June 22, 2009
Amit Rajp is a first-time author. He has a background in academic research and teaching in Birmingham. This is an excerpt from his book: ‘My Name Is Baljit But You Can Call Me Gary: The Alternative Guide To Indian Culture’
What is the fixation that mums, aunties, nans (nannijis), and grans (bibijis) have with plastic containers? It’s like Asian women have an addiction to plastic Tupperware!
The person that sets up the first ‘Tupperware Addiction Clinic’ for Asian women is going to make a lot of money – probably some Asian guy who will acquire a forged certificate from India.
Every Asian family has one cupboard in the kitchen that resembles a shrine to plastic Tupperware, or dubbai. Many Asian families even have stockpiles in the garage. Imagine that: a temple filled with every type of plastic container. I wonder if aunties take their shoes off and cover their heads as a mark of respect before entering the Tupperware temple.
Like most Tupperware (drugs), plastic-container users (otherwise affectionately known as ‘dubbai women’) can exist in many addictive forms ranging from the low-level addict to the hard-core.
First, the auntie who is a low level addict (merchandise includes ice cream containers and those cheap microwaveable plastic boxes you get from the local takeaway). This is the kind of Asian woman that keeps plastic containers ‘just in case’.
She happily trades containers with other low-level addicts and never complains as long as the number of containers stays the same: they can happily increase, but they can never drop! If there is a reduction in number, this can cause a lot of anxiety to the low-level addict, and often a refusal to hand out any more plastic containers can be observed by the subtle yet assertive request that fellow low-level addicts bring their own.
Now in theory this seems perfectly adequate in any other social situation. Imagine a guy hosting a party and saying to his mates, “Hey, I’m having a party; bring a bottle!” Asian women feel the same way about recycling plastic containers.
I don’t understand why this is such a sensitive issue. Surely, the stigma attached to this uncontrolled transit of plastic containers could be alleviated by the purchase of the occasional tub of ice cream whilst shopping or of takeaway food to replenish reduced numbers and restore dubbai harmony.
As an aside, the Asian woman’s role in recycling plastic containers is surely single-handedly keeping the Earth eco-friendly! The hard-core addict, however, not only uses such expendable tacky plastic containers (for friends and distant relations) but also goes out of her way to purchase specific, ‘high quality’ Tupperware.
I call this the Boomerang Stash. This is the precious stash that goes out to people who will think highly of the hardcore addict’s standards in food storage and know that it must be returned immediately after use.
They are treated like a library book; the hard-core addict will even travel great distances to collect this high quality merchandise, with specific lids that go with it. Yes, that’s right: hard-core addicts don’t mix and match their dubbai.
Shall I tell you why they buy them? Shall I? It’s because they think that high quality Tupperware will never get stained with that dirty turmeric stain that sediments in the container after putting a curry in it. Indian food will stain anything and everything. Why do you never see turmeric being removed in cleaning commercials? It’s because nothing on the face of this Earth can shift it!
This is a phenomenon that will never go away, and every time you empty plastic containers in your house, ready to chuck them in the bin, your mum (no matter where she is in the house, she can sense this by radar) will shout out, “Don’t chuck the dubbai away; wash it out; we can use it – just in case.”
Amit Rajp’s debut book: “My Name Is Baljit But You Can Call Me Gary: The Alternative Guide To Indian Culture” is a saracastic look at Asian life in this country. It is now available on Amazon.co.uk and major bookstores.
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