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


Anonymous said...

One more for the Un-Understanding list, why you patiently put up with the New Indian Express like a long suffering Indian wife as they continue on the long journey of how to not put together a newspaper supplement

kuzhali manickavel said...

oh, snap! good one :) that definitely needs to be on the list

shruti said...

Anon:good one!
K, been gone long and missing the KM conversations. Be reading and writing to ya soon. I think, talking like this cause the unbelievable BBking and his lucille are crooning on the comp. Ya know how it gets.

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai linkless shruti! i hope you have been away doing inappropriate and terroristy things which you will tell us about

WiseDonkay said...

Can you add not understanding how the werewolf uncle in the vampire-werewolf-emogirl movie has a waxed chest?

kuzhali manickavel said...

so true. i was actually admiring that chest for a while and then i found out he was born in 1992 and then i felt like a pedophile

Delux said...

"through disco dancing."

I laughed so hard i almost sprained something. Fabulous, as always.

kuzhali manickavel said...

delux, i understand that this is the natural progression of events. first, save the whales through modeling, second, fix the hole in the ozone layer through disco dancing. the next step apparently has something to do with dolphins and papier-mâché

Space Bar said...

When my mum said, I've saved your column, I was totally puzzled. Then I saw it and realised it was yours - the NIE's fuck-up totally sucks.

The only way to make up for it is to put my column next week under your byline. But you may not want to own up to it. I, on the other hand, am flattered that they think I wrote this.

kuzhali manickavel said...

you have to admit tho, it's an understandable mistake when you consider the many similarities in our bylines. for one thing, you and i look very similar in our pics, especially because you have hair and glasses and i am bald and have no glasses.

Scherezade said...

Rooh Afza. GhettoDawg BlingBling.
What an excellent!
Also un-understanding - Surds. Roots not Dudes.
Like totally un-understanding. Hate Euclid and his lemma.
Like totally.

kuzhali manickavel said...

i thought perhaps i should make a t-shirt that says 'i will not be cheated by your rooh afza' but as we all know, good indian women do not wear t-shirts.

i am also un-understanding the lemmas which apparently are very different from llamas. also also, one of the manymany reasons for my misunderstanding of that whole 'surd' thing is that i thought the person teaching it was saying 'third'. i'm such a maths phail.

sameer said...

just a few days back i bought your book. just a while ago, i finished reading "spare monsters" (i'm going in an order...though i jumped ahead 2-3 times, now i have decided no to do anymore). initially some stories, i couldn't 'understand' or 'feel' anything like 'you have us late and follow', the rain ice cube story,' some singular event', but from the 'unviolence of strangers' and 'blue', i have completely fallen in love with you you and your stories (can't make out the difference from here). i will return back to the above stories maybe after i finish your book. some images have stuck in my mind, like that guy feeling something against his leg in the running rainwater and then feeling solomon's shoe with his leg in the end, in solomon ezekial's story. very nice !!! :) i loved dolphin king, cats and fishes, perimeter. atually i liked them all. blue struck me somewhere persoanlly. thank you very much for writing such stuff.
i am reading your book and paul davies' mind of god...i thought i would take a break and see who you are. couldn't find your picture, but read in some interview that you would like to know where/how i heard about your book. i first read about tamil pulp fiction in hindu literary review and an article on blaft publication. i think i first read about your book there.i thought of buying it, but the the hindu review was bad. as i don't earn money i generally do not buy any book above 250 or 300. and all the books i buy are by dead authors published some 100 or 60 yrs back, as i do not have to risk much and will have a minimum gurantee (i buy books recommended by my favourite j.d. salinger suggested rilke, rilke suggested jacobsen, etc). I bought your book from a small bookshop in a small temple town in north india called Dharmashala. ;). but actually all my life i have lived in the south.thats it!!

and ya, have you read haruki murakami's "ice-man"?

kuzhali manickavel said...

hai sameer, thank you so much for buying the book (yay for small bookshop in small North Indian temple town!). And also much thanks for telling me what you thought of it, i really appreciate it and am glad the hindu review did not deter you from buying. i haven't read murakami's ice-man, i've heard/read a couple of his short stories online, i thought they were pretty neat. i liked this one a lot.

sameer said...

