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::By Zacharia Varte, New Delhi::

Ever since I first stepped into Delhi’s soil I must have heard this word addressed to me at least a thousand times. The word is ‘chinky’.

At first, I didn’t even know what it meant. I was later enlightened that it is one of the various words used to address people with a slit eye. Well with time my vocabulary of such synonymous words grew considerably.

The list now includes kanchha, bahadur, pahari blah blah blah and of course the all time favorite chinky. Hilariously, the more poetic ones even make a rhyme with it: chinky pinky, chinky minky and so on……..

But we the people of chinky land having solemnly resolved not to take these taunts lightly, gradually developed our own lexicon of insults: vailukol (even when his head may be dense with hair), saala-bihari (applies to all non-chinky) and the rest which are best not printed. We have been so conditioned that these words are speedily volleyed back just as the taunts come. More like reflex action. Come to think of it this proves Newton’s Third Law so well, every abuse has an equal and opposite abuse.

Having heard these words a thousand times I have grown more accustomed to it by now. Although occasionally, I do have a fit of rage but I console myself each time, telling myself that if I am to respond to all the taunts I would literally be spending my whole life doing so. Some of the brave hearts may consider this as a coward’s paradise but to me as ungallant as it may sound it is the only way to live in peace and go about your business.

Let the idler, good for nothing pour out his frustrations on me but I am not going to raise my blood pressure and go mad because that’s exactly what the scoundrel wants.

So now instead of being red and inflamed at these words I try (I’m still trying) to take it as cool as possible. The connotations attached to these words may be distasteful, but we are the one who can alter it. My theory is quite simple, although these words may be offensive but who is getting offended? Are We? Not me at least. So long I (we) refuse to be offended with, tell me who in the world can possibly offend me with these words? So long I refuse to keep these words in my dictionary of vilifying words tell me why should I be offended with them?

I have tried in my own little way to get habituated with these words. I use it among my non-chinky friends to address a fellow chinky. Just a couple of days before a pal (non-chinky) asked me if I am not offended with the word. My answer was a blatant ‘no’. Then I made the poor thing to listen to all my lectures on racism, on the plight of the victims and how in due course I decided not to be enraged by it.

Of course it’s not easy to keep cool when an ill bred, illiterate, ignorant fool blurt out these words, sitting at one corner with a sinister smile. But believe me; it’s just not worth reacting to it. You just cannot teach an idiot what his mother didn’t. You may be able to catch hold of an idiot or two but you simply cannot teach a lesson to every pest that you meet. It’s like a war with mosquitoes in Vasant Vihar: the more you kill the more they multiply.

So are you now willing to tread on my path? Would you still hop mad with frustration at these terminologies or simply swallow it and blow it out you’re a**e?

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