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Something Marathi (old post)

Have you ever seen a watchdog that is so rapt in guarding the neighbour’s property, that a burglar has a free hand over its own? If your answer is “no” then now is your chance! These new-age watchdogs roam the streets freely, barking at passers-by and chasing cars. They have taken upon themselves the heavy burden of preserving this countries great heritage and culture. Unfortunately, they weren’t at their grandmothers’ side when she told stories of chivalry and kindness, friendliness and hard work! They also missed the “global village” lecture from their contemporaries. Can’t blame them really, who has the time for such naive fairytales when there are so many disco-going women and valentines-day celebrating youngsters to attack?

I had the opportunity to speak to one of these political biggies, about the “Marathi-manoos” agenda. This is what he patiently explained- they come to our state because their government provides zero infrastructure. They have planned to take over Mumbai! They live in ghettos, hoot at our girls and pick fights with our men. And when all other means fail, violence must be used to make them see that we are not going to surrender what its ours-Mumbai!
So I guess this has nothing to do with harbouring votes? And of course, I am lead to believe that no man of maharashtrian origins comes to Mumbai in search of a job, no Marathi manoos ever eve-teases and he is a value-indoctrinated gandhian, who shies away from a fight.
I do not understand why it is so hard for some people to accept differences? Your culture is your own, and no one can take it away from you! And problems like ghettoization of cities, eve-teasing and violence need to be tackled irrespective of ethnicity.
I do not live in an idealistic world; I think it does rankle when your beloved homeland is overrun by outsiders. But violence only builds hatred. In my opinion, integration is a better option. There is so much we can learn from one another. The “baniyas” of our land have more than a lesson or two in book-keeping, customer service and entrepreneurship to teach wallmart. The dabba-wallas of Mumbai can have their own little seminar on communication and efficiency in a vast organisation. Did you know that they operate on six-sigma, which is a B-school concept (which means there is only one mistake in a million stages)

And do not get me wrong, I love this place, I love its people. The language is one of the most colourful in the world! The accents are fascinating (when confined to the appropriate language). Theatre and folk songs are enticing. I cannot imagine my favourite meal complete without “sukat”, “bengan bharith”, “batatyachi bhaji”, “kolhapuri mutton”, “gawar”( ok so I am passionate about food!) And beat this- I have worked in close quarters with a lot on non-sophisticated villagers, and their lack of discomfort in carrying out a bi/tri lingual conversation with me is endearing.( not wishing to subject them to my dismal Marathi skills, I replied to their “gouthi-marathi” in English or hindi. So it looks like its not a major part of this lands culture to alienate visitors- sit up and take notice!

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