It’s a little late but I finally watched John Madden’s 2011 sleeper hit ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ the other day on tv. It turned out to be a predictable story. It was a big hit with left-of-centre, Guardian reading, Birkenstock wearing crowd in London. As an Indian, I couldn’t help but get irritated with the unending stream of stereotypes.
Ah well. It’s just a stupid movie.
Then, today I came across this article written by an Indian writer in the Guardian sneering at an ultramodern airport terminal built in Mumbai.
His slant was to focus on the squalor of the rest of Mumbai “The size of the average Mumbai family is 4.5 people, and the average home size is 10 square metres, so some of their most private moments transpire in the midst of a crowd.”
Now I’m no fan of Mumbai. It’s a shithole. But this sanctimonious liberal Western media really need to get their heads out of their arses.
The Airports Council International rated Mumbai’s terminal one of the best in the world, along with the new Indira Gandhi terminal, while no London terminals made the list.
In the words of one angry commenter:
“Since the British can no longer tell Indians and others how to think about India, they’ll pay an Indian writer who is more than happy to pass off British racist perceptions as his own, or dress it up in high caste “brown-face”, like Pankaj Mishra, Rohinton Mistry, and Arundhati Roy (all of whom speak for lower castes but are high caste).”
It is as if the value of India resides only in its ancient contributions to human knowledge whereas its pathetic attempts to modernise or develop are to be winked at and patronised.
We all starve; we eat monkey brains; we worship rats; we worship cows. We are noble savages.
And look at that, they’re even building an airport now. How sweet.
Did you watch The Wolf Of Wall Street? I don’t know what the critics are saying, but I enjoyed it. I found it inspiring enough to google Jordan Belfort.
True, he’s a criminal, but you’ve got to admit to become a millionaire many times over like he did, at his age, needs brains and balls. And in all his interviews, the one thing he keeps repeating is “You are not your past.”
You are not your past.
Most of our limiting beliefs come from our past experiences.
Belfort takes a triumphant view on traumatic past life experiences. You are not your past, you are the resources and capabilities you glean from it. That is the basis for all change. If you survived the worst of the worse and are still breathing, you can learn from that. The more crap from your life that you survived, the more likely that you will become great. You must change the way you look at your past. Reverse the angle. View the past as a prelude to your vision for the future.
True, we are the land of Ayurveda and Gandhi. But we are also now, in a lot of ways, not too dissimilar from urban America or Britain.
Miles and miles of urban sprawl. Check.
Malls, ATMs and Starbucks on every corner. Check.
Millions of cars and traffic gridlock. Check.
Skinny hipsters ordering egg white omlettes. Check.
Oh but you also have so many poor people. It’s the Great Divide.
You want to talk about the Great Divide?
London ranks as one of the most unequal cities in the developed world. Wider than it has been since the days of slavery. the top 10 per cent of people living in London have on average wealth worth £933,563, while the poorest 10 per cent are on average worth £3,420 – some 273 times less.
And if you think disparity isn’t a problem in America, that is just self-delusion. The highest child-mortality rate in the developed world, less social mobility even than the UK. And which country did the phrase ‘white trash’ come from? Or ‘loser cruiser’ for a public bus? No, the difference is Americans live in a state of complete denial about their rigid paralysing class structure.
While our slumdog culture, religion and the caste system are emphasised in Western discourse and movies, no mention is made of post-independence secular India’s efforts toward national integration of its minorities. No mention is made of laws and efforts against discrimination, or the country’s 60-year effort towards active inclusion of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population in educational and employment opportunities. People also forget to introspect the fact that social discrimination and prejudice has been a widespread worldwide issue, for example the treatment of African Americans in southern United States. For every Gujarat riot, there’s the Hurricane Katrina efforts, which, succinctly put, are a strategically planned failure by the US government. The 2011 London riots were caused by welfare dependence, social exclusion, lack of fathers, hooliganism, spending cuts, consumerism and racism.
You want to talk about rape? The U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics counted 188,380 victims of rape and sexual assault in a year recently. These are charged crimes. 1.3 million incidents were reported. And they say rape is one of the most grossly underreported crimes in the United States. In the UK, only 1,070 rapists are convicted every year despite up to 95,000 people suffering the trauma of rape. That means nearly 98 out of 100 rapists in the UK get away with it.
My point is, there is a lot of shit over here. But there’s a lot of shit everywhere. In the words of rapper Andre 3000, I know you’d like to thank your shit don’t stank. But lean a little bit closer, see that roses really smell like poo-poo-oo. Yeah, roses really smell like poo-poo-oo.