Saturday, July 31, 2010

Conversations- okbai.

Before getting into the Conversations, just wanted to say that this is my last column with The New Indian Express. We are unfortunately no longer a couple but we remain the best of friends and hope the media will respect our privacy at this difficult time. I may continue the Conversations here on the blog and use more bad werds in them but it will probably be way more sporadic or they may die away completely and give rise to other new and exciting things. Who can say? And now, at the risk of sounding like an Academy Award acceptance speech, I want to thank all peepals who read the column and told me what they thought of it, even if they thought it was all a bleddynahnsense. Special shout-out to those who took the time to comment on the column on this blog, you are all awesome terrorist peepals and I am appreciating you like I appreciate this elephant jumping on trampoline.

elephant trampoline



K- You're talking about the underwear, right?

S- What?

K- Hipster. You're talking about the underwear, yes?

S- No.

K- Really? Wow.

S- I'm scared to ask what you thought that whole 'hipster racism' conversation was about.

K- It wasn't about racist underwear?

S- No, the hipsters I was talking about are a kind of American. Or they're mostly American. Or something. I'm not really sure what they are.

K- You talk about Americans way too much. I bet Americans don't talk about you half as much as you talk about them.

S- I can't help it, I'm Indian. I love talking about how cultureless and depraved America is but I will sell my children for the chance to go there and work in a convenience store.

K- India clearly needs more convenience stores.

S- Anyway, I want to know about these hipster people. Because apparently, they say racist things but they say those things because they're NOT racist. Isn't that interesting?

Not as interesting as replacing the word 'racist' with 'slow jogger'. Let's do that!

S- I mean, how are we supposed to know these hipsters are not racists?

K- 'I mean, how are we supposed to know these hipsters are not slow joggers?' Hey, that's neat!

Maybe they have some kind of special ID.

K- Who cares? We live in India! Who cares about slow jogger underwear Americans?

S- But what if one of them came here?

K- They'll get loose motion and go home.

S- Oh my God.

K- What?

S- I just remembered this show I saw where they described a dance as having very loose motion.

K- Oh my God.

S- I know! I couldn't watch the rest because 'loose motion' seemed to be a very popular way of describing this particular form of dance. Anyway, I'm going to go figure out this hipster racism thing.

K- Please do. American hipster racism is such a flabbergastingly serious problem in India.


S- Maybe you can't appreciate the awesomeidiosyncrasy of American hipster racism because you're Indian. Let me Indianize it for you.

K- Let me guess. You're going to neatly replace 'racism' with 'casteism'. Because racism and casteism are EXACTLY the same.

S- Yes.

K- Are you on drugs? Seriously, are you?

S- Look, what would you do if an American hipster came here and said something racist to you and you retaliated because you didn't know that person was actually not racist?

K- I wouldn't retaliate at all. I'd shake them down for money.

S- What?

K- Seriously, I do that to all the foreigners I meet.

S- Even the NRIs?

K- Especially the NRIs.

S- Let me guess. You sell them those yellow cloth bags for twelvtythousand rupees.

K- That's so Old Skool. I sell them pieces of extremely low quality paper and say it's handmade by Indian slum children who have no hands.

S- That is so wrong.

K- It really is, considering that the paper actually comes from cheapud half-quire note.

S- The low quality paper probably makes it more authentically Indian.

K- One time I told this guy that I had sold my kidney and needed money to buy it back. I even showed him a scar.

S- Oh, that's good.

K- Yeah, that was awesome because the scar was actually on my arm. But it all worked out in the end.

S- I think being mean to foreigners and NRIs is racist.

K- I think being mean to foreigners and NRIs is a slow jogger!

S- These conversations are racist.

K- These conversations are a slow jogger!

S- I think I should go.

K- Are you coming back?

No. Are you?

K- No.

S- okbai.


an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, July 31, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

khelona. johnny johnny joker. mastana. johnny johnny joker.

Holla back if ya'll remember this Shwetha Shetty blahstu from the pahstu! Also holla back if you remember the days when Suchitra Krishnamoorthi was known for this song! Holla back for Sharon Prabhakar! Parvati Khan! Rock Machine! Holla back if you read the word 'holla' and think it is a Punjabi word! Holla back for all the peeps who refer to bhangra as Sikh dancing!

And now, All The Indians Of The Indias, Please Aware!

