An Indian (un)Fight

An Indian fight is a paradox, a melodramatic act of intense chest thumping and in the end an “unfight”. It could happen anytime and anywhere. Only God knows what or who started it because very soon even fighting parties do not remember.

It generally involves 2 people (related or unrelated) or parties standing at a safe distance and cursing each other. There are lots of hand wavings and head noddings. If the involved parties are “educated” the fight starts with “you bastard” and “bloody fool”. I have no idea why we love to use these two particular expressions. But I think it is a leftover from our colonial heritage. Soon though language takes a more colorful native turn with a Punjabi flavor. Teri bahan ki and teri maa di (these off course are referrals to vagina of abused’s sisters and mothers) start flying fast.. I am not sure if it is even abuse. It simply implies that a female family member has a vagina. The other abuses include incest in the family and the ultimate insult of calling a man a cunt in the native language.

In true Gandhian tradition, there is almost never any physical contact. The two parties continue to abuse and dare each other to cross some imaginary line. If that imaginary line was to be crossed, there are imaginary bad things that were going to happen. If one is not a “bastard” he should dare cross the line. Off course the “bastard” also wants other “bastard” to do the same. There is generally an expectant crowd that gathers looking for some “action”. Once a punch is thrown then some members of the crowd join in without even knowing who is fighting whom. This grand orgy of abuses, screams, curses and punches goes on for few minutes.

I had the great fortune of witnessing this event recently, off all the places at immigration clearance at Delhi airport. There was a  commotion and a loud “you bastard”. Apparently the other dude has “touched” the family. I have no idea how the “bastard” touched the whole family at once. May be he was a serial “toucher” or a very swift toucher. The toucher despite all his drawbacks was not a screamer. He was called “you bloody fool” as well. Then it took the predicted turn to “teri maa di”. The toucher was dared to touch the family again. The toucher did not fall for this. Eventually screamer and toucher took their positions back in the line and continues to share the common misery of being in an airport.


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