Tuesday, May 28

Hello from the third world!



I remember reading a a tongue-in-cheek Blog post sometime back ridiculing the 

almost insane complaints and cribs Firangs and NRIs have about all things Third 

world.One of my pet peeves has always been  that someone who grew up in Mylapore 

Agraharam suddenly finds our Bisleri or "Akkafina " water beneath his dignity 

just because his company sent him off to some phoren land for couple of months on 

a project. Its a different thing that the same gentleman would  do anything to 

eat Idli-dosa or faithfully hang around temples every weekend with the sole 

purpose of bumming a plate of Puliogare or Holige. Now back in India , this 

gentleman will only eat Pizza and wash it down with Gatorade. Or better still, 

diet coke. Mc Donalds suddenly becomes a holy shrine and he will extole the 

virtues of eating hamburger and fries for dinner everyday.Today's rant, however, 

is not going to be about the  poor gentleman who had a culture shock on his first 

visit abroad , and picked up an accent as fast as a drunkard picks up a quarrel 

in a bar. It is actually going to be about how a lot of Friangs have a very low 

opinion about India. We are still a land of snake charmers and elephants, and not 

one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  

I was doing some googling on car seats , and chanced upon a forum of Firang 

mommies who were discussing their 'much dreaded' trip to India. Here's an excerpt 

of what one lady had to say about Car seats , surviving in India .. and lo and 

behold ! the lack of decent diapers in India. 

"We took our daughter to India when she was 4 months old and I had the same fear. 

MY husband and his family feels it is perfectly normal to hold your children 

while in the car.Older kids literally run around, and many children ride on their 

parents scooters with no helmets. Most of the cars I drove in did not have 

seatbelts, and if they did it was only in the front seat. We spent three months 

there and yes it was scary but we survived. You kind of adapt, you have to or you 

will be miserable. Seatbelts are the least of the changes you will exspericne. 

Which part of India are you going to? My suggestion to you is bring all the 

diapers and wipe you will need. Their diapers are horrible! Bring bug spray for 

the baby and yourself, because we were getting eaten up. And make sure to bring 

food for the baby, my daughter got so sick :( I make it sound so horrible lol, it 

is a wondeful exsperice. 

You just have to cook things well and always use filtered water. Make sure to 

give her pasterized milk, because they often use raw milk in India and that even 

made me sick"

Now, I might have actually tut-tutted and patted that lady's hand reassuringly 

had she not mentioned the diaper scenario. Yeah,we are a loud chaotic country , 

and don't give a fiddler's *art about car-seats , but we have decent diapers. I 

haven't worn a diaper myself, but  for my daughter's sake have experimented with 

every single diaper brand available and find them pretty okay. And wipes.. wtf? 

We have multi-national companies here making these things , and though I 

grudgingly have to admit that our 'export-quality' merchandise is considered too 

much for local consumption,we get by.I thought most cars have seat-belts in 

India. I remember seeing one in the most basic version of the Nano. It might not 

be mandatory for us to wear seat-belts here , but I think it is mandatory for 

manufacturers to fit every car with seat belts.This comment was posted in 2010 , 

so I am second-guessing this lady's views.And the bit about pasteurized milk is 

so difficult to imagine - even the smallest of Nair tea shops in India makes a 

ceremony out of early morning boiling of milk. 

It is rather perplexing to note that westerners or even Desi NRIs still have the 

impression that India is a hell-hole that makes them pay almost their ticket 

fare in excess baggage to bring in their favourite brand of toilet paper. 

Seriously, we have decent toilet paper. Yeah,strange and miraculous too, but we 

have western-type toilets. And movie theaters with reclinable luxury 

seats.Too bad your travel guide doesn't say so. 

We are like this vonly!   

PS: Need some help! I am not able to figure out why the second half of the post ( 

after the kind lady's quote) is highlighted. I've tried everything and can't 

remove it.. What do I do to make the offensive thingie go? 

 Edited : Thanks for your suggestion Kanthu, but now the formatting has gone for a toss.. Maybe I should just ditch blogger and migrate to Wordpress :)

14 comments:

sushmitha said...

Good read Bhargavi :) Try to remove the highlighter in the background.If it doesn't work, no other way you have to retype it :)

Kanthu said...

These people I tell you. I too have read so many articles like these. Some of them have turned into full fledged debate. Although some of them are valid points, like non-availability of clean public toilets at certain places. They also make us feel like we like in cow-shed and eat grass. :-/

And the highlighted thing, it happens sometimes when you copy the text from some other source. Copy your entire post and paste it in a notepad or textpad doc. Then copy paste it from there. :-)

Bhargavi said...

Sushmita.. Welcome here..

kanthi.. I wouldn't have minded if the lady had just said something about dirty public toilets .. but cribbing for the sake of cribbing is just so irritating.

Bhargavi said...

oops .. Kanthu.. pls pardon the typo..

Kanthu said...

have mailed you at writetobedazzled@gmail.com. Try copy pasting it. Lets see if that works. :-)

Rachna said...

Don't even get me started on these perpetual cribbers. I have lived in the US and these days you get all that stuff you mentioned and cheaper and pretty good quality too. Phoren obsession seems to be in our blood.

Sampige said...

I think these are more the mothers of today. The new NRIs. People like us, would plonk the kid on the flight as soon as he turned one year old and loved all the noise and hangama of Madras and then Mysore. My kids at 21 and 16 demand a trip to India whenever possible. All this molly coddling of kids is not good for them.
I had brought chaddis for my son from good ole Amrika, but my Mom threw a fit saying it's too thick for Madras and we went shopping to Poonam and picked up a host of them and banians on the pavement opposite Poonams. My sons turned out to be perfectly happy bachoos and love kharam stuff and make fun of people in India saying they are wimps.
Too much all this whining about food in India. Ayyo raama, drink boiled water. My sons Amrikan (white) friends have enjoyed their week long stays and traveling by busses and trains and drinking hot tea and coffee. Nobody fell sick. Nakhras too much.

Sampige said...

ps: The previous email was from your old friend, My3

Bhargavi said...

Rachna.. so true.. whatever the US can get from China we can too ;-0 .. Even the smallest of cities has these things.. Cribbers will be cribbers. ..

Bhargavi said...

Sampige .. he he ! Amrikan chaddis not good enough? That is hilarious.. I doubt if the comment was by a desi mommy , I think it was a firang.. But I have seen a lot of nakhrebaazi among the noveau rich NRIs.. Of course , I knew it was you .. Good to see you here after a long time..

Uma said...

why do they even come here if it is so bad??!!!
I know we have a long way to go in terms of many things but this was way too much!

Bhargavi said...

Uma ..:).. I guess Third-world country bashing is a favorite pastime among a lot of people ;-0

Anu said...

We can find anything and everything in India. Infact, we have a variety of international and national brands for every products. I so hate people who just keep finding faults with the country where they spent years before moving to the foreign land. I do live outside India, but I don't crib. Akkafina - LOL! Reminds me of actor vivek's comedy :D

Bhargavi said...

Anu..Yay! Glad you caught that Akkafina thingie.. I was hoping someone would notice .. ;)