I’m Dilli, not Shanghai!


Hey, it’s me, Ramesh’s Inner Voice. Yes, again! I’m glad I could breeze into this blog and didn’t have to hijack it. I’m glad I have your attention without having to bark rude instructions or handcuff you. Looks like you guys have accepted me. Looks like we have become friends. I suspect you are now listening to Ramesh’s Inner Voice more than yours! Just joking.

Ah, mention of Ramesh reminds me, it turned out that he wasn’t looking for me. He was looking for his TV remote. Their door was still closed, but the sound effects from inside were of the Commonwealth Games.

Oh, I loved the CWG show. In spite of DD’s best efforts to ruin it for us, the show as seen on TV, was spectacular. The content was refreshing, not the usual Kathakali, Bhangra and Sitar. The execution was world-class, though far from precise or punctual. Even the flaws were disarmingly Indian- the human pyramid failing; the child in close-up not lip synching; the folk dancers more interested in catching a glimpse of Rahman than doing their steps; and even Mrs. Prime Minister looking at her watch as show extended, like all things Kalmadi, far beyond the deadline.

And yet, you know what worked for me?

Delhi was not pretending to be Shanghai or Sydney. More importantly, Delhi wasn’t ashamed to be Dilli.

It always, but always, works when people accept who they are and not hide behind someone else’s mask. (I told you so! In Thank you God! Thank you dog!)

That’s why it always gladdens me to see a unique show like last night’s. That’s why I like the fact that our style of batting, bowling and fielding is different from others’. I love to see the best Hollywood Special Effects used in a desi way, and to see our Superman wear his gold chain out and underwear in.

But of late I have been a little confused about all the swanky new airports, malls, multiplexes and flyovers coming up in Indian cities. They seem to imitate the rest of the world. Now, don’t ask me how a flyover can be uniquely Indian.

All I am asking is, do progress, prosperity and perfection mean that cultural identities will go and a uniform urban culture will emerge in its place? How sad. The world would end up being more of the same. How boring.

Isn’t ‘flawed, but honest to oneself’ better than ‘great, but masked’?

Wouldn’t you prefer people saying, ‘Hi, this is me. These are my flaws,’ to ‘Hi, this is me. And know what, these are my extraordinary strengths’?

When dealing with someone, wouldn’t you rather know that person’s weaknesses now and discover the strengths later, than know the strengths now and discover the weaknesses later?

Have I confused you again? Now you know why Ramesh hates me. Okay, do this simple experiment, next time:

Discuss weaknesses.

I promise you, you will understand a lot about people and their attitude from the way they discuss and deal with their weaknesses. 

Let me start with mine. Ramesh says that I don’t know when to stop. Let me prove him wrong.

So, as Thalaivar says, ‘Dot.’


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Charu Sarmalkar on October 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Ramesh, u r quite fabulous with words. After a long time to be honest, only after Vinay Kanchan I got something interesting and uptodate and almost live documentary. Keep on writing I’d love to read if not able to write quite like you. Good and mature English, again.


    • You are being polite. This is not for your students, sir. Far from being a classical dance, this is a complete item number. Just that the song is ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’. 🙂


  2. Vastly amusing! Will drop by frequently.


    • Coming from someone who has three books (one of them prescribed by my kid’s school!), I’m mighty pleased. But know what you are missing? Payback opportunity! “Hey Ramesh, where’s the big idea? Where’s the delight? Come back by evening with another draft!” 🙂


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