How the death of Sushant Singh and George Floyd exposed the Hypocrisy of Indians #MondayMusings

I want to talk about two recent sad deaths. One of George Floyd and the other Sushant Singh Rajput (who was incidentally my neighbor for a couple of months).

Let me first begin with a childhood story about one of my neighbors, that I recollected after I saw Indians posting vehemently on Social Media with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. So basically this post is stories of two of my ex-neighbors.

This was back in 1990s, we had a neighbor whom I would call as Didi. She was a kind and loving lady, who took good care of me after my mom’s untimely death. She was a spinster whose only family was her sisters, nephews and nieces.

One of her nephews went to the USA to study. After completing his studies, he wrote back to his mother that he was getting married to an American girl and settling down there. Back in those days people were not proficient in using email, social media was still not invented and telephone was costly. Therefore, most of his correspondence with his mother was through handwritten letters.

After a year he became a father. When his child turned one year, he decided to come and visit his mom in India along with his wife and child. His mom and her family, including Didi were quite excited. They started preparing for the homecoming of the son and his American family. Didi was excited and started shopping for the new bahu. She chose bright colours as she believed that bright colours would suit the American bahu.

On the day of arrival, the entire clan reached the airport to welcome the new American bahu. They waited with baited breath for the bahu, but the moment they had the first glimpse of the bahu, the whole family literally choked of shock. The new American bahu was actually an African-American bahu, something that no one in the family had even thought in their ‘nightmare’. They had taken for granted that an American wife meant a white wife. The entire excitement evaporated and was replaced by gloom.

When I met Didi, she was visibly depressed and she said “meyeta ekdam Rakhoshir moto dekhte, eto kutkute kalo j andhokare dekhte pabina. Ei rakam baje dekhte meyekei biye korar chilo to amader desher ekta meyekei korto, ora anek beshi sundari hoto.” (The girl looks like a black monster, she is so dark you won’t find her in the dark, if he had to marry such an ugly girl he could have married an Indian girl, am sure she would have been prettier)

Didi did not understand that she was being racist because I am sure numerous other Indian families would have reacted the same way. Racism is so ingrained in us that even in 2020 we post matrimonial advertisement for pretty and ‘fair’ bride. We cannot accept dark skinned Indians, we taunt our dark skinned cousins, classmates, film heroines and brides. However, we also post on our social media #blacklivesmatter. Even today if we meet a white skinned foreigner we melt but react adversely to Nigerians and Africans. Forget foreigners, we are not even kind to the Dravidian population for their dark skin. We are carrying the relic of colonialism strongly on our shoulders and then posting about the justice for George Floyd. Aren’t we the worst hypocrites?

Now, the story of my another neighbor. When I shifted to Mumbai, I shifted to a building full of TV actors, scriptwriters and singers. Incidentally, Sushant also stayed on the same floor and we occasionally met in the elevator. I do not watch soap operas so I had no clue about Pavitra Rishta, where he played the hero. To me he was just another TV guy until I watched Kai Po Che. Let me be honest, I have hardly watched couple of his movies. However, to me he was always the ‘boy next door’. We were neighbors more than a decade back but when I read about his suicide, I suddenly remembered him as the fellow I used to bump into in the elevator.

After his news broke, the whole social media again started crying crocodile tears. Every person started writing ‘ if you feel depressed, do call me, I am there to listen’. However, I know in reality these are the same people who would call me a whiner and a cry baby if I call them. This is as fake as ‘black lives matter’.

Mental Health is not such an easy thing to deal with. Those of us who have visited the dark corners of our minds know how difficult it is to gather ourselves when we hit the rock bottom. It is easy to give gyan on social media but difficult to practice in real life. So before posting on social media let us consider, does really all lives matter to us?

The worst was the reaction of Bollywood who are now crying for him, whereas few days back were taunting and mocking Sushant for his outsider status. However, I would prefer to write a separate long post on Bollywood nepotism and hypocrisy.

Let me end this post by praying for two souls who went too soon. #RIPGeorgeFloyd #RIPSushant

31 thoughts on “How the death of Sushant Singh and George Floyd exposed the Hypocrisy of Indians #MondayMusings

  1. krish says:

    Well articulated…’ fair bahu’ and having opinion on everything and anything is a trait deeply embedded in the brains of most of us Indians …majority of us just express opinions and gave nothing to offer in real ..
    Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shalzmojo says:

    Oh what a well thought out post Balaka- I just love how you have written out both the incidents and connected them with such well balanced thought.

