Thursday, February 24, 2011

replicated lives

Excerpt from the book India Calling by Anand Giridharadas

India, in my limited and impressionistic view, seemed a land of replicated lives, where most people grew up to be exactly like their parents- cracking the same jokes, bearing the same prejudices, pursuing vocations not too far afield. 

The place seemed to function on low expectations and almost otherworldly powers of acceptance. The dinner party conversations were dull and repetitive and sprinkled with awkward silences; but people accepted. There was only one television channel, beaming tinny and overacted shows that no one with broader choices would ever watch; but people accepted. The poverty - those children with puffed-out bellies and matted hair on the streets, and whose skin color and facial features were jarringly similar to my own - was bloodcurdling; but people, the poor themselves and my well off relatives, accepted. Women seemed to accept the normalcy of being told that their skin was too dark, that their weight should be increased or decreased, that they should marry this man or that one. People with vegetarian parents seemed to accept that they, too, must be vegetarian. The children of Hindu refugees from what became Pakistan accepted that it was their duty to carry forward their parents' hatred of Muslims. History was heavy. The old went unquestioned. Resignation chocked dreams. 


Seriously, this is a right way to say that we inherit serious legacies from the past. Which otherwise, if well thought, questioned, would've given us enough and more freedom than we expect. We are trying to replicate the lives lived in the past and we religiously follow them like the-way-we-follow-them. 



Jennifer Joel Obado said...

I just listened to Anand at "The Platform" held in Lagos Nigeria 2 days back and i was overwhelmed by the insight he seems to have into issues concerning third world countires. I can't wait to read his book.

Srik said...

Ah ok.. Great!
Its a great book and he is an awesome writer!