Janpath, New Delhi, has been taken hostage by Palazzo pants. Every visible hanger there is selling a pair. And every boy in every shop is begging to remind you these are the latest and only they have the best export quality maal. The flea-market air is rented with calls of Palazzos! Palazzos! Pure crepe. Please one pealazza pent, madam. Free size. Alter waist. Pilazzo, Pilazzo! It was difficult to get away but easy to resist when a caller said ‘Pizza lo!’ because his slip of native tongue meant I slipped away to a pizza place across the road to dig in.
While I bit into this hut’s Shahi Paneer pizza with extra topping of olives (promising myself never ever to laugh at my dad’s proclivity to mix-n-match countries in his dessert plate) I got all theoretically scholarly...
How amazing it is to see what is proverbially called the melting pot of cultures is now cooking such a mush of khichdi at high flame that it is difficult to tell which zero was birthed in India and which came rolling in from Bangladesh. Jumping a few customs depots on the way.
At any given point of time, we’re a walkie-talkie doll of the last Miss Universe’s idea of World Peace. We’re wearing, eating, breathing, singing, scooting, ogling, reading, writing, coveting, pooping countries and cultures and chop sticks and cowl necks we have embraced with One Direction in mind – to add “quality” to our lives.
Forget what literary theory says for multiculturalism. It is the ‘Made in Thailand’ on your chaddi ka tag that is its best example!
Look at this handsome banquet hall next door. I say enlarge it all and then look again.
With just one loin cloth separating these
Greek Roman Globally Hot Citizens from Michelangelo’s David, this palatial building comes alive in the colours of 196 countries’ flags in season time. Why? Arrey for wedding functions, why else! Roadside rumour has it that the Dubai-based owner has filed for a GI for this design. With equal seriousness he has also managed a “setting” with our mashoor Chawla Band for parties; those where we walk in in saris looking like gowns from Bangkok and XXLs in slim-fitting Italian suits. (Perhaps, an imported mare too?) As for why make wide-chested hunks the façade for a hall for Punjabi weddings, where apart from women’s backs nothing is real skin … well, It's time to show the world how 'forward-thinking-multiculturals' we are!
At the risk of revealing to you, dear reader, what inexpensive beauty products I survive through, please find attached right below a picture of my latest nail file.
If you find a better representation of Hindi-Cheeni bhai-bhai, I will change this nail file’s name. But for now, Brother Stainless of mine it will be. Happy Sibling Day, manicure scissor best! What would I do without your ear-pick? Every time my half-bitten nails cry to be shaped, I seek its support. And every time I do phoo to the shaped wonders, with tears in my eyes I realize someone in China is doing this phoo to their nails too. It's a small world brought closer by the internet, Comedy Central and smuggling. Such love as this file carries cannot be lost in translation, even if all sense may drain. Human to human is the bond.
Nail to nail Nain to Nain too.
In the most unexpected of ways and instances the ring of multiculturalism makes its presence felt – sometimes volubly, other times like a secret admiring friend. Love All! is something God said Himself (especially to my neighbour who has it as her Whatsapp status since our last fight). And I am doing my best teaching it further too. I say to my laal, 'embrace all cultures, beta, whether around the wrist or waist, scalp or socks. It spells Oneness, Love and Tolerance.' And you know what, the khichdi is cooking in his head too.
Let me tell you how.
Once upon a time, the situation in my house was quite grave. Such xenophobia for all things foreign existed as would make your blood curdle with fear. We didn’t shake hands. We chewed them! And the farther the visitor came from, the more he was gnarled-gnawed at. This intolerance made the mother in me cry. I would stand in the balcony in my African kaftan, sipping Ginseng and praying for some World Peace within my walls. Praying for my child to eat his food, in stead.
But today, after just a handful of visits to the Rajouri malls, Indian metros and two foreign shores we have successfully inculcated the value of the essence of this Khichdi. We are beginning to understand brotherhood. With khushi key aasnoon I witnessed this sight this morning. American superheroes came riding into West Delhi on Jordanian camels, bearing an Italian car as a gift for the once half-chewed North Pole teddy. He told me in his own words.
So you see, there are signs that we’re learning Peace and all that kind of big stuff the multicultural way. Such positive, in-the-face signs. That we're becoming responsibly modern global citizens. Opening the windows of our minds. And we're doing it in a seemingly mature, surely happy and definitely pleasing-to-the-eye way.
(Just don't dare drag my God into all this talk of tolerance-sholerence. Buss!)