Sunday, December 18, 2011

tawa is a hot iron girdle used by women in Indian culture

This blog post title is a good example of how I learn something new and amazing about Indian culture every day. I thought a tawa was used for the cooking purposes. Little did I know that this contraption is actually for holding all that Indian culture together. Did you know this? I did not know this. I think so this is what makes Indian women so great so hats off to you gals and congrats on your hot iron girdles, thank you for your efforts in supporting Indian culture. 

I now want to talk about one of my favorite pastimes. This is something I used to do a lot. I don’t do it as much anymore, not because I ‘learned my lesson’ but because I don’t go out as much. If I did, I’m sure I’d still be doing this. So anyway, sometimes when trying to be all badass and ‘one with the people’, one goes to rough and tumble places like tea kadais or hotels, where we eat on banana leaves! This is often done so you can tell people later about how you are so badass you sometimes eat off banana leaves. If one is very lucky, one will spot a small child, cleaning or washing up in the local eating vicinity. After being satiated and satisfied by a ‘common man’s meal’ which one can write about later that might (fingers crossed!) be picked up by a foreign publication, one calls one of these small children over. Small child is busy working but will come if you call them because that’s what they do. You ask them their name, ask them why they aren’t in school, and then (my favorite part!!111) you launch into a very big lecture about how education is important and small person should go to school, study hard to get first rank, learn computers and English and achieve great things. I would often say things like ‘when I come here next time, I don’t want to see you here. You better be in school!’ I was totally not coming back but small person doesn’t need to know that. It’s important to give children something to hope for and telling poor kids that I’m coming back gives them hope. 

If some adult was locally available, I liked to pull them up too, pointing out the many schemes and special measures available to help children ‘like that’. There’s reservation for poor folk! Free textbooks! Free laptops! It’s so EASY to get educated and be more better! But you have to work hard! You have to work hard to get this easy education! You have to work hard at working hard and work hard because you have to work hard. I am not poor (thangod!) but I can speak English so I feel totally qualified to tell you what you should be doing with yourself. Clearly you don’t know all this so imma sit back and tell you all about it while I wait for some transportation to take me back to civilization. 

This was my favorite pastime for many reasons- it made me feel smart and good about myself. It made me feel like I ‘made a difference’, that there will be one less uneducated child in the world because of me- I didn’t even have to do anything, I just had to talk like I knew what I was talking about! I liked to believe that my advice also helped to fight poverty in some way because if poor people were more smart, they’d know that poverty is a bad thing, right? And they wouldn’t do it, right?  Later on, when I needed to argue with people about Indian topics, these kinds of incidents made me feel like I am qualified to talk about things. 

The idea of poor folk winning at life and teaching these poor folk how to win at life is a wonderful topic for cinema- some of my favorite Tamil movies are about this. I can’t tell you how heartwarming and empowering it is to see movies where poor child woke up early, cooked food for sick mother, studied by candlelight while rocking baby sister in arms, then went out to work three jobs, ate one meal a day, and did all sorts of mad studying in between that equipped him with the skills necessary to fight corruption and smack the brown off English-speaking chicks in jeans. Did I mention that by earning two paisa a day, he was able to become a millionaire when he was big because he didn’t waste his money on bad poorpeople things like alcohol and beedis? And he beat poverty! In two hours! I mean if he can do it in two hours, what’s with all the poor people in real life? Why are they going to movies and buying cell phones when they should… be doing whatever it is poor people are supposed to do to make them not poor?

This pastime of mine was a good thing to do for fun, especially when the small child in question was photogenic. And it certainly makes great fiction, esp. when you write about third world countries where people are third world and stuff but then they work hard and become first world winners. I’m just not sure if one should write how-not-to-be-poor internet articles about it though. Gene Marks has received a lot of slack for this article and I feel like none of this fallout would have happened if this had simbly been timepass kept outside the internet or if it was a fiction piece or best of all, a Tamil movie. A Tamil movie is always a good option because you can include song and dance numbers, fight sequence and we always appreciate it when people use technical computer words like Google. 

