Wednesday, February 27, 2008


One man's joke may be blasphemy to another, as Ruchira's post today reminded me. I recall this little incident at the library.

The lady at the checkout desk was friendly and cordial, as always. I always love to banter lightly with her, feeling a modicum of comfort in her clipped British accent that reminded me somewhat of the BBC-copied English of the Doordarshan newscasters in the early '90s.
The person ahead of me had just walked off in a huff, when she discovered that I had gotten my hands on Khaled Hosseini's latest "A Thousand Splendid Suns" a split second earlier off the shelf. This was before my brain could react in time to urge me to offer her the book instead, and I looked at the librarian in puzzlement.
"Why was she in such a hurry? I could have easily given her the book if she wanted to read it first."
"I don't know, dearie. Well, she'll wait till it gets back now, I guess."
I placed my books on the counter.
"Did you like the earlier one, I remember seeing you check it out."
"Oh, yes, I liked it very much. Now the movie's out too. Have you seen it?"
"Yes, I did, and wasn't there a huge controversy over the child actors in it", shaking her head in disapproval.
"That was bad", I said, "but quite understandable if the Afghan government decided to ban the film from screening for fear that it would offend the people in its depictions. I recall a similar ban over the screening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in India, over the depiction of the 'Indian' characters in it"
"If you ask me, I think that all this has gone far too much..." She seemed rather belligerent here." It's all just in good fun; people take this far too seriously."
"Why, I suppose so. Though I'm sure that each culture has their holy cows. If someone was to come up with something lampooning the Queen and the Royal family similar to what we see in episodes of Blackadder, I'm sure that it wouldn't seem very funny to the British. "
The frosting glare turned to ice at this comment.
"I'm sorry , dear. I just don't want to talk about this any more."

Which just made my point.


Anonymous said...

Those who live in glass houses....:) Funny. But sometimes people don't realize that they live in a glass house..

Sujatha said...

That's what surprised me in this incident. I've learned to be a little more cautious before expounding on my views in public in this very 'Red' township. You never know just what lurks under the veneer.