Indian community in Australia is an ethnic minority but major enough to be recognized by major political parties. Overall, people from the subcontinent are in enough majority in Australia that they can easily elect a few polies of their own. But this is a sensitive political issue and it needs much deliberation. I will write about it in detail some other time.
Being a minority community in Australia there are some typical challenges we have to face and one of them is celebrating our unique festivals. Being in a dominant Anglo-Saxon corporate culture, ethnic cultural and religious events and festivals are not celebrated the way we celebrate them back home. That is, we don’t have national holidays to celebrate our festivals. So usually what happens is that ethnic people celebrate their festivals at home or their community places on weekends. Some communities also celebrate their festivals by having paid events with a specific social and political agenda.
A few years ago, I went to one such paid Indian community Diwali night with my family. The event was hosted in a function center run by the Italian community. The place was decent and the event was organised well. Soon the place was full with punters and VIPs. The VIPs included some Liberal polies from SA and some other besties from the Liberal party. The event was managed by Dr. Hakim, a long-time Liberal underdog, from the Indian community. The stage was managed by Safeer, a popular small fry, together with Dr. Hakim.
Both of them were finding it very hard to settle down the audience. They were too eager to kick off the event and enjoy their melodious voices. Anyways after repeated requests and threats from the comperes the show started with an applause. We enjoyed the opening ceremony, songs, jokes, poems, folk dances, the speeches, the artists, the food, the beauties, the dance and the overall chemistry of the affair. But the only thing the punters didn’t like was the frequent interjection by the comperes and demanding their claps. They were so desperate to get some that they went to the extent of taunting the audience with their sarcasm and cheap talk.
During this drama on stage I was thinking, “Why do you worry so much about getting the appreciation from the audience? Why do the audience have to clap after the end of any item being presented? If the items are good enough shouldn’t the audience automatically burst in applause? If the show is not good enough people will start leaving or will leave early. Instead of thinking too much about the audience the artists and comperes should bother/ have bothered about putting up a great performance. You should basically enjoy yourself without thinking too much of others.” While I was thinking about the lousy stage coordination by the comperes something dramatic happened.
In the middle of the show, after an item was over, the audience clapped mildly and Safeer couldn’t tolerate it anymore. He pointed his finger towards me as if he was listening to what I was thinking. He asked me, “Are you old?”. The audience started looking around to see who he was talking too. I also looked around and thought he was talking to somebody else. But then he pointed out, “I am talking to you Mr, the one who is sitting with your arms closed.” My wife made me aware that it was me.
I felt a little bit angry and surprised but then nodded in negation. He then asked, “Why I am not clapping?”. Everybody in the audience looked at me and I felt embarrassed by his silly behavior. Instead of jibing at him and getting dirty with the pig, I responded with a mild clap. I let the matter go but it left a very bad taste with the audience, my family and me. It also made me think of the futility of seeking appreciation from people. I understand that everybody needs appreciation in their life. Some need it more and some less. But contentment is the greatest gift anyone can get. Because approval from others is subjective and is a sign of dependence.
Based on a real life incident. Names have been changed, time and place not disclosed to prevent defamation.