Tag Archives: Stereotypes

India - Busy Street

Are you from Slumdog Millionaire?

Honestly?

Seriously?

Um, no.

If I have to hear one more “innocent” remark on whether Slumdog Millionaire brings back bitter sweet memories, well let’s just say I cannot be held responsible for any ensuing actions.

It still baffles me why certain “developing nations” are only recalled for certain mundane, overly stereotyped versions of malnutrition, flies (every country has flies people, every country), painfully demonised diseases and generally poor human conditions when we have other stuff to offer, really we do.

When I say Africa, people conjure up skinny children. When I say India, people conjure up Slumdog Millionaire, when I say Middle East, people conjure up terrorism.

On the other side of the coin when I say Australia, people conjure up Blond bombshells on Bondi Beach. I say America, people conjure up glamorous Hollywood. I say England; people conjure up grand historical monuments.

My point? Every country has the good and the bad, it’s easy to forget that Africa has an amazing intricate royal system, India has wonderful examples of people from different parts of the world not just living, but rejoicing in one another (Taj Mahal people, Taj Mahal) and Middle East is breathtakingly beautiful in all its natural wonder.

Oh, and guess what? Poverty sux and it’s not just restricted to the “third world region” but I’m not here to air other people’s dirty laundry in public. So the next time you come to India and choose to take a photo of the beggar outside the Taj Mahal and forget about the amazing monument my country has to offer, just remember others could do the same and take a photo of the homeless dude in front of the Harbour Bridge too. Show the respect you expect please and if you’re having trouble coming up with what India has to offer, check this link out for some inspiration.

Rant officially over.

Thank you.

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14 reasons people should Google Indian before asking us these questions!

Let me just point out at the outset that some of these hilarious remarks are a little over the top for added effect … but not by much.

If I had a penny for every single time strangers slow down their sentences in case I don’t understand English, well let’s just say, I could quit my day job and write full time!

Apparently, the more tanned you are is in direct opposition to your ability to string coherent English sentences together 😀 😀 😀

My granduncle was constantly asked whether we still lived in trees back home to which he would aptly reply, “of course we do, we just get up there with escalators. Climbing trees is so yesterday”. Why anyone would actually believe that was a suitable question to ask a lawyer living in Europe for ten years is beyond me, but hey … each to their own I guess.

First draft, done and dusted!!!

SO…I finally made it.

There were a few moments that were touch and go but in the end I got there, which is the only thing that matters, right?

My first and a half draft (because I’ve been semi editing along the way. I’ve already been bitten once with The Last True Blood where editing is concerned and no, it had nothing to do with writing about vampires) of Un-Belonging has been completed, just under 80,000 words which I am happy about because all my previous novels have been so much more longer. If nothing else, I now know I can write something short and sweet. Don’t snicker 😛

Now the editing phase has begun, du du duhhhhhhh (that is meant to sound horrific and horrendously, spine chillingly terrifying). If I could have only sang it to you in my “melodious” voice, I wouldn’t have to explain the emotive reaction you should be having right now.

Once this first bout of editing is done, I’ll get some beta readers on the task.

Hope you’re all well. I think I’m going to go have a strawberry milkshake as a celebratory drink on my lonesome. Oh the perils of writing, it’s so isolated, at least that’s what I tell myself when my friends mysteriously remember their last load of washing that needs to go on the line every time I venture going out with them. I like to think it’s my cranium’s splendid ability to think that sets me apart from the rest. Eh, what can I say, I’m a positive, everything is peachy type of gal.

Now, I can really hear you snickering.

Indian Allergies – Part Two

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for my unusual, shocking ability to remember what I’d promised more than 60 seconds ago this one time when most of you probably wished I hadn’t!

I come armed with Part Two of My Indian Allergies Post secretly ecstatic that no tomato stains will inflict my pristine veneer when you smash them in desperate agony at your computer screen, because washing up more than twice a day is a serious bore for me. So here goes:

7. Indians are genetically allergic to anything below 100%. We like the look of a skinny “1” followed by two fat rounds “O’s”. You get 97% in anything in life; everyone around you is going to be disappointed. It’s as simple as that, which is probably why I am constantly struggling with my weight, unless it’s 100% fat free I’m not going to be un-Indian and ingest that “try hard”, “wannabe” fat free chip right there shamelessly celebrating its underachievement.

8. Indians are by nature allergic to any outdoor activities, which is why camping is such a BIG No-No for us. If I absolutely have to camp, like in the heat trodden majestic outdoors of Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore, my tent better be a five star accommodation like this. Complete with electricity, running water, a television and the absolute imperative power point to plug my laptop in. Indians and IT, we’re inseparable.

