Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani…

I cringe a little everytime I hear this line. At the outset, it refers to a fusion of Western outlook and Indian values, where the latter inevitably trumps the former. But dig a little deeper and you find that this blending of two worlds typically adopts the worst of either or both worlds.

I was outraged enough when I read this article on how Indian couples fly to Bangkok to undergo IVF treatment thus ensuring that they win their prized baby boys. But I was positively apoplectic when I read further about how a Page 3 couple, the ultimate hallmark of modernity for Indian readers, secretly went in for an IVF implant. The article says, “They’re embarrassed that although they’re modern in every other way, well travelled, open-minded — she wears short skirts — they still want a son”. What caught my attention was the line “she wears short skirts”. Wearing short skirts is supposed to be a sign that the couple is modern and open minded? Or should I say “Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani?”

The article is dated and the reason that I am posting about it now, is because I just happened to see some pictures of a friend with the caption “Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani” – wearing hot pants with a huge marigold garland, wait for it, in a Hindu temple and holding a pooja thali! I am not sure what the photo was supposed to demonstrate, but maybe I don’t have a Hindustani dil.