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
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
When I was small, my father told me stories. Sometimes they were standard fare, rehashings of Cinderella or Goldilocks and the Three Bears (he particularly liked Goldie because it starts with one of his favorite foods–porridge with honey). As I grew older, though, Dad started throwing in other stories, Indian stories he’d heard growing up. My favorite? Birbal.Read More
I don’t eat ice cream – not much, anyway. Every now and then, though, I splurge on a cone of the good stuff, lactose intolerance be damned. And, until recently, my cone of choice was Haagen-Dazs.
Founded in 1961, Haagen-Dazs is an ice cream institution. There’s an ice cream bar in every mall, and burgundy-gold cartons line the freezer shelves of every store, Walmart and local market alike. With 58 permanent flavors and regional offerings (Azuki in Japan, Green Tea throughout Asia and the US) it’s clear the average consumer loves the stuff. And why not? After all, it is pretty good ice cream…[read more @ The NRI]
I’ve always had a love-hate affair with my hair. When I was little, I’d beg my mother to braid my hair, and I’d pretend I was Rapunzel locked in the tower with only my hair to connect me to the outside world.
But as I grew older, I grew less enamored of my hair. Caring for it was time consuming; drying it took a full day unless I could talk someone into helping me with the hairdryer. In the summer, it was heavy against my neck; in the winter, it was full of static, crackling and causing me to spark against every piece of metal I touched. Come the year I turned 15, I’d had enough: it was time for me and my braid to part ways…[read more at The NRI]