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Photo: muni88

According to Priyanka Kher, it ain’t easy to piss off an Indian. But it’s possible.

ATITHI DEVO BHAVAH. This Sanskrit verse literally means “Guest is God,” the Indian philosophy when it comes to guests and visitors, to their country and to their homes. They will accommodate and they will tolerate.

They’ll let you get away with a number of things…but it’s possible to hit the limit. Here’s how.

Go hunting for the ‘real’ India

Look for the dirtiest possible spot in the city you’re in, preferably with lots of stagnant water and flies, semi-clothed children running around, and a few stray dogs. This should be easy enough to find. If you’re lucky, you might find one just by looking out the window of your hotel room.

Next, pull your camera out and start clicking. Keep clicking, to the point where people around you start paying attention. At some point one of them will get curious and ask you what you’re doing. Reply (with a sympathetic expression), “I want to capture the real India and show the world what it’s like to live here.” Mission accomplished.

Bitch about cricket

Walk into a public place when a game of cricket is on, preferably between India and Australia. This can be at an up-market pub, a roadside restaurant, or even a shop selling televisions in the local market. When a game of cricket is on, almost everyone is watching it. If you’ve chosen an up-market pub, go to the table making the most noise and politely ask if you can join them.

Compare Indian players to Australian players, then raise it up a notch by saying that you think Australians are better cricketers.

If you don’t know much about cricket, first try to gain some inside knowledge. Your new friends will appreciate your interest. Now, start complaining about the game. “What’s the big deal?” “Eight hours for one game, c’mon!” “B-o-r-i-n-g.” Compare Indian players to Australian players, then raise it up a notch by saying that you think Australians are better cricketers.

You speak good English? How come?

This one is your best bet. Go to a crowded market (that should be easy enough) and pretend to be lost. Look around for a youngster. Walk up to him and ask for directions to your hotel. When he replies, completely ignore what he just said and focus on his English instead. Act surprised.

Next, ask him where he learned to speak such fluent English. “Have you lived overseas? No? Really?” Tell him that you’re impressed. Your manner should be patronizing. Like this was completely unexpected.

Note: If you’ve done this successfully, don’t follow any directions he proceeds to give. They are wrong.

Critique arranged marriage

Invite yourself to a wedding. This will be easier in November and December since, based on favorable planetary positions, most weddings in India take place around this time.

Play the “Guest is God” card by telling them that you would love to be part of a cultural ceremony.

Walking down the road at night, you’ll come across a wedding party every few kilometers. Go up to the gate of any one of these and introduce yourself. Play the “Guest is God” card by telling them that you would love to be part of a cultural ceremony.

Once inside, find a table and mingle with the other guests. Start asking questions, preferably to an older attendee. “So, what are arranged marriages? How does it work? Isn’t that regressive?” “So, the stars decide the date?” “Are you kidding me?” During the conversation, don’t stop stuffing your face with the awesome food being served.

Whine and whine some more

Sit on a bench in a public place with a bottle of mineral water in hand. Then start whining about everything from the heat, to the dirt, to the traffic, to the beggars. Whine to the person walking by and to the person sitting next to you. Take a break when you spot a cow sitting in the middle of the road. Pretend to be extremely amused and (again) take your camera out and click pictures. Following that, start whining again.

The thing is, pretty much all Indians complain about the heat, the traffic, the dirt, and the beggars. It’s their country and they can say and do what they want. You can’t. Be a snob and piss off an Indian. Simple.

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About The Author

Priyanka Kher

Originally from India, I have lived in New Zealand for six years and am currently residing in The United States. My travel stories are inspired by my experiences in these three very different parts of the world. I feel I have a lot to share and in the process am trying to learn something new every day. To read more visit my Matador profile.

  • Mayank Sahai

    Priyanka, you are BANG ON here. Specially the one about “Your English is very good. I can understand everything you say!”. Always leaves me feeling amused or pissed or both. India is the second largest English speaking population after the U.S. Came across this stat while I was registering for my IELTS last night. Even I was surprised!
    Great job with this. Loved it. Keep it going.

  • Saumya Gupta

    Hell yeah, enough to piss any Indian off. The cricket thing however won’t work. Most of the people I know hardly give a sh*t about cricket anymore.

