The Great Indian Chamcha

“If you can lose your head when all about you
are keeping theirs and blame it on them.
If you can doubt yourself when all men trust you
and not make allowance for their trust.
If you cannot fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds worth of distance run.
Yours isn’t the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And ­-which is more ­-you will be a Chamcha, my son!”

So, in the life of The Great Indian Chamcha, there are broadly two most important clauses. Clauses he abides by, and follows with all his heart.
Clause 1- The master is always correct.
Clause 2- Under extreme circumstances of trouble or turmoil, you consider the master to be incorrect or mistaken, refer closely to Clause 1.

Chamcha, a Hindi word, translates directly to spoon in English. Spoon is something that you usually use as a part of cutlery to eat your meals. Thus spoon is basically a side kick to the obviously more important food used by the consumer of the meal.  Now our Hindi spoon or Chamcha has similar implications. The Great Indian Chamcha is a human being who basically assists and accompanies another supposedly superior human being, in hope of rewards and benefits. He is incapable of using his own brains, or rather voicing his own opinions. They are necessary to boost their masters’ self confidence and always be there in support. So clearly, Indian cuisine may or may not require chamchas, but Indian people with means definitely do.

Chamchas, can be found in every nook and cranny. From professional lives to personal, from office to home and everywhere else. At home, buttering is often the tool employed by the youngsters to impress their parents. In the office, they run around the boss, offering him tea at regular intervals and praising every decision. In public life, certain political groups have dedicated chamchas who have the ability to distort whichever language they speak in, using unparliamentary parental and grandparental references. For obvious reasons, I cannot cite an example. Just wait for the next festival in your locality for a “mouth­watering” experience.

Chamchas in this country, much like corruption, start from the very grassroot level. Chamchas in school are generally of two types. First kind, those who find solace in being the teachers’ lapdog and as a result find no friends but high marks.The second type is interesting. In middle school, the first male or female to find a partner of the opposite sex has chamchas because he or she then officially becomes the unofficial role model to his/her batchmates. Fast forward to college, the dude whose father has an augmenting bank balance and the dudette who has unnaturally good looks and skimpy clothes naturally becomes the one with chamchas.  Remember Kareena in Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham or Megan Fox in Confessions Of a Teenage Drama Queen? These women repeat and copy their mistress in every aspect and sometimes, expressions too!

The "Quen Bee" in college, followed by her loyal supporters. Sketched by me.
The “Queen Bee” in college, followed by her loyal supporters.
Sketched by me.

This article was written in haste and every word was meant in good jest but I am sure if Shylock was alive today, he would go on to say, “Hath not a chamcha eyes…”


This is an entry to the The Great Indian Blogging Contest, as a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015. ,


4 thoughts on “The Great Indian Chamcha

  1. You know Rupsha, I actually borrowed few ideas from your post. And then when I started writing I couldn’t stop writing within 500 words. Thanks re. I needed to get these out on my blog, just never knew that this topic could be related with those thoughts.


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