Cheese, Gromit.

I’ve been meaning to write about this old dutch couple that came to volunteer at my parents Aid & Development project. I’ve been meaning to write about it because they seem completely oblivious to 21st century etiquette. For example, they didn’t think there was anything wrong with them bringing their giant dutch flag and wanting it to be flown at the entrances of the villages where my parents work.

To them, they couldn’t see that there was something wrong with white people wanting to plant flags over the land of people from the third world. My dad refused in outrage – it isn’t okay to go around asking people to hoist your nation’s flag. Especially not on their Republic Day. They, of course, thought our outrage was silly and that we were just making a noise to be difficult. So while the new car was being blessed, they went out, brought their flag out and then posed for photos.

To prove to you that this is not a work of fiction
To prove to you that this is not a work of fiction

I am trying to paint a picture of what sort of couple they are. Having read their blog, I know that they think that Indian food is horrible and made to kill your palette, that all Indian cows are dutch cows, that everything in India is inferior and cheap and that every single Indian is  uneducated and poor. Because of the language barrier, they went back home thinking that a 5 year tailoring student became brilliant because of her tutelage and an entire farming community became master farmers because of his planting techniques.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I saw her put sugar on her egg and eat it whole, my giggling would’ve been replaced by something more vocal.

They refused to eat any Indian food and preferred to live off cheese and tinned goods that they brought back from the Netherlands. This is an actual conversation I’ve had with them –


Them – Do you want some cheese?

Me – I wouldn’t mind tasting some.

Me – Mmm that’s good. What sort of cheese is it?

Them – It’s dutch cheese

Me – Erm, I know, but what sort of cheese is it?

Them – *speaking slowly* it. is. dutch. cheese.

Me – No, I mean, cheddar, blue, goat, you know, variety!

Them – *losing their mind* IT IS DUUUUUUTCH CHEESE!

Me – Forget it.

I think I might be off dutch cheese for good!

The casual racism of the 21st century

It pains me that as our borders blend into each other and we become one global nation, there are still old ways of thinking that dictate so many things that we do today. My nephew, the other day, was telling me about his school driver.

“He’s so funny. He speaks butler English”.

I asked him what this butler English meant. He had no idea. I remember when I first learnt the phrase. I was 11 and my English teacher told us how, in the South, people from Tamil Nadu were hired as butlers and clerks because of their immense ability to pick up new things and their reputation of being hard working. However, while speaking English, they often translated how they would say something in their native tongue. They developed unique phrases that they came to be known by.

Butler English.

And their ‘kind’ were called ‘Anglo Indians

That phrase was used as an insult. And 55 years after our freedom, still used but no one has any idea what it means.

Then there are job ads like these that really offend me.

Job Description

Qualifications –

MUST have native level English BUT should be born in an English speaking country like Canada etc etc.

Aren’t we in an era where a job should go to the one most qualified for it and not to someone just because they were lucky to be born in one country? I don’t even understand why this is not a bigger issue and why no one is making any noise about it. What happens to the idea of ‘equal opportunity’ if an employee rejects you even before it meets you because you just carry the wrong passport, have the wrong accent, are the wrong skin colour?

Oh the casual racism of modern day!