• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations- Conversation Fail

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

S- It’s ridiculous! We never talk about anything serious or relevant, it’s just nonsense from start to finish. If anyone overheard these conversations, they’d say we were-

K- Brain-damaged spider monkeys on drugs?

S- See? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Stop saying things like that!

K- Why? What’s wrong with brain-damaged spider monkeys on drugs?

S- I am not going to have a conversation with you about brain-damaged spider monkeys on drugs or Squirrel AIDS or-

K- Squirrel AIDS is serious stuff, I saw it on YouTube.

S- I just want to talk about something with intellectual maturity and depth.

K- You mean like science? I don’t know anything about science.

S- Do you have anything serious, relevant or important to say? About anything?

K- No.

S- Well call me when you do.

*** S- So obviously the ‘serious relevant important’ conversations aren’t happening.

K- Obviously.

S- How about we talk about normal things in a normal way? Maybe if we stick to normal things the conversations will stay normal.

K- Ok. S- Tell me what you did today.

K- I…oh, nothing.

S- Tell me.

K- I don’t think I should.

S- Tell me and I’ll decide whether we should pursue the conversation further.

K- I was trying to make candy by melting some old Bournvita. S- And?

K- The neighbor auntie’s hair caught fire.

S- Ok, that’s a conversation we don’t want to have because it will probably go into non-normal areas. I better hang up. K- Ok. I need to go apologize to the neighbor auntie anyway.

S- Call me if something normal happens.

K- Will do.


S- So I take it nothing normal has happened. K- Not really. Something normal almost happened and I almost called you but then the normal thing became very non-normal.

S- Do you have normal conversations with other people?

K- Sure. They talk about stuff and when I get bored I hang up.

S- Ah. This is probably why you have no friends.

K- Probably.

S- Let’s talk about the budget.

K- Why?

S- Because it’s normal, serious, important and relevant to our daily lives. What do you think about the budget?

K- I think it’s neat how the words ‘bud’ and ‘get’ come together to form the word ‘budget’, especially when there is no ‘j’ sound in either ‘bud’ or ‘get’.

S- Forget the budget. Let’s talk about poverty.

K- I want to make a movie about American poverty called GhettoDawg BlingBling. I want to promote it by adopting a lot of poor white children.

S- Forget poverty. What books have you read lately?

K- I don’t read.

S- Then I’m going to tell you about a book I’ve read. I’m going to tell you about this book and we’re going to have a normal, intelligent conversation about it. Ok?

K- Ok.

S- This book was about a guy- K- What was his name?

S- I can’t remember.

K- Was it Juniper?

S- No.

K- Isn’t that neat how you can’t remember what the name was but you can remember what it wasn’t? Imagine if that was how we introduced ourselves. Hi, My Name Isn’t Juniper.

S- You’re doing it again.

K- Isn’t it neat how your name isn’t Juniper and my name isn’t Juniper? We have that in common. Same pinch.

S- For the love of God please stop.

K- In school, some girls used to say same pinch kreech-kreech. What is a kreech-kreech?

S- STOP IT! K- Sorry.

S- Maybe we just can’t have a normal conversation. Maybe it’s impossible.

K- Maybe we should talk about how I set the neighbor auntie’s hair on fire. It sounds way more interesting than that book you read.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, May 22, 2010