The maturity of the audience is an important factor to be taken into consideration while sharing anecdotes or stories from the past. Once I committed the glorious mistake of mentioning to a very insecure, immature and ignorant audience that my mother mentioned, during her recent visit to Australia, that it was rumoured that her grandfather was British. She recollected having been reared in a palatial house, which was her ancestral home, where one of the rooms served as a library. She used to spend some time in the library looking at the number of dusty books neatly arranged on the tall bookshelves in awe. In the 1940’s, it was not usual for spacious traditional houses to house a library with English books especially in Kerala. While the rest of the family had dark pupils in their eyes, her father and his sisters, who are her aunts, had pale blue and green pupils and they were fairer complexioned than most fair Indians. She did not know the name of her grandfather or probably had forgotten the name that was mentioned to her. The reaction of my audience was unpredictable. I am aware that I do not look British in appearance, but I certainly did not expect them to boo me as they chose to believe that it was all a lie.
I waited for them to quieten down. If I had any documents pertaining to my maternal family’s connections to the British, then I would have flung it in their faces to establish the truth. However, my mother was sure that there were no records available to confirm the rumour as truth. The family continued to live in comforts even though there were no major contributors to the living expenses that it raised the suspicions of the neighbours who spread the rumours that they were devil worshippers. On hearing the story, I reasoned that when the British were forced to leave India because of the Independence movement the “so called British great-grandfather” had no other choice but to leave the family behind, however, continued to support them financially by money orders or via bank transactions. I tersely told the nincompoops to research about Anglo – Indians instead of wading through the pool of ignorance. This incident made me wonder about the causes that influence people to disbelieve information without cross checking the correctness of it. Is it superiority complex that impairs the judgment of the socially disadvantaged? Or is it the outcome of sheer ignorance of people who prefer to rely on what they heard through the grapevine instead of making informed decisions? Whatever it is, facts are undeniable truths. Mixed heritage only makes us culturally rich. If the British connections were/are true, then we consider ourselves blessed than cursed.
Post-1947, the mixed fortunes of the mixed race Anglo-Indians
A Classic Example of Superiority Complex or Ignorance?
Once I committed the glorious mistake of mentioning to a very insecure, immature and ignorant audience that my mother mentioned, during her recent visit to Australia, that it was rumoured that her grandfather was British. The reaction of my audience was unpredictable. I am aware that I do not look British in appearance, but I certainly did not expect them to boo me as they chose to believe that it was all a lie.