Saturday, February 27, 2010

Conversations- You Bloody Indian

K- I hate kids! I hate them I hate them I hate them!

S- Did that abusive child harass you in the road again?

K- What is his problem? I have never done anything to him ever.

S- Didn’t you tell him his parents were fattening him up because they wanted to eat him one day? And isn’t he scared to eat with his parents now? And doesn’t he have paranoia attacks whenever he sees a spoon?

K- Apart from that, I have never bothered that child. And now I can’t walk past his house without him verbally abusing me. If this was America, I would be on Oprah and people in the audience would be crying for me.

S- How old is he?

K- Maybe six.

S- Six? You want to go on Oprah because you’re being verbally abused by a six year old?

K- You have no idea what comes out of that kid’s mouth. Today he kept calling me an eggplant and an onion. Like he was going Hey Eggplant, Hey Onion, Hey Eggplant, Hey Onion.

S- Wow.

K- It sounds way worse in Tamil, it’s like major disrespect. Like I can’t even say how major that kind of disrespect is. So major.

S- Gangsta level disrespect.

K- Totally. So then I was like, oh no you didn’t!

S- You were going to shut that bidness down!

K- Oh you know I was! So I said what do you think you are, a big lentil?

S- A big lentil?

K- Very confrontational in Tamil, trust me. If you call someone a big lentil, you’re looking for hardcore gangsta violence.

S- Verbal abuse in Tamil seems to be very food-oriented.

K- So ask me what the abusive kid says.

S- What did he say?

K- He called me a bloody Indian!

S- Woah.

K- I know! I’m like, you can’t call me a bloody Indian, you stupid abusive Indian kid!

S- It’s so weird when Indians call other Indians bloody Indians.

K- India is the one place where an Indian should be able to walk down the road without having another Indian call them a bloody Indian.

S- Does he even know what he’s saying?

K- I don’t think so. And he was doing a little hip shake so it was like this abusive, badly choreographed song and dance number. And then he started getting creative and going Bloody Bloody Indian, Bloody Bloody Eggplant, Bloody Bloody Onion.

S- Like a remix version.

K- Then I was thinking. What is a bloody Indian anyway? An Indian covered with blood? An Indian who spontaneously bleeds? An Indian who induces spontaneous bleeding in other people?

S- I saw a movie like that once.

K- Really?

S- Yeah, it was like all these people started bleeding all over everything for some reason, I can’t remember why.

K- Anyway, then I thought maybe Bloody Indian was code for something. So I went online-

S- What do you do when you can’t go online? Just curious.

K- I get really sad and I want to kill myself and then I take nap.

So you were suicidal and napped a lot prior to the internet.

K- Yes. Anyway, so I go online and start generating anagrams. And one of the anagrams for Bloody Indian is Bad Idli Onion. Ok, maybe it was ‘Idly’, like Idle-Idly. But I’m going with Idli, like Sambar-Idli. I’m going to call him that next time.

S- You’re going to call the abusive kid sambar-idli?

No, Bad Idli Onion. Though sambar-idli does have something incredibly dangerous about it.

S- You such a verbal gangsta.

K- Run for cover, you Onion Eggplant Lentil.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, February 27, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Writer’s Guide for Poor Indians With Internet Connections

How can you be poor in India and have an internet connection? Why don’t you sell your internet connection and not be poor? I know, right? This is such a valid question. But for whatever reasons, there are those among us who are poor but they have teh internetz. They have internet connection but it is for an assembled PC which was built from donated parts. This PC is kept on the floor and is of such a nervous and high-strung disposition that it will freeze and shut down frequently and for no reason. These louly individuals like to read English books but can only afford to buy pirated books or stuff off the pavement. They have their ‘own place’ but this place is only 1 room with a very sad looking pillow which they call a chair. These are people who other people assume to be “rich” because they speak English. Some of these people want to make arts or maybe they want to sing English songs or take photographies or the philims. Some of them want to write in English. Many of them feel bad because sometimes their family members say they are a waste of rice. Let us tackle some common questions poor Indians with internet connections may have about writing.

