Melting Pots.

melting pot
a pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.
a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc. are mixed together.
“Toronto is a melting pot of different cultures”

I have a number of melting pots of the latter kind in my life and I shall explain with just a few that have become part of my life in the last year or so. They are all groups on WhatsApp.

A small group of my Pune based Alumni. Two Maharashtrians, one Rajasthani, one Bengali, one Punjabi and me. All males.

A large group of my classmates from Business School. Almost every large state is represented by one or more friends all male and two ladies too.

A larger group of ex colleagues from my time in the corporate world. A mixture of Maharashtrians, Malayalis, Sindhis, Punjabi, Telugu, an Uttar Pradeshi, a Bengali and me. All males.

Another smaller group of my classmates from my Vedanta class. A mixture of Females and males. Tamils, Sindhis, Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarathi and Maharashtrian.

My immediate family group consisting of me, my siblings and our progeny. My daughter in love is also part of that. This group consists of our primary Tamils, Scots and a Maharashtrian.

Apart from these WhatsApp groups, my life revolves around a number of people of various categories including people from different religions, foreigners and people much younger to me. My extended family has people from other religions, languages and countries and so the family is also a melting pot of sorts.

My taste in music is another melting pot with preferences depending on my mood. Bollywood film music, Hindustani classical music, Jazz, Pop, Western Classical music and on occasion Carnatic classical music as well.

I live in a city which is a melting pot of many languages, cultures and religions.  That is but a microcosm of the larger country which is more complex in being a melting pot.

“India is a melting pot of the various religions and cultures of the world and it is the very nature of the unity in diversity, which has largely shaped the growth of Indian culture as a whole.”

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, grandmother of legend, and great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” – Mark Twain

And I am a product of this great melting pot.  A complete alloy!

I have suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

30 thoughts on “Melting Pots.”

  1. Going by your “visual” I was looking forward to some cooking. Instead?

    Instead I feel terrible. Not for you, for me. The way you describe your various melting pots sound grand. I had to look up what WhatsApp means. And then I went into meltdown.

    Why? I can’t fathom to be in frequent contact with so many people. Also, I don’t “text” as such. My thumbs don’t like it. And how do you know what you have said already? And are you sure anyone apart from one’s mother (in your case unfortunately not any longer with you) is in the slightest bit interested as to the minutiae of your life?

    The above is not meant to pour cold water on your melting pots. May they stay on fire forever. I just don’t get it. If I am not face to face I prefer to use the phone and emails. And, of course, blogging – a most amusing and, sometimes, stimulating melting pot of people and their take on life indeed.

    You make such a convincing case of WhatsApps that I fear this little dinosaur will be left behind soon, neither to be seen nor able to rub her eyes for dust. Never mind. It’ll be ashes to ashes.

    To paraphrase one of Looney’s recent remarks (if I remember correctly it was directed at me): Why jump in the fire when you can jump straight from the frying pan into the melting pot? What I need now is a large, so soothingly cool, bowl of creamy Greek yoghurt laced with cucumber, oil, mint and a touch of garlic.

    Ursula recently posted..Mum is the word

    1. I do have some friends who do not use whatsapp and in fact, my brother in the UK Barath is not part of the family group. Such people still communicate with me regularly through phone, sms texting, emails etc and it is perhaps just that I have been around so much and in touch with so many people over all these years that I belong to so many groups. I still enjoy my solitude and access whatsapp only when I have the time and / or the inclination. The idea that I wanted to convey was the vatiety of the contacts.

  2. Looking at the topic in your manner it occurs to me the LBC is a melting pot – 3 Indians, an Irish woman married to an Indian and living in India and me – a yank in North Carolina. I never really looked at the topic at that level – shame on me as it is very logical. Great job.

  3. One ‘melting pot’ into which I was thrown back in the 195o’s UK, was military national service, where a very mixed bunch of young men from all ‘walks of life’ were conscripted and spent two years being formed into hardened, disciplined, formidable fighting units. Well, anyway that was the theory, but as far as I can recall, even after two years of stirring there were still many individual ‘ingredients’ floating around in that pot.
    Big John recently posted..Why am I not surprised ?

    1. You are right Big John. Despite all the diversity, at the individual level, we are all different but common interests enable certain blending at need.

