Sunday, June 18, 2017

Being an Assamese outside North East India

The other day someone told me that she thought I was from the same family who owns Choi Kim. Choi Kim is a Chinese Restaurant in the neighbourhood and it is run by a family whose ancestral origins can be traced to China! So you can imagine what she was referring to. I look different. No I wasn't offended. I am too used to this now and I just laughed it off saying  " No I am completely Desi".

You see I come from Assam which is in the North East of India. People in these 7 sisters of North East India, actually 8 including Sikkim, look little different. For rest of the country we look like Chinese, Japanese, Nepali but NOT Indian. Can someone please tell me How does an Indian look?

Little Bihu Dancers

This HUGE country with so many regions distinctly divided geographically and culturally how can one have a common Indian look? Who came up with that idea of "typically Indian look" in the first place? What is typically Indian? I donot have any problem with any part of the country. I am as much as an Indian as the girl in Lakshadweep or the boy in the last village of Ladakh.

Since I do not fall into the "typical Indian looking" category, there are certain things that I get to hear too often. While some are hilarious, there are some which are plain stupid and sure make me go " HUH!"

1. When I say I am from Guwahati, Assam they ask "It's somewhere in North India right?" What can I do if you did not study Geography properly at school. At times I so want to ask " What do you think about that part of India hanging at the Eastern most side?" "What do you think that state /s is/are called?"

2. There are those who say " Your accent say you are Bengali but you look like a Nepali." Well can't even blame them. They never realised there is India beyond West Bengal and there "Indians" look different and speak different languages. 

3. Do you have malls in Guwahati? Dudes it is the biggest city of North East India. ALL the domestic airlines fly there. And if one judges a place by the number of malls and showrooms, Guwahati will appear in "top 5 tier 2 cities suddenly got big" for sure.

4. Then there are some who say "Assam is totally hilly area. The weather all year round must be so good." No it is not and no to both.

5. "Is it safe to go to Assam?" a big resounding YES to this one. Come once and see for yourself. Like every other place, Assam and whole of North East also have seasons and off seasons. Come during Spring or Winter and you will understand.  

Noh Kalikai Fall, Meghalaya