I have waited nine years to see VS Naipaul. The last time he was in town, he was fresh from his Nobel win, and I was still star-struck from my introduction to his work in a postcolonial lit class. I bought tickets the day they went on sale. Unfortunately for me, Joe took ill (or so he claimed!) about half an hour before the talk, and I didn’t make it. Lucky for me, Naipaul is a prolific author much sought after on tour, so I did get to see him recently. My latest NRI piece reflects on the talk, and the lack of Indians in the audience. Here’s the intro:
V.S. Naipaul is a small man, rounded in the middle and eloquently spoken. His accent is educated and British, his movements sparing, as if all his energy has been spent on interpreting the world, then presenting it in text. Naipaul, at 78, is an archetypal, intellectual NRI: born in Trinidad, he’s a postcolonial novelist, often writing on some level about the sense of belonging, or lack thereof, felt by NRIs; in 2007, he called on his fellow Trinidadians to let go of Indian and African, and instead embrace Trinidad. He’s been criticized for his pro-Western views, his stance on the “Muslim invasion”, and his arguably neo-apologist comments.
P.S. I once stopped Joe from seeing William Gibson. It’s an old argument we fall into pretty easily, and runs much like this:
Joe: You stopped me from seeing William Gibson!
Me: There was a snow storm!
Joe: It was still on! You said they’d cancel, and they didn’t!
Me: We didn’t have a car, there were no buses, and you’d have literally had to walk up a hill knee deep in snow!Read More
Long time, no updates! It’s been busy in Cambridge, with a sick kidlet, a sick me, and scads of work. I have a few pieces I’m really excited about coming up soon, though.
In the meantime, here’s an interview @ The NRI with Amanda Sodhi, a fabulous woman conquering mountains everyday. Seriously, Amanda makes me look really, really lazy, even on my 3+ article days. Here’s the blurb; head over to The NRI to read more.
Amanda Sodhi is something of a whirlwind–when she’s not penning lyrics for some pretty impressive Bollywood names, writing and shooting a film, she’s busy working the marketing department at Camilla David Textiles. She’s also impressively in tune with the Indian experience in the US, writing for several Indian publications, including a Planet Bollywood and Saathee magazine. Earlier this month, I sat down to chat with Amanda about her film, “Life! Camera Action,” being Indian in everyday life, and more…
Indian stereotypes are a strange, awkward sort of bird. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and they usually have some truth to them. But what happens when a stereotype becomes outdated? Do new ones appear, or do old ones linger like a poorly written joke?
If Outsourced, NBC’s latest offering is anything to go by, old stereotypes stick around, regardless of how racist they are, and how far we have supposedly come.
Outsourced has been a long time coming–the series is based on a 2006 movie of the same name, and the pilot has been under development for at least 2 years. It’s also in a format that’s worked well for NBC, the slightly dark office comedy rife with misunderstandings and office-conflict, a la The Office and 30 Rock. But where the latter question stereotypes, even in their pilots, Outsourced appears to encourage them.
I have a new post over @ The NRI, on food, love, and being Indian:
Why must my Indian aunts insist on cooking for me?
For me, traveling home is a fraught process. First there’s the cross-country flight, then the cross-Pacific flight, overloaded immigration queues, packed baggage carousels, and clearing customs with a small, worn out kidlet. And then comes the hard part: visiting extended family.Read More
I’m a half Indian woman, with the Indian bit on my dad’s side. For the most part I’m happy with this, but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish the mother-caring father-providing roles had been reversed for, oh, say, one day a week, two at most.
Entirely selfish reasons, of course. You see, children who grow up with a primary carer, (in my case, my mother) who speaks two languages tend to acquire the second language very quickly. Children growing up with their father (or secondary carer) speaking two languages, however, rarely acquire the second language. If children do end up learning some of the father’s second tongue, it’s usually the result of a concerted effort by both parties…[read more at The NRI]Read More