A couple of years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing an address by Professor Salman Akhtar, a noted observer of Bollywood and a renowned psychoanalyst. In his speech, Dr. Akhtar laid out what he thought were characteristics traits of the Global Indian or Desi men. These are:
- Trait 3 – At a party, the Desi prefers to sit on the carpet rather than on the sofa.
- Trait 2 – Given the opportunity, the Desi prefers to eat with his hands rather than with a fork.
- Trait 1 – Regardless of all evidence to the contrary, the Desi fervently believes he can sing.
I also recall Prof. Akhtar saying that Bollywood films serve as psychotherapy for Indians in India and globally. More entertaining and cheaper than visiting a Psychotherapist! He illustrated his points by numerous examples of Bollywood films.
Professor Akhtar is the son of the renowned Urdu poet Jan Nisar Akhtar and the brother of the acclaimed lyricist Javed Akhtar. He is the author of several books, the most famous of which is “Freud Along The Ganges – Psychoanalytic Reflections on the People and Culture of India“. This book is a must read for people who would like to understand the complexities and simplicities of the Indian Psyche.
I am proud to say that I possess all the three traits above. Our contributor, Dr. Madhav Chavan, would probably add another trait of the “Rasik Desi” – Watching Bollywood films from the “Lower Stalls“.
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