just read murakami's story. interesting website now will read the other stories from there. ya the story's very nice.loved it. shit,i always use the word "nice", dunno why, maybe my vocabulary is bad. i feel embarassed repeating it in consecutive sentences, when talking to some people. but when i really like something i use it like o.c.d. from now on i will adopt your "neat", i can atleast say a writer uses it a lot in her blog ;)
actually i am an idiot, my mind drifted away yesterday while writing your the hindu review was bad, i almost forgot about your book, but when i saw your book recently in "the shop", i read miranda july's comment. it sounded very honest. i loved her "you and me and everyone we know", watched it like 12-13 times, like your 'dolphin king', and your book was priced 199, so i bought it ;)....and ya, i already recommended your book to my freinds....yesterday my mind drifted away coz i was still thinking about the rainwater ice-cubes and the fish bones sticking out of the mud, while writing your comment. it made me think of murakami's do read it...wherever you find it...its neat...actually laboratory sterilized, refrigirated..;)...
one question- even after a few days if i cannot make out wat a story of yours means, and if i ask you, would you like explaining it?
one more question- who are your favourite authors? or books you love.
(answer at your leisure, its not a compulsion)

Scherezade said...

It is not so much that I am phailing maths as much as maths is phailing me. And yet I am teaching my sister the wondrous wonders of irrational numbers. Which I originally thought were bollywood item songs.
Today I discovered that I may not be a good indian woman because I wear too many t shirts. Sometimes all of them together.
Sad I am.

Scherezade said...

I worked on this equation all afternoon and felt a greater sense of achievement than writing a paper on neonates and child psych.

Good Indian woman - t shirts = blouse/saree (where b= blouse, s= saree and b, s = acceptable Indian garments, and s is not equal to zero)

Good Indian woman = blouse/saree+ t shirts
Hence our original supposition is incorrect.
So, good indian women can wear t shirts. (And use words like hence!)

kuzhali manickavel said...

@ sameer- sure, i can try and explain (probably won't be very indepth sorry, time constraints), also not sure if my explanations will be very helpful, there's a good chance they'll make things worse ;). norton juster's the phantom tollbooth is one of my fav books, i re-read that a lot.

@ scherezade- irrational numbers = bollywood item songs= epic win. also, i am sorry about your t-shirt situation. did you know there's a good indian woman t-shirt rehab? i know because they tried to me go to t-shirt rehab. but i said no no no.

kuzhali manickavel said...

scherezade, because i am maths phail, i cannot understanding your awesome indian woman equations. does this mean we have to wear blouse and sari and t-shirts all at the same time?

Scherezade said...

Maybe. Or maybe we just wear t shirts and sarees.

kuzhali manickavel said...

this makes a lot of sense. t-shirts cover the midriff, which is something the blouse stoutly refuses to do

sameer said...

thank you very much. will check out that book.just read mrs. krishnan loved it.

kuzhali manickavel said...

thanks for reading, sameer :)

WiseDonkay said...

One humble request. If there's a link to e-paper version of your column, so we can see the Fortnightly Fuckup :p, please to link :)

silk smitha and disco shanti said...

Rooh aafza tastes like hi tec attar no??? no?? no??

kuzhali manickavel said...

@ wisedonkay- alas and alack, fortnightly fuckups only appeared in certain realworld paper versions. it's like a unicorn that only special people could see

@ silk smitha and disco shanti- you know, it kinda does

G said...

My simble and humble un-understanding list for your kind perusal and esteemed comments

1. How mixing numbers and letters in a jumble, simbly gives Chemistry that some people are understanding and some people are phailing.
2.Why Mallus say 'chance' and 'dance' the American style.
3.Why Hindi movie stars after one or two movies suddenly become so cool they can add e's and i's to their names[For examble, Ritiesh Deshmuk
4.How Americans vote!
6. America
7. Population of Mallu nurses in Dubai...Why Bai?

kuzhali manickavel said...

G, i'm afraid that i, like many people, have no answers for a ununderstandings 4-6. adharwise,

1. i am chemistry phail. to this day i don't understand what was going with that whole 'balancing chemical equations' thing. so i guess i cant really answer this question either

2. let us further the ununderstandings by asking why mallus are saying 'pahnt' and 'fahn'

3. i believe they do this so that when they travel to america, people will think they are jewish and not ebil brown terrorist peepals

7. there are many mallu nurses in dubai because many mallu nurses are in dubai. i think once we get the answer to 2, this answer will appear automatically

so i guess i didnt really answer anything. oh whale.


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