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  • Kuzhali Manickavel

ohai!

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

I’m not sure if anyone stops by here anymore but if you do, ohai! I have come back after a longish hiatus which involved moving out of the smalltempletown. I am slightly sadface about this because the smalltempletown was the best third world writer cred ever. When people would tell me that they had an MFA, which back in the day I assumed was some kind of urinary infection, I would say ohai I come from smalltempletown in South India and even though they never really said anything about this barring a ‘wtf?’, I knew in my heart that they wished they could be like me. This is why I never missed an opportunity to put that up in everyone’s face when they made the mistake of asking for a ‘bio’.


Speaking of bios! 

‘Writer, big city-dweller, chaidrinker, bike lover, foodie, wanderer, music aficionado, beer enthusiast, book-lover, serious sense of humor, human being’

Who is this person? Is it every Indian person in the internet today? Has it become the equivalent of ‘I love meeting new people, traveling and hanging out with my friends.”? Why am I being so racist against Writer, big city-dweller, chaidrinker, bike lover, foodie, wanderer, music aficionado, beer enthusiast, book-lover, serious sense of humor, human beings? Is it because I am jealous because I lost my smalltempletown bling? Yes.

So anyway, I bid a fond farewell to the smalltempletown and relocated to Bengaluru where all the cool people live. These are some impressions, alleged conversations, and things that happened during that first blush of Bengaluru when it was still making my nose bleed. 


– People are not speaking Tamil here. I don’t understand this. I am that gross species of person that thinks everyone speaks Tamil or English and I am flabbergasted when they don’t.


– “Ok wow you actually say ‘yougaiz’ when you talk.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s really irritating. Like REALLY.”

“Yeah.”

“Because like at least on the blog, you can close it when your lingo gets too irritating, no?”

“Yeah. That’s a drawback of having to talk to me in person.”

“Right. Because it’s REALLY annoying.”

“I know. Sorry yougaiz.”


– Unrecognizable large green fruit! Wtf, it’s like I’m in Africa or China or something! SO EXOTIC!!111 ok that’s a watermelon. Nemmind.


– Sprite, muscular young man crossing road in very short shorts. Ok those are clearly not shorts, this publicfellow has come out in his undrawers. WE CAN TELL WHEN YOU DO THAT YOU KNOW!!! CROSS THE STREET AGAIN!!!!11


–‘And this drinking place is called bacchus? Like tiny Hindi children people?’

– ‘No, like Bah-Kus.’

– ‘Then why is it spelled like tiny Hindi children people? Hay, will everyone like me there?

– ‘Probably not.’

– ‘Oh. Tiny Hindi children people never seem to like me for some reason.’


– I had some dodgy pork and contracted some kind of stomach food poisoning type thing and thought I was going to die and now whenever I pass the establishment from whence I procured said dodgy pork I shout ‘I HATE YOU!’ but I don’t think they care at all. Also, LAZEEZ DOUBLE CHICKEN DOUBLE EGG ROLLS OMG I LUV YOU FOREVER


–“Excuse me, can you tell me where *someplace I can’t remember* is?”

“Yeah just like you can proceed over here and you can take a left and just keep going straight for some time then one Nilgris will come over there, like pretty big and you just don’t want to miss it because you can head over there and you can get all the information about that over there.”

“So you don’t know where it is?”

“Yeah no I don’t know.”

“Ok thanks.”

“Yeah don’t mention.”


–“Kuzhali? That’s an…unusual name.”

“Kuzhali? It’s Malayalam name I think so.”

“Sorry, I just can’t get that, I’ll call you something else?”

“Your name is what? Ok whatever, I’m calling you something else.”

Yes please call me SomethingElse.


– LOL you’re talking to me in Hindi like I know what you’re saying and like I am going to reply in Hindi also LOL!!!111


Like many people who have come to this cool city, I had trouble finding accommodation and I am going to talk all about that in the next few posts because this is my blog. It is also my hope that I will gradually start picking up some Kannada and this Kannada will gradually infiltrate my polluted “English” and soon I will suddenly discover I have some kind of Kannadiga ancestry and decide I am not so much Tamil anymore and actuallytotally Kannadiga. In this way, I hope to appropriate the cultures of all four Southern states, which is a close second to coming from a smalltempletown.


There were some other things I wanted to blog about but frankly, this blog post is already too long so I will just go through them fastly here.


-The Ashton Kutcher Racist Ad- Big ups to the righteous peeps who had to use multiple exclamation marks to tell us Indians to Calm Down!! Because it was Just a Joke!!!! And My Indian Friend Thought it was Funny so it’s Ok!!!! Also big ups to the righteous peeps who took the time to remind us that India still follows caste system so who are we to get offended by Ashton Kutcher in brownface. I for one was confused for two reasons- one, I thought he was being Mexican/Italian/Spanish so I was like STOP BEING MEAN TO MEXICAN ITALIAN SPANISH TYPE PEOPLE YOUGAIZ. Then also we must consider, if he didn’t do brownface et al, how would we know he was Indian? There’s no other way for people to identify Indianness, isn’t it? It is.


-Speaking of Brownface! I saw a bit of a movie called Bhowani Junction, which featured wellknown brownfaced actors Ava Gardner and Stewart Granger. According to the summary, the movie is about a half-caste. A half-caste is someone who has partial rights to be offended by Ashton Kutcher’s racist ad. There was one gentleman in the movie whose face bore a striking resemblance to a basted turkey, which meant he was the brown dude, which meant he was an Indian. I was only able to see a bit of this glorious bit of cinema and that bit featured a limerick type thing which was about a girl from Sharkie who hooked up with a Darkie and they had two white kids, two black kids, and two khaki or something like that. Or maybe her name was Sharkie. Could be that also because in the English culture they have strange naming habits. Isn’t it neat how English people can make darkie rhyme with khaki? That’s so neat. It’s one of the reasons why they had such colonial powers.


-I saw a trailer for a movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which apparently is Slumdog Millionaire but with old, white people. This movie also features brown people but these people are naturally brown and not brownface so it’s not racist and ok


Before I go, I want to say that

Damien Walter said some nice things about my book in his column in The Guardian  


I did this interview with my thozhi Ranjani at STS


And a verynice review of my book appeared here


okbai