    • Priyanka Kher

      Glad you liked this Saumya. About cricket, I suppose it depends on who you encounter. For all the ones who don’t care, I do believe there are a lot of those who still do. Also, it’s another thing when we as Indians talk about our own players, we bitch, we curse but we can do that. Hearing it from a visitor is a different ball game altogether. I think it will evoke reactions..nevertheless..4 out of 5 is good too :)

    • Ramesh Natarajan

      That’s odd Soumya, because the stadiums during IPL certainly seem to be filling up. Maybe most of the people ‘you’ know aren’t interested, but I don’t see a drastic reduction in interest.

  • Scott Hartman

    :) Nicely done.

    • Priyanka Kher

      Hey, Thanks Scott!

  • Asbah Rashid Husain

    Haha I love this! :D It actually happens man. :P

    • Priyanka Kher

      Thanks Asbah.

  • Sascha Funk

    So what’s this cricket thing anyway? ;)

  • Harsh Modi

    Interesting

  • Turner Wright

    “Next, ask him where he learned to speak such fluent English. ‘Have you lived overseas? No? Really?’ Tell him that you’re impressed. Your manner should be patronizing. Like this was completely unexpected.”

    Same reaction I get in Japan and Korea speaking their respective languages.

    • Ash Menon

      Haha yeah I got that in Japan too.

    • yuppity

      Thats a bit different lol.

  • Muneef Hameed

    Now that’s a really pissed off picture of mine :D

    • Ayoob Rahman

      :)

    • Muhammed Riyas

      @[100001450132655:2048:Muneef] Da eldo..Ninne ashan cinemayil edutha? ;)

  • Abhijit Gupta

    Hahaha.. bang on, awesome! I think one can exacerbate the cricket situation even further by saying – Oh, I think Sachin Tendulkar should retire’! ;) :P

  • Chitra Sivasankar Arunagiri

    Nice one, cricket, arranged marriage, english…. hahahaha right on target.

  • Immi Sefa

    I will definitely use this guide to get back to my Indian American friend lol.

  • Aadil Fahim

    Interesting write-up, Priyanka! :) Whine and whine more! HAHAHA!

  • Boby Sandhu

    call an indian a paki!, or a sikh a hindu…

    • rowhns

      Calling an Indian a paki….is a definite no no

  • Navin Dhillon

    Of course..you can do this assuming you don’t get raped before hand…good luck!

  • Shashidhar Nanjundaiah

    Here’s a fundamental one you probably assumed: Somehow, notwithstanding your efforts to the contrary, communicate that you are a non-resident Indian. That’s sure to cheese them off–but I guess that’s a qualifier. Meaning, if they know you’re an NRI, even if you chose to come back, the remaining stuff is guaranteed to piss em off and attract such fond pleasantries as “You should go back ‘home’ where you came from” :)

  • Shashidhar Nanjundaiah

    Here’s a fundamental one you probably assumed: Somehow, notwithstanding your efforts to the contrary, communicate that you are a non-resident Indian. That’s sure to cheese them off–but I guess that’s a qualifier. Meaning, if they know you’re an NRI, even if you chose to come back, the remaining stuff is guaranteed to piss em off and attract such fond pleasantries as “You should go back ‘home’ where you came from” :)

  • David Perez

    How do you play a cricket? I mean, do you hold his wings and wait for his chirps or you somehow push him to do it? Since there isn’t any Australian in this debate, I have to ask you, guys…

  • vishnusupreet

    Ha ha.. I get the English part. I’ve had several foreigners come and tell me stuff like that. Apparently, they thought I was from Canada, cause my shirt had Toronto written all over it.

  • Besus

    So how would you take pictures without pissing an Indian off?

    • Kartashk

      I’m pretty sure you know how to read what the author wrote. Like she said, don’t come to the slums here and take pictures of ONLY the slums and tell locals that ALL of India looks like their slum. Take pictures of shopping malls, airports and highways ALSO! I’m Indian, and I can assure you that if I saw you taking pictures and telling me that you’re capturing the real India, I’d punch you in the face.

  • TMC

    Kudos.. A perfect BS article Prinyanka Kher.. you definitely know the ways to annoy Indian people. As if your newly ‘discovered’ NZ and US people are so perfect in every way. I can see a real f..ked up traitor nomad in you. Perhaps, the fact that racism and homophobia are more accepted in NZ and US makes you love them to the core. Please answer me this. Why do you all NRIs are desperate to get a duped attitude and try miserably to act as if you are a real citizen in the country where you choose to beg for your bread? We all know that you NRIs are getting your rears whooped everyday for everything you do there but you show off when you come here to India as if you have a gifted life back there. This is because the real citizens there know very well that a black pig cannot be a white pig no matter whatever bleaching technique it uses to make it a white one.

