• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations- Health Drink Junkie Mutants

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Before I get into the Conversations this week, I wanted to say, so let us think maybe like this it can happen, like maybe you buy this book and the plastic cover is hard to get off the book means what you do? You make a video of it, that’s what you do! Add some cut-up 1930’s recording of a reading by Bernard Shaw and a reversed Murcof song and boomboompow homibabas! You get a neat video which unfortunately, no longer exists. Still, I am so glad that this very illustrious young man called Crispin Best made this video. Maybe you will probably also like his really neat blog.



K- Guess how many. Just guess.

S- Minus 117.

K- Six. I snorted six different kinds of health drinks in my youth. I should go for health drink rehab or something, I feel like a junkie.

S- You know what’s really sad? You were FORCED to be a health drink junkie! Those health drinks were FORCED on you as a child!

K- This is very true.

S- Mug after mug, day after day, rainy season, hot season, every single blessed day was scorched and cursed with hot, malty, vomit-in-the-mouth health drinks! K- Clearly you have some health drink issues. S- Clearly. K- Well I have issues too. My first issue is that these health drinks did not do what they were supposed to. Correct me if I’m wrong but they were supposed to turn me into an awesome athlete, an awesome cricketer, an awesome scientist and an awesome Bharatanatyam dancer.

S- That’s exactly what they were supposed to do.

K- And none of these things has happened. My awesome athletics career began and ended with Marchpast.

S- I didn’t know Marchpast was considered athletics.

K- They kicked me out of Marchpast because I was not only making everyone march incorrectly, I also had the ability to bring team morale down to surprising lows. S- I got kicked out because I thought it was ‘March Fast’ so I was like, isn’t that like running? Apparently it wasn’t.

K- Ok, so we both lost out in the Awesome Athletics Division. Awesome Cricketer Division?

S- Chee. Cricket is for boys.

K- Oh yes, I keep forgetting that. Many people don’t know that the reason why women can’t play cricket is because our long hair and love for the color pink disable our cricketing abilities. S- Very true. I think that’s why women can’t do so many things. Long hair and love of pink things disables us.

K- So we are fail in the Awesome Cricketer Division but that’s not because of the health drinks, it’s because we are women and therefore disabled.

S- Correct.

K- Ok, next. Awesome Scientist Division. My excessive health drink habit failed to save me from falling asleep during every single science class I ever attended in my entire life. So while my sleeping skills developed at an extraordinary rate, the scientist in me quietly coughed and died.

S- I didn’t take science group in school.


S- Yeah.

K- I can’t believe you just said that! Do you realize what you just said?!? Why didn’t you take science group, are you a terrorist? Is there something wrong with you?

S- Why is it that whenever I say I didn’t take science group in school people act like I just told them I ate a fetus?

K- You are Awesome Scientist Fail. S- Epic Fail.

K- Ok, that leaves the Awesome Bharatanatyam Division, which is something all Real Indian Women should excel at, no?

S- I used to sit beside a girl who used to do Bharatanatyam. She kept accusing me of staring at her which was really creepy because most of the time, I didn’t even know she was there.

K- I’m really good at my own personal style of dancing which is like dappankoothu-creative modern dance- random deep shoulder movements. Bharatanatyam, no.

S- I wonder where all those years of health drink healthiness went. I hope it’s not stockpiled inside us, ready to turn us into health drink junkie mutants.

K- If we turn into health drink junkie mutants, I think we will be just like the health drinks that created us.

S- Meaning we will be hot, malty and vomit-in-the-mouth?

K- Meaning we won’t actually do anything. And we will be hot, malty and vomit-in-the-mouth also.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, June 5, 2010