E-Pao! EI - Curry and mosquitos raid

Curry and mosquitos raid

By: N Arunkumar *

My friend Athithya from Chennai is now in London. He works there in the IT sector, for a British firm. He has not been there for long, only two months, and has already sent me his first impressions about our erstwhile rulers.

The first and foremost observation he made is with regard to the number of Asians out there on the streets of London, or for that matter, the whole of Britain. What he told me was rather amusing. He said, "It looks like as if the British are now paying for their past sins".

There is a literal invasion of Asians out here he said, and they are of course, bringing a bad name for all of Asia, with a particular emphasis on India and Indians. Remember, the Virginia Tech shootings were the deed of a crazy student of Asian origin, from Korea in the States.

Indians, it seems, are the most notorious when it comes to earning a bad name to the country’s character. Well, that does not come as a surprise at all, does it? We are perhaps the most undisciplined people here on the planet.

And since, these traits of indiscipline are usually begun at home; it stays with most of us to the grave. Like the proverbial reference to the dog’s tail that never straightens up, our habits too never leave us. We live and relish in its doubtful shadows that keep following us like a faithful dog, wherever we go.

The other interesting observation he made was about the sense of insecurity that ordinary people on the street out there experience. We thought that our streets were perhaps the most dangerous and filled with pitfalls. It will give us some consolation to learn that it is not so.

Out there on the streets of London, everyone looks suspiciously at each other, and moves about with a sense of dread at unseen dangers that are lurking in their midst at all times.

The amount of security camera’s and surveillance being done on the streets with them is enough to terrify anyone, who is not used to such harsh violation of privacy, like we are. There are people here in our country, which can get away with anything, even murder and rape, without fear of being identified quickly.

And, even if identified, the penalty or consequence is not much to be worried about for them, like we have seen here in the case of high profile murders over the recent past. Our regard for law and order is defined by our personal power degrees, apparently.

A late MP’s son can easily be given the benefit of doubt for murderous cocaine abuse, due to his lineage, while a common man could have been crucified, and rightly so, for the same offence.

A gun toting popular film star can be let off the hook, branding him as not guilty, even though he had held a contraband gun and threatened to use it. They evidently are the ones who have no law to fear in this land, since they live in a cocoon of security, afforded them due to their status.

Another appealing judgement Athithya told me was of the total dependence of the British people on American culture today. There are evidences of that everywhere on the streets of London, he says. Youths can be seen wearing T-shirts in support of the popular NBA teams of the States.

Eateries like KFC and McDonald’s are just about common all over the place, and that indicates a rather complete economic invasion of Britain by the States. In the process of such economic domination, plastic money has played an important role in Europe and the America, in the form of Credit and Debit cards.

He was surprised to note that Britain today does not have as many industries there as it had once upon a time, during the Industrial Revolution, which they had set in motion in the first place. Britain also has to depend on the rest of the planet for their food supplies, which was one reason why they went about squeezing the world with their Empirical tactics.

The need for food exceeds all other human needs, to fill the stomach, that every empty abyss. The ongoing endless battle on the streets of Baghdad and other places of Iraq is also reflecting on the British social life today, owing to their support of American policies with respect to the Middle East.

Every Asian on the streets of London is a potential suspect in cases of terrorist attacks now, thereby vastly reducing the possibilities of healthy social communication between races.

Britain has become a willing and compliant ally of the States, in their efforts to dominate the world on two fronts, economic and military. The end of the Cold War has created new power equations today, with no one ready to challenge the American hegemony over the rest of the world on martial terms and economic terms.

Britain is certainly an absolute collaborator in American thinking on most issues that concern the world today. And united they have to stay, in the power equations of the moment. Ironically, it was the British Crown, the Victorian era of British dominance, which created America. America is therefore a derivative of former Victorian Britain, though the status has turned a full circle now and they are at opposite extremes.

A final word of observation that he made is perhaps the most interesting of all. He told me that the British people today savor food from all corners of the world, with the curry leading the field of their gastronomic penchant.

It might not come as something amusing to us that the curry has caught the imagination of our erstwhile rulers so powerfully, because we will say with a grin, "well, it had to happen one day". Maybe the nostalgia of their glorious era on the Indian Raj has not completely faded away from their conscience.

They required something, perhaps to keep alive the magnificence of that departed era, and maybe the unpretentious curry was just the thing to keep that torch ever glowing. Many eateries in London have made sons of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origins millionaires today, thanks to the ever increasing demand for that elusive perfect curry by the Brits, to wash down their sparkling French white wines.

The British are definitely paying the price for their earlier domination of this part of the world, because the immigrants from here are now keeping them confused with a serious identity crisis, on food at least.

Have we heard of any special culinary delights from Britain till now? I don’t think so. We have cuisines from almost all parts of the world, which are avidly nibbled by the people of the world, except from good old Britain and the Amazon jungles maybe. Britain of these days is apparently not what it was at the end of their glorious days as conquerors of the world, especially of India.

They are certainly a strong financial hub of international trading and business today though, which preserves their well-built financial advantages as a leading economic power of the world.

This article is not intended as a decree on the British life or its future. I have merely reflected my friend Athithiya’s observations about how it is in London, especially from the point of view of a first time visitor, and take the reader on a mental trip to London with me also.

The observations are shared here, in order to highlight the fact that the grass is without a doubt, greener on the other side of the fence, although that is just a hallucination of the mind. The world is after all just a globe, in which all mankind has to live together to sustain the glory of the creator.

We don’t need to add anything to the creator’s divine methods of running the world. And as a final word, my friend told me that London is not exactly free of mosquitoes, as these wretched creatures are there too, though not on a fiery scale like we have here.

I was overjoyed to hear that of course. Here at our place, everything is an explosion, including human population and the mosquitoes.


* N Arunkumar wrote this article for The Sangai Express . This article was webcasted on June 21st, 2007.

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