Now let us talk about RuPaul. I was informed that I shouldn’t blog about RuPaul’s Drag Race anymore because men aren’t supposed to dress like women because they are supposed to dress like men because they are men. Also my blog posts which are incomprehensible on a good day somehow disintegrate entirely when I talk about RuPaul. And anyway, Logo still isn’t letting nonAmericans watch the show online but they let us see the Meet the Queens clip for the new season? So that we can all feel bad in our nonAmerican countries? So I will just say #TEAMSHARONNEEDLES!!!11 Season 4 is going to be CANCELLED!!1

Now I want to talk about Kalasala song from Osthi. I like this song because LR Easwari sounds nice autotuned and the chorus is great slow-motion walking music. Although there also seems to be a dog panting in the middle and it is little unnerving to hear T Rajendar screaming Ikada Ra Ra into your ear. According to this clip, LR Easwari is the Asha Bhonsle of the South. Is LR Easwari some indecipherable thing that can only be understood in terms of Asha Bhonsle? Or does this mean that Asha Bhonsle is the LR Easwari of the North? I cannot able to understand this. Similarly, I cannot able to understand when people say that Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley/ Boston/Manchester/ Greater Matcham Scratchings in Lower Market Snodpicket of India. Or that Chennai is ‘the Texas of South India’. What does that even mean? It means ‘ohai! I mentioned Texas so that I can tell all you coll people that I have been to Texas, which is the Chennai of the United States.’

Anyway, the Kalasala clip also says that T. Rajendar is the RD Burman of the South. The accepted practice is that whenever someone mentions T. Rajendar on the internet, you have to immediately link to a ‘t rajendar speaking english’ video and go lol at t rajendar speaking English lol. Instead of doing that, I would like to share this interview clip which actually features Simbu and some other dudes but it also has T Rajendar so it’s basically just all about T Rajendar talkingdancingsingingmakingastrologicalpredictionmakingpoetryplayingdrumbeatboxingtakingoffwatch and everyone else gets reduced to pieces of furniture that sometimes talk. I’m not sure of this proves that he is the RD Burman of the South but anyway. I remember once I heard T Rajendar speaking during election tyme and he said ‘Vaiko, nee oru psycho’ and I went lol but also felt bad for Vaiko but not very much so. #kalasala #thankyoupiratedvisumoviesforevaforsendingthisclip

I would now like to say bai with this Golden Tweet from Shahid Kapoor.
‘Too bloody random ... So seize every moment n juice it ... Cause it'll never come back ... Work hard always did .. Party harder ! Loca style’

bindaaz4lyffe muthafuckaz


Anonymous said...

Lol @ T Rajendar. He's like all those Chuck Norris jokes rolled into one. But I can't imagine sitting and watching an interview of his in its entirety. It's funnier and easier on the ears when I get it second hand like thru this blog. I've never done that philanthropic advise thingy with small persons. But I have pointed out them to my pakkathu stool eater (that sounds gross!) and gone "Tche tche...padikkama indha vayasule...!" Vague misgivings after reading this blog piece in me stomach, probably somefin I ate.

Ashwini said...

We get it! Some people have poor English. You don't have to mock them every time you see something like that.

I don't understand it when people do that. They finally justify themselves by saying things like "I was not mocking anything", "I am making a different point" etc.

kuzhali manickavel said...

@anonymous- hai! I’m not sure I could sit through an entire TR interview either. This clip is neat because he breaks out into song a couple of times and I think he even sings in Hindi at one point. Truly he is the RD Burman of South. also 'pakkathu stool eater' #betteryoucanavoidit

@ ashwini- I don’t understand it when people vehemently decide I’m mocking while they use terms like ‘poor English’, as if that form of English is somehow inferior to other forms of English. But I'm sure you have very justifiable reasons for doing so.

BeSlayed said...

Is it really mocking poor English per se? "Girdle" for "griddle" could also be a typo or an autocorrect-error. But it summons a funny image, which is what I took to be the point.

Anonymous said...

Chi chi... Chennai is the *Detroit* of India. I know this because I have had to write this line in brochures for which I am paid in cheques which magically convert to vodka (I mean, because I am a troobloo Tamizhian). Shame on you for not knowing this illustrious fact about our highly illustrated nation, madam!

kuzhali manickavel said...

@ BeSlayed- hai! yes, that was the point i was trying to make only.

@ sharanyamanivannan- hai! it is detroit, ah? sari. maybe sometimes it is detroit and sometimes it is texas? #unityindiversity

Lost and Found said...

I bought your book, finished it in a day (reading, I mean. I didn't eat it)Some lines made me weep, others made me laugh uncontrollably. Long story short, I loved it. You are brilliant and have found a 'pankha' in me. Keep up the wonderfully weird work!

Puja said...

"It’s so EASY to get educated and be more better! But you have to work hard! You have to work hard to get this easy education! You have to work hard at working hard and work hard because you have to work hard".:)

Thank you for writing such an insightful, intelligent, funny commentary on this. No one could have said it better. You are so ridiculously talented, I want to hug you.


