Friday, October 07, 2005

Who's the 'Vern'?

Was witness to a very queer incident.

While travelling by train to the office, seated opposite me were these typical college-going girls wearing T-shirt and jeans and talking in that false-American accent. The teenyboppers that are a ubiquitous feature in Bombay.

What happened is this:
Girl 1: Look at what he is reading?
Girl 2: (with a look of horror in her face) Must be a 'Vern'...

No! I wasn't reading any of those 'Sharmila ka Badan' and 'Julie ki Suhaag Raat' type of books that are sold for 5 bucks. In fact, they weren't even talking about me.
There was this guy (normal-looking college-going kid wearing a T-shirt and Jeans) seated next to me reading 'Chomana Dhudi'. For the uniformed, it is a Kannada novel written by Dr. Kota Shivaram Karanth (Padma Bhushan declinee and Jnanpith Winner), regarded as among the foremost Kannada writers of the 20th century.

I felt my blood boil. Not because they were degrading an author of my community, but for the sheer arrogance and ignorance being displayed under the garb of Modernism. I mean, these idiots, I am sure had no idea of who Shivram Karanth was... must have never heard about any of his novels... and yet, have the mindlessness to label his readers as 'Verns' (someone who has studied in a Vernacular medium)

I have seen this attitude in quite a lot of people. Speak in Marathi or Gujarati or Tamil or read books in languages other than English... perfect recipe for being labelled a 'Vern'.

The ironical part of it all - A couple of minutes later, one of the girls started reading... guess what... Sidney Sheldon. (Jeeta Jaagta proof of 'Thriving Mediocrity')


Anonymous Petu said...

It is indeed sad that people (and beleive it or not) Verns (If i may use this word) who under the false hope of impressing someone,degrade fellow humans with such utterly useless comments.
And yeah I do know who Shivaram Karanth is!
BTW When u spoke of BMS in other posts of urs,were u referring to BMSCE?
My email whim DOT gen AT gmail DOT com

2:11 AM  

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