No offense meant and I assume none taken, if there was one place that I would have loved to spend more time it would be the beautiful state of Punjab in India. The people are marvelous, hardworking, playful, spiritual, love their tikka and the Patiala pegs and are always there for each other. That’s what I always found from my interactions and more importantly friends and colleagues who have belonged to this awesome place have always proven to be true friends.
Little did the very briefly misled rant from Punjab realize then that what they set out to do through violent means could barely get them close to the objective, whereas what Punjab has achieved without firing even one bullet or injuring one other person is truly remarkable. They have taken over the entire country with their culture, food and music. If you go to parts of UK, Canada, Australia it’s possible the effects are as profound in pockets as in India. Let me stay with India here!
The cultural aspects – dressing, food and music have to a large extent been “Punjabified” across the country. Today you find almost every girl, lady wearing the Punjabi suit (Salwar, Kameez) across the states. What is remarkable is that these have become the norm even in the southern states now and probably the most sold dress items across the country. Weddings across the country seem to have also followed this trend over the years where a Salwar, Kameez and Sherwani would be the norm.
Look at the food habits across the states how these staples of the Punjabi diet sarso da saag, myriad paneer dishes, parathas etc. have taken over the cuisines. You find dhabas on the road sides even way down south in rural Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, though the versions of Punjabi food they serve could be questionable but they have found these to be hot sellers, better than other items in terms of pricing and profitability. Same is the case with restaurants, recently in the interiors of Maharashtra at several places we were refused the humble Maharashtrian Chapatti’s but were instead, in each place enthusiastically offered Tandoori roti’s - again a gift of Punjab to the rest of India.
This transformation on food is far closer to me than any other. When my Tamil Brahmin, Trichy born better half who had never entered the kitchen for the first 24 years of her life, now rattles one Paneer dish after another, Chole and Parathas and more for us, I almost have tears of joy in my eyes- what a change! All of these are Punjabi dishes that she cooks with fervor and I must say that most come out very well! Punjab has influenced her food habits and converted her from a curd rice eating someone to one who has begun to relish much more than just the plain idly and dosa.
Music is such an integral part of our culture and here too I feel the Punjabi music and rap artists have literally taken over music in Bollywood at least. Whether every song must have the same key words of Zindadi, Dil, Pyaar, Kudi, Pataka, Nachde, Phira, Akhiyan and a few more is beyond my brief. But every movie has a Punjabi song whether the characters are from Punjab or not. Again the influence that Punjabi music has had on the Indian music scene in spite of its rustic yet lovable tunes and simple yet meaningful lyrics is remarkable.
So do you too believe we all now live in a “Pyaara Punjab”? Send me a note and we will do the discussion on “Bhangda” and more together J