", a cart, is flanked by three four cars, a motley crew of people and a police jeep. Everyone is busy digging into their late night parantha or sipping their lazy glass of tea.
Enter me,with waist length hair, with two friends; Sahil- a 6'3" fellow with a rattail, Prabhat - with a tiny ponytail.
The police eye us, talk to each other..

Police man : Hey you.Where are you from ?
Us : This neighbourhood.
Police man : You don't look like you are from this neighbourhood. Men from our place have hair that befit men.
Other policemen snigger inside the jeep

Prabhat : We are from this neighborhood. We stay at ..
Sahil : I am from Bombay.
Police man : Oh. That explains it.
[looks at me] And you ?
Me : Calcutta.

Looks of acknowledgement and profundity exchanged between the policemen in the jeep.

Police man : Why do you have such long hair ?
Me : I have made a vow for wish fulfillment at the temple.
Police man : Which temple ?
Me : Kamakhya, in Assam.

Silence descends on the policemen in the van. Another one comes up with an observation.

Police man : And the goatee ? That is a vow too ?
The other policemen snigger again.

Me : No, that is for no reason. Just felt like it.

Silence again. Yet another observant policeman quips in.

Police man : Why do you wear ear rings ?
Me : I am a Brahmin. In our region, you are supposed to pierce your ears during the sacred thread ceremony.
Police man : Here only lower castes wear ear rings.
Me : [faking amusement] Oh ok.

Vendor : Your tea is ready.

We proceed to the tea stall. Fake smiles and good byes to the policemen.

Sahil : It always works..religious bullshit.
Me : It does.


  1. yup... religion always works. i just say i'm a sardar who doesn't speak any punjabi.

  2. Why can't people just let others be the way they want to be out of their personal choices, I wonder. Policemen have to prove they are genuine nosepokers, isnt it?

  3. I wish i knew the answer to that why..but I do not.

  4. Lol....finally a social use for religion after many centuries that actually get people out of tight situations for personal idiosyncrasies rather than get them into more trouble. Good one!

  5. well I have a different take on this.. we the so called "hep and educated class" choose to embrace whatever we feel to be kewl and rebel.. considering most of the late night on duty cops coming from class B and C town.. it is perfectly fine from their side to be curious and amused ... its just the exposure you see.. I don't mind them grilling as long as they are awake and do their work... and yes Religion does work wonder..just like Sex..

  6. @Prithvi
    what good is our education if we do not find anything wrong when one of our constitutional rights is violated ?
    perhaps we often mistake earning a few degrees as education.

  7. well in my two cents on this is ... no point getting overboard with fundamental rights... my country is facing violation of fundamental rights at much severe level then queries on length of someone's hair.. All I am saying democracy, fundamental rights... value system all are novel concepts but should be judged with an appreciation of perspective.. and India perspective is with 1 billion plus multi ethnic and cultural population importance of fundamental rights of keeping long hair can be negotiated

  8. a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse country...should not the perspective accommodate variations in the archetype..rather than holding your vision of it sacrosanct?

    unless we get out of this us/them loop, we'll never forge a "we" that is strong enough to stand up to the severe violations you speak of..we will just shrug it off..saying it happens to "them", not to "us"