The proprietor of Sona-Chandi-Plutonium Chywanprash, Paras Sharma himselfs brings us glad tidings of Madness Mandali. What it is? What do they want? Will they take our kidneys? All those questionanswers are addressed in this mysterious mailer which has been copypasted and given down in the below. I think this must have come from terrorists because it has terrorist writing in it.

What is this Madness मंडळी?
Madness मंडळी is a maha mash-up of creative minds each of whom express themselves uniquely. But when their powers combine - the results are bound to be crazy!

Okay so do you guys have any ideas?
Of course we do! In fact we're currently compiling a book of art and poetry, visual poetry if you may

Visual Poetry means?
Means ke, first we compile a bunch of poems from poets then our artists read them and come up with illustrations that visually represent the poems. Nice no?

Nice, but what will you do with all these entries?
We'll compile them and publish a book of course!

Mother Promise!

Two words...Self - Publishing. And three more...Print on Demand! It's so eco-friendly, Captain Planet cried!

Will Madness मंडळी own my work if it gets featured?
Rubbish, you still own the copyrights...we'll steal your kidney though...Kidding...Not!

Sweet, how do I participate?
If you are a poet - send in your 3 best poems. If you are an artist - show us an example of your art work. Mail us your entries at Last Date for entries is August 20th, 2010.

Having further questionanswer means please head over to their FB page. Also, how awesome is the little dude in the logo! He's like that little plankton dude from Spongebob only much more zen and musical and mustachioed. It is also important to note that while the plankton dude is completely nekkid, the Madness Mandali fellow is having a lion cloth, in keeping with Indian traditions and cultures.

And now, eating a fetus. This is one of those things that ideally, you should never do in your life, particularly if it's a human fetus. In fact, one must try and be as aggressive as possible about not eating fetuses. But sometimes you think to yourself, eating a human fetus sounds like a really good idea right now. Here are a couple of things that recently made me feel like eating a human fetus.

1. Illustrious folk who would like you to explain the Indian caste system to them in 30 words or less. Seriously. And when you can't, they don't understand WHY you can't because they honestly believe that casteism is just racism only it's spelled differently and it involves Indians. I honestly believe that unicorns shit rainbows but whatever. It's a truly studlywudly thing to reduce all forms of discrimination to some form of EuroCentricAmericanCentric racism. It's kind of like how all food on this planet is essentially a sandwich. Really it is. It's a fetus sandwich!

Lady Gaga Telephone Sandwich

2. The faction on the left that accuses you of being 'Americanized' and the faction on the right that accuses you of being 'Exoticized'. That makes me want to eat two fetuses.

3. People who hate Bollywood because it's not Hollywood. Which bears a striking resemblance to those folks who hate writing in regional languages because it's not English writing and those who hate regional music because it's not English music. That's a hard situation to be in, especially when you live in India. So all I have to say is have a fetus, you'll feel better. And don't worry, it's not an Indian fetus, it's an English one. Also,

funny animated gif

And now, PUPPEH PICTURE! The puppeh in question is Mia. And this is what happened when she got a copy of my buk.

Mia is neither smiling nor holding the book effectively. In fact, the book seems to have made her depressed. Was it the profusion of vomiting in teh fictionz? The fully fuckfuck languages? The rather high 'wtf' factor of so many of the stories? Or was it because she is a puppeh and maybe not that into reading? We will never really know because like a lot of difficult foreign people, Mia does not speak English. However, I am pleased to note that later on, Mia was able to appreciate the book a lot more when she started eating it. Maybe you should try this too. Buy the book. And if you don't like reading it, you can eat it.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Conversations: The Un-Understanding List

In what appears to have become a regular feature with the realworld newspaper edition of the Conversations column, I bring you another episode of the Fortnightly Fuckup! Last time, a mysterious blurb about Techworld magically infiltrated my column and planted itself there like a tumor of strange words. This week, apparently more than half the printed copies of my column have gone out with Sridala Swami's respected name and logo attached to it. What exciting things will happen to the next installment of the column? Perhaps they will insert the word 'aloo' at random intervals. Perhaps they will replace the entire text with the lyrics of 'The Cheeky Girls Song' printed in reverse. Perhaps we should have a contest to see who can guess what will happen to the next column!

Anyhoo, just want to say that contrary to popular opinion propagated by numerous copies of The New Indian Express, Sridala Swami did not write the Conversations column this week. I can only pray that people will not think badly of her on seeing her name attached to a column that is of such questionable repute that questionable things keep happening to it.



S- Why an un-understanding list?

