Saturday, June 19, 2010

Conversations- Great White Hope

S- I think she meant 'dusky'. Not 'desky'.

K- Oh.

S- 'Desky complexion' makes no sense. Especially if she was trying to sell you a whitening cream.

K- Yeah, I couldn't figure out if 'desky' was good or bad.

S- Did she say you were pretty BUT dusky? Or did she say you needed to buy whitening cream because if you didn't you would get face cancer and your head would fall off?

K- Not only did she accuse me of being pretty BUT dusky, she said the duskiness had apparently cancelled out the prettiness completely.

S- And the only way to make everything better was to buy eleventytwelvty million rupees worth of whitening cream?

K- Yes. It took her a while to make me understand that I was the most epicest terriblehorriblenogoodverybad human being ever because I was dark. I said, you mean I'm dark like I'm a Dark Lord? And she said no.

S- Aw, too bad.

K- She said being dark was not only bad for me, it was bad for people who had to look at me. My darkness was also preventing me from getting-job-finding-good-husband-leading-happy-awesome-life. I don't know if she meant that as separate things or as one very big thing.

S- I thought you couldn't get a job because you weren't looking for one.

K- That's what I thought too. But apparently I'm jobless because I'm dark. She also implied that my darkness was encouraging acts of global terrorism, killing the rainforests and making small children all around the world cry uncontrollably.

S- Wow. Maybe you really are a Dark Lord.

K- So I said, ok what can I do? I mean, I don't want my skin color to cause global terrorism and make trees commit suicide.

Yeah. That's some serious bad karma.

K- So she showed me this whitening cream that was like a kajillion rupees. And she said it was for lightening pigmentation, scrubbing off dead skin cells and I was like blah blah blah and she was like ma'am please listen and I was like blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah.

Then I realized what this whitening cream was actually going to do. It was going to turn me into a white person. An authentic, I-Love-All-Colored-People, Indian-Food-Gives-Me-Diarrhea white person.

S- Nowai.

K- For realz! This whitening cream would make my desky skin lighter and lighter until-

Until you became invisible?

K- Until my brown skin turned white. And a person with white skin is a white person.

I don't think it works that way if you were a brown person first.

K- Anyway, I had a feeling this whiteness could help me achieve the dream of every true and patriotic Indian.

S- You mean moving to America?

K- Yes! As a white person I would probably have a nicer time in places like Arizona.

S- Isn't Arizona in Brazil or something?

K- Eh?

S- Arizona? Big river with a bunch of trees? Named after a website that sells stuff?

K- That's the Amazon.

S- Ok. And that's something different that's not Arizona.

K- The Amazon is not Arizona.

S- Ok. The 'A's and 'Z's confused me.

K- Anyway, then I wanted to know if there were different kinds of whitening cream, like to become Russian-White or Italian-White. Then she didn't want to sell me whitening cream anymore and she wanted me to leave.

S- That's too bad.

K- I am doomed to be a Desky Dark Lord forever. Forests will die and children will become serial killers because of me.

S- Bummer you can't be white and go to America now.

K- Yeah. I really wanted to bring back Warren Anderson as a souvenir.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, June 19, 2010


soin said...

i am developing karuthamma cream. can you please market it in this blog?

kuzhali manickavel said...

i will only market products that will turn me into a white person and take me to america

Anonymous said...

Hi! Wow, hilarious! And a little sad - what a terrible salesperson.

Snigdha said...

Let the record show that I have always thaought that you looked way too desky

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai ashleycapes, thanks for reading and stopping by :)

snigdha, you are the j that you are not also the desky. also, you were kicked you out of canada.

A. S. Patric said...

As always, your sense of humour is delightful, but there are also such cutting insights. My favourite is in the line--> "I don't know if she meant that as separate things or as one very big thing."

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai patric, thanks very much :) i personally feel that line refers to one very big thing

and also, to the anonymous that asked for their comment not to be published, thank you and you are a desky byootie :)

kuzhali manickavel said...

dearest glowing desky byootie, pliss to give email id (won't be published) or mail me at

Mishy said...

