Category: Indians

Roadside Sleepers

Today, just as I was walking home, I saw by the road, something that I am so very afraid to do myself.
I saw a man sleeping. No I am not afraid of sleeping, but the idea of sleeping in public horrifies me. What if someone mugs you or steals your money?
I looked at that man, dozing off comfortably in his plastic chair.

If you live in India, you would also be familiar with the sight of drivers sleeping in parked cars while the owners are away shopping or eating or doing whatsoever. If you aren’t, just walk through a parking lot of a local market and you’ll see what I mean.

Now even though I have never been on a public bus, I see them everyday. I see the crowding, and the shoving and also, the dozing off. Sleeping on DTC buses seems like a nightmare. First of all, how can one fall asleep in a place which is so stuffed, that it is possible for people to fall out of the windows!
Secondly, how do you know that the man sitting next to you will not pull out your wallet while you are happily dreaming?

Taking advantage of the situation

And thirdly, how does one wake up when their stop arrives? Is it an instinctual thing to just wake up when you get home or is the driver kind enough to wake you up and drive you back home when he notices that you are the only one who did not get off at the last stop?

All through my 14 years at school, I have never been able to fall asleep in class! Not that I used to be extremely interested in what the teachers were saying, but simply because I was afraid of what hell i would have to go through if I were caught. (And partly because I knew that my friends weren’t kind enough to not take advantage of the situation.)

To all those who feel the same way, welcome to the club! And to all those who are trying to figure out why I’m fretting about sleeping in public, please tell me how you do it. 

The Indian Christmas


The Indian Christmas

Indians don’t like being left out of festivities.  And with so many different religions and cultures in our country, there are an indefinite number of festivals to celebrate. We manage to find stuff to do on the Indian festivals. On bigger festivals like Holi and Diwali, we freak out with sweets and parties and crackers and colours. But then come the festivals which one would call miscellaneous or etc, etc (in other words most of us have no clue what their relevance is, but are more than happy about their existence because of the random 1 day holidays that come our way due to them.) 

You may think that a day off wouldn’t be much to cherish, but you’d be surprised at how quickly these add up and take away days from our summer break and paid vacation. Normally, on those days, you’ll find people in the malls or at PVR.

But then comes Christmas. And it fits into neither category.  And that confuses us Indians. 
To the non christian Indians, it has no practical relevance whatsoever. 

But still, we don’t want to be left out. So how do we celebrate? We can’t decorate a Christmas tree. Our houses aren’t big enough to fit 2 feet tall plants inside them. We can’t go around giving presents, because we spent all our money on Diwali gifts, and we definitely can’t hang stockings in our living room, mainly because we’d find them empty the next morning baffled by the fact that Santa didn’t turn up.

So here’s what happens. Everyone ends up in the malls. Now the malls know what is going to happen. So they start commercializing, They put up huge Christmas trees, find a santa, decorate the entire area, etc. Last year one of the malls put up a castle right out out of a fairytale in their park.

I happen to live a km away from one of the big malls of New Delhi. And the 5 days preceding Christmas  saw the roads leading to the mall so jammed, that everytime I look outside I felt like I’m having a déjà vu, seeing the same set of cars outside my window, until I realized that I am looking at the same thing I saw 20 minutes ago.

So basically everyone is in the malls. It’s too cold to do anything outdoors, so there are anyways few other options. Now the malls are pretty big, but not big enough to accommodate the entire city. So as a result, there is pushing and shoving and no space to walk (or air to breathe) and suddenly, it is so hot, that you feel it isn’t winter anymore! The eating joints are in full fledged business with long waiting lines.

You would think that we’d eventually learn not to end up in the malls like we did last year, but we just CANNOT bear to be left out. We will be shoved and pushed and stuck in a traffic jam for hours at a go. 
But there is no way in hell we’ll be excluded from any sort of festivity! 

Because if the whole world celebrates, so shall we!