1. Hai. I have an internet connection and sometimes I hang out in the online writing world and some people there say that I will never ever ever make it as a writer because I can’t afford to buy writing books or join writing courses or go to conferences where everyone drinks wine and wears sweaters. Is this true?

No. It is a false. These are badbad people and you should not listen to them. These people are bumholes. Sometimes these bumholes will turn around and say they feel sorry for you for not being able to afford books, courses or sweaters. These bumholes are the same bumholes who go up to people in wheelchairs and say, ‘Wow, it must really suck to be you because you don’t have legs so I guess that means you don’t have a life and I guess you probably wish you had my legs because my legs are awesome and you don’t have them and you can’t do anything without legs which I have and you don’t.’
Books, courses and writing conferences may help or they may not, I really don’t know. I do know that not having them doesn’t mean you can’t write. Teh internetz has places to read, places to learn, places to workshop, places to publish, places to find useless information, places to fight, places to make people feel suicidal and places to make yourself feel suicidal. It has unicorn porn, fundamentalists, suicide pictures, miracles, racists, homophobes, awesome people who have done awesome things and never told anyone, LOLcats, people who hate you even though they don’t know you, poetry generators, dreams, secrets, fantasies, made-up words, despairs, hopes, nightmares and recipes. And don’t forget you also have the real world too, though it may be hard to find some things in the real world like maybe it will be hard to find a ranting white supremacist in India or pornographic unicorns. But between the real world and teh internetz, you are having a lot of stuff readily available. Most of it is free, all of it is useful for writing, depending on how you use it. So tell the bumholes to go fuck themselves.

2. Hai. I have an internet connection and I’ve noticed in the online writing world, sometimes people argue about how poor they are and how this makes them awesomer writers and more creative and artistic and stuff. On the First World writing forums, I really want to step in and say I’m poor and I come from a Third World country, which means I should win, right? I’m the real-deal poor, right? Because all I have is a one-room house with a pillow that I keep telling everyone is a chair but I don’t think anyone believes me. I live on Milk Bikis and 2 rupee packets of jam and I once walked barefoot right across the city. At night. In the rain. For a week. Because I had no money for the bus. I am totally badass, right? My Third World poverty is like HELLA EPIC street cred, right? Right?

When it comes to poorness and the poverties, it is so important to remember two things- one, it is generally not a good idea to engage in the Whose More Poor? game because it is a stupid game. It’s the stupidest game ever. Two, you live in a country where people clean out septic tanks and sewage lines with their bare hands so I don’t think you can claim to be “real-deal poor” just because you don’t have a chair. The following things also do not necessarily mean you can or should claim Third World Poverty Street Cred.

1. Sleeping on the floor
2. eating chili beef from roadside stall
3. smoking beedis
4. riding the bus
5. walking
6. buying your marijuana from some little dude called Palani
7. saying ‘hi’ to lepers so you can tell whoever is walking beside you that said leper is your ‘good friend’

On the bright side, your kind of poverty will not get you mowed down by drunk rich kids and you will also not be harassed by white dudes from other countries who want to make movies about you so they can win Oscars.

Also, declaring Third World poorness in First World writing forums may not be as fun as you think. When playing the Who’s More Poor Game, confronting people with Third World poorness is a little like trying to show off you have a bigger chest by pulling out three boobies or showing off you have more dick by pulling out two dicks. It’s more but it’s not necessarily more in a good way. And it kind of shuts everything down because no one will know what to say to you.

3. Hai. I have an internet connection but I have a PC with this big clunky monitor that makes my eyes burn whenever I read something so now I have these huge dark circles around my thoroughly bloodshot eyes. I’ve joined an online writing workshop and everyone says I suck and no one thanks me for my reviews and all the really fuckall stories are the ones that everyone likes. I keep getting rejected by non-paying ezines that everyone else gets accepted into. One of my stories has been rejected 24 times. When I visit writing discussion forums, I don’t understand what they are talking about and I feel stupid. It takes me three months to write one paragraph and it still doesn’t seem right and everyone else writes 8 awesome stories a minute. Nobody ever nominates me for awards or talks about how awesome I am. Everyone is really mean to me and I want to go home. What should I do?

You should give me all your money. Kidding. No seriously, give me all your money.

