• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations: The Un-Understanding List

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

In what appears to have become a regular feature with the realworld newspaper edition of the Conversations column, I bring you another episode of the Fortnightly Fuckup! Last time, a mysterious blurb about Techworld magically infiltrated my column and planted itself there like a tumor of strange words. This week, apparently more than half the printed copies of my column have gone out with Sridala Swami’s respected name and logo attached to it. What exciting things will happen to the next installment of the column? Perhaps they will insert the word ‘aloo’ at random intervals. Perhaps they will replace the entire text with the lyrics of ‘The Cheeky Girls Song’ printed in reverse. Perhaps we should have a contest to see who can guess what will happen to the next column!

Anyhoo, just want to say that contrary to popular opinion propagated by numerous copies of The New Indian Express, Sridala Swami did not write the Conversations column this week. I can only pray that people will not think badly of her on seeing her name attached to a column that is of such questionable repute that questionable things keep happening to it.



S- Why an un-understanding list?

K- To keep track of all the things I don’t understand.

S- Like?

K- Like I don’t understand why I keep drinking Rooh Afza. S- Eh? K- If there’s one drink I can’t stand it’s Rooh Afza. But then I’ll go to someone’s house, they’ll offer me a glass and I just can’t say no. I don’t understand, is there some kind of Rooh Afza mind control happening? S- The red color has hypnotizingmesmerizing effect on you. K- For some reason I think, ok this is DEFINITELY going to taste like strawberries and happiness. Then I taste it and I feel cheated and sad.

S- You need to keep a Post-it with you that says ‘Do not drink Rooh Afza. You will feel cheated and sad’. Next. K- I don’t understand why there’s no market for my movie GhettoDawg BlingBling.

S- What’s it about?

K- Poor white American children overcome their poverty and repair the hole in the ozone layer through disco dancing. I was hoping to promote it by adopting a lot of poor white American children.

S- Where were you planning on keeping them?

K- I don’t want to keep them, I just want to adopt them.

S- I think if you adopt poor white American children, you have to keep them. K- ALL of them?

S- Yes.

K- But India is already overpopulated. And I only have one room.

S- Maybe you can leave them in America and go see them on weekends.

K- Good idea. Also, I don’t understand why we’re having so much trouble bringing Warren Anderson back. Is he hiding? Should we use Google Earth to find him?

S- Can’t help you there, sorry. Next.

K- Why does everyone say that when it comes to Warren Anderson?

S- Next.

K- I don’t understand why some people keep screaming ‘I HATE INTER-CASTE MARRIAGE!!!’ at me. What do they want me to do?

S- They want you to scream along with them.

K- Here’s what I think. If you don’t like inter-caste marriage, then don’t have an inter-caste marriage. You will be happier and you won’t feel the need to keep screaming at people.

S- You’re missing the point. They like screaming ‘I HATE INTER-CASTE MARRIAGE!!!’ at people. Next.

K- I don’t understand why ‘Summer of ’69’ was such a popular song in my country.

S- Neither do I. That and ‘Hotel California’. K- I used to really like those songs but they’ve been so overplayed that I’d rather remove my medulla oblongata with a blunt pencil than listen to them again. S- It’s a CIA plot. K- Really?

S- No but that’s a handy explanation for anything you can’t understand or don’t want to understand. For example, I believe that integral calculus is a CIA plot.

K- Is this why people say feminism and homosexuality are CIA plots? S-Precisely. Why can’t you get a job? CIA plot. Why does everyone hate you? CIA plot.

K- That’s so awesome. S- I love CIA plots. Next.

K- Why don’t we call honour killings ‘murder’?

S- Because the honour makes it notmurder even though someone gets murdered in the process. K- But where exactly is the honour? S- No idea. Maybe you should ask the ‘I HATE INTERCASTE MARRIAGE!!!’ people. How many more un-understandings are on your list?

K- 865,712.

S- Ok, I have to go now because I promised an old lady I’d help her watch television. K- What about my list?

S- I don’t think she should see your list. She’s very old. K- I don’t understand how you can help someone watch television.

S- You should put that down on your list then. an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, July 17, 2010