9. What the heck is a “DIY” apart from an absurd juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated letters? What in the World would possess anyone to do something themselves when there are clearly other options? Indians just don’t get it. If we can find someone (and we know we will) to remove that transformer toy car wedged between the kitchen counter and the wall with nothing more than a spatula that was designed (or at least reworked) for this very purpose and some used chewing gum, you know we will. We just need to find the one of many “LIT” (learnt it themselves) potentials on the street outside our home.

10. Indians are highly, toxically allergic to personal space and talking in what we consider to be inaudible soundwaves (by this, I mean saying anything that can’t be physically heard by everyone within a 50 metre radius). We’re the second largest population on the globe fast becoming the first. This is not a choice; it’s a survival mechanism that would put Charles Darwin to shame. Getting heard and a space to call your own, now that is near to impossible.

11. Indians are allergic to most professions unless it has taken us at least seven years to complete them. If you’re not in Information Technology, Medicine, Engineering, Finance and a few choice others, we’re going to be looking at you sceptically if you tell us you’re an Indian because we’re not going to believe that your family gives a crap about your “achievements”.

12. We’re distrusting of any Indian family that doesn’t have a clear boundary that would put the Indo-Pak border to shame between their normal family stuff and those reserved for the guests that may or may not be worthy of bringing out the new stuff (namely bed linen and bath towels along with other toiletry essentials). The very thought of this ever occurring is enough to induce excited champagne popping dreams by all the kids in the family if this does in fact, ever happen. This dream, just so you know, is hardly ever realised and is instead passed down the many, many generations to come.

13. We do not understand the idea of different genres in movies?! Why would you ever restrict yourself to just one? An Indian cinema experience involves everything jam packed, Van Damme crammed into one movie – romance, fighting, tragedy, action, musical, dancing, singing and that’s just in the first five minutes. You want it, we’ve got it!

Because my computer has started steaming at the abhorrent, unjust onslaught I am pounding away on my keyboard at the moment, I’m going to stop. I promise that my intentions were noble and that I did think that this would be over by now, but it turns out that Indians are allergic to a lot more than I had previously thought. I know, poor us. All sympathy baskets and donations can be sent to the following address:

Indian Allergy Donations Headquarters:
The first Indian family you find (NOTE: Just mention these words in the following order “we’re sorry for the allergies inflicted upon you courtesy your DNA”) and they’ll know what you mean. They’ll probably invite you in with their “come, come” and force feed you till you’re on the verge of requiring an ambulance.

See you later my adorable peeps 🙂

My YouTube Initiation

So I finally jumped onto the bandwagon!

Tried my hand, voice, creative skills (or lack of them), at creating an amateurish video.

I’ve been toying with the idea of sharing it with you guys and then thought, eh, why not, right?

Here’s the link, bearing in mind that I am a much better writer than orator, or at least that’s what I tell myself every morning

Who knows? I could just suck at both. 😉

Write for yourself and you’ll be right

Apparently, writing is an art form. It can seem more like a torture mechanism often but that’s another post entirely – the one that goes near the “I’m about to slit my wrists” archive I have yet to create. For some of us though, it is also a release of pent up emotions and frustrations, the type you can never quite seem to explain in voice but are so much better at in the written word.

Like all creative acts however, writing is extremely personal. You either get it or you don’t, you either love it or you hate it and you either write it or you don’t. For those of us who are too poor to afford it, writing is also our personal shrink, cathartic the way we’d expect our counsellors to be if we could pay for a sounding board, which we usually can’t because you know, we write!

Which is why, even as hard as it can seemingly be, it is really important to never lose sight of the bigger picture and that is, are you ready? Drumroll. To write for yourself, what you want to, without giving a crap about what anyone says, if anyone reads it, loves it or hates it because guess what, you couldn’t care less even if you tried, right? If it’s not, it should be, especially if you’re using writing as your outlet to staying sane.

Writing as a journalist means I have to write what others want, if I’m not being hammered by my number crunching bosses, I’m being dictated by what my readers would like to see splattered across their computer screens and front, mid, back, whatever, covers. Rarely can I write what I want to.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of writing what I potentially know will sell or even get me a publisher. As an Indian female, I know I would maybe, most likely, probably, (who am I kidding?), absolutely get myself readers. Mention the words rape, torture, submissive, oppressed, Indian & woman in this day and age, and if I’m really in an exploitive mood, I’ll just chuck in child marriage into the equation and voila, I would almost bet my bottom dollar I could wrangle a publisher or two who may be interested in my work (and that’s saying a lot seeing as I love my money!).

I however, made a promise