Monday, December 11, 2017

If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you’ll know exactly who the praying mantis-like looking guy in the photo is. He is Sheldon Lee Cooper, PhD. and Caltech Theoretical Physicist. He is known for his lack of social skills, a general lack of humility and empathy, narcissistic behaviour (not for his looks, rather his intelligence), his know-it-all attitude and incredible ability to soak and recollect an understanding of everything (eidetic memory that he proudly shows off). So why am I trying to make myself believe that this fictional character from Galveston, Texas exhibits the traits of those in an Indian city? Read on.

If I was wrong, I’d know

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Yeah right, wouldn’t that be an irony? What Dr. Cooper wants to say with this statement is that he can NEVER go wrong. The amount of self-pride this man has is something exhibited by almost every Punekar (I am one). We Punekars have a similar attitude when someone tells us we’re wrong. We can confidently tell a person asking for directions the wrong address and still act like we helped him/her out.

We have the tendency to remember things most people forget or have no idea of, or interest in, and that makes us proud. We are the ones people come to for things we specialise in, e.g. people ask me to recommend a book, consult me while buying a mobile or computer, etc. If during any point of the debate we realise we are wrong, we never admit it, and continue defending our opinion nevertheless. This attribute makes Sheldon a perfect specimen of the Puneri “I-am-always-right”, “I-know-it-all”, “I’m-smarter” and “I cannot be wrong, you’re an idiot to think that” attitude we so proudly possess.

Lack of social skills

We don’t really lack social skills. If anything, we are known for using the right words (our command over languages plays a huge part in this). However, we have some qualities that gives others the wrong impression about us; we are straightforward and honest. We can say things most people won’t dare to, even to a person we hardly know. Again, this is not because we mean to humiliate them (well, mostly!). It cannot be considered as a flaw if we correct a person, ask him/her about something we heard (mostly the gossip) or tell something about them that is bothering us. We don’t intend negativity or rude behaviour, it is only the way people interpret us. Well, the problem is we never bother to think of what others might think, we say what we feel and believe others to take it in the right spirit (never happens). So it’s not our problem, really. It’s theirs!

We’re bad with the opposite sex

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Unlike Sheldon Cooper, we are not someone who doesn’t feel a thing for the opposite sex. We are mesmerised looking at a good-looking person. We enjoy bird watching (especially on FC Road). But we are not sweet-talkers and have no clue when it comes to “impressing” others. We believe our wits can impress others (in most cases, it does), but sucking up to someone or complimenting someone constantly is not our way.

I have lost count of how many times I offended a woman I liked, because when on a date, I corrected her grammar, made fun of what she did (I told a dentist she’s not a real doctor, I told an HR professional she doesn’t really do anything, and told an engineer her job is boring!) and at times, even laughed when she said something that was not correct (I mean, come on, she thought Israel was a terrorist state, like Afghanistan or Pakistan! Jihadis and Jews are not the same, my dear!).

If you’re a woman, you’ve been in a situation where you lost complete interest in a cute guy only because his intelligence was not up to your level or his language was not as refined as yours (we just love our Shuddha Marathi and even a little “itha, titha” makes us go mad. It’s ITHE and TITHE, aa and ee, farak asto!). Well, let’s just hope there’s a Puneri girl who’ll understand me someday.

Our talks are intellectual (for others, boring)

Like in most cases, Sheldon will go on and on about theoretical physics, even in front of someone like Penny (whose last name remains a mystery). We are the gyaan-giving types, but mostly, our talks make others go, “Please yaar, Baas!” We are not into watching every movie that is released, or discussing reality shows or TV serials (if it’s Sarabhai or Khichdi, then ok!). We enjoy discussions on books and science, philosophy, life and the things that matter. It doesn’t matter if we’re sitting in a lousy bar drinking beer, we believe in sophistication and intellectuality to the core. Theatre, Pu La, novels, good movies and music (the kind that isn’t commercially successful), Sawai, culture, pronunciations, etc. are our interest. We’re intellectuals. Like Sheldon.

We can be categorised as studious

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Our schoolbooks or textbooks never interest us, but we are studious. Though Sheldon Cooper cracks a lot of jokes on Howard for being an Engineer (which most Punekars are), we believe ourselves to be geniuses for getting a B.E. No wonder we are the ‘Oxford of the East’ with a million Engineering colleges in our city. We believe studying is the only way to the top, and thus we are known for academic excellence (I’m not part of this clan. I’m the arty types! The kinds engineers and doctors make fun of). We can go on and on about studying and getting into a foreign university (not that hard, really!) to get the best education and it excites us like nothing else. We even judge people based on their college, their education, etc. just like our very own Dr. Cooper. It matters!

There are many such things that make me feel the guy from Texas was actually someone born around here but was sent to the US to ensure he has a better life (very much like our Man of Steel story). Who knows, maybe 20 years from now we’ll find out he was actually born at a hospital in Sadashiv Peth. Just like the lineage of some English Prince is now being traced to Surat!

Sheldon gets a kick out of making others feel stupid, always wants to flaunt his knowledge, loves learning about new stuff (secretly, though) and doesn’t care about public opinion. Oh, how can he not be a PUNEKAR? If he comes to Pune any time, he would feel like he’s finally found ‘his’ people!

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