Is hugging against Indian culture?

piratedvisumoviesforeva said...

i just want to respond to this by saying:

you are welcome for the clip yo but you gotta remember wetamizs have redefined kolaveri so now we can able to say things like mariahcareyistheshrutihassan of the west.

also trajendaristhetrajendarofthesouth. how is that for self-referential?

also re: what ashwini-ji has said, there has never been any reference to "poor English" on this blog in seriousness; quite the contrary in fact as kuzhaliji's comment/ response above indicates. am i right or am i right?

Visiri said...

Kuzhali, You simbly rock. No better subversion than satire. Please keep writing.

Shruthi said...

T Rajendar came to my school as chief guest and all. Took off watch and all. Proceeded to sing ammaadi, aathaadi song and all. He's a kewl kaat.

Also, I appreciate the many multitudinous things you haf said. Much kewlness this post is!

longblackveil said...

Haiii. First I want to share with you how I always LOL when I see that 'Jump to comment form' line at the top of Comments section. For some reason it brings to mind Jeetendra and also MarioLuigi jumping and getting +1s. #SorryLuigiButThePrincessIsInAnotherCastleFFFUUUU!!!11
What really makes me LOL is you. I mean your posts, I would never laugh at you, no never. Anywaiz, you should please to visit my village and tell the verypoorkids in one school here about working hard and learning good English and also about winning in life. Please don't mention anything about free laptops. In this land those are not available. Why raise their hopes and dash to ground? So. You should totes come off. I will give you a Woolfy room of your own, and a shamefully low teaching stipend per month. You can write epic novellas while staring out of your own room which will also have a Forstery view.
Here you will also be able to take most photogenic pictures and sell to foreign publications because you can use all the hot-selling hooks like Cashmere, poor kids, education, conflict, scary bearded Moslem men, oppressed Muslim wimmins, mountains, snow, chickens, livestock and kebabs.
Thank you further for RuPaul and TR mentions. Day is made. I am typing out this and all on phone. It is most annoying, yaar.
Okbaiii. Your BFF (Best Fan Forever), S.
(PS: Give us a hint who you may be on the Twitters. I suspect you of being someone already but then again, there's a reason I'm not Nancy Drew.)
Also, LOL @Ashwini.

Anonymous said...

When I first moved to Chennai I used to hang with a crew in Vijayalakshmipuram Cricket Ground -- which was actually just kind of a weedy vacant lot -- near Ambattur Industrial Estates. The locals called the area "the Switzerland of Madras".

kuzhali manickavel said...

@lost and found- thank you so much for your nice words :) I appreciate so much, glad you liked the book

@ puja- thanks for reading and saying nice things and for the hug :) I think it is only against indian culture if it is manwoman hugging because apparently that’s how people get pregnant you know.

@ piratedvisumoviesforeva- vannakam piratedvisuavargale, nandri for the clip min. who is the visu of the western world? You can able to tell me? Please answer me yes or no at earliest. Also please convey my pranams to all at home

@ visiri- thank you very much, you are nice :)

@ shruthi- thanks for reading :) I found that watchremoval quite interesting. Not as interesting as his singing tho. You are lucky to have seen all this during sweet school days.

@ longblackveil- haimaifraand! I shud totes come visit your village and do that yougaiz! i mean it has all the necessary ingredients in one convenient location. AND THERE ARE KEBABS!1 Let’s make it happen. Lets start a fund to make it happen. also i am not on twitter frealz tho i might start twitteraccount during my next b'lore trip so i can tweet about that because that would be very sidey thing to do.

@ anonymous- oh it is a soozerland of the Chennai! I had no idea there was one there. Someone once told me the cooum was the cooum of madras. And I had to agree with that.

The boulder said...

The boulder is not very happy with TR bashing. TR is cool yougaiz. You on the other hand are uncool. Do you ever made movies? Do you made astrological predictions?

Bledy hippocrets.

kuzhali manickavel said...


swami said...

Hi Kuzhali,
In "Appuvukku Appa Sonna Kadhaigal", Jeyakanthan handles child labor and value of education in a refreshingly new way. Have you read it?

shre said...

Kuzhali I am lau you. You put the lol in lol.

kuzhali manickavel said...

@swami- hai! no i haven't read that but thanks for the recommendation, i will keep an eye out for it

@ shre- aw, thanks you are nice and i am lau you also


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