    Its very easy for each one of us to talk about mental health or reaching out or whatever but at the end of the day, you are right – we hit back with dont be such a whiner and think positive and things will get okay kinda stuff!!

    None of us are capable of handling this discussion unless its someone very close to us.We need to feel a deep empathy/connect with that person. to be able to sit patiently and hear them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      One cannot talk about their depression without having a comfort level.even close ones doesn’t understand at times. So it is not an easy task to deal with depression.
      Thanks Shalz for this thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shweta Suresh says:

    So true. It’s so ingrained that people fail to notice it. Great post, dear. You’ve managed to bring out the hypocrisy so beautifully. His death was so shocking indeed. I’ve seen so many put up status as well. But as you said, it’s better not to promise things that you can’t give. It’ll only make it even worse

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ramya says:

    Completely agree about the hypocrisy we show. Even I thought the same after listening to the news of Gorge floyd’s death. If we can be kind to other dark skinned friends and family members, that’s more than enough. Why to show off on social media when one cannot accept the racism ingrained inside them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      We are racist AF. My mom’s constant anxiety was to make me fairer to get accepted in the marriage market, so she used to put turmeric paste on my face when I was barely a toddler. This ritual she continued till her last breath literally. If a mom cannot accept her own dark skinned daughter imagine how would others accept me? And obviously my mother was not an exception. She was a typical Indian mother. And then we behave as if we are so accepting.

      Like

  5. Akshata Ram says:

    I remember the American bahu story I had seen an episode on tv which was so similar to what you said. Social media is flooded with hypocrisy at its worst now , after a few days we gotta see what people will say. Honestly these things make me cringe.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Modern Gypsy says:

    Hypocrites to the core, Indians are. The racisim, casteism, and colorism in our society is shockingly high, but people want to look woke and post on a trending hashtag. Because let’s be honest, for most Indians BLM is just a trending hashtag. They will be the first ones calling Africans kaalu, saying they’re cannibals and drug dealers (yes, I’ve actually heard people saying these things about Nigerians living in their neighborhoods in Delhi).

    I don’t follow Bollywood gossip so I have no idea about what Sushant Singh Rajput faced. But I was shocked to hear that he had committed suicide. I found him to be that rare Bollywood breed of real intelligence, intellectual curiosity, and depth of character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      He was an extremely humble guy. I remember him to be modest and well behaved, unlike other people from the movie industry who always appear like a big show off.

      Like

  7. Corinne Rodrigues says:

    As we’ve discussed on a few occasions hypocrisy is rife in India and I’m just about fed up of all the fake ‘call me if you need to talk’ folks. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people who I’ve invested in who took the trouble to Whatsapp/call me during the lockdown to ask me how I’m doing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. the bespectacled mother says:

    This is a well-written post, Balaka. You have wonderfully stung together both the tragedies in conjunction with our Indian society and social media. In your neighbour’s story, I first couldn’t make out where this story was heading until I reached the point where the family bought bright colour clothes for their American Bahu because of course American means White. The man (the son) should have shared the photo of his wife with his family beforehand. Okay, I am going too far on this. We ARE racist or else why the North Indians would say ‘Madrasi and Mallu’ as if it is a slur. I don’t know about people from other parts of India but I know my people from the north. Their take on mental health is also gossip oriented. The primary intention is to get to know the affected person’s problems and broadcast the same around showing off sympathy but only on the surface levels. These are the same people we find on social media. Before social media, such people were mainly relatives however now it is practically 95% of the people who have a virtual presence.
    Irfan Khan’s death was a shock to me. It felt like a personal loss like someone extremely close to me had died. With Sushant’s death, the words shock or even extreme shock cannot encompass how I felt. It felt like a part of me died with him. All the speculations and all the questions around his demise are immensely distressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I was impatiently waiting for your comment 🥰 thank you
      I think the son deliberately did not share the photo because he was aware of the backlash he would get from his family. He decided to visit only after the child was born as he knew that his parents wouldn’t be able to wean him off this woman with whom he had a child. It was well calculated on his part is my understanding.
      Regarding skin color even I had heard snide remarks from my relatives as I was not as fair as my cousins.
      Regarding mental health kya bataaon..we have been there and know how many actually help or understand.
      The only celebrity whose death meant like a personal loss for me was Anthony Bourdain 😢 he left me shattered and I had a bad depression following his death. Even after 2 years I have not come to terms with his death. For sushant I just started reminiscing the few times that we were in the lift together. Not that we spoke or anything but somehow those fragmented images are coming back to my mind.