K- To keep track of all the things I don't understand.

S- Like?

K- Like I don't understand why I keep drinking Rooh Afza.


If there's one drink I can't stand it's Rooh Afza. But then I'll go to someone's house, they'll offer me a glass and I just can't say no. I don't understand, is there some kind of Rooh Afza mind control happening?

The red color has hypnotizingmesmerizing effect on you.

For some reason I think, ok this is DEFINITELY going to taste like strawberries and happiness. Then I taste it and I feel cheated and sad.

S- You need to keep a Post-it with you that says 'Do not drink Rooh Afza. You will feel cheated and sad'. Next.

I don't understand why there's no market for my movie GhettoDawg BlingBling.

S- What's it about?

K- Poor white American children overcome their poverty and repair the hole in the ozone layer through disco dancing. I was hoping to promote it by adopting a lot of poor white American children.

S- Where were you planning on keeping them?

K- I don't want to keep them, I just want to adopt them.

S- I think if you adopt poor white American children, you have to keep them.

ALL of them?

S- Yes.

K- But India is already overpopulated. And I only have one room.

S- Maybe you can leave them in America and go see them on weekends.

K- Good idea. Also, I don't understand why we're having so much trouble bringing Warren Anderson back. Is he hiding? Should we use Google Earth to find him?

S- Can't help you there, sorry. Next.

K- Why does everyone say that when it comes to Warren Anderson?

S- Next.

K- I don't understand why some people keep screaming 'I HATE INTER-CASTE MARRIAGE!!!' at me. What do they want me to do?

S- They want you to scream along with them.

K- Here's what I think. If you don't like inter-caste marriage, then don't have an inter-caste marriage. You will be happier and you won't feel the need to keep screaming at people.

S- You're missing the point. They like screaming 'I HATE INTER-CASTE MARRIAGE!!!' at people. Next.

K- I don't understand why 'Summer of '69' was such a popular song in my country.

S- Neither do I. That and 'Hotel California'.

I used to really like those songs but they've been so overplayed that I'd rather remove my medulla oblongata with a blunt pencil than listen to them again.

It's a CIA plot.


S- No but that's a handy explanation for anything you can't understand or don't want to understand. For example, I believe that integral calculus is a CIA plot.

K- Is this why people say feminism and homosexuality are CIA plots?

Precisely. Why can't you get a job? CIA plot. Why does everyone hate you? CIA plot.

K- That's so awesome.

I love CIA plots. Next.

K- Why don't we call honour killings 'murder'?

S- Because the honour makes it notmurder even though someone gets murdered in the process.

But where exactly is the honour?

No idea. Maybe you should ask the 'I HATE INTERCASTE MARRIAGE!!!' people. How many more un-understandings are on your list?

K- 865,712.

S- Ok, I have to go now because I promised an old lady I'd help her watch television.

What about my list?

S- I don't think she should see your list. She's very old.

I don't understand how you can help someone watch television.

S- You should put that down on your list then.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

some people talk about you, like they know all about you

Many years ago, when I was a little youth, our local librarian said she would give a free sticker to any kid who told her a good joke. This is a riddle that one kid told her.

Q- Why was the man blind?

A- Because he had no eyes.

That kid got a sticker. I think maybe she should have got two stickers. I don't know why I still remember this riddle.

Anyway, I have a story in the new issue of Pratilipi called Six Things We Found During the Autopsy. Sometimes when I watch shows like CSI and they do those autopsies, I feel like I would be a really good forensic scientist because I am sure that I would be the one to notice the massive head injury that everyone else can't see.

I also have a story in the first issue of a new magazine called Cutting Chai. Which you can read here, which is neat.

Have you heard of Jay Smooth? I love Jay Smooth very much. Why because means he makes videos like this.

This clip made me think of two things. One, it made me think of how much I love Jay Smooth. Two, it made me think of how talking about fiction sometimes feels like you're talking about racism, especially when the fiction has this very special ingredient in it called the "Other". Racism and the "Other" are the same in many ways. Why because means

• People are not really sure what's going on with either of these things but they are scared of them anyway
• people say weird shit either knowingly or unknowingly in relation to these things
• people get really upset when you call them out on this weird shit
• subsequent dialogues after calling out on weird shit quickly ceases to be about what was actually said and becomes all about everything else.