Loved the way it is written.Insightful too.Keep up the good work

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai mishy, thanks for reading and dropping by :)

Delux said...


kuzhali manickavel said...

hai delux, thanks very much i say!

A. S. Patric said...

You're right of course, Kuzhali. Monumentally big and as old as human skin. But I suppose what I read in that particular expression, of that very large issue, is the way it expresses itself in small ways, both subtle and brutal, and continues to find ways of disordering and distorting our lives in small daily doses.

Pale people spend time on beaches baking themselves to get colour or sit in solariums, use sprays or creams, and I know that's not the same as poisonous bleaches. But there's pressure on so many people in so many ways to be something else: it's not exclusively an issue of racism.

This question of prejudice and the search for the ideal form is one element of that pressure but it's part of a larger coercive, destructive dynamic.

Class and race form intense waves of social distortion, culminating in things like the Holocaust, and this between people of roughly the same shade of pink. Small separate things or one very big thing?

I suppose there will never be an end to looking for ways to understanding this horrific idiocy that separates people on such trivial details as shade of skin. Perhaps all we can do is understand the small expressions of that very large thing. Which is what I like about so much of your writing.

Peach said...

bahaha. this is amazing.

kuzhali manickavel said...

@ patric- absolutely, i don't think it's exclusively racism at all, it's a bunch of other things as well and this differs with different cultures. i think it's neat to notice those small things because i think they reflect something bigger. in india, i remember whitening creams were originally marketed as "fairness" creams, the most popular round where i live was and still is a cream called 'fair and lovely'. as opposed to desky and ugly, i guess.

@ peach- hai, thanks for reading :)

Paras said...

The Warren Anderson line was mahaepic!

Waise could 'desky' be wood-brown like a desk? Just sayin

And dont listen to these sales persons selling fair&bubbly type of creams. The makers of SonaChandiPlutonium Chywanprash have just released KumkumadiRanium 235 Fairness Cream, which not only makes you a patriotic NRI but also makes you sympathetic to Arjun Singh and the reserved categories!

Buy now for 3 paisa only!

kuzhali manickavel said...

'desky' could indeed be wood-brown but it is still brown and not white so it is an unacceptableness.

KumkumadiRanium 235 Fairness Cream sounds a bit pricey. but if it can make me white and take me to America, i guess the exorbitant rate is worth it. i feel you should throw in a free plastic bag that i can bring warren anderson back in.

Anonymous said...

Marry me.

kuzhali manickavel said...

oh my, blushingblushing. maybe later.

i believe i have been more matrimonially successful on this blog than at other time or place in my life ever ever

silk smitha and disco shanti said...

marry me too.........!!!!!!

shruti said...

'i believe i have been more matrimonially successful on this blog than at other time or place in my life ever ever'
the amazing,mind blinging potential of the internet:)

I'm glad you wrote on this anti-desky obsessional crime.Way funner than empty fumings.lovely.hilarious as always:)
but you know now,there're the latest variants to the plain old fair and lovely? there're all sorts of things that will make you fair and lovely, there's soaps, powders, scrubs, all with a whitening thing thrown in, the most burning bleach no doubt, with the 'bad,okay, better, now you're fair!' charts. what heavy selling. they're really rolling up their sleeves here.

And I'd like to congratulate you on trying so sincerely to be an indian-- become all white, move to america and as a complete bonus (only indian to have done so)also make statements of loving coloured people. Thrilling! Not sure but you might have become eligible for the true indian award as well.

paras: I strongly disapprove of your heavy and shameless marketing of your chyawanprash and now fairness creams that you've branched into, you crafty indian entrepreneur. blogs are made for higher stuff man.

Anonymous said...

Correct. Me too. South Indians make attractive bloggers, considering no one can see our eyebrows and get scared and run away. So, when can we get married? Do you want dowry? I will love you like Simbu loves sharp-nosed-girl from Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya. I suck at writing movies though. Then again, he did too. So, when marriage, again?

kuzhali manickavel said...

@ silk smitha and disco shanti- oh my, two-in-one marriage proposal! i'm not sure how well this would work considering that one of you is dead also

@ shruti- it is my sincere and humble hope that i will one day be white and american enough to win the True Indian Award for True Indianness.

