I was in 3rd standard when I moved to Mysore. The teacher introduced me to the class while I stood next to the her nervously fidgeting with my water can which hung around my neck. The class observed me curiously. The teacher ushered me to my seat after a short introduction. I smiled at the girl seated next to me. She returned the smile somewhat reluctantly.
After few minutes of silence, the girl got talking. She asked my name, previous school, siblings, reason for relocation and lastly came the bouncer, “So which caste do you belong to?” The question left me stumped because I had no clue what a caste was. “What is a caste?” I asked her in reply. “Caste is caste….er…like I am a vokkaliga” she said helpfully. “I don’t know what my caste is” I told her while she nodded sympathetically.
This was an incident that happened almost 18 years ago. Here I make an attempt to explain things that I could not explain then!
I belong to the community of Bunts. We are small community whose roots lie in the coastal region of Karnataka. We may be a small community but that did not stop us from venturing into different territories. We have marked our presence in various fields from Underworld to Bollywood 😛
We are loud, boisterous bunch of people. We are like the Punjabi’s of the south (no offense to the Punjabi’s). Showing-off is in our genes. This comes naturally to us. I remember once I told the entire school Aishwarya Rai was a distant relative!!! This trait actually distinguishes us from others.
Our women love diamonds and gold. Soaring prices will not stop us from buying them. Must-have jewellery for a married bunt woman are clustered diamond earrings, diamond nose pin, V-shaped finger ring which these days is diamond clustered too!!! Easy way to spot a bunt lady is by the amount of diamonds piled on her body.
Our men love to eat. Late evening get-together with the ‘magic beverage’ and kori sukka will make our men forget nagging wives, demanding children and all the other worldly worries.
Our youngsters are doctors or engineers working in air-conditioned offices trying to figure out why they choose the professions that they are in. More often than not it was never them but their parents/relatives who made their career choice!
Our marriages are perfect example of our love for affluence. Dowry to us is a matter of pride. Weddings are no good if there aren’t over 1000 people present to witness the proceedings. A bunt bride could easily give Bappi Lahari a complex! Variety of food and drinks are served.
Match-making is the community’s favorite hobby. This is the best form of social service known to us.
We never miss a chance to say about our relationship with the celebrities/politicians of the community. We either know them personally or have relatives who know them personally.
Phew……this was a glimpse of the community! The next time you come across a proud, loud South Indian who loves to show-off….you know who it is!
P.S I publish this post at the risk of being disowned by the community!