Imma be honest, I have no idea what the "Other" is. I think it refers to people that are all collectively strange because their nationalities, sexualities, abilities, religions etc. are different from your own. This makes them all weird and all the same also. Also, the "Other" sometimes seems to magically excuse all sorts of things which would otherwise be labeled bad writing (I've already ranted about this before so I'm not going to rant about it again. Ok, I'll just give one example and that's it). For example, a one-dimensional character sometimes ceases to be one-dimensional and magically becomes the most amazing thing ever if you say that the character is of some kind of superexotic ethnicity or differently-abled or as many different "Other" qualities as you can fit together in one character.

The "Other" sometimes has a cookie factor. This happens because you write about the "Other" and it's just so totally removed from what you are that it must have been super-hard for you to write and we just can't believe you wrote about it and you're still alive and the dirty natives didn't eat you so here's a cookie. These are called "Other" cookies.

Sometimes though, people will refuse to give you any cookies. You know what happens to these people? They get hit with mad KalariNinja skillz that will kill their face. They are MAD skillz I tell you. MAD!!

Because I like cookies, I am planning on writing about the "Other" in my forthcoming epic novel called 'All These Bitches Is My Sons'. I have been smart enough to learn from the mad KalariNinja skillz that have killed my face so many times in the past. I share these KalariNinja skillz with you so that you can also use them to kill other people in the face also when they say your writing is crap.

KalariNinja Skillz # 1-'I Love Indian Food'

This is an incredibly common move but of such highly-developed KalariNinja skillz that it's more like a con and The Racist Questioner will not understand what has happened until afterwards when they realize their brain is missing.

How It Works- You cleverly deflect any criticism of what you wrote by professing great love for aspects of the "Other" which are completely unrelated to what you have actually written.


Racist Questioner - Why are all the Japanese people in your story either samurais or geishas?

You- "Well I just LOVE sushi."

Extra Notes- It helps enormously if you stretch the conversation to talk about other things you love about Japanese cuisine or how much you admire the fact that the Japanese have such nice straight black hair.

Lesson Learned- You can defend or justify bad writing by loving aspects of the "Other" like sushi or tortillas or Braille.

KalariNinja Skillz # 2- My Best Friend Is Indian

This is also a very common move but lacks the subtlety of the previous one. While the previous method is more a slow kill, this move shuts everything down in such a way that all The Racist Questioner can do is go home and never come back again.

How It Works- You cleverly deflect any criticism of what you wrote by claiming kinship with the "Other".


Racist Questioner- Why do all the Indians in your story talk like they are four years old? Like even when the adults talk amongst themselves or even think, they sound like they are 4 years old. Wouldn't a grown person thinking to themselves have some kind of coherency or does that not happen with people who don't speak English?"

You- I can't believe we're even having this conversation. My best friend is Indian, for God's sake! If anyone would know about Indians, that person would be me. I mean, my best friend is Indian! For God's sake! How can you even ask me something like that? My best friend is Indian! Is your best friend an Indian?

Racist Questioner- No.

At this point, you jump and down and say
funny animated gif.

Failure to have an Indian friend is certainly racist but apart from that, it's just handy to have one around because they are good at fixing computers and doing math. It's also a lot easier to have an Indian friend if you live in India.

Lesson Learned- You can defend or justify bad writing by claiming kinship with the "Other" as a best friend, next door neighbor, pre-school teacher, servant, cousin twice-removed or if your greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreat uncle was four-thirtysevenths "Other".

KalariNinja Skillz # 3 - I am Differently-Abled And I Approve This Message!

This one is similar to the previous move though it attacks from a completely different angle. Quick as you can say 'Bob's Your Uncle!', which is a weird thing that English people say sometimes, the conversation becomes all about what a terrible person you are in a matter of seconds. While KalariNinja Skillz # 2 is more like a swift kick to the gonads, KalariNinja Skillz # 3 is like a series of hard and fast punches to the same area.


Racist Questioner- It seems to me that the only reason the people in wheelchairs were in your story was because they were in wheelchairs.

You- Oh yeah? Well a disabled person just mailed me and told me he LOVED this story! He said it was the most realistic fiction he ever read about people in wheelchairs and it was the best story he ever read in his life. My story made him cry and wish he wasn't disabled! Do you want to talk to him?"

Racist Questioner- What?

You- I'll give you his phone number. Ask him what he thought of my story. Ask him to send you a picture of him in his wheelchair, reading my story and liking my story. Like have him do a thumbs-up or something. If he's not too disabled to do that, I mean."