@ anonymous- i will get back to you on the marriage thing. my people will call your people. or they might not also, so many proposals i am getting you see.

Anonymous said...

Dammit. How about I kill your people in a caste war and abduct you for marriage purposes? Or I kill Disco Shanti too and have the DID candidate eradicated? Please. Say yes. If not, can I marry S?

kuzhali manickavel said...

as a product of intercaste marriage, there are no caste peoples available for fierce and ready caste war purposes. also, i'm hoping one day to marry christian bale. but if that doesn't work out (and i really think it will. like, REALLY), maybe we can talk.

s has been in a stormy on-again, off-again relationship with george clooney for many years. but you could give it a try anyway.

tm said...

"If you come today..." is from Operation Diamond Rocket, a Kannada film. Where did you get it?

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai tm, i got it from that song only.

tm said...

I've read most of your works, including your book which I got from Sapna Book House. I so much liked your lively, humorous, cute writing.

kuzhali manickavel said...

thanks very much tm :)

Samyuktha P.C. said...

I am commenting on this alone, though I have read over four posts in row. It is a bit tedious to think of separate things to say on each post.
So here goes, as usual enjoy reading this. I am Awesome Athletic, Scientist, and Bharatanatyam fail though I gave each one of this a fair try. As for whitening cream, I am often sidelined as north Indian for my skin colour, asked for high auto fares, and presumed to be rich: so there goes perils continue. :)

I loved Jellyfish sandwich.

For this week, goodbye.


kuzhali manickavel said...

hai sam, thanks for reading :)

Sharanya said...

This one was awesome!

kuzhali manickavel said...

thanks sharanya :)

Delux said...

This made me think of this post as soon as I saw it:

kuzhali manickavel said...

i knew that if i prayed long and hard enough, god would bringeth forth an app to make us coloredz folkz whiter, even if it was just in a virtual way.

on the other hand, sorta feel bad for shahid who has now become 'teh face of ebil racism in india' on teh internetz.

oh you crazy, crazy injuns.

MarryMe said...

Haimaifraands! Very naaice post this. And dont worry of you are desky beekhoz you are silk smitha sexydesky.

kuzhali manickavel said...

thangyoumaifraands! you are disco shanthi sexydesky.

MarryMe said...

*full shy coming*

kuzhali manickavel said...

aw don’t feel shy and all. remember the discolightchickensexylustiness the chicken gif hath instilled within thee

MarryMe said...

Maifraand you saved my soul! I yam reddy for you *wipes mouth with back of hand*!

(The word verification code is paulcer. Do you know of any Paul who has ulcer?)

kuzhali manickavel said...

o mai god yougaiz. also i am trying to think of somethingelse witty to say but i cant so i will just say o mai god yougaiz again.

anywaiz, i did know someone who had an ulcer once but i cant remember their name but im sure it wasn't paul because it was ladies and paul is not common name to be found among the indian ladies i think so

MarryMe said...

Oi yes you are totes rite. Paul is so unladieslike. But I know of Polly name pronounced pow-lee. I re-member my chilledhood days when was all the rage and on homepage there was audio and she said PO-LALALA POW-LEE!

But not anymore yougaiz. Because of mehengai and awl. *sniff sniff*

I just hope she doesnt have ulcer yougaiz.

kuzhali manickavel said...

this link made me feel old and also made me feel like playing the parachute game

this background music is nice

this parachute game is hard yougaiz

this background music is not nice

if you touch polly with your curser she jumps yougaiz #spendingtoomuchtimeoninternetz

MarryMe said...

You seriously need women these days who jump for you, yougaiz.

And the guy in Magic Fashion Stage game is totes doing rockstar actions with hands!

he also looks like guy in 70s films who rapes heroines. I hope he doesnt do rape on pollypocketwoman. because she jumps in air yougaiz when you move the cursor on her or in her aura.

Be safe Polly.

kuzhali manickavel said...

yay i rocked the clock game! i am rocking yougaiz!111

ok now i have to help lila tune the band's guitars okbai


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