Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Indian Crisis, and all & all.

I always figured i'd get my first Death Threat sometime before I kick the proverbial bucket... who knew that it would be this soon! (Getting a death threat that is, not kicking the bucket)

For those who know me, and most of you do, you will know that i'm a cynic and a sarcastic bastard at the best of times. At the worst of times, I border on the mindset of a Fox News reporter.
My Twitter and Facebook status updates bares testament to this.

Today was no different to my average Saturday morning.
I woke up and looked at my appointment book, then sent out text messages of apologies to clients I knew would annoy my weekend before it even began.
"Dear Sir/Madam. I wont make todays meeting as my dog is missing & the missus is distraught with grief. Thank you for your understanding."
For some reason, bringing a helpless pet into the reasoning always seems to work.

The clients I do want to see always get the personal touch on weekends.
No sending out my Project Managers to see them. I see them myself.
So it was today, and I decided to stop at a nearby pharmacy to pick up some lozenges before beginning my day.
Now I certainly didn't plan that I would be attended to by a rather chirpy Indian saleslady.
She greeted with a toothy "Hullo" and within seconds I thought i'd stepped into a time-machine and ended up in Mahatma Ghandi's kitchen!
I totally missed the middle bit of her sentence, and just barely caught the tail-end which had something to do with how her Gran cooks a strong fish curry to get rid of a sore throat.

Needless to say, I updated my Twitter and Facebook status to read, and I quote:
"Indians have been in South Africa for 150 years already, yet some still speak like they just stepped off the ship! Like WTF? "

There you have it.
That comment right there seemed to have inspired people of all races and cultures to either break out in laughter, or become violently opposed to me and have a burning desire to see me killed, dead.

One of my favourite responses was from a guy whose username already indicated to me what ladder of the social rung he was stuck on.

Idiot : What the F&*k bra! How you chooning about the Indians... Dont dala, we'll f&*king assinate you ekse.
Me : Don't you mean "assassinate" ?
Idiot : Ja, don't get funny ekse.
Me : I thought only famous people get assassinated?
Idiot : I'll make you famous bra! Dont dala!

I'm still not sure whether this guy really likes me or hates me...

Here's the thing I don't understand.
We have no problem laughing at other's, but as soon as the joke is on us, we tend to lose our sense of humour.
The number of negative responses I got were certainly a minority, but as soon as I indicated that I too was an Indian, poking fun at other Indians, they seemed to have lost their sense of tension and aggression.
I think it's a dangerous society we live in when we first have to ascertain the race, culture or creed of the person behind a comment before we invoke a response.

It reminds me of a song I once overheard being sung by a kid standing behind me at the movies.
It was an American rap song laced with vulgarity and racial slurs, and the person behind me singing it happened to be a young white kid. The lady directly behind him tapped him on the shoulder, waited as he turned his iPod down, and cautioned him about singing the word "Nigger" in public.
Now I get that. I totally get that.
It sounds offensive even to myself who is not a black man, and can never fully relate to the experiences of those who had to endure the word being used on them in all its negative connotations.
But it did leave me wondering what would have transpired had the kid singing the song behind me been black.
Would he still have been cautioned?
Would I still have felt as uncomfortable as I did previously?

I guess there will always be more questions than answers.
For me though, I think we should start by being able to laugh at ourselves.
Only then will we have the right to laugh at others.
I'd love to read your comments on this.