Racist Questioner- I don't-

You- What's your problem, you don't like phoning disabled people? You think they're too dumb to talk on the phone? Well, you know what? Just because they're not normal like the rest of us doesn't give you the license to be rude, you Nazi racist!"

This is such an epic move because other people will probably start beating your racist ass also. They won't really know why they are beating your racist ass, but this is often what happens when people see/hear the word 'racist' and 'Nazi' used in such close quarters.

Lesson Learned- You can defend or justify bad writing by presenting evidence that certified members of the "Other" have approved the writing as A-Ok! The more "Other" they are, the more justified and righteous your writing becomes.

KalariNinja Skillz # 4 Realness

This is much more organic than the other skillz and relies on carefully calculated usage of the word 'real'. Like KalariNinja Skillz # 1, it bears a striking resemblance to a con but it's like one of those cons where the other person knows they are being conned but they aren't sure how so they can't do anything about it.

How It Works- You cleverly deflect any criticism of what you wrote by claiming that whatever you wrote about in relation to the "Other" is "real" although what exactly you mean by "real" is debatable. It has been my experience that much of this realness has the same quality of real as reality television. I can attest personally to the success of this method as I have had epic win by claiming to be an expert on "real" Canadian culture among my peers in my current South Indian locale.


Racist Questioner- Your entire story seems to be about poor-caste people. I didn't even know there was a caste like that.

You- Many people don't because they are really not aware of the realities of these real lives. That's what my piece is really about, the reality of the real lives of these real people who really exist.

Racist Questioner- All they do is wish they were rich. Like, that's ALL they do. All of them. All the time. For the whole story.

You- Well that's the reality of all poor-caste people. ALL of them.

Racist Questioner- But don't they-

You- They're POOR! POOR! POOR! POOR! That's the reality! That's the real thing here.

Racist Questioner- And you know this because-

You- I used to drive past this group of poor-caste people everyday and that gave me a real in-depth look into the reality of their real lives.

Racist Questioner- -From your car window.

You- It was the most real realness of reality of the real that I ever experienced.


Racist Questioner- So wh-

You- Real!

Racist Questioner- I just-

You- Real!

Racist Questioner- I-

You- Real Real Real! Real!

Racist Questioner- Ok.

Extra Notes- Instead of focusing on whatever that Racist Questioner is asking you, concentrate your energies on creative constructions of the word 'real'. Some effective words are 'realiscious' to describe your prose use and 'realgasm' to describe that feeling peeps will get when they read your really real work.

KalariNinja Skillz # 5 – The Lord/ My Muse/ My Chair Told Me To Write This And That Makes Everything OK

This is the deadliest of all KalariNinja skillz and as with all powerful things, it must only be used sparingly or its power will dwindle and die. This skillz is the ultimate cockblock and when I say cockblock, I mean cutting the cock off, putting it in a box and sending it by sea mail to the bottom of the sea. Because when you start writing crap because a God or a Muse or a character in the story or a unicorn told you to, what can the Racist Questioner do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The blame for the bad writing has been neatly shifted from the writer onto to the very capable shoulders of a supernatural and often magical being. Which is a bit like a kid breaking a window and blaming it on their imaginary friend. For some reason, this doesn't work when you're a kid but is incredibly effective when you're an adult writer.


Racist Questioner- Why are all the serial killers in your story gay and how exactly did they 'homosexual' people to death?

You- Well my Muse just DEMANDED it.

Racist Questioner- So this is all your Muse's fault and has nothing to do with you.

You- Absolutely nothing! My Muse writes through me, I am a humble vessel of divine writing.

Racist Questioner-
Your Muse has very poor character delineation skills.

You- My Muse said to tell you that you better shut your mouth lest the hand of the Almighty Muse fall on thee and smite thy face until it is dead, verily, verily.

Because it would be awkward to just end the post there, I end it with the song
My Lovely Horse from the show Father Ted. I like this song very much.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Conversations- The DevelopMentalization of the Inner YouYou

Before getting into the Conversations, I wanted to say,

1. In some realworld newspaper copies of my column, there appears a mysterious blurb for Techworld. I don't know what Techworld is but apparently it's connected to Techie Land. I don't know what that is either. Techworld simply wants to leverage technology to better lives. It wants this so bad that it says this twice. I just wanted to make it very clear to the four people who read my column that I don't work for, endorse or advocate Techworld because they haven't given me any awesome free stuff. It is also my belief that Techworld cannot help you DevelopMentalize your Inner YouYou although the blurb kind of gives one the impression that it can.

