Us with U.S. meals and manners

CultureUs with U.S. meals and manners

As I mentioned a couple of months back, Post-Covid, the middle classes, the upper crust seem to be travelling here, there, everywhere, trying out this resort since it has an unbeatable Spa that permanently takes the furrows off the brows, ensuring you don’t have to go in for plastic surgery of any kind, or the retreat where there is a day-long buffet with as much champagne you can hold or simply because a change—on a perennial basis—is the new order of the day. It’s like being boxed in for so long, with Covid quarantining, we have to make good the damage done, put on our skates and head for where it was a Shorts and T-Shirt weather or go way up into the yet quite oxygenated mountains, bundling up in woolies. And they say, the economy is in shambles, and we should be hypervigilant while spending our growing dwindling bank account. Now, really?! To strike a sad sack note I, too, wish I had stashed away some money to take a holiday, not a getaway, returning home from work, without those dark circles corseting the eyes making me, with each passing day, resemble a racoon. Of course, gut health and clarity of thought would precede their banishment! But, for doing so, I’d need money and so for days now, I have been making toilsome inquiries about any business venture I can get into, so that I, too, have easy disposable money to take, at least, a long weekend break and quite possible even procure some summer wear. Delhi, already is feeling like mid-April and it was two years before this pandemic when I had replenished my summer gear. So, you can imagine where I am coming from! Get back to you in a bit since ping goes my e-mail with some missive and will check into what’s what, returning at the earliest. Who knows I might have just won a lottery, for as they show in films, some far-removed aunt that you’ve never met, but owns a small island, has for some unhinged, crackbrained reason decided to “Will’’ the off-the-map stranger niece her estate, thrown in with moveable-property. Anyways, no more day-dreaming babbling, and be back in a minute or more, finally getting off the pity-pot, or to put it conventionally, cease to wallow in self-pity! Back after scanning disinterestedly though some dry-as-dust-mail—wonder how unimaginatively colourless advertisements can be?! Anyways, am here to talk about our gesticulations, which more recently so, have been imported from good old U.S. of A., especially of our children. I have stumbled upon the term `cultural hybridization’ many times over but our body language is so hardcore, card-carrying American. Have you cared to note how homogenous our expressions have become?! Americanization synonymous with Globalization. One would think kids emulated their parents, their adults, and if I have observed correctly, it is for quite over a decade now that we, Mum & Dad and whosoever follows, mirror our little pumpkins or errant off-beam teenagers, mannerisms. So, ask your Teenoo, why he’s still in school uniform, it being nearly 7 pm and he’ll roll up his eyes—meaning, why in heaven’s, the high-handed question. Shouldn’t Mum consider just keeping mum or at least steer clear of him/her?! Decoded that’s what friction-free rolling one’s eyes out says. Bulging eyes?! Either—Gosh how thick as two short planks wooden-headed had you become! Arching one’s eyebrows in quick succession, purporting if there is something to ask, do so at warp speed, like wildfire or exit like an arrow from a bow. Shrugging one’s shoulders bespeaks either have not a clue to your kind question or couldn’t care less, so better for you to take a hike or if a polite streak still exists in the child, the high-sign could be suggestive of forget about wanting to know what’s what, and take a walk in the park. All, however, is not indicative of indifference, of apathy, but  of wanting to live uninterrupted in one’s own bubble or space, letting nothing and no one, come between one’s screen-time, but so often just has become a way of life, easier than to exert one’s tongue in stringing together a sentence. Then there are those lip-smacking expressions captured mostly on TV since your little munchin was so eons ago, and though hadn’t flown the nest, you had viewed tongue gliding over lips, eyes ravenously popping out, because some easy-to-make, fry’em cheese balls could be his, in heaps, and so no Indian fare of aloo mattar, dal, raita and paranthe! Speaking of which, our taste buds, to a large degree, have undergone a sea-change, a cross-over. But to backtrack for half a moment—watch kiddies on TV, smacking their beaks as soon as a bowl of noodles appears on the scene, same for pasta, burgers, fries, breakfast waffles… Little reason to scratch one’s head over our outlandish obese images. Desi Khaana, it’s so much about the past and the past is for the dead. Any takers for history?! History, is that still an alive & kicking subject, had heard it was one, once-upon-a-time?! So, it’s either instant-coffee, food or Zomato cum Swiggy that offer their “privileged’’, as in round-the-clock customers, heavy discounts of the buy two plates of well-garnished creamy penne and get a stomach-cleansing smoothie plus a protein bar, both thrown in for free. (Yes, that’s what, I am assuming, they call the natural, non-disruptive way of binging and purging!) Going back into history—yes, yes, that dead-as-dinosaurs history— when McDonald’s tread foot here, in the year of the Lord 1996, it grew roots so bred-in-the-bone deep that Food Colonization was here to stay. Family Sunday outings were no longer about Channa Bhatura, Dahi Bhalla, Sambar Dosa or Punjabified Chowmein and Indianised “Vegetarian Hotdogs’’ but Maharaja Mac, Big Spicy Wraps, Mc Veggie Burgers. Now if the kids gravitated towards McDonalds, the parents would tag along, finding themselves devouring the same grub, treated as “cuisine’’ by the tots as well as teeny boppers. Soon enough, adults began to relish this `phoren chow’.

Must leave dock, put out to sea this train but not without making a “V’’ sign with my index and long finer claiming “Peace’’, for one and all. Of course, another import shipped in from Amreeka!

(Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all.)

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles