Northeastern women do face a lot of negativity in Delhi, but then, there are lots of people who look beyond their slanted eyes
It would not be fair if I do not write about the face of the changing India‑the New India, which is more tolerant, accommodating, welcoming and loving towards the north-easterners like me.
They deserve the credit for making us feel at home, away from home.
I have to particularly mention my former land lady. She is a ‘Haryanvi’, a bit of an Amazon woman, heavy built and towering over six feet.
Thus, at one glace you get the feeling that you do not want to mess around with her‑period!
When I moved into her apartment, I was slightly hesitant in the beginning, thinking that she will be going to give me a hard time.
One day, I came back from my work around eight in the evening. She called me to her room, which was on the ground floor.
She gave me prasad (offerings to god) which was delicious puri and kala channa in a plate. There had apparently been some puja during the day time and she had saved a portion of Prasad for me.
That was the first ice-breaking session of ours.
Thereon, she would keep calling me whenever I used to comeback from work, offering me tea, food and sometimes even uncooked vegetables which she recommended me to eat.
One night, around ten, my doorbell rang and she was standing there, panting and puffing. She had a variety of medical issues like arthritis, so I was scared to see her there.
“Come down, your bhabhi just gave birth to a daughter,” she told me, still panting and trying to catch her breath.
For a moment, I did not know who my ‘bhabhi’ was, as I was still in my sleepy zone. Then I realised that it was her youngest daughter in law.
I followed her back, congratulating her on the way down to their ground floor room. She took me to bhabhi’s room where she was holding a cute tiny baby.
And I am not exaggerating even a bit here and I am going to write it exactly in my landlady’s word.
“Dekh, baby tere jaise dikhte hein- bilkul choti si aur gori chitti (Look, the baby looks exactly like you‑tiny and fair), she exclaimed with excitement.
I just stood there and smiled. I am sure bhabhi was not very pleased to hear this.
She must have thought that after all the pain and effort, it’s me who is walking away with the credit.
Also, baby resembled nowhere close to me- it was a difference as good as north and south pole.
And then, there came a day where I had to leave her apartment and move to another one, still closer to her house, with a larger space.
Every now and then, whenever I cross her porch, she keeps calling me to her place, invites me for her grand-daughter’s birthday, house puja etc.
One day she was sitting looking really sad and when I enquired; she said that her husband is not well, and tears welled up her eyes.
I held her hands and hugged her saying that he will be fine and I will pray for him too. He did recover and I was happy for her.
Nowadays, she’s has something new to say to me.
Yes, many tease us northeast girls as chinkies. Yes, they ogle us, thinking of us as ‘easy fun’. Yes, many of them do not know where Sikkim or Mizoram is. Yes, Anushka Sharma uses vile language like Nepali re*diin her serial. But, yes, also, there are lots of people who are good
Each time I pass by her house, she wants to know when I am getting married and that I should not forget to invite her.
One day she even suggested that she wants to take the responsibility of finding a guy for me and all I need to do is tell her my preference and she will do the whole arrangement.
I called up my mom that day and threw my tantrum at her, “Are you not concerned about your daughter – to know if she is even going to get married or not? Should I find a guy or you are going to find one for me”
This story is just one example.
I have met so many good souls here that to cry about racism and mistreatment all the time would be a baseless generalisation and also, unfair to gems like my old landlady and my current landlord, who is equally nice and treats me like his own daughter…
…or my tailor bhaiya who gets worried if he thinks I have shed a few kilos and asks if I am unwell and wants to know if everyone back home is doing well.
Or take my rather forbidding looking uncle. He actually never talks to me. But every time I am racing down to catch an auto, he hails one and asks to driver to pick me up
Yes, many tease us northeast girls as chinkies. Yes, they ogle us, thinking of us as ‘easy fun’.
Yes, many of them do not know where Sikkim or Mizoram is.
Yes, Anushka Sharma uses vile language like Nepali re*di in her serial. Yes, Shekhar Suman once lumped us all as “bahadurs” and mimicked us.
But what about the main who, never even talking to me, hails an auto for me every day?
What about the landlady who is eager to find me a good boy to marry?
Yes, there are people who look beyond my slanted eyes!
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Sashi hails from Sikkim. She is now working as a professional with a travel and hospitality business organisation as its General Manager. She revels in writing as a passion. Her novel on social life is being readied