I is for Inhibition

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money… but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it – I will not look for you, I will not pursue you… but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you… and I will kill you.
-Liam Neeson (Taken)

The above quote is of my all time favorite movie dialogues. It has nothing to do with the post below. But it starts with I, and I just had to put this in. Give me a shout-out, if you know what I mean.

Okay, the real post starts NOW….

When I joined Tech Mahindra, in April 2011, I was still a young boy who had a chip on his shoulder. I was a little green under the ears, and it was the first time, I was so far from home alone. I was in Pune, for my initial training, and from the looks of it, was destined to move to Bangalore after it was finished.

I was one of the only two students that had come down from Delhi for our training. All around me were people who came from a different culture, a different language, a different life style, much different from what I was accustomed too. Most of them (around 25 of 37) came from the same college in Chennai. We were all Indians, but the similarity ended there it seems, they didn’t understand me and I sure as ***** didn’t understand them; they could have used the biggest expletives in their tongue on me and I still would have smiled right back at them (not to say I couldn’t do the same). After 23 years of my being, I was the minority for a change. I was different from the other 31 people in my batch of 37.

When you are on the other side of the playing field, it takes a bit getting used to. Mis-directed laughter seems to be pointed at you. Every gaze raises suspicion and there is an inherent feeling that you are going to be discriminated against. They do not watch the movies that you do, they haven’t been to the places you have been, and they don’t eat the food that you do. Amitabh’s dialogues, Delhi’s C.P., Dehradun’s Momo; nothing strikes a chord. It’s like going through peer pressure all over again.

Source: x-centricmodels.com
Source: x-centricmodels.com

Slowly however the truth dawns upon you. They felt the same when they had come to Delhi, and you knew that. You had tried helping them, laughing at some of their mistakes (always in good humor), and telling them how things rolled up here in the north. Just like I would brand anyone who comes from the South as a South Indian (irrespective of the fact that they spoke Malayalam, Telugu or Kannada) they had done the same. A Bhopali was no different to them than a Delhite would have been and they were trying to help too, knowing that we were uncomfortable around them and tried as much as possible to reduce that feeling.

Then once you get a hold of your breath, you look at the big picture. You are a minority only for 8 hours each day, while they are in a town which predominantly speaks Hindi. They are in as much danger to be slighted by an Auto-Wala as you are in being played upon by one of them. This is when you begin to see them for what they really are. Boys are still boys, loving a fag and slapstick boyish humor. Girls are still girls, private and yet privy to praise. You are in this together with them. They also have to keep on going on in English without any native slang thrown in for you to understand them, they also have to keep up with your occasional blabber in your mother tongue, they also have to say no to things which they haven’t heard of and you have prayed to all your life. Finally, about half way through your training, you find yourself speaking to yourself, “We Indians aren’t that different are we.” And then grin.

I find it difficult to find a politically correct conclusion to this which isn’t cheesy, and so after pressing backspace for a while, I give up. It’s for you to decide what this blog meant to you (apart from utterly boring and lengthy). This was something I had wanted to share without sounding preachy or biased; you might not connect with this as much I did, but maybe someday you will, or at worst find a fitting parallel.

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44 thoughts on “I is for Inhibition

    • I understand Miriam, I have been living in Bangalore (2000 miles from my home) for 2 years now, and this is hands down a better city than Delhi (nearer to my hometown)..but yet I yearn to go back…such is the human mind/heart.

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  1. Actually I thought your post brought out one key thing very well – in the end it doesn’t matter where you come from or live, we are all Indians. A nice easy read.

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    • I didn’t mean to be radical either Laxmi. I wanted people to draw their own conclusion, join the dots in any way they want.
      -Ayush

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  2. This is something most of us could relate to; especially those in the IT field. Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad could very well form a Bermuda triangle for techies ( or some other polygon with a fancy name if you add in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Trivandrum… you know.. 😉 ). But hey! that’s the beauty of our country. If nothing else, you get to learn quite a few languages. So much for dexterity. 🙂

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    • In 2 years I have learned the following words:
      Illaye : Means NO
      Da: means Yaar
      Madi: means DO
      Chumma: means Non-sense..
      I hope you are faring better.
      -Ayush

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      • Probably and hopefully so..I have been in B’lore for near 2 years now. I did put in some effort, buying a Kannada for dummies kind of stuff and all :D.
        It also helps a little that I am from Kerala – not that there is any resemblance in the languages – I can vouch for that – but you do sort of get the drift where a conversation is going :). Good luck with the diversity stuff.
        PS: A couple of those words you listed are Malayalam. Your vocab has probably become a concoction 😛

