You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Every morning everyday everybody wishes to have a nice day. No matter where he/she is living or going to. So this is my attempt to tell you how I try to make my day good in Delhi, after being here for more than ten years now. I think it will be still handy even if you are not in Delhi but anywhere in India, after all it’s about Mayangnao (slang for mainland Indians).
There are many things in life which are not in our control, so no point talking about them. Blame it to God or to be on the safer side let’s dump it to destiny. I am here to talk about the things which are under our control. And let me talk about the small things because there are lots of people out there to talk or comment on BIG things. No offence but has to admit that we (Tangkhuls, which includes me) are good in that, we can talk whole day but not an inch to walk the talk. Let me just share what are the few things I do before I step out from my room.
The moment I open my eyes, I say my prayer and thank God for the night watching me, the sinner and to keep watching the whole day. It has become so much ritual that sometimes unknowingly I end up praying for the food that He has provided me. Never mind let’s get to the topic, ‘How to make your day good?’ After bathing and having breakfast, a very serious thought process goes on, what am I going to wear today? Now let me explain why it is a very serious thing with an example that happened to me in Munirka (for non-Delhites, it’s a crowded place as rents are cheap). I was on a house hunt which is not easy at all with the increase of population and price. Day one I was in shorts, floaters, and T-Shirt (both branded, I think Nike), a landlady shooed me off. Then comes the next day I changed my strategy, I wore a full-sleeves shirt (cheap one from Sarojini market), long pants with shoes and took my sister along. Voila! They smiled and showed me the rooms after rooms. My point is, we look different, and on that if we dress casually don’t you expect any respect.
After deciding what to wear, next is how much money I have in my wallet? Making sure that you have enough change or coins can save you from the Auto-Walla’s ‘change nahin hain’ menace. This is one of the main reasons for the fights we have with the mayangnao. Or else we the King-Kongs don’t haggle but give away whatever they ask. Then call up our parents and shout at them for not putting money in our accounts. One thing I realize is that even if I don’t spend the money, if I have enough money for the day then I feel confident. But let’s not be so confident like my friend who went to mall with a girl. He saw Baskin-Robbins and to impress her he bought a cone of ice cream with lots of topping with different flavors. He got the shock of his life when he got the bill. Next time for God’s sake just ask, it is ok if you don’t know Hindi or you don’t speak English like Americans do. Just slow down and in tangkhul accent, “Bhaiya iska price kitna hai?” will do. Look at the Koreans and foreign tourist moving around with a city map, it’s just about confidence.
Ok so now where are we going? Before I leave my room I make sure to Google or check the Delhi map. For instance I was going somewhere and was in the middle of two roads. These two guys were standing nearby, I asked them for the direction. To my surprise one showed me the left and the other right then they looked at each other and smiled. That’s not the end of the story, both of them were wrong, it was on the way from where I came. Here people are very good in giving you wrong direction so it’s better to rely on yourself or your sixth sense then their non-sense.
Finally let’s step out from the house after all the preparations. First thing you have to understand is that mayangnao don’t have x-ray vision like Superman powered by Kryptonite. It is uncomfortable initially but you will be fine with time, if not do you have any choice? But if you are really annoyed then you better be good in talking or martial arts. But I will suggest the second option for extreme case. Oh! this reminds me of the discussion on Tangkhuls on Facebook, when I said one should take care of what he or she is wearing. Why do we always forget that how much revealing or skimpy clothes they wear, they have their cars with driver waiting for them. But for us auto-wallah or rickshaw-wallah and you have to walk through those narrow lanes to your room (not house). Come on, even Angelina Jolie the ever sexy actress wears covered dress if she is in Afghanistan on her UN trips.
At the end, ain’t saying all these because I am good but I am concerned. As there is a saying, for everything you need experience and when you get the experience you are too old for everything. Instead of committing the same mistake again and again, let us share and move forward. And also like Mr. Spider-man said, with great power comes great responsibility. We are here with a purpose and not forget, our folks are waiting for us to come home to bring the change.
(Published in Tangkhul Shanao Long Delhi, Magazine June 2013)