I will now quote someone who said this random quote to me. And I quote. "What to do, ma? It is like that only." This is very true and it applies utterly and completely to writing. It is like that only.

If you feel you absolutely must do something, go to the “roof” of your “house”, throw your hands in the air and shout ‘I AM SPARKLY AWESOME INDIAN UNICORNPERSON HAVING SO MANY WRITING POTENTIALITIES!!!’ Say it again and again and again. Say it until the words stop making sense so you start mixing them up and saying ‘SO MANY INDIAN I UNICORNPERSON SPARKLY AM POTENTIALITIES AWESOME HAVING!!!’ Then go back inside because you are maybe causing so much disturbances for the common neighborhood peoples.

Onwards and upwards, you awesome poor Indians with internet connections! Go kill the world! (this does not mean that I am encouraging you to engage in acts of terrorism or violence, which may be associated with people with brown skin and unpronounceable names who come from countries starting with the letter ‘I’)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Conversations- The Man with the Pipe

K- Me? Oh I have big V-Day plans. Very big.

S- I was hoping you’d say you don’t have any plans because you are alone and nobody loves you and then I could say oh yay, me too!

K- I’m having a Man With The Pipe Movie Marathon.

S- Is that porn? You’re doing a porn marathon for V-Day?

K- No, it’s all these old movies that have The Man With The Pipe in them. You know, that guy with the gray hair, suspenders, moustache, pipe. He sort of just stands on large winding staircases and says ‘Jolly good!’ or ‘I say you get out!’

S- Oh right! I saw a movie where he stole radioactive things that looked like tubelights and hid them in his briefcase.

K- I saw a movie where he kept whipping his wife with his belt.

S- His pants didn’t fall down?

K- No, he’s got suspenders, remember?

S- Dude’s wearing a belt AND suspenders? Very the sexy!

K- There was this scene where he’s whipping his wife and she’s hugging his legs and he’s trying to shake her off, like ‘Get off me bish so I can whip you better.’

S- I’ve never understood that, why would you grab the legs of someone who clearly wants to whip you to death?

K- I know, right? And you know what the Leg-Hugging Woman says? She says ‘You can beat me, kick me, even kill me. But please just tell me what I did to deserve this.’

S- Now that’s a Real Indian Woman. They don’t make them like that anymore.

K- Then things got very complicated. First the Hero slaps the Heroine because she’s arrogant and speaks English and wears pants. Then she falls in love with him and starts wearing saris.

S- That usually happens when you slap someone. One Tight Slap-Oh I Love You- Oh I Am Wearing Sari.

K- Then The Man With The Pipe slaps the Heroine because he’s like, how can you let the Hero slap you, you’re supposed to be arrogant and speaking English.

S- Right. And hello, where are your pants?

K- Exactly. And then the Hero slaps the Heroine again because he’s like how can you let The Man With The Pipe slap you, only I’m allowed to slap you because I love you.

And in between all this the Leg-Hugging Woman got whipped with a belt. So much drama.

K- Then after being attacked by something that looked like a plastic pink flamingo, The Man With The Pipe and the Hero decided to be friends. So they were shaking hands and The Man With The Pipe was saying ‘Jolly good!’ and the Heroine and the Leg-Hugging Woman were smiling at each other and thinking ‘Suh-weet, nobody’s beating us!’

S- That sounds a lot like the radioactive-tubelights-in-the-briefcase movie.

K- Maybe it’s the same movie! Was there a party scene with all these malnourished people holding glasses of juice and looking really sad?

S- No, but the Heroine could play the piano without actually touching the keys. It was like magic.

K- Like Lord of the Rings magic!

S- Not like Lord of the Rings magic.

Wouldn’t that be cool though? If these movies were like Lord of the Rings? The Man With The Pipe would be like Gandalf!

S- This conversation has suddenly become one of those conversations I don’t want to have anymore.

K- The Heroine would be like Frodo!

S- Ok, I need to…go do something else. Happy V-Day Movie Marathon Man Pipe Thing Whatever.

K- And the Leg-Hugging Woman would be like that elf-dude with the pretty hair! Such pretty hair he had, no? Hello?

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, February 13, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Aren't You Writing A Novel? Why Aren't You Married? Why Why Why?