      Like

  9. Dashy says:

    I have witnessed racism so close to home it sickens me. I can understand to an extent when the older generations find it difficult to unlearn what they’ve been practicing for so long, but I see that the skin colour is still a criteria for choosing a marital partner for today’s generation. It is so easy to make a show in social media. I think many don’t realize the passive discrimination happening around us. And about mental health, although it’s great that more people are aware and are talking about it, there is so little we know or understand. There is much that the ones in social media need to be educated on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Both racism and mental health would require lot of learning and unlearning. Our society won’t change overnight. However I see lot of hypocrisy and that irritates me.

      Like

  10. themeanderingsoulblog says:

    I am so glad I clicked open on this blog post. Death in itself is so heart breaking and to make it worse there are people out there trading their conscience to satiate hypocrisy! what for? to fit in? Speculations, fiction, false show of sympathy and sensational media reporting has unfurled a strange sense of sadness as if life is all about being at the periphery and to feel too much an alleged offence. We talk about leaving behind a better world for our children, we should also talk about how to become a better person. The first step in that direction is to respect the departed soul and truly mean what we say. and as you’ve very rightfully written ,The overflowing gyan on social media needs to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nitya Neelakantan says:

    I think hypocrisy runs thick in our blood. We have after all been servile to white skin for decades and haven’t gotten out of the habit of pleasing the white man yet. Also compassion is yet to become a concept that is real for most people. I pray that we can all embrace compassion and humility for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. writershilpa says:

    Balaka, I admire the forthrightness with which you express your opinions. You never speak on an impulse, but share your thoughts after some thinking, right? And that shows in the way you say stuff most of us don’t even think about! Kudos to you, girl! Stay this way, always. ❤

    I agree…the way we suddenly turn into large-hearted, all-accepting humane beings just to be part of the crowd, without looking inside our souls if we truly are what we portray!

    And, true also about those posts of helping out people who are going through a dark phase, mentally or emotionally. I have seen mental illness from up close and I know no one would step up to give a shoulder to cry on at such moments, unless one is mentally and emotionally strong and able to face the dark reality. It isn't as easy as it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Shilpa, I am as impulsive as anyone else 🙂
      However, the things those I feel strongly about, I take time to respond. These two are such issues.
      Trust me when I was writing the mental health part, you were in my thoughts. I remembered all the conversations you, me and Anu had. We all know, how lonely it is and how nobody would actually turn up when you need them. Those who were posting did that only to create an image on social media.
      And you tell me..is it really so easy talking about all these? is it really that simple. What is the point of all these posts if you have no idea about the ground reality.
      You are an extremely strong and courageous girl. I admire you for your journey. I am happy that our paths crossed. You also stay the way you are. Always. Love and hugs

      Like

      • writershilpa says:

        Oh no, it is NOT easy, at all, taking about mental health or feelings. It takes strength to talk about it and it takes strength to hear about it. Yes, people want to create an image of themselves on SM, and thus those posts.

        I am glad we met, Balaka. You have heard na, birds of a feather…? 😊
        Love!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. neelstoria says:

    ‘ if you feel depressed, do call me, I am there to listen’ – such kind of status updates that people keep posting are simply pathetic…you have no idea about depression and mental health, that’s why you go put up something so idiotic and frivolous. As you mention not until you have faced it or seen someone closely going through it you know what it actually means….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      The hypocrisy of people stunned me. Why put up such a flimsy status when you don’t mean it. Another question, what do you think you have done right that a depressed person would feel like talking to you. Do you know that the first thing that depression takes away is the ability to talk. For extreme cases only a trained person can make a depressed soul speak up, that too after few session. And here you want them to speak to you just by reading a message on social media. Stupidity, ignorance and lack of empathy.

      Liked by 1 person

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