Putting a Price to the Value while Being Brown or White

His thin, young body hung backward, his arms supporting the full weight of his chest and shoulders. His head fell backward too, as he kept his eyes closed while pouting his lips. He sighed with a cocky tone and artificially exhausted, he started talking about his travel to Punjab in the upcoming week.

“Yes, these kanjri will be waiting for me.” He was joking, having anticipated the common jokes of both his American and Indian friends so often that their jokes now sounded like his own.

“I look forward to play cricket.”
“Are you any good?”
“No, not compared to my nephews, but I know ho to play.”
“One day, me and my cousins were playing soccer though, and someone kicked the ball off the pitch, and before you know, you are in the gandi basti, in the slum.”

His hand combed his hair back in style, his white collar stood upright. The overhead light reflected on his brown face like a golden glow.

“Do you know the term desi?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he answered in his fluent American accent, “It is someone from the south, you mean?”
“It is a term for Indians being brought up in America.”

Amrit and I were two different minds with similar hearts. I sincerely liked his openness and the honesty and male bound that existed between us. I also admired his commitment, working fulltime as an engineer and being a part-time law student. He was young, ambitious and assertive, cocky even, he was crazy about American football and video games, his girlfriend was Punjabi too, but I am sure he dated other girlfs too. But desi girls now had an option, they could date white guys too, so I am not sure if his girl talk was all talk or not. But like my other Indian friends, he was obsessed with numbers, financial numbers to be precise. Some of the younger generation might be influenced by Western emphasis on art and intellectual curiosity, but by far most Indians I knew, rarely talked about literature or art. That is, they talked about famous and rich artists of course, movie actors in general, but to take up drawing or visit a museum seemed not their idea of enlightened ideals.

Education of course Amrit too highly regarded and me, I am one of those European liberals (libertarian socialists to be precise) who believe that an education inevitably, indiscriminatingly will plant a seed of curiosity in the pupil’s mind, opening up the world of arts in consequence.

“I believe that artistic interest is an expression of the general level of education,” I tried to invoke his appreciation for art.
“I disagree strongly, how much money you make is all that matters in life. You can’t leave your children poor but uplifted by the arts, you need to provide for the next generations, and they need hard currency.”
“But only through education can a people uplift themselves, and the arts are the inevitable expression in form of a people’s standard of education.”
“Money,” Amrit smiled with a fierce glow in his iris, ” and by the way, I was born in India, and Brahmin too!”

I found it both humerous and cynical that he was a Brahmin or Godhead, I must say, although as a socialist I never could discredit the value of labor or money, in contrast to many of my European and American artists and intellectual friends.

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