I really think it is awesome when people get married or write novels. Some have even managed to do both these things simultaneously at the same time, which is more awesomer. But some of us keep getting molested because we aren't writing a novel or aren't married. I think this is very notnice. I mean, I don't go around molesting people because they ARE married or ARE doing the novel thing. To quote an old classmate of mine 'what it seems for her, ya? what for her face it seems?'

I have no answers to this. However, I do have this questionable list of methods which can be used to combat people who molest unmarried, unnovelized people.

1. Tell Them Your Genitals Have Fallen Off

This works. For realz. Also, people who want to push you into marriage usually don’t like to hear the word ‘genitals’ so it can be a lot of fun to just say it repeatedly for no reason. For instance, “Yes of course it is my duty to get married. Did you know your ears look like genitals?” On the novel front, people may think not writing a novel because you have no genitalia makes total sense because sometimes people are really stupid.

2. Tell Them You Can’t Read

On the marriage front, while people may not make the connection that reading and marriage aren’t necessarily related, they may volunteer to teach you to read because this is a knee-jerk response people have when confronted with the illiterate. If this happens, ask them to give you money to fund reading classes instead. This sometimes works on the novel front, even if the novel-pusher is aware that you have already written non-novel things. The bottom line is that they will probably give you free money which is awesome for you.

3. Yen Soga Kathaya Kelu Thaikullamai

Sloppy translation from Tamil- Listen to my sad story, oh legion of mothers. In other words, go into extensive, graphic and unnecessary detail about your bad relationships and failed novel manuscripts. If you don’t have any, make some up. When speaking in person, hold the other person's hands tightly so they can’t get away from you. Call them numerous times a day and get into conversations that extend for many many hours where you don’t give them a chance to speak. Bombard them with long emails and leave embarrassing messages on their Facebook wall. While time-consuming, this method is incredibly effective.

4. What Do You Mean, Of Course I Have A Novel/ Am Married!

This involves pulling out imaginary novels and introducing people to imaginary spouses. On the marriage front, it is funner to introduce things like tables or somebody's handbag as your spouse. On the novel front, make an elaborate show of opening the book, pointing to certain passages and telling tedious “inspiration” stories. More fun can be had by pointing to certain sections and asking the novel-pusher to read them out loud because it “really resonates aurally.”

5. Cry Uncontrollably

Unfortunately this only works in person but it’s so effective, it can be used to deal with many other things as well. As soon as anyone broaches the topic of marriage or writing a novel, just start to cry very loudly, eyes shut, maybe wave your hands a little. If you feel so inclined, you can also move around in a haphazard manner, throwing yourself against other people and against the wall.

Unmarried, unnovelized ladies and gentlemen, it stops here. Take a stand. Be counted. Say it's not okay. Say other stuff too.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stack Up Your Friends Like A Million Bucks And Other Things Also

Because I could not think of anything to blog about, I thought it would be the most splendid idea ever to post my Facebook 25 Random Things About Me List. I thought about this idea and I thought, wow, that is splendid. That is a splendid idea.

But first, I want to mention some other random things also.

1. This Article in Tehelka About Indian Readers And Indian Writers

“But reading contemporary Indian writers in English leaves you with a feeling that there remain stubborn layers of butter paper between their prose and the actual life they’re trying to describe. It is really a problem of foggy realism. They remain too mannered and fey to excite their verbal life with an original voice, to drive language hard, to mint indigenous metaphors, and provide little catharsis or pleasure to the reader. Aiming for vividness, they stop short at vivaciousness. Worse, the weaker ones sink into preciousness, petulance, grogginess.”

Word word word yes yes yes. Come on, Writers In India Who Write In English Who Live In India! Write More Better! Also, I want to say that I found Aseem Kaul’s blog post interesting because in the writing community I am familiar with, people tend to bend over their backsides, saying how the contributors, the editors, the editor’s mother and the very scent of the website’s html is so unbelievably awesome that it is nothing short of a major modern mystery that all this awesomeness hasn’t been nommed for all the prizes everywhere all the time. Nice to see some honesty and it was also nice that he said nice things about my story also.

