It is a motley group of 30 people all from different parts, places, areas and walks of life. Yet the minute I stand up and say “Hi! I’m Manognya Bethapudi” I knew what was going to happen…
A second look followed by filing me in that part of the brain which was related to Idli, Sambhar and more recently Kolaveri Di..10 seconds into the acquaintance and everyone already expects to know from me that I’m a homely, shy girl with a veshti wearing, ash smearing dark and potbellied man for a father and a Kanjeevaram clad Gold bazaar &horticulture endorsement for a mother; pack in Ranji for a brother and there you go! Its the perfect recipe for a happy little “Madrasi” family from madras but unfortunately they wake up in your neighbourhood every morning to the tune of M. S. Subbalakshmi (obviously).
One fine day, the topic of discussion was none other than women and their myriad hairstyles. As always it was decided beforehand that I being a Madrasi couldn’t do with other than having well oiled and plaited hair. Moreover, it would be nothing less than blasphemy if I removed even a part of my jewellery (I ask: which) because after all, it was as necessary to live as the air I breathe
This reminds me of another basic necessity, food. You see, we Madrasis eat only Idli, Sambhar and wada along with hot filter coffee at all times of the day. And as my favourite author “Mr Chetan Bhagat” has kindly pointed out the guests are always offered noise polluting snake savouries.
I can go on like this forever with instances of blatant ignorance on the part of fellow Indians who despite liberalization, globalization, Infosys, recession, Unnikrishnan, Dr Devi Shetty and many more, are definitely not ready to accept that a Madrasi a.k.a South Indian is no different than them with the same red blood flowing through their veins and not some spiced up plasma!
Let’s hope that in the years to come people accept a south Indian just as they are... not above them and never below them…