Although it is difficult to characterise Indians given the sheer size and diversity of the country, there are some traits that stand out including our ability to innovate (better known as jugaad), divine hospitality (being a guest in an Indian home is truly a privilege or a nightmare depending on how well you can cope with the food coma) and ability to take just about everything in our stride ("chalta hai").
Whether or not you agree that these are some of our distinguishing characteristics, there is one that is surely beyond any dispute -- we have an opinion on everything. After all, India has been home to a number of celebrated thinkers and philosophers like Chanakya. In fact, there is hardly any subject that does not get intensely discussed within the comfort of our homes, workplaces, restaurants, parks, tea stalls and even movie theatres. Subjects include everything from acute shortage of parking space to whether or not India should have sent a mission to Mars. While the interest levels in some so-so subjects (inflation, recession, sanitation) rise and fall, others that are matters of National importance (Shah Rukh vs Salman, Sajid Khan's next movie, Amit Shah's smile or lack thereof) have maintained steady popularity over the last few years.
Being a former Dilli-wala and a current Bombay (Mumbai)-waala, there is yet another topic that I have participated in passionate debates about -- is Bombay (Mumbai) better than Delhi? Many years have gone by and even Arjun Rampal's facial expressions have changed, however, the jury is still out on which of these two cities is truly the deserving winner.
Recently, I happened to gladly overhear a debate on this complex subject. If you are uncertain about where you stand vis-à-vis this issue, the highlights from that debate might help you to make up your mind (D = Dilli-wala and B = Bombay-waala):
D- Hey, we have infrastructure and we have big roads. Tumhaare pass kya hai?
B- Even we have roads, yaa.
D- You mean those which resemble Om Puri's cheeks?
D- We are large-hearted, we gave you the richest actor in the country Shah Rukh Khan, and have you ever given us something in return?
B- We gave you Sharad Pawar! Hahaha
D- We have history? Do you have an answer to that?
B- Yes we have and we call it - Alok Nath
D- Our MLAs are like muffler-man, they talk of development, anti-corruption and work for the sincere betterment of society. What do you have?
B- We have Baba Siddique, the man who made Shah Rukh-Salman patch up. Beat that!
D- It's here that critical matters like Indo-Pak relationship are discussed!
B- You mean YouTube video comments?
D- We have the amazing Lutyens!
B- We have Sea Link!
D- Yes of course and on the other side of the Sea Link lies the imaginary land of Narnia
D- Ever heard of this concept of having four seasons?
B- Oh, you mean that hotel in Lower Parel?
D- Tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai?
B- Nahi, kaun?
D- Bada admi hai
B- Cool, can uncle pay my EMI for this month?
The debate continued for a bit longer and other important aspects (e.g. Paranthewalli Gali vs Irani Chai with Bun Maska) were debated. However, as usual, no clear winner ultimately emerged. I suspect it would have been easier for Schrodinger to find a solution to the Wave equation. As far as I am concerned, Delhi is the city that taught me to dream and Bombay is where I hope that some of my dreams will eventually get realised. But before we indulge in this debate any further I better go and check if Amit Shah is smiling!