2. Chillin By Lady Gaga. And Wale. This is one of the most frustrating songs I have heard in a very long time. Lady Gaga is the best thing this song has going for it but you have to sit through a lot of Wale in order to get to the Gaga. Which is hard because he keeps saying his name is Wale and after a while it’s like yes your name is Wale we get it you don’t have to keep saying it and yet you keep saying it like you did just now there you said it again. Liking the Bimbo Jones remix of this very much. I also like the line ‘stack up your friends like a million bucks’ though she may actually be saying ‘funds’ but I like to think it’s friends.

3. Words Without Borders had an issue on International Flash Fiction. Interesting to read, especially if you sometimes get the impression that flash fiction is American. Apparently it isn’t.

4. Do They Know It’s Hallowe’en has Narduwar the Human Serviette, Feist, Peaches, Beck and bits and pieces of Smoosh, Wolf Parade, that dog, Rilo Kiley and Sonic Youth all in the together to make a parody of that bodacious song Do They Know It’s Christmas which I love so very very much. I love it so much I wrote this about it.

5. Podcasts- I dig podcasts because I can’t read. Every time I try to read a book I fall asleep. This did not happen when I read graphic novels, possibly because they had pictures in them. I’m recommending the LibriVox series of podcasts with this cautionary note. These are works in the public domain and they are read by volunteers. So while there are lots of interesting podcasts up and they are all free, they are works in the public domain and they are read by volunteers. So I would recommend these podcasts if you can’t read or can’t get your hands on reading material in the public domain or can’t afford reading material in the public domain but for some reason you have an internet connection and you don’t mind bad reading sometimes and you don't mind bad stories sometimes.

6. Aada Varalaam - You can please aada varalaam (that is 'come and dance' for our non-Tamil-speaking-friends) to this song from the very awesome show Psychoville (from the same peeps that brought you the equally awesome League of Gentlemen). This is a song all everybodys can dance to because they are so much simple steps and even if you are sitting alone on chair or maybe you are with all so much of your friends enjoying like anything or maybe you are feeling very sad also and you feel like dancing you can do it also. Of course the dancing pair are mother and son but if you don't think of them as mother and son it's a lot less disturbing.

And now. 25 Random Things About Myself. Actually it's just 19 because this post is too long already.

1. I once convinced a friend that Mary Oliver was working in a local cottage industry unit which extracted salt from gravel.

2. I once listened to the Dard E Disco remix on loop for 4 hours.

3. In grade 9, I had a large argument with a number of my classmates who insisted that Kangaroo was pronounced Gungah-rooh. I now have no idea how to say that word so I never use 'Kangaroo' in spoken conversation.

4. While walking home after a flood, I noticed a fish flipflopping on the road and so I tossed it into a muddy puddle where I watched it squirm even more because it was probably a very hot muddy puddle and there is a good chance that said fish boiled to death because of my selfless act of heroism.

5. When traveling by train to Chennai, I watched two old Brahmin ladies discuss religion with two Muslim men and instead of basking in the Unity In Diversity and singing Vande Mataram, I thought chi, so filmy.

6. I can speak 14 different languages but Hindi isn't one of them. This makes me a bad, bad Indian.

7. When traveling by train, I am often mistaken for some movie star who 'has large eyes'. This never happens when I travel by bus.

8. I once shot and killed something accidentally and now I really like guns.

9. As a child, I was very good at long distance running and earned the nickname, The Fastest Little Indian, which in turn led to allegations of racism within my school. This led to a very ugly chapter in the Canadian Public School system which was later made into an After-school Special movie. While they refused to give me the lead role, I did play one of the girls who is mean to the Fastest Little Indian but later I pat her on the back and say you're awesome even though you look different.

10. I was part of the ukulele club until I said the ukulele club was retarded and then they said I couldn't be in the ukulele club anymore.

11. During my youth, cows and small birds would attack me for no reason.

12. To put all rumor and speculation to rest, yes I am actually the artist known as M.I.A.

13. I lied about the M.I.A thing.

14. And I lied about some other stuff too.

15. Actually I lied about everything.

16. No I didn't.

17. Yes I did.

18. I am going to say something profound yet funny about Slumdog Millionaire.

19. No I'm not.


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