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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gay jokes in corporate India

“You are gay! He is gay! Sethuraman has some alternate interests.” Such statements intended as jokes have become very common amongst Indians, especially in the corporate circle. These so called gay jokes have become the staple of senior managers when they want to cheer up the office environment. So much, that if Greg Chappell was to work in an Indian office; his first impression would be that most co-workers are gays. Of course Chappell wouldn’t know the context that Indian males find it tough to find not only girls but also guys in India. Also, it’s hard to even imagine widespread homosexuality in this land of Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor and Gulshan Grover.

But this habit of gay jokes has caught fancy only recently and is quite strange given that homosexuality is a rarely witnessed concept in India. (It is also punishable by an atrocious law) Of course, when a person cracks a gay joke; he seems to prove to his fellow colleagues that he is a globe-trotter. Also it doesn’t take much imagination to build a gay joke; just saying he or he is gay is good enough. Another peculiarity is that while gay jokes are so common; lesbian jokes are hardly heard. But this may be natural given the highly male-skewed office environments in India.

Most of the people who crack up such so called jokes believe that hijdas (eunuchs) are called gays in the West. And the only time they might have seen gays is on TV; Dolly or Karan Johar (probably). However, despite this lack of exposure to gay culture; Indian corporate workers are expert at spotting gays. If two males have been working on a project for a long time, they are gays. If someone is not married despite reaching marriageable age, he is gay. If two sales people were forced to share a hotel room because of cost control policies, they are gays. Such experts are Indian managers in spotting gays that Christian evangelicals are thinking lobbying the US government to increase H1-B Visa limits to help them sniff out gays.

In the west, “he is gay” kind of jokes is used mostly by school going teens who are getting first exposure to sexuality. We will pass over this stage soon.


Anonymous said...

"we will pass over this stage soon"

Wanna bet?

Concerning juvenile humor, we could probably put american teenagers to shame. Or at least make them turn their heads away in embarassment.

Anonymous said...

I think you are gay.

Anonymous said...

dude while wat u say about jokes is true but i disagree with the fact that india does not have a gay scene! i guess india has a vibratnt and thriving gay community albiet undercover dreading the archiac law tat bans all such liasions! indian tradition too has accepted homosexual;tiy as a part of life for some and this is amply expressed in our ancient works of erotic art! so to say that india is a prude and non homosexual country would be wrong and fartherest from truth!