Monday, May 3, 2010
If there was one ad that touched me to the core and made me feel proud about what i am it was this.Can't really explain whether it is the brilliancy of the ad or some new found wisdom which dawns as and when you approach what is called the middle age that makes you stop being a critic of sorts and gives you this sensibility to mull over your own richness and fullness of what makes you YOU.
i am sure the ad is incomplete as there are endless things very common that can be added to this...attributes that wholly and solely belong to the Indians as there are atrributes belonging to say the Americans,the British,the Chinese so on and so forth.
So i begin to admire this guy Russel Peters who brings out these so brilliantly too in his Stand Up Comedy shows all over the world.i admire his observation ,his skill at delivering with ease these atrributes complete with aprropriate pronunciations, gesticulations and histrionics too.But it only happened after this.
On my initiation to phoren stand up comedy i was more hurt than being amused.When i first saw his show on Youtube that too on the insistence of my son who was in his first year of Engineering i actually hated the guy for making so much fun of all people.And when he cracked on Indians i felt sore and hurt because he talked about the smell of crap emanating everywhere you go in India.He made fun of Indian men holding hands while they took a stroll on the beach and he made fun on Indians being CHEAP.It was as if everything that is Indian was to be made fun off and scoffed at and i felt like killing him in the first instance. i actually even thought of writing a long email to him blasting him for the way he's been portraying us and reminding him that he is also first born of an Indian and later raised in Canada.How could he go on ridiculing his roots like this.If one needs to be put behind bars for being a traitor then it should be him.Definitely i was more angry than being amused and was only swearing in my thoughts and calling him Gaddar (traitor) what to talk of even lipsynching with the taped laughter.Of course in front of my son i did not have to pretend that i was loving his new found interests.
It is silly how i reacted then and sort of watered down limp all of my son's enthusiasm who had just returned for his first semester break after having witnessed his first live show of the person i momentarily hated.So he kept quiet about the entire experience about the show.But then just like always he is my real window to all things young, new and happening.So he said a few things very wise in fact too wise for his age which was,"Ma if you are able to laugh at your own self for what you really are means you are good...means you really know who you are.It is so easy to laugh at other people and to joke and make a mockery of others but when you laugh at oneself you will always be guilt free." He went on to say more to make me so comfortable that anger was replaced with admiration for the happening Stand Up Comedy talent that he was familiarising me with.
Later when he left home to join his University back for the new semester he left me loads to beat the blues away including Seinfeld,House MD,Scrubs and others that he watched.But i became hooked to Russel Peters in so many ways that when Dan Nainan came to Chennai i went to see his show for the simple reason that he was i thought a protege of my new icon.The show was okay but i laughed more at Craig and Karthik (regular Stand Up Comedians in Chennai) more than i could at Dan Nainan.Maybe that was so Indian of me.Or maybe Dan's sense of humour went over my head.Now my best of Russel Peters are these two.One in which he makes a crack on how Indians find it so hard to get the correct pronunciation of Louis Vuitton and the other in which he compares the Indians and the Chinese and explains with his usual humour why they can't do business together.
That i am every bit of what they say about being an Indian in the True Roots ad and more (that they could've missed fitting in due to time constraints) is evident from the fact that i am digging more and more into the phoren humour than i am at Raju Shrivastava who actually makes my stomache ache with laughter and eyes wet with moisture when i revisit all his best ones again and again.Also a mere recollection his Gajodhar episodes and the ones in which his characters are not human but something like lights or even local train and even the handlebars of local trains sees me smiling into my mundane routines.
So truly Indian of me trying desperately to fit in and talk in the social circles animatedly about my new found interests all the while nodding in unison to the Moghuls who say how pathetic Indian comedy is.While in my heart i know what i enjoy the best...be it Raju Shrivastava or Bharti when she acts out Lalli.Their talent makes me laugh without getting hurt.Even i remember the evenings when we guffawed to Movers & Shakers and it's fantastic host Shekhar Suman who would mimic all politicians with panache but i don't remember anybody getting pissed off with that either.
So am i again being prejudiced here or am i more aware of my roots now.Maybe yes maybe not but i do know one thing for sure that when i am really hungry i want my Dal Bhaat (cooked lentils with cooked plain boiled rice) more than anything else.
That maybe one of the reasons why i find myself being a big PHONY or once again it is my involvement with this boy in 'Catcher In The Rye'....Why is it that when i'm talking now i remember Emma Thompson when she said,"Laughter is a celebration of our own failings.That's what clowns are for.And that's what I am." or i remember this by Carl Reiner,"Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do.You may be a fool but you're the fool in charge." Wasn't there something by our very own Kabir which said of laughing at oneself and not at others but why can't i remember that. See that is the Indian me... but not so proud though to be like this.
Posted by shivani singh at 3:01 AM