From a recent mail I received ...
We all like to cook a good chow. So here is a simple Charou’s guide to cooking some lukker fresh fowl curry.
Bruin Ou’s Please DO NOT try this at home coz yawl are bound to cause speeches.
Here are the simple steps:
1.       Go to Fowl Aunties pozzie and choose wun lukker fresh cut cull (Fowl).
2. Wood, this is the very important part of the cooking preparation:
-On the way to buying the wood, always ask the question “What we gonna dop”
-The best place to buy the wood is Spar, because next to every Spar there is a….. ‘TOPS’
-Important* Buy firelighters, coz Charous cant light fire….period
3. So now that you have the two most important things (Chicken & Dop) the rest will follow shortly
4. As soon as you enter the house, make a noise on how busy the shop was, coz your vrou gonna ask you why you took so long
5. Before you start preparing….make sure you choon your vrou who you met in Spar…and that you invited them for a Fresh Fowl curry chow
6. Take wun onion and place it on the chopping board, then go to the radio and switch on Radio Lotus, coz every Charou mus listen to Mrs Chetty’s whole families dedication right.
7. Come back to the chopping board, and scream at the top of your voice to your vrou…”You gort Chillies”
8. This will also tell you where about she is in the house and how far from the kitchen she is.
9. Next, take wun tumbler from cupboard….crack open that bottle of ‘Black & White’ (Charous choice dop), DO NOT forget to pour for the dead. Then pour wun lukker valve opener shot in the tumbler and tint it with some government dash (water). Rush that thing down and wipe your mouth quickly.
10. Now that the blood is flowing nicely, cut the onions into thin slices and keep it in wun saucer with a few green chillies, biryani mix, and the all important curry leaves.
11. Gravy soakers, UTD potatoes are a must, Charous love BUSTING petetoes so peel at least 5, cut in have and we will have….?
12. By this time your vrou gonna come into the kitchen and ask if you need help….choon her to make some bhajias for bites, shes gonna choon you voetsak and she will leave the kitchen….this is your window of opportunity to pour wun nother cracker shot
13. Time to light the fire
14. Pick up all the packets, buckets and old cloths yawl pushed in the fire place for storage, whilst you there pick up all the stompies as well.
15. Place the firelights in the tray and some decent pieces of wood and flame it with that extra big box of matches you have next to the fire place. If your laaities are around watching you, choon them about the good old days when yawl used chimtas and newspaper to start a fire for making water hot. Keep that pot lid handy for fanning.
16. Now that the fire is chooning and the dop is also chooning, vye sook wun decent size pot, make sure you put handy andy on it otherwise your vrou will have a hard time washing it.
17. Add some oil (straight from the 5lt Sunflower bottle)
18. When the oil is hot chuck in your onions, chillies, biryani mix (bay leaves, cinnamon etc) otherwise you gonna get the kauchi smell
19. Throw in the curry leaves, when the onions are slightly tinted like whiskey in water…..add some of your secret masala your mother-in-law mixed for yawl when yawl vyed Durban
20. Be careful don’t burn the masala.
21. Add the fresh cut chicken into the pot, add wun tomato (cut in small pieces) and sum salt and ginger and garlic
22. Give it wun two good stirs, close the pot and choon Aahhhh, your vrou gonna ask whats wrong, then you choon….Time for a shot
23. Go to the kitchen and pour a legal shot.
24. By this time the visitors should have arrived….visitors always come when the fire is started, all the hard graaf is klaar and when the chow is almost ready
25. Greet your visitors, stand right by the front door and hear their stories coz there are bound to have some long stories
26. Immediately take the man outside….Choon him, Connection…come see my dhania how it’s growing
27. Pour him wun thunder shot, cos your hand is heavy by now
28. Whilst chooning, remember that you cooking and check the chow. Don’t forget to take out some chicken pieces for bites
29. Add some water to the chow, coz fresh chicken is little bit tough
30. Have wun two more shots, talk about the old days…always start the conversation with…..Remember when we were small our ballies……
31. Check the curry again, water should be gone down and the chicken should be soft, add the gravy soakers (potatoes). Do not forget to mention to the visitors how expensive wun bag of potato is gone.
32. Have another shot, because your vrou gonna come ask you if she can set the table.
33. After about 45 minutes the curry should be smelling lukkers, the potatoes should be soft and soaked with gravy.
34. Take some fresh dhania from the garden, cut it up lukkers and sprinkle it in the pot
35. Your vrou is now gonna choon ‘come eat’ and you must choon…..nor let the ladies eat first…..coz this will buy more time for wun two more slugs.

Do not forget to make carrot salad…..and remember…..ALWAYS GIVE THE VISITORS THE OLD MANGO PICKLE, KEEP THE FRESH WUN FOR HOUSE PEOPLE.