Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Small Talk

Two days ago, I attended an Indian wedding in North Carolina. It was a grand wedding. All went well. Everyone was very happy. Met a few relatives I have not seen in a long time.

The previous day before marriage day was “Vratham Day”*. (I don't know how to translate this in English)  I went there and sat in a chair. A smart and beautiful young lady approached me and said “breakfast is ready. I will take you to the breakfast table”. I said my name is R and I am the bride’s…. Even before I could finish, she said I know you are the bride’s paternal uncle. I was impressed she did her homework before having conversation with me. She said her name is S and she lives in Seattle. I said I used to live in Sammamish for a few years. She said she is familiar with that place. It was a short small talk. 

This young lady impressed me because she did not ask the usual intrusive questions Indians/NRIs ask when they meet someone for the first time. Within 2 minutes of meeting the following 2 questions will come up: 

Where did you go to college? 

Where do you work? 

If it is in India, with some people there will be another question – What is your salary. 

I think asking such intrusive questions upon first meeting are impolite. But why they still ask? Once, a professor at a famous university in USA told me that Indians are really inquisitive people. This is their habit of placing people in their social hierarchy. 

Some of the other intrusive questions (during small talk) I have heard: 

Why aren’t you married yet? 

When are you going to have a baby? 

How old are you? 

If you have heard/experienced any other intrusive questions, please let me know.

Vratham is a religious ceremony performed for both the bride and the groom.  For the bride, it is the tying of holy thread on her wrist to ward off all evil spirits.  Kind of protective armor for the bride.  For the groom, preparing himself as a new chapter in his life as a Grihasta (householder). (Courtesy: Vadhyar.com)


16 comments:

  1. OMG you are absolutely right.... guess what I asked someone on my first meeting... show me your drivers license and I think 2nd time was how much is your salary hehhehe.... I am your typical FOB Indian.....(NOTE: I do this rarely just to shock people)

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    1. Thanks for your comments Dee. Show me your driver's license? That is an unusual request upon first meeting.

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    2. I dont ask for drivers license for details... I like to see the pictures, they are interesting....

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  2. People also develop ways to evade such questions.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. I agree. But it is impolite to ask in the first place.

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  3. Vratham is performed specifically in South Indian (brahmin) wedding
    If you are close to bride or groom, the strangers may even ask how much gold/silver/cash they are giving to groom? Who cares? Don't ask me. What does he/she going to get out of this question.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Seema. You are right. Why they ask such questions? What are they going to get out of questions like this?

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  4. Some more intrusive questions. A girl asked a fat man, "What is your weight?". Another girl asked a man with specs, what is your power (of the specs)

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    1. Thanks for your comments Gowri. And, thanks for mentioning about these 2 intrusive questions.

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  5. This is so true in India. The people who ask such questions don't understand that one, it's impolite, and two, for most people these are personal issues, which they would be uncomfortable discussing it in public with acquaintences!

    Here, people who stay away from their home state, when they go back to their home state on holiday, one of the first questions they are asked is "When are you going back?"

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    1. Thanks for your comments Pradeep. Now that you have distributed all your gifts to friends and relatives, no need for you to stay here and therefore "when are you going back?"

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  6. In Dakshina Kannada, one of the questions asked is regarding ownership of your house. "is it own house ?" Rented ? Do u have own house? Did u biy own house ?

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sujatha. At least, this is somewhat ok. I have heard people ask how did you get the money to buy your house. (Someone really asked us. I replied I robbed a bank last week.)

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  7. True, they ask about children, their whereabouts, and will try to connect them with some acquaintances.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sarala. HeHeHe.

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