South Indian Men

Posted: June 11, 2005 in Arbit Thoughts

“The Travails of Single South Indian men of conservative upbringing” or “Why we don’t get any…”

Yet another action packed weekend in Mumbai, full of fun, frolic andintrospection. I have learnt many things. For example having money when none ofyour friends have any is as good as not having any. And after spending muchtime in movie theatres, cafes and restaurants I have gathered many insightsinto the endless monotony that is the love life of south Indian men. What Ihave unearthed is most disheartening. Disheartening because comprehension ofthese truths will not change our status anytime soon. However there is alsocause for joy. We never stood a chance anyway. What loads the dice againstvirile, gallant, well educated, good looking, sincere mallus and tams? (Kanduswere once among us, but Bangalore has changed all that.)

Our futures are shot to hell as soon as our parents bestow upon us names thatare anything but alluring. I cannot imagine a more foolproof way of making surethe child remains single till classified advertisements or that maternal unclein San Francisco thinks otherwise. Name him “Parthasarathy Venkatachalapthy”and his inherent capability to combat celibacy is obliterated before he couldeven talk. He will grow to be known as Partha. Before he knows, his smart,seductively named northy classmates start calling him Paratha. No woman intheir right minds will go anyway near poor Parthasarathy. His investmentbanking job doesn’t help either. His employer loves him though. He has nopersonal life you see. By this time the Sanjay Singhs and Bobby Khans from hisclass have small businesses of their own and spend 60% of their lives in discosand pubs. The remaining 40% is spent coochicooing with leather and denim cladmuses in their penthouse flats on Nepean Sea Road. Business is safely in thehands of the Mallu manager. After all with a name like Blossom Babykutty hecant use his 30000 salary anywhere. Blossom gave up on society when in schoolthey automatically enrolled him for Cookery Classes. Along with all the girls.

Yes my dear reader, nomenclature is the first nail in a coffin of neglect andhormonal pandemonium. In a kinder world they would just name the poor southernmale child and throw him off the balcony. “Yes appa we have named himGoundamani…” THUD. Life would have been less kinder to him anyway.If all the women the Upadhyays, Kumars, Pintos and, god forbid, the Sens andRoys in the world have met were distributed amongst the Arunkumars, Vadukutsand Chandramogans we would all be merry casanovas with 3 to 4 pretty things ateach arm. But alas it is not to be. Of course the south Indian women have nosuch issues. They have names which are like sweet poetry to the ravenousnorthie hormone tanks. Picture this: “Welcome, and this is my family. This ismy daughter Poorni (what a sweet name!!) and my son Ponnalagusamy (er..hello..)..” Cyanide would not be fast enough for poor Samy. Nothing Samy doeswill help him. He can pump iron, drive fast cars and wear snazzy clothes, butagainst a braindead dude called Arjun Singhania he has as much chance ofgetting any as a Benedictine Monk in a Saharan Seminary.

Couple this with the other failures that have plagued our existence. Anyattempt at spiking hair with gel fails miserably. In an hour I have a crown ofgreasy, smelly fibrous mush. My night ends there. However the northy just hasto scream “Wakaw!!!” and you have to peel the women off him to let him breathe.In a disco while we can manage the medium hip shake with neck curls, once theBhangra starts pumping we are as fluid as cement and gravel in a mixer. KaranKapoor or Jatin Thapar in the low cut jeans with chaddi strap showing and seethrough shirt throws his elbows perfectly, the cynosure of all attention. Thewomen love a man who digs pasta and fondue. But why do they not see the simplepleasures of curd rice and coconut chutney? When poor Senthilnathan opens histiffin box in the office lunch room his female coworkers just dissappear whenthey see the tamarind rice and poppadums. The have all rematerialised aroundBobby Singh who has ordered in Pizza and Garlic bread. (And they have the gallto talk of foreign origin.)

How can a man like me brought up in roomy lungis and oversized polyester shirtsever walk the walk in painted on jeans (that makes a big impression) and neonyellow rib hugging t shirts? All I can do is don my worn “comfort fit” jeansand floral shirt. Which is pretty low on the “Look at me lady” scale, justabove fig leaf skirt and feather headgear a la caveman, and a mite below KhakhiShirt over a red t shirt and baggy khakhi pants and white trainers a la Rajniin “Badsha”.

Sociologically too the tam or mallu man is severely sidelined. An average tamstud stays in a house with, on average, three grandparents, three sets ofuncles and aunts, and over 10 children. Not the ideal atmosphere for someintimacy and some full throated “WHOSE YOUR DADDY!!!” at the 3 in the morning.The mallu guy of course is almost always in the gulf working alone on someonshore oil rig in the desert. Rheumatic elbows me thinks.Alas dear friends we are not just meant to set the nights on fire. We are justnot built to be “The Ladies Man”. The black man has hip hop, the white man hasrock, the southie guy only has idlis and tomato rasam or an NRI account inSouth Indian Bank Ernakulam Branch. Alas as our destiny was determined in onefell swoop by our nomenclature, so will our future be. A nice arranged littlelove story. But the agony of course does not end there. On the first night, asthe stud sits on his bed finally within touching distance and whispers hissweet desires into her delectable ear, she blushes, turns around and whispersback “But amma has said only on second saturdays…”

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