  4. Northern Ireland is becoming more of a melting pot than it used to be. There are now many nationalities and many cultures among our modest 1.7 million population. But there’s still a long way to go, as the two dominant religions hold sway and have little tolerance for other religions. And I can’t see that changing any time soon.
    nick recently posted..Fish out of water

    1. Tolerance for other religions is a topic that one of these days will inspire a post from me. Just shortly, the thrust would be that tolerance is not what one looks for but respect and acceptance of differences.

  5. I was raised to believe that the U.S. was a melting pot, so I was surprised a few years when I used the term and a fellow blogger (a former member of the LBC) told me to be careful. The term wasn’t PC because it implied that everyone should end up with the same culture. We had to be sensitive and honor differences. Interesting. I’m clearly way behind the times. It’s a big issue at colleges now — be sensitive or else.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Kingston

    1. I do think we have “to be sensitive and honor differences”. Particularly if we find ourselves in the same pot stewing away at different melting points.

      Ursula recently posted..Mum is the word

    2. I had not heard it was in PC (no surprise there), so I went to Google it. Quite appropriate given the image in this blog – the first listing was of a local fondue restaurant.

    3. Indeed, Identity Politics is all the rage now, which is the exact opposite concept from Melting Pot. Identity Politics is all about maintaining cultural distinctiveness while remembering and nurturing historical grievances. In the Melting Pot concept, the Irish and the English live and work together as Americans with a shared culture and neither can tell you who Oliver Cromwell was.
      Looney recently posted..Pike’s Peak

      1. A recent column by Peggy Noonan was entitled, Rage is all the rage, and it’s dangerous>/em>. It was primarily about political fracturing, but it also applies to all nurturing of grievances instead of working together for common causes.
        Cheerful Monk recently posted..If Only

        1. I read Peggy Noonan’s column and can see a great deal of similarities between the USA and India in so far as the political arena being polarised. Our situation is more complicated because of a very hostile neighbourhood which keeps creating trouble in many parts of our country as a declared state objective of inflicting thousands of cuts in our fabric.

    4. The Politically Correct problem exists here as well and I now realise that I should have included that in the post. Thank you. Perhaps one of these days, I will write a full post on it.

    5. U.
      What does sensitivity look like to you? How do you think you practice it in your interactions with people who think differently from you?
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..If Only

  6. I have not used WhatsAp, but a colleague of mine from India loves it. I will have to try it. It is very interesting how inventions like WhatsAp, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat (to name a few) have changed how people can communicate. I had not thought of it as increasing one’s melting pot, but I like this blog post. To Ursula’s point, I think we are still in the era of options – I see this as expanding one’s options. We do struggle at work with how to keep each generation engaged, however, as newer employees tend to not resonate with the more historical methods, and visa versa.

    1. We communicated well enough in the old days without such gadgets, but what is the big difference is the frequency with which we do now. I still enjoy opening the odd letter that I get in the mail and also the emails which have now reduced in numbers but still come now and then.

  7. I enjoyed this post very much – there is so much about you to absorb from your writings Ramana – would your long list of ‘contacts’ be usual for an older person in your part of India or is it just ‘you’?

    We try to encourage new migrants to Australia to become involved with their communities yet still retain their individuality. It works in some cases – not so well in others.
    Cathy recently posted..Putting it all together…..

    1. I hesitate to generalise but there are a number of people of around my age who are as active in social networks as I am here. On the other hand I also know of many who are not. I however am gregarious and I expect that to be a factor in my particular case.

      Becoming involved with local communities even when they are not immigrants from overseas can be tough anywhere. Here, it is primarily language and food habits but over a period of time, some adjustments do get made and harmonious neighbourliness can be experienced.

      I would like however to be politically correct and not talk about one particular phenomenon and I hope that you understand.

  8. You mention Toronto as a ‘melting pot’. In Canada, officially, we strive to be a mosaic— a “mix of ethnic groups, languages, and cultures that coexist within society”. Those are not my words, they are offered courtesy of Wikipedia, but I thought they describe our view of our country, at least what we hope it is! We come close to that ideal sometimes, but we, like all other cultures, sometimes have “feet of clay”.

    1. The Toronto bit is an example given by google as an example of usage of the phrase. I personally think that Canada is making a big mistake and will pay a very big price soon enough. I am prepared to elaborate on this in separate individual communications by email.

    2. I’m not sure exactly what R would say, but my guess is mosaics don’t work unless the majority of people share common values and work towards the same thing. Coexistence isn’t enough.

      Please include me in your emails, Rummuser,
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..If Only

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