Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pea-brains, paisa and peanuts

While going to the gym this morning, which is right next to a college, I saw some young guys getting out of a car. From their appearance, I could make out they were Marwaris. They came out of a swanky car and were dressed (rather unflatteringly) in the latest fashions of the season. My instant reaction was “There go the brainless usurpers of Kolkata.”

But then, I stopped myself. Who was I kidding?

We have been brought up to believe that Bengalis are this great race who are intellectually so superior to the rest of India that mundane things like money don’t matter to us. We dazzle the world with our intellectual brilliance and bask in that glory.

One may say that this is a belief held by the previous generation, since they are from the times when they could confidently say ‘What Bengal thinks today, the rest of India thinks tomorrow.” But what about our generation? In spite of all our education and rationalism, we do have an unconscious sense of superiority which makes us look down in a kind of reverse snobbery on all those who are rich and powerful – most of them being from the Marwari community.

But on what rational basis does this sense of superiority rest? Can we really call the people who are working in the same industrial environment and using the same resources to make millions more than any of their Bengali counterparts (maybe with a few exceptions) pea-brained? Haven’t we all noticed the excellent attitude they have towards their customers – you only have to visit a shop run by a Bengali and one run by his Marwari counterpart to understand why people will always come back to the latter.

One may argue that being more culturally inclined, the Bengalis are not interested in money. Let’s not kid ourselves. All of us want our ACs, cars, movies at Inox, designer clothes and the works. Even the most intellectual of Bengalis will not refuse an AC refuge in the energy-sapping, clothes-sticking-to-the-body heat of summer. Let alone creature comforts, the more cerebral pursuits, like travel for instance (I dream of visiting Europe and watching the sunset at the Parthenon), need money. So, if we want these things and don’t have the means to get them, of what good is our so called superiority?

The way I see it, the boys I saw this morning, whether pea-brained or not, will go on to make some serious money. While I, with all my genetically ingrained sense of superiority, will still be counting peanuts.


At 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There, you've nailed it to the 'p'.

At 2:21 AM, Blogger Mind over Matter said...

Didn't think I'll feel so sad at getting something right!

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Neil said...

The malady of our existence - either side of the perimeter fence, is wired with barbs, blades and beliefs - its like the place that we used to be - never changing, never altering - like a faint trickle of "adjectives" dribbling out of our sleeping minds...


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