    • Tufan K Banerjee

      Hey, did I just saw you standing in the fucking us visa line?

      • Steve_Gates

        Your English is very good mate!! have you lived overseas?

    • moi

      Whoa! there is some serious anger!

    • Jois

      See. You just proved her point buddy. There’s a pissed off Indian brother. Now you better agree with what she said.

  • TMC

    And one more thing.. People like you are the real reason why PURE INDIANS hate NRI nuts. Show offffff… Well.. continue your job of begging in US for another brief period and switch to another country where you have ample opportunities for begging. Moron..

    • cheese

      What the hell??! Stupidest comment ever. What makes you think NRIs have a horrible life and beg in the country they live in? I can assure you that is not the case. Most of us have a wonderful life in the country we choose to live in and the ones who don’t like it abroad eventually go back to India.

  • RedBaron

    Hilarious article. Living in the US another one I came across was “Whats that smell you have in your food”. ” Do you speak Hindu?” “I love Indian food,you guys make the best Chicken Tikki masala” For some reason we are hindu speaking chicken tikki eating smelly folks,all 1.2 billion of us.

  • Akaash Mukherjee

    The English language in India is a consequence of colonialism, and so it baffles me that people are so proud of themselves for speaking it well. If the day comes when no one knows who Arybhatha or Panini are, when the Mahabarat is only read in obscure university classes, when people no longer write and speak literary hindi, bengali, marathi, tamil etc… When that day comes, won’t it be glorious? That’ll be the day where we’ll have nothing to give our children, the day our defeat is complete — 1000 years of consecutive colonisation later. And the way things look, I think many of us will live to see that day.

    • Frank

      Paninis are delicious…..

    • rowhns

      English is more of a business language that not only Indians but people of countries always try to learn, even the french president was pissed off that people in France were so eager to learn english. …

      However that does not signify that the population has forgotten its own roots. Besides english has the most flawed grammar rules compared to most other languages which inturn makes it easier to grasp. Infact people can still make sense by speaking broken english but may not be able to do so with other languages

  • RaniJayne

    Haha, I do love it. But do think the fastest way of pissing off an indian in by calling them a paki, or assuming they are muslim. Either that or trying to copy the accent whist bobbing you head, and comparing everyone to Apou (?) the Kwiki Mart owner in the Simpsons.

  • prashanth Gubbi

    Bull SHIT !!!!! U can even piss off a dog and its not difficult,, don’t generalise pissing off a race or country men.. where r u from? ,,, its not a topic to write,,what u mean you ask some one

    You speak good English? How come?

    ofcourse its not the mother tongue and there is no issue making it loud.Atleast some one has made an effort to please u, be grateful he is trying… i can piss u off with one word,, No big deal,, so ????? take it easy tigress…. it ain’t easy to piss off an Indian.. why do u want to piss off ppl? .. talk some thing that we all make up for love and peace,,

  • onenightinbeijing

    These articles are actually fantastic ways to know abt cultures of a country

  • rowhns

    Another that I would add….
    Never ask an Indian person about – ‘Caste or/and Sati’

    Caste is too complex and myriad to explain to a foreigner. Caste is different for different community and different parts of the country. Most people confuse caste with the four Varna system (based on professions) which is pretty much obsolete in the modern time. Also Indians can easily make the difference between ‘innocent curiosity’ and ‘lame attempt to pick at cultural faults’. The latter is especially true when asked by a westerner who belongs to a country that had or is shamelessly engaged in slavery, racism, exploitative imperialism, genocide, illegal occupation, wars etc

    Asking an Indian about Sati is like asking an American about the Salem witch trials. It was rare and happened long time ago in one particular caste/ ethinic community in one part of the country. It was never practiced widely across the country the way some of the indo phobic western literature makes it seem.

  • Priyanka Kher

    Thanks for reading Mayank. The saga about English speaking continues even when one is out of India. Can’t begin to tell you how many people have commented and have been surprised (apparently) at the the fact that I can speak fluent English, even here in the US. In all fairness though, its usually appreciated and for most people it is a pleasant surprise indeed.

  • Shalini N Kasbekar

    Priyanka Kher Should it read- How to piss an Indian off? I could be wrong, though.

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