I don’t read the newspaper. I don’t watch the news on the television or on the internet. If you ask me who the president of India is, I will say Abdul Kalam. Believe it or not, I just googled “President of India” and found out it was Pranab Mukherjee. What a shock that was. I thought Pranab Mukherjee was still the finance minister.
These kind of shocks are every day for me now. Last Christmas when I was in India, I was flicking through the channels and every other news channel was talking about Sachin Tendulkar and his cricketing career. There were also these old players who used to play in the Indian cricket team talking about how they knew Sachin as a boy. I had no idea why they were talking about Sachin out of the blue because the Indian cricket team was losing ever single match they played. This made me think Sachin Tendulkar died. I was later told that he was retiring from international cricket. In spite of all this I still struggle to understand why anybody will waste their time reading the newspaper if he/she didn’t want to ace the comprehension section in the GRE. I rather watch the discovery channel instead of the news on the television.
I live in the UK now and when I came to India for Christmas my Indian friend had to tell me this:
Macha is used like bro or dude in a South Indian language called Tamil (I have readers from the UK you see). Macha actually means brother-in-law. Here macha is my buddy whose name I cannot reveal for my own personal safety)
Macha: The British rule of India was the greatest tragedy in the history of our country.
See my macha knew how I would respond. He also knew I don’t read the newspaper leave alone the editorial columns and he purposely brought this up so he could show off.
Me: Apidi solladha macha (Don’t say like that dude). The British did give us a few good things like the railway system and roads.
Macha: Do you know why they built the railway system and roads? The British used the railways to move grains to the ports during a time when there was great famine. It caused the death of millions of Indians.
Me: Oh. I did not know that da.
Macha: That is why you should read the newspaper. Otherwise you will have a flawed world view like this.
Me: Dei idhukum adhukum enna sambandham? (What is the connection between reading the newspaper and my worldview.)
Macha: Pinne enna da, you are in a way saying that if the British had not colonized India, we would not have developed.
I usually nod my head and don’t bother telling people my world view. But when my world view itself was mocked, I just had to tell him.
Me: I am not saying that. I know that the British did a lot of bad things, but the way every Indian should see the British is the way you see Nisha. (Nisha is macha’s ex girl friend.)
Macha: Nisha va edhuku da summa illukere? (Why are you dragging Nisha into this?)
Me: Macha, when you were in a relationship with her, you hated her, you felt exploited and you even wasted your money buying her food in the name of going out on a date.
Macha: Dei kadupu ethadha! (Don’t irritate me!)
Me: Matter kaelu da. (Listen da.) When you finally did break up and move on with your life, you didn’t want to call your past relationship a tragedy. You instead wanted to look at the time you spent in the relationship with her and say - "some good things came out of something bad."
Macha: How the hell is Nisha like the British?
Me: Indha British pasangalam Nisha madhri dhan. (India’s story with the British is also like your relationship with Nisha). Your ex girl friend gave you maturity, the British gave Indians the railways. I am not saying it is the best thing that ever happened, all I am saying is we are looking into some of the good thing that came out of something bad.
Macha: Onne kitta poi sonnane parru, enna serupala adikanam. (For telling you this, I should remove whatever I am wearing on my feet and hit myself with it.)
Me: Onna yarru scene poda sonnadhu. (Who asked you to show off.)
In India, there are people who think reading the newspaper every day somehow increases their IQ. Macha was one of them. What these people fail to understand is that just because someone doesn’t know about something, doesn’t mean that they are not intelligent enough to talk about it.
I am sticking with my new year resolution by posting every Sunday. However, I post in GMT so that it might be Monday In India, when I post here in the UK.
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