Cannot put my finger on the apt word to describe what has happened, continues to happen, to us as a Nation. I scratching my head till my fingers have gone sore and a scalp that is smarting on account of the vigorous aerobics. Skewed? Slant? Awry? Wonky, yes! That best labels it. It’s been over ten days since the Navratras or better known, nowadays as, Navratris came to an end. And thankfully, no more Navratri Thali pictorial ads in your face while opening your morning paper. One has an array of eateries to pick from come Navratri, that you are spoilt for choice. Dominos and the likes, offer a special base for their Navratri Pizzas, a Kuttu grain one, with toppings custom-built for on the High-Vigilance Faster; aah, and it is not the regular cheese that has made its way into our palates from the West but indigenous cheese, something of a paneer base with not, but of course, the regular superfluity of salt. Salt, if so, is of the permissible sort. Could it be salt deep-sea dived from some tailor-made source?

After turning my head inside out, continue to remain at sea, with this question nauseatingly bobbing up and down, leaving myself zero seconds away from a full-blown migraine. Namaskar, cross that, Hello/Hi ? Why go through the process of fasting if you cannot do without your daily fix of fast-food fresh off the industrial carousel. The sustenance not our own — this nosh flown in from good old U.S. of A, these days better known as Trump Homeland. Our own desi restaurants — down to the Papa-Mama shops — have to follow their phoren masters in the in-reflex Pavlovian effect so that they do their own kind of branding offering meals on lush-green banana leaves with cutlery (for those who are too finicky to use their fingers) made of wood, in the same mould of the ice cream spoons furnished by our Ice cream wallah with possibly a Saboodana Ladoo thrown in free, perhaps wrapped with an auspicious mauli thread. Nothing like the real McCoy, ethnicity requires no veracity. Before further heading into the embracing of the American way of life, right down to the archetypal shrugging of shoulders, the standard rolling of eyes over a bone-honest query it is mandatory as in persondatory, to touch on the egg issue during our nine-day fasting or observing Navratras. Non-Vegetarian fare naturally is not anywhere on the table but think eggs and you are accosted with the scenarios enumerated.

Jog down to your next door grocery store, ask for half a dozen eggs and be prepared to be met with a scathing holier-than-thou look wishing that, that very nano-second the sun would evaporate you. Or, if you still cannot do away with your high- protein breakfast during this period, surreptitiously head to a shop where anonymous you can buy the case and flee despite the feeling of being judged stridently ignoring the directly oblique way you are looked upon. Final Scenario: enter whichever shop, and procure the eggs without a care. This done, guilt-free. Now for the million dollar question — yes, dollar, and not our own home-grown rupee — how is it that the Fourth of July has been prominently pencilled into our psychic calendar and there are momentous discounts at so many Malls in the capital patriotically singing sales on designer wear down to footwear of the Jimmy Choo variety; and so very many restaurants hoisting table cloths cut out from the American flag with pipe music of the Yankee Doodle mixed bag blaring in the background offering you the All-American Diner experience with a banana split sundae thrown in with marshmallows if you so fancy. Hello???

At this precipitated stage, all I can say is bring in Freud. Or maybe Jung is a better bet. Some urgent psychoanalysis needed.

When, and how did American Independence Day become a part of our celebrations?! To be marketed unabashedly? Been witnessing so for the past so many years while commuting home with the radio parroting “it’s time to party broadcasting” and yet again, the pull-out sheets of your daily paper publicising how to make most of America’s Independence Day by canoodling the shop-till-you-drop way of life on this opportune rosy day not to ignore the post-consumerist satiation, their grab-grub-gulp-go dining culture. Globalisation, definitely does not purport that we stash our own passports into some black-hole locker and Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, willing a passport beaming the Eagle Emblem to wing itself to our domestic address thereby knighting (sorry, that is British) nominating us as honorary citizens. A case of some X-Factor Gene Mutation, as far-flung as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Commercial Spaceline.

At this precipitated stage, all I can say is bring in Freud. Or maybe Jung is a better bet. Some urgent psychoanalysis needed. Another surpassingly strange celebration that has been implanted as our own in Delhi (or perhaps, Mumbai too) amongst sprogs and yes, those adults pathetically un-accepting of the numerous birthday bashes they have repeatedly spent turning 40 is Halloween.

October 31st is where Ghosts, Ghouls, Witches, Wizards and Vampires are doing the rounds with these apparitions throwing back tequila shots till the sun bursts out and they sluggishly return to their coffins and dungeons to re-emerge nocturnally. (Not a page from J.K.Rowling’s, Harry Potter.)

Is it not time to graft some sense unto our diminishing grey matter? Instead of tiptoeing around it over chai and samosas or wine and cheese? View this sprightly schizophrenia with bifocals. And then perhaps, some sociologist could massage some sense into us. Recalling Max Mueller, “If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed…I shall point to India. 

Until then, I wish I could miracle myself away to live in Bhutan, where till some years back, I heard they revelled in their own culture, holding on tight to it lest they lost themselves. Want to share the trip?

Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *