No, I didn’t say that. And I wouldn’t, ever.
When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandmother with my mom and pretend playing with an imaginary white car while both of them talked. My agenda was always the same – listening to what they talk about. Pretty much like the narrator from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. So once, when my maternal uncle wanted to know what his sister and mother, that is my mother and grandmother, respectively, talk about him, he summoned me. I believe he was largely interested in this specific conversation because he was worried that granny wouldn’t leave him anything and give everything to my mother, but the joke’s on him because he got all and my mom received an old alarm clock and a book on learning Russian. It was probably my grandmother’s way of saying “Use your time wisely. You still have plenty of it to go to Russia and become peasants.” Or I think so. So anyway, he asked me what they talked about him and I swear, had I demanded a fucking yatch in exchange of the information, he would have delivered. But being the cheap fuck that I am, I asked for five Boomers. For five Boomers, I enacted how my grandmother made faces while talking about him and to make it sound more interesting, threw in a few imaginary dialogues as well. Then I also told him how I thought both of them were bad. This led to a shit-storm in the family and my mother went all Mike Tyson on me for a week, so much that my cheeks swell and other kids at the school thought I had grown unusually fat.
The reason I told you this story is, it was my first and final lesson about how to not bad-mouth your home, family or community, ever. Especially when they tolerate your imaginary car games. I would, therefore, never say anything bad about Marathi people, even if it is true. That being said, it brings us to the basic question – Who said it? Manoj did. I don’t blame you if you don’t know Manoj because you did not choose to live in a house with two flatmates, two cats of Schrodinger (they are and they aren’t ) and a dead body. I did, and Manoj shares these premises with me. So yesterday, our electricity was cut off, thanks to the wise decision of the previous residents to not pay the bills for four months thinking that the state electricity board would just not notice.
So while I was planning to sleazily take advantage of the dark and masturbate, Manoj called me to go with him to the electricity office. It’s not nice to hear a guy’s voice halfway through the process, but since electricity was also important, I zipped up and went with him. Of course, after washing my hands. The journey was partially nice because it involved me asking Manoj all kinds of questions like whose bike is this, how is it with you, why did you come home early today and should we find a new maid. Once at the electricity office, we met a guy who was half as intrusive as me because he asked us why we were there and also asserted that the office was now closed. We spoke in Hindi. On understanding our problem, he said, “I am sorry, but the staff has gone home. I don’t think it would be possible to reconnect your electricity tonight.” I heard it pretty clearly, but Manoj heard something that could, for the sake of convenience, be translated to, “You’re going to burn to a crisp on this summer night and I am just going to sit here with chips and a salsa dip and enjoy your slow death because you are a North Indian staying in Pune who doesn’t know shit about Marathi, which apart from being our language, also happens to be our basic criteria to decide if we should reconnect someone’s electricity or not. Fuck you, sir.”
So after much persuasion from Manoj to bribe that guy with my ‘ethnicity’, I proceeded to talk to him in Marathi. When he learnt that I was from Kolhapur, he got off his bike and while I was preparing to run because of the forthcoming assault, he said, “I will come and fix it right away.” Then, he personally walked to our place and reconnected the electricity. In Goa, such a candid confession about my hometown would have led to the electrocution of both Manoj and me, but I guess things work differently in Pune.
So anyway, we thanked him, and when he asked Manoj about his hometown, instead of Delhi, Manoj said, “Rajasthan”, because according to him, Marathi people hate Delhi blokes the most. So then, after the electricity guy had left, Manoj said, “Marathi people are racists.” But that’s not true because as a Marathi, I don’t hate anyone except Sindhis. But then, who doesn’t?