Atta Ikede

July 6, 2008

Marathi Overload

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 8:24 pm

I spent my 4th of July long weekend at the Maiytra convention – it’s a Marathi youth convention.

This convention is held every other year to help youth meet youth. It’s held in North America so it’s usually just Canadians and Americans who go but a few British people came all the way out here for it this year as well.

I went this year because it was held in San Francisco, thus lowering my barrier to entry (no hotel or flight costs) and my marathi family friend (our dads have been buddies for the last 40 years or something) didn’t have any family going.  I was curious about it, and since it worked out with Rose I figured it would be fun.

I thought it might be fun to share some details of this event with you. I’ve never met so many Marathi youth in one place and observing the various personalities was pretty interesting!

People Summary:

Party Animals – there was a huge contingent of party animals there. These people, both guys and girls, just get wasted every night and are the prime culprits of excessive mingling. They tend to be a younger crowd.

Marriage Ready Individuals (MRIs)- There’s also a reasonably sized contingent of people who are definitely looking to get married. Some of them will be coy about it, but others will be up front about it after you get to know them. It makes sense .. I mean Marathi people are so spread out that if you really wanted somebody from the same culture then an event like this is a great way to check out the scene. Unfortunately, I don’t think this particular event is organized enough to be useful in this sense … I think that online dating would be a much more effective and less stressful way of going about that activity. There are so many party animals at this convention that I think it really reduces the chances of MRIs meeting other MRIs. Chances are, MRIs will just keep meeting party animals!

Middle Zoners – This is a very diverse group. It includes people who are not MRIs but are too traditional or too shy to be party animals, shy people, individuals like me who only came because the barrier to entry was low, and people who are probably MRIs but not willing to admit it.

Gender based Behaviour summary:

The girls were cold! Rose is better connected in the community than I am and she bumped into various female acquaintances during the conference. I ran into a few women I knew as well. None of these females were very friendly though! I didn’t make a single female friend except for a spoiled girl from Dubai. I wouldn’t really even call her a friend but I did chat with her multiple times throughout the conference. That’s more than I can say for any other females. Rose says this makes sense. Girls are there to meet guys. They’re not interested in girls.

Conference Summary:

The conference was lame and poorly organized. Seems like a lot of Indian community events have a problem with getting things started on time. This problem is not limited to the Marathi community – I’ve heard other Indian people make jokes about it as well. The joke is, events start on “indian standard time”. IST is basically… up to 1 hour later than scheduled. In my experience, this lateness is usually caused by organizing committee ineptitude, excessive mingling and habit (oh it always starts late, so i’ll show up late). It’s extremely frustrating for the minority of us who are are on time, or who are genuinely interested in content (cuz the minglers keep mingling even AFTER the sessions have started) or who are just shy and get bored of mingling after a while and who look to the seminars as a respite from the mingling overload going on. I skipped most of the events after I realized that nothing started on time and you just end up trapped in a room with excessive minglers for half an hour until the darn thing starts.

The other problem with this event is that it’s total overload for people who are introverts or even close to that range of the spectrum. I know I can be gregarious and fun sometimes, but I’m not like that ALL the time. I think there are lots of people who fall into that category — we need quiet. This event tends to attract a lot of very, very outgoing people. They don’t need quiet time, and if they do, they need it far less frequently than the rest of us. This results in a bias against the shy/quiet types. For example, I skipped a few events and the next day some of the acquaintances I’d shaken hands with the previous day asked me where I had been! I mean geez.. I just met you. Why are you keeping tabs on me? It’s creepy! The topic also comes up at dinner, when people talk about other people and remark on who is not at the table, and basically it’s just a negative connotation for those who skip, like “Oh, Sunil isn’t here .. yeah, he’s probably just shy .. yeah he didn’t talk to me unless I talked to him”, etc. This annoyed me too! Who somebody is shy, and you want them around, you have to invite them! Just do it and sort it out! Don’t ignore them and then talk about them when they aren’t there with that negative connotation when you and your friends say they’re shy.

The final problem is that 90% of the interactions are first time introductions. Hi, i’m from X. I do Y. My name is Z. Oh, what part of the city, oh i’ve visited your city. oh i just met ABC from your city, oh I know DEF from your city. Endless repeat for 3 days! Those gregarious party animal types are able to handle this .. they’re probably used to it. But I, for example, get frustrated by it. There’s no time for any actual conversation, or chance to get to know people, cuz everybody just wants to meet people and the event is so short nobody can really invest time in getting to know anybody else. Indian names don’t help either. Sunil, Kunal, Binal, Priya, Priyanka, Supriya, Deepashree, Ganashree, Bhanyashree, etc. They all sound the same! The surnames are useless too. There are huge clans of Joshis, Kulkarnis, and names like that and plus there are lots of various names ending in -kar. akar, bkar, ckar, dkar, ekar. It’s a blur of kars! I got into several situations where somebody I had previously met introduced himself again and I couldn’t remember whether I’d met this person before and whether I’d concluded they were creepy or not. Sigh.

In conclusion, I guess I’m glad I went because I got to observe so many interesting things and meet a few nice people. I don’t think I’d go again though, because I don’t think I’d be willing to spend airfare and hotel expense AND pay the conference registration for an event like this. It’s just not worth it for non party animals.



  1. Ya, but how was the food?!?!

    Comment by Wenderella — July 8, 2008 @ 11:38 am

  2. Not good!

    Comment by attaikede — July 9, 2008 @ 2:26 am

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