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  • Kuzhali Manickavel

In The Good Old Summertime, People Get Heatstroke And Die

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

It’s that time of year again, where we are overwhelmed and assaulted with prickly heat and power cuts and murderous jealous rage at people who have air conditioners while we neatly disregard the fact that at least we are not outside dying of heatstroke. Just a reminder to my Injun peeps to drink lots of water because when there is no water and you are dying of dehydration, at least you can find comfort in the fact that you drank as much water as you could when there was water to drink.


Also, can I just say that I think someone needs to make a Leave Nithyanada Alone! video. Like Chris Cocker did for Britney. And Seth Green did for Chris Cocker. It would be awesome if Seth Green did a Leave Nithyananda Alone! video.


What’s the Story Department

James Franco wrote a short story and it was published in Esquire. You can read it here if you want. I couldn’t get past the first couple of paras but that’s ok because James Franco is pretty.

Dave Updates Department

A while ago, this blog was host to a These are the Daves I Know I Know conversation with Jai Undurti who talked about the Hyderabad Graphic Novel Project. They now have a site up which you can visit here.


RaceFail09 Department

I have been sifting through the mammoth happening known as RaceFail09. It has a lot of AbsoluteEpicFacePalm Phail moments but it also has moments of very sharp and very bright brilliance. One of which is deepa d’s post I Didn’t Dream of Dragons. Among many awesome things she says (and there are a lot), she says this-

“Asking an author to write the Other with respect and assuming it to be sufficient, is like telling a person that being polite to everyone is sufficient in their goal of being an anti-racist ally. This is crap. Your definition of individuality, just like your definition of politeness is culture-specific. And just like I do not want to see yet another Indian princess or lascar stereotype, I do not want to see a White American with brown skin and kohl and an elephant sidekick. I distrust universalising statements proclaiming our inherent mutual humanity because they are uni-directional—they do not make everyone more like me, they make everyone more like you. And I do not want that. White people decrying their race and culture baffles me, because it is a lie. Your alienation from your own mainstream does not equate with your fundamental similarity to my differences with your culture. Even when we feel or are called ‘White’ or ‘Western’, we cannot shrug off our identity; we become the vanguard of its complexity. And we are far, far more immersed in your culture, than most of you could ever be in ours. What I resent is the implication of accessibility. That it is as easy to understand people of different ethnicities and cultures as it is to understand the diverse experiences within the identities you share with people. Yes, writing about Indian-Americans or Korean-Canadians or Sengalese-Britishers implies a certain shared national experience. But hyphenated identities are not the only manifestations of a culture, and as someone who identifies as Indian, I want to say–No. It is not that easy to understand me, or my experience, or to accurately represent it. You don’t see Native Americans writers going around claiming familiarity with Australian aboriginals on the basis of some shared philosophies, or Chinua Achebe writing about Afro-Caribbeans like an extension of his own world. ”

Some of the comments on the post are really good too so maybe you can read the whole thing but only if you want to.


What The Dickens Department

Dear Charles Dickens,

I know this missive must pain you greatly because you don’t like Indians. At least you didn’t when you were alive. Maybe you feel differently now that you are dead. I have to say your racism kind of bummed me out because I enjoy your writing. Can I just say that Indians Are Just Like You And Me Except That We Are Indian? I guess that doesn’t make a difference to you, not because you are racist but because you are dead.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I couldn’t help but notice how much your novels are like Tamil movies. I guess this is something you don’t want to hear and maybe it is making you very angry also. So in the spirit of English people who culturally like to drink tea and have duels, let’s have a competition to see which is better. Starting with enumeration of the similarities in chronological and consecutive numerations followed by a consensus of who wins.

1. You have boring virtuous men and women. So do we but at least our boring virtuous men and women dance, so they are not as boring as yours. So we win this one.

2. You have bad people who are often more interesting than the good people and just in case we don’t get the fact that they are bad, you give them names like Smallweed and Barnacle. I remember watching a Tamil movie where the bad guy’s name was Underwear Gounder. Maybe that’s not a good example. This movie I think also had Napoleon and Kasthuri in it and I remember this one girl who was watching it came in feeling a little headachy and by the time the movie was over, she had full-blown viral fever. So we win this one too because I don’t think any of your novels were powerful enough to give anyone viral fever.

3. Your novels are having social message. Tamil movies also have social messages but we do this through dance and maybe sometimes our social messages get a little weird. So we win again and you lose again.

4. By the end of yours novels and ours movies, the bad are suitably rehabilitated or punished (though in our movies they are usually beaten to death but whatever, they totally deserved it), mens and womens are appropriately falling in the lous and married to a member of the opposite sex and all are living so happily ever in the after. Of course we do most of this through dance and we usually have at least one massive wedding. I’m afraid your weddings are just really sad compared to our weddings and also you are not dancing also. So we win this too and we feel sorry for you because you don’t know how to have a good time.

5. I look back on your ‘heroes’ and I see a good but faceless man who is poor at some point and wears top hats. I look at our heroes and I see Rajinikanth. We get eleventyhundred points for that because you will never, ever, EVER have a hero like Rajini. EVER.

So I guess what I’m saying is that even though your novels and our Tamil movies may be similar, Tamil movies are way more awesomer because we do almost everything through dance and we have Rajini and you don’t. So we win. Which I guess is just one more reason for you to hate on us, you racist hater.

(disclaimer- the What The Dickens Department is not meant to belittle, insult or disrespect Charles Dickens, England or English people who culturally drink tea and fight duels. As a precaution against any backlash or hurt sentiments this may have incurred, please note that the author of this post has already been sent to racism jail.)

okbai