        – VV

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    • Finally someone who loves that quote….and I thought bloggers didn’t watch good movies…I use different versions of it in my life…Freaking awesome that movie.. I have a copy of it on my laptop…

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  3. years back we shifted to Delhi from Salem (Tamilnadu) . i was in 8th standard and I could relate to all your feelings/misgivings. Being called as a madrasi or given the boot only becoz of being unable to converse freely in hindi I did see it all. But like you said, it’s just a phase. Then begins ‘ connecting the dots’ – we humans have the same insecurities, struugles at the end of the day. We falter n fumble but pick up and move. Make bonds and basically rock. I loved this post

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    • It would have been much more difficult for you…being a kid…at least I was the confident young me at that time. I applaud your strength and will….having said that Delhi is a great place to grow up in…if you can avoid the streets after 10pm 😛
      -Ayush

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  4. I very well connect.
    I am a south Indian but the same truth dawned upon me when I went to Delhi 😛 all same same like U told. I love dilli haat and CP’s flavored milk as much as I love bisibellebath and dosa here. I dont under stand either Kannada or tamil.. I manage with telugu I know and Hindi which I can talk and english which we all like to use in our own unique way 😀
    One thing is for sure that am more comfy here. Nevertheless during my job training and since then i too figured out wat ever u wrote

    GOod one ashish

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    • So many compliments, but what makes my heart cringe, is that you got my name wrong…..its Ayush…Ashish is my brother…and he hates writing.
      😛

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  5. Having lived in various parts of the country thanks to my Dad being in the Army, it is hard to see India anything but one country – despite all the variety of food, language, customs that exist. What always made grated was North Indians calling all people south of Nagpur ‘Madrasis’!

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    • Its the other way around in bangalore. Anyone north of Nagpur, comes from Delhi. My father was a police officer, so we had our share of travels too.
      -Ayush

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    • Thanks Sulkeha. Try as I might I cant bring myself to learn the native languges here. I am just down right lazy. As I was telling Vaisakhv before, I hve leant a few, and I make do.
      -Ayush

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  6. Hail Liam!

    Well, given my crabbiness today, I almost took umbrage, being South Indian and all. Then it dawned on me that I was thinking of Hindi gaalis in my head while taking umbrage! That’s as melting pot as you could get eh? 🙂 In the end I was almost singing patriotic songs!

    Cheers dude. Peace out!

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    • I am just glad, that you didnt post some of those Hindi words down in the comments. Patriotic songs huh! Looks like I did a good job
      -Ayush

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  7. Haven’t been in a work environment before. But, there was a time when I was in college and we considered North Indians to be cool as they had more freedom with wearing fashionable clothes. South was more rigid. Living in Ahmedabad and Mumbai has made me realize there is hardly any difference.

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    • Interesting, I actually think the same, that people from the North have much more freedom, but I always put it down to the fact that we are further from our family, and hence are less controlled. BTW I think Ahemdabad is an awesome place to live..Where do you put up these days.

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    • Yes Tolerance and big smile, go a long way. You have to know when to put down, but I believe people are inherently nice, until they do something to the contrary.
      Thanks for dropping by (I have noticed your likes before)..May your comments become more regular.
      -Ayush

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  8. I understand. Oh how I understand. I have been in this position as well and for the first few weeks I stuck out like a green thumb ! But in the end I learnt that we all are similar to each other .. we all have the same insecurities, inhibitions and fears !

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  9. It’s a wonderful post that we should try and see similarities in others rather than differences. The same can be extrapolated to Indians versus the rest of the world. Instead of ridiculing other ideas, we should try and listen and maybe gain different insights!

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  10. you know.. when two things collide… they create himalaya’s but as time settled… they become beautiful ! 😀

    its ok I guess… we all are like that !

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  11. That’s one of my favourite quotes. I keep quoting that often, the last line..”I will find you and O’ll kill you” 😛
    Can I just say that I felt the same even when I was around my own Andhra friends, I can’t tell them a Sheldon joke or that BigB’s dialogue without feeling like a total nut. But then, after they are sufficiently bored, they go and see what I was referring to and come out pleasantly suprised because they like it. In return, I try and listen to some Telugu songs and tell them how I felt and privately badmouth the lyrics in my blog 😀 I don’t consider myself a NI or SI, I am just an Indian.

    Could so relate to this. Good one Ayush!

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