Stereotypes 2


I was going to write about how I am a person who doesn’t confirm to stereotypes, but then realized that I do confirm to one – that of not confirming to stereotypes! So instead of bragging unabashedly, I will now only ramble. And, you have been warned.

Someone once told me that stereotypes do not exist without a reason – they do have a basis on which they are formed. Yes, it is politically incorrect or even offensive to speak them out at times, but hey who doesn’t like jokes about blondes or sardars! Then there are some others which are plain disgusting – like the one about girls from North-East being easy.

It’s easy to fall prey to stereotypes, and I say this from experience. Take my last name for instance – Reddy. If you are an Indian and know a little bit about South India, you would definitely have heard about this last name and these are the usual stereotypes –

  • I am rich (or my family is)
  • I will rake in a couple of crore rupees in dowry
  • I am a Madarasi (a slightly derogatory term used to describe anyone from the south – signifying someone who speaks Hindi and English with an accent, eats idlis and dosas everyday, drinks a lot of coffee, oils his hair, studies a lot and so on)

No, i’m not bitter about it or dislike it – it’s actually very amusing when I turn about to be quite opposite of what people initially thought. In fact, it is even more fun to watch when I don’t mention my last name! I have even been assumed to be a Rajasthani on one occasion, in the general compartment of a train when I was traveling back to Jaipur from my sister’s college in Bhopal. This chum wouldn’t be satisfied till I told him my caste, notwithstanding my feeble protests that he would need a lesson in the caste system down South first. It was even funnier when during ragging period, I used to ask Andhra juniors to tell me where I was from. You see, I grew up in Karnataka and my Telugu wasn’t great till I went to school in Jaipur – the taunts by my batchmates in the first year ensured that I learned passable Telugu. But that also meant that I had accents of different regions mixed in and this used to confuse the hell out of the juniors.

It is sometimes an advantage to be underestimated, stereotypes can be helpful that way. But that’s a lesson for oneself too, to not form an opinion about somebody based on a stereotype!

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