Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Race Card

Walking into any Indian restaurant one is likely to find many whites savouring the seriously watered down versions of Indian dishes. This is not just to prevent the highway murder which would be result as a consequence of the spicy food to an untrained mouth, but also to gain more customers in the long run.

On one such event recently (of walking into an Indian restaurant, not highway murder) I saw the all familiar group of one or two whites sitting with a big family of Indians. Indians like to boast of their culture at the drop of the hat to anyone who is remotely interested. Coming to an Indian restaurant with an Indian family would qualify as being interested in the food and culture. I would imagine the whites were given a fair dose of the culture by the all too proud family around the table.

Prone to imagination as I am, I turned this situation around and tried to see myself with an African family at an African restaurant eating their food and listening to what they say about their culture. If such a situation comes around, I would relish both the food and the company.

Such a scene of an Indian sitting with a group of Africans/Japanese/Europeans would not be too common in a multicultural place like Australia. One can accuse me of gross generalisation here but I cannot really say us Indians to be really interested in other cultures. Apart from trying to westernise oneself which is the cool thing to do, Indians are not really interested in anyone other than themselves.

Why then, I would like to ask would Indians who want to leave India so desperately and travel to western countries but absolutely do not want to know others? Why is Australia (or anywhere else) is just to make money and send it back home, but not mingle and celebrate the diversity? Isn't calling westerners racist and at the same time trying to isolate oneself from all others while living with them hypocritical?