2. And now, I CAN HAZ INSECKS BUK Appreciation Time! I would like to say thanks very much ya to Manasi Subramaniam for this pitchur.

Manasi is very happy and holding my book very effectively at the same time. Some may think, well maybe there's a person on the other side of the camera saying 'SMILE OR I'LL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF!' While we cannot deny this as a possibility, the fact remains that Manasi is smiling and holding my book. You can do the same! Yes! You too can hold my book and smile and be happy! How, you ask? Sorry, no. I will not shamelessly pimp my book in this post. I just won't.

3. The Madras Terrace House is closing and I haz a sad because that's where I had my book launch but back in those days, it was called The Madras Terrance House. But you can haz a happy because like a zombie, it will be resurrected elsewhere and also, if you live in Chennai you can go there now because they have, and I quote, "Garments at a 50% discount, home accessories, books, scarves, jewelery, slippers and bags at a 20% discount!"

4. The Dude's dancing has added levels awesome if you watch it while listening to the song Speaker Baje.

funny animated gif

suhpeekur baje suhpeekur. suhpeekur baje suhpeekur.



K- I need to make some money.

S- And getting a job like normal people would be-

K- Too much work. Starting a spiritual movement means I just have to smile and say things that don't make sense and I will get lots of money.

S- Isn't that what politicians do?

K- Hopefully my spiritual movement will lead to a lucrative career in politics later on.

S- So what exactly does your spiritual movement do?

K- It will turn you into a whole new person.

S- Who?

K- What do you mean, who?

S- Who will it turn me into?

K- Nobody, you'll still be you. But you'll be a better you.

S- I will be a YouYou.

K- Precisely. DevelopMentalizing the Inner YouYou is all about understanding That and only That which is not everything and not nothing. But it is something.

S- You're doing that 'saying things that don't make sense' thing, right?

K- DevelopMentalizing the Inner YouYou is an investment in the future of tomorrow today for tomorrows of the future.

S- Why do I feel like you're trying to sell me insurance?

K- Eh?

S- Well I never understand what insurance people are saying either.

K- Don't afraid. All will be clear once you DevelopMentalize your Inner YouYou. You will have increased mental capacitization, lifelong lifefulness and everyone will like you.

S- Your spiritual movement sounds like those sidey ads. You know, the ones that say 'for curing gas firstnight marriage piles so many treatment NRIgovernmentofficer sucessful'.

K- You want testimonials? I have testimonials.

S- You do?

K- Yes. I'll call you back.


S- That was fast.

Testimonial # 1. I DevelopMentalized my Inner YouYou and now I am awesome. Other people think I am awesome also.

S- Who is this person?

K- Lakshmi.

S- Lakshmi who?

K- B. Lakshmi.

S- I think you made that testimonial up.


S- Because it's stupid.

K- Ok, Testimonial #2. I DevelopMentalized my Inner YouYou and I have dissolved my ego and learned to love myself. I have also discovered that I can fly.

S- Wow. And who is this from?

K- Lakshmi.

S- This is not B. Lakshmi.

K- No, this is another Lakshmi.

Another Lakshmi sounds like she's on drugs.

K- Ok, forget the testimonials. Let me demonstrate why you need to join my spiritual movement. How many of your life goals have you achieved so far?

S- I don't have any life goals.

K- Why?

S- I'm allergic.

K- You're allergic to life goals?

S- Yes.

K- Wow. Ok, well what about things that you reallyreally want?

S- I reallyreally want an elephant.

You don't want a car? Or an iPad? Or George Clooney?

S- I'd rather have the elephant. Can your spiritual movement get me an elephant?

K- No.

S- Bummer.

K- What about anguish, do you have any anguish? Depression? General angst and despair?

S- I have a sinus condition.

K- Wait! You don't have money!

S- This is so true.

K- DevelopMentalizing your Inner YouYou cures moneylessness!

S- Really?

K- But that's also why you can't join. We require a fee to DevelopMentalize your Inner YouYou. In fact, we require many fees to be paid over a very long period of time.

S- Your spiritual movement sounds like a loan. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than sounding like insurance.

K- Inner YouYous are expensive. Very high-maintenance spirituality.

S- So joining your spiritual movement could cure me of my moneylessness but I can't join because I don't have any money?

K- Exactly.

Your spiritual movement sucks.

K- Don't feel bad. People who don't have money don't have Inner YouYous either.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, July 3, 2010

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