• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations- You Bloody Indian

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

K- I hate kids! I hate them I hate them I hate them!

S- Did that abusive child harass you in the road again?

K- What is his problem? I have never done anything to him ever.

S- Didn’t you tell him his parents were fattening him up because they wanted to eat him one day? And isn’t he scared to eat with his parents now? And doesn’t he have paranoia attacks whenever he sees a spoon?

K- Apart from that, I have never bothered that child. And now I can’t walk past his house without him verbally abusing me. If this was America, I would be on Oprah and people in the audience would be crying for me.

S- How old is he?

K- Maybe six.

S- Six? You want to go on Oprah because you’re being verbally abused by a six year old?

K- You have no idea what comes out of that kid’s mouth. Today he kept calling me an eggplant and an onion. Like he was going Hey Eggplant, Hey Onion, Hey Eggplant, Hey Onion.

S- Wow.

K- It sounds way worse in Tamil, it’s like major disrespect. Like I can’t even say how major that kind of disrespect is. So major.

S- Gangsta level disrespect.

K- Totally. So then I was like, oh no you didn’t!

S- You were going to shut that bidness down!

K- Oh you know I was! So I said what do you think you are, a big lentil?

S- A big lentil?

K- Very confrontational in Tamil, trust me. If you call someone a big lentil, you’re looking for hardcore gangsta violence.

S- Verbal abuse in Tamil seems to be very food-oriented.

K- So ask me what the abusive kid says.

S- What did he say?

K- He called me a bloody Indian!

S- Woah.

K- I know! I’m like, you can’t call me a bloody Indian, you stupid abusive Indian kid!

S- It’s so weird when Indians call other Indians bloody Indians.

K- India is the one place where an Indian should be able to walk down the road without having another Indian call them a bloody Indian.

S- Does he even know what he’s saying?

K- I don’t think so. And he was doing a little hip shake so it was like this abusive, badly choreographed song and dance number. And then he started getting creative and going Bloody Bloody Indian, Bloody Bloody Eggplant, Bloody Bloody Onion.

S- Like a remix version.

K- Then I was thinking. What is a bloody Indian anyway? An Indian covered with blood? An Indian who spontaneously bleeds? An Indian who induces spontaneous bleeding in other people?

S- I saw a movie like that once.

K- Really?

S- Yeah, it was like all these people started bleeding all over everything for some reason, I can’t remember why.

K- Anyway, then I thought maybe Bloody Indian was code for something. So I went online-

S- What do you do when you can’t go online? Just curious.

K- I get really sad and I want to kill myself and then I take nap. S- So you were suicidal and napped a lot prior to the internet.

K- Yes. Anyway, so I go online and start generating anagrams. And one of the anagrams for Bloody Indian is Bad Idli Onion. Ok, maybe it was ‘Idly’, like Idle-Idly. But I’m going with Idli, like Sambar-Idli. I’m going to call him that next time.

S- You’re going to call the abusive kid sambar-idli? K- No, Bad Idli Onion. Though sambar-idli does have something incredibly dangerous about it.

S- You such a verbal gangsta.

K- Run for cover, you Onion Eggplant Lentil.

an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, February 27, 2010