• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations- Random Observations Made After Getting High at the Dentist

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

K- Happy Bird Day!

S- It’s not my birthday.

K- Not birthday, Bird Day. It’s your Happy Bird Day. It’s your day of happy birds. Birds are just like you and me except they all have wings.

S- Are you always this high when you come back from the dentist?

K- Yes. I don’t know how drug addicts manage it, being high is extremely exhausting for me. And disorientating. Disorienticorating.

S- That sounds painful.

K- Why is ‘orient’ in the word ‘disorient’? Does it mean that all oriental people are lost? Isn’t that racist?

S- I think you should lie down and not talk on the phone for a while.

K- You’re right. Call you later.


K- Did you know that ‘full without’ means ‘completely naked’ in Tamil?

S- ‘Full’ and ‘without’ are English words, no?

K- Yes.

S- How can it mean something in Tamil if it’s in English?

K- Magic.

S- I thought you were supposed to be lying down.

K- I am lying down. Ask me to explain the magic.

S- You’re not lying down somewhere weird, are you?

K- In English, the phrase is kind of like an oxymoron but not really.

S- That’s not an explanation.

K- Magic has no explanation.

S- You are full without brain.

K- See that makes no sense. Because that implies that my brain is naked. Which it isn’t. Because brains can’t be naked.

S- Are you still high?

K- Yes.

S- Maybe you should concentrate more on lying down and less on talking on the phone.

K- Ok. Call you later.


K- I just noticed something.

S- Yes?

K- There’s these birds in the birdbath.

S- And?

K- And they are all full without.

S- They’re birds. They’re allowed to be full without.

K- But I think there are ladies birds and gents birds bathing together. They must be Western birds with no sense of Indian culture. That’s why they are shamelessly bathing together in the full without.

S- Bleddy Western birds!

K- These Western birds are roaming around our country in full without and corrupting our Indian bird youth. Soon a Western ladies bird will get raped by a corrupted Indian gents bird.

S- I don’t think birds rape each other. K- She’ll get raped and everyone will blame her because she is a Western ladies bird. I feel sad for the Western ladies bird.

S- I think you need to go lie down again.

K- Yeah. God I hate birds.


K- I thought you should know that a lot of cartoon characters are in half full without. For example, Donald Duck has a shirt and a cap but no pants.

S- Maybe he doesn’t like wearing pants. Like Lady Gaga.

K- Mickey Mouse wears gloves and shorts but no shirt. I think he should tell Donald to put some pants on, no?

S- Or at least some shorts.

K- I wonder if Donald Duck is the cartoon embodiment of the Real Indian Woman. Because a Real Indian Woman would never wear pants, right? Or shorts.

S- She would never, ever wear shorts. Even if someone put a gun to her head and said WEAR THESE SHORTS!

K- I feel Donald Duck would not have that same steely resolve. He would probably wear shorts if his life were at risk. What a weak Western gents bird.

S- Those must have been very powerful drugs your dentist gave you.

K- I fear I may be high for a very long time.

S- Please don’t say that. I can’t handle anymore of these conversations.

K- No problem, I’m going to go talk to the full without Western birds. Maybe I can convince them to put some clothes on.


an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, May 8, 2010