Twenty-Five Signs that are a U.P. Bhaiyya

You have just come to, say, in Moradabad, or maybe, Gorakhpur. You enter an ATM kiosk. You are aware that the magnetic strip on your card is slightly damaged and it takes few attempts to get it working. The person next in line watches you, as you try, peering from between the smoked-glass strips on the transparent door. When you fail at your third attempt, he throws the door open and announces, loudly, ‘Maybe you are ‘out-of-balance’, or maybe, it has already deducted the money and the machine is out or order or maybe…’

You cut him short with a cold stare. He does not give up. He continues talking, now with the security guard, ‘I am just trying to help. I know about these things. Once my missus went to an ATM…’

An anecdote is related, and several other people have gathered to listen to it.

Welcome to Uttar Pradesh!

The bhaiyya is a harmless character. In fact, he is quite interesting. He can appease as smoothly as he can ruffle. He never carries a grudge. He judges the moment for the merit of that moment.

He wears his heart on his sleeve, or rather his sleeve on his heart, which means, his hand is guided straight by his heart to punch a face or pat a back. He is a diplomat without the obsequious, slimy ways of many a typical diplomat.

If you are a bhaiyya, but have not been to Uttar Pradesh for a while, here is a checklist that you can use to verify if your ‘bhaiyya-ness’ is still intact. You might also find it useful to validate the same for other people you know.

  1. There is, at least, one person in your family whose name is ‘Bhaiyya’ : his parents, siblings and wife, all address him as ‘Bhaiyya’.
  2. Your day begins with giving the government advice on how it should operate and closes with disillusioned resignation, ‘kaa bataavein bhaiyya, sab chor hain saale’
  3. You tip your garbage over the boundary wall, and spit on it to sign off.
  4. You clean your ears in public with anything that you can find: scooter keys are most handy. If you have a habit of losing your keys, you just grow the nail of your little finger. If you are fashionable, you paint it red.
  5. You stand at the McDonald’s order counter and then yell in the direction of your family, sitting 10 metres away, ‘Aloo waala bargad lei lein ka?’
  6. You relish your wife’s cooking but, helpfully, point out specific shortcomings such as ‘Today, the brinjal has not been roasted properly’. In response, your wife curses you as she flips the roti on the gas stove, ‘So, get your mother to make it, haan?’
  7. Your advisor-in-chief is your paanwalla, who has tips on on a wide-spectrum on issues ranging from home-remedies for gastric issues right up to fiscal decisions the country needs to make.
  8. You hug sideways because your paunch comes in the way.
  9. You make it a point to pre-empt the cheats out there (Question : Who is a cheat? Answer : Everyone) by announcing that you have visited that shop/office/city a thousand times and, you know it in and out.
  10. When stating the above in Chennai, you point to the neighbour’s plate and ask, ‘What noodles is that?’ It is iddiyappam.

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