TL;DR: “Call me by my name,” they whispered.
It was a stormy evening. I was watching a lovely recipe video that had delectable Gulab Jamuns being dunked into sugar syrup with clouds of steam circling their way up...
...when the description on the video caught my eye:
'Indian Fried Doughnuts'
My shoulders drooped, eyes lost their sparkle, mouth felt as dry as my wallet these days, and the good old GJs looked as appetising as 200 years of insidious angrez influence.
They say, sometimes you’ve got to be the bigger person and show ‘em some love. There is nothing that kindness, warmth, and forgiveness can’t heal.
Well, that’s just a load of cr*p.
1) Forgiveness comes handy ONLY when there is a lot at stake.
There’s none here. I can forgive a lot of things, but I can’t find it in my heart to forgive someone who makes fluffy Gulab Jamuns sound like bored Dudley Dursley’s occasional indulgence.
2) You should never trust a sentence with too many commas and adjectives in it. That’s too much serotonin for anyone’s good.
Word has it, from the annals of arguable rumours, that Gulab Jamuns were accidentally prepared by Shah Jahan’s personal chef. That, being a fortunate accident. And this, a highly unfortunate one.
This was the final straw. I have stomached many such accidents, but not any more.
Haldi Doodh CANNOT be reduced to ‘turmeric latte’, Pakodas to ‘fritters’, Bhatura to ‘scallion bubble pancake’, and, most importantly, Biryani, for my puny heart’s sake, to ‘flavoured rice’.
That’s wiping out origin, culture, and history in one unhesitant breath.
Take, for example, Gulab Jamun.
Say it aloud.
Caress the syllables.
It sounds like poetry, tastes like good vibes. And medieval India.
That’s a package worth preserving, right?
Imagine stomping on it with barbaric needlessness. And to what end effect? Make it relatable worldwide, perhaps? Fair enough. That isn’t something I am objecting to, no sir!
Make it as relatable as a packet of potato chips, but need one butcher its name and strip it of its last semblance of individuality?
“Yeh bik gayi hai gormint,” they say. Not our Gulab Jamuns too, please.
Also Read: The Subtle Art Of (Not) Saying “F**k’’
It is bad enough when we are described as an exotic, saree-clad tribe of snake-charmers huffing and puffing over incredibly spicy Butter Chicken at an extremely dusty, crowded restaurant surrounded by vast khetis (farms), while our pet goats bleat out their apprehensions.
Please don’t make it worse by taking away our food from us. That has always been the way to our hearts.
What next? The Jamuns will point at me, scoff haughtily and squeal, “Indian Brown Girl”?
My heart can’t take any more of this.
Gulab Jamuns, along with other desi delectables, are now a part of the Great American Dream, but all I can think about right now is having a couple of GJs to stop my mouth from watering.
Bottom Line: All’s lost in translation.
(The above is a part of TLDR (Too Long. Didn't Read), a weekly blog that aims to crunch things down for you. I will give you the long and short of most things that need to be taken extremely seriously like your bookshelf, beer, existential dread, aimless conversations, rainy days and bubble-wrap. I promise to cater to all readers, but I brazenly harbour a soft-spot for skimmers, bathroom-readers and infinite scrollers. Now, let's bring the written word back!
P.S: Follow me @medhac1)