Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NY times article on dabbawallas

may 30th, 2007

but of course, whatever would we have done if the brits hadn't come calling?

lived a lot better, that's what, without those blighters stealing $10 trillion from us.

and the nytimes is a little late to the party re mumbai's dabbawallas. they have been eulogized to death: they were 'discovered' by scientific american or somebody 10 years ago, and they are even supposed to be doing six sigma. if i am not mistaken, there have been harvard business review articles about them too. talk of 'tube-light' in the indian idiom! [of course, tube lights were also introduced by kind white imperialists.]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Soniya

Hello Rajeev,

I am an ardent reader of your blog. I came across this article in
NYtimes and thought of writing to you.

Excerpts from the article:

"The word comes from tiffin dabba, a colonial reference to a box
containing a light meal, and walla, the man who carries. "

"The British introduced the service 125 years ago after the city was
flooded by workers from different regions."

So, we owe it all to the nice British guys. What could we do without them?



TambiDude said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arvind said...

It was started by Mahadeo Havaji Bacche. What sort of inferiority complex does Saritha Rai suffer from that she desperately wants to please the White male by attributing anything poistive in the world to the White male?

I wonder how she got her job. Any inappropriate relationship with the management?

Chatrapath said...


You're right. Unfortunately Sarita Rai is one of millions of brown people who feel that in order to escape any "labels" or to advance in the world, that they must please the sahib.

Sorry honey---the sahib looks out for the sahib ONLY. Even if you share your bed with the sahib, you won't escape your heritage and the sahib will throw you out when you are no longer useful.

This all goes back to the days of the famine in India---if the pretty Indian girl "pleased" the sahib in bed, then she and her family escaped starvation. Now in the modern age, they sleep with the sahib to gain social access, acceptance, and social security.

What a waste.

Soniya said...

Guys, I would say you are being misogynistic here. You wouldn't say that about a male reporter would you? What she has written is indeed worthy of criticism (in fact I was the one who forwarded it to Rajeev) but please attack ideas and not the person. Especially not the gender of the person. I believe in Hindu natioanlism because Hinduism is the only religion that does not relegate women to an inferior position, as all semitic faiths do. By expressing bigoted comments such as these, you are going against out religion's philosophies.

Arvind said...


These are neither misogynistic nor bigoted comments. Western culture is such that it has reduced women to objects who paint themselves in order to attract men. This sort of stuff to get ahead in career is common in USA.

I also have an extremely low opinion of men who want to be Whites too.

Vishal.K said...

Brother Arvind,

Somewhere on this blog women were exhorted to wear more tight-fitting clothes and also reveal more of their bodies, to make themselves appealing. They are considered very unattractive otherwise.

That too is reducing women to objects.

Soniya said...

Seriously? Could you please post the link here? Also, if it were just someone trolling the comments section, I wouldn't take it seriously, but if otherwise, it would greatly change my opinion of this blog. Thanks!

Vishal.K said...


Yes, seriously.

It was not someone trolling in the comments section.

I am choosing not to post the link because it is not necessary to dredge up those details. My comment here was to express an opinion on one of the many ways women are reduced to objects.

One woman had protested irately at that post, but her comments were deleted.

Her views were often unique and different. On a subsequent post on some other topic, where "different view" comments were invited, when she wrote her views, another commenter attacked her and called her inane and anti-men blooded. She protested against him, and she was banned. No disapproval was shown to the attacker. He has been treated very warmly.

To this day there have been no apologies from anyone.

However, the blog no longer posts those kinds of comments on women's attire. A subsequent post mentioning that TV ads are de-emphasising the saree, was written quite decently. So the protest was actually honoured.

But the protester was banned, and that was not right at all.

This blog seems set up to be a "combat" blog, and "non-combatants" are not tolerated much.

If you notice, there arent many women actually commenting here (in the comments section). You are probably the lone one at present.

Julia said...

I have been reading this blog for a long time. I haven't noticed any particular bias against women here.

It is true that there was a prolific woman poster (the one referred to above) on this blog. She was banned after many warnings. She was given more than enough opportunity to shape up, but I think she genuinely did not understand why she was annoying people. She was patronizing, naive, rude and offensive by turns. Most of us reading the blog were quite happy to see her banned.

The comment referred to above was about how men here preferred women to wear a sari rather than a salwar-kameez. I thought that was a fair comment. Men have a strong preference for a sari. If they think so, they have the right to say so. I'm afraid Vishal.K is making a mountain out of a molehill. I recently read Shashi Tharoor saying the same thing in the Indian Express. He was upset that the sari seems to have disappeared from India.

However, I would say that comments about women sleeping their way up a corporate ladder are more common than similar ones about men, everywhere. It is also true that men have fewer opportunities to use sex to get ahead. But I do think one or two posters were a little unfair to Saritha Rai.

Vishal.K said...

Perhaps, Julia, as a westerner, and a non-Hindu, (which it seems from your name and your posting), your views are likely to be very different from those of a Hindu woman, both on saree, and on the woman poster on whom I referred.

The way the comment on saree was worded was not quite appealing. Even another guy ---name withheld--- called it insulting, and a N.Indian friend to whom he showed it also found very, very offensive to N.Indian women (and men).

I am surprised that you as a regular reader of this blog, you have not found anyone offensive here except one person. And there has been a lot going on this blog.

You are of course entitled to your views, but they are yours and do not reflect the views of "many of you".

Likewise, my views are mine, and do not reflect the views of "many of us".

Even so, the "many" is not always right.

Vishal.K said...

On Shashi Tharoor's article -

I read both his articles, the first one, and the second one also, a response on the many responses he got from women.

It was put across very differently. They were both good articles.

Soniya said...

Vishal, i managed to dig out the post from the archives. Isn't it funny how these men are commenting on what Indian women should wear while sitting comfortably in their "Western" jeans and t-shirts, making detailed references to a woman's anatomy? Ok, let me tell you what I think of the dressing sense of the Indian male from a woman's perspective.
You can tell an Indian male in the United States from a mile afar. Those with garish t-shirts that don't suit their skin tones or full shirts and formal pants of cheap synthetic material are more likely to be desi than not. Moreover, guys from the South are more likely to be badly dressed than their Northern counterparts. (Yes, I know there are exceptions, but the effect is statistically significant, at least based on anecdotal data). And what can I say about Indian men's hair? To avoid going to a salon (that costs a princely sum that may run into two digits in dollars!) desi men postpone it until the hair's overgrown and ugly to say the least. And what is it with the beards that go unshaven for days on end? Do you guys think we find that sexy? Sorry to disappoint you, but it does not! Let me not even get into the curry smell that pervades the air when there's a desi guy nearby. And no amount of cheap cologne you may pour onto yourself will disguise it.

nizhal yoddha said...

ok, soniya, enough. i am sure indian men could say quite a bit about the dress sense (or lack thereof) of indian women in the us, with exceptions of course. but that's not the point. you're rising to the flamebait posted by this troll. vishal.k sounds like a reincarnation of the late lamented daisies. practically nobody supported her when i asked for people's opinions on her ban, so this chivalrous vishal.k is quite likely to be daisies.

this thread is now closed.