Telugu Culture?

Kanneganti Ramarao

Ever since I declared I take pride in my culture, our Subbarao started questioning me. He asked me, "Why do you take pride in it? After all, you have done nothing to get it. If you were born a zulu, you would have equal right to take pride in it!!"

I said, "Dear Subs, you can't do these vitanDa vaadams!! First of all, I am born a Telugu, besides, I live a life of a Telugu. That should be enough for me take pride in Telugu. Besides, I like Telugu culture."

Subs pondered a moment before shooting back. "You mean you like Telugu culture. What do you mean by that?"

I could have answered that idiot in a moment, but he is getting to be a smartass. I got be careful, I thought. "I go to the temple every Saturday, I have read Ramayana and Mahabharata. I can even name all the wives of Krishna."

Subs laughed derisively. "Naming the merry wives of Mathura just tells me you are a Hindu. For all I know you could be from Mathura. In fact, if you are an abdul rahman and don't go to temple, does that mean you are not a Telugu?"

"Not that, of course", I was defensive. "You are twisting all my words. I just mean that our religion is so much a part of our culture."

Subs condescendingly started explaining. "Look, this Krishna stuff might make you a Hindu, but to be a Telugu, it must be much more than that. Besides, who has heard of those books being integral part of Telugu culture?"

Before he bored me to death, I jumped in and said, "But, Subs, I saw all the NTR movies with those mythological stories. Bet it is a must for essential Teluguness. Besides, who can be called a Telugu who doesn't see Telugu movies?"

Subs acted as though he was hit by a ton of bricks. I know I got him there. Before he recovered, I continued on, "Seeing Telugu movies is a part of Telugu culture. It is a common cultural experience that bonds us Telugu brethren from around the world."

Subs intercepted, "So does Sridevi in veTagaaDu. Does that mean she is the cultural icon? Do those songs, do those silly dances make us Telugu? Do you call it our culture? What happened to Nannayya, Tikkanna?" He went into poetry mode.

"Stop that, Subs!!" I shouted. "That is not the point. Vox populi, vox correct. If it is popular, it is correct, especially with culture. Since people are the ones that make culture, whatever they say is culture. If you think there is more to Telugu culture than borrowed religious writings, Telugu movies, songs, you are welcome to show it and popularize it. Till then I call culture what I see. If you have problems with that, go ahead and make a new Telugu culture. Until then, I will wallow in this culture and I will take pride that I am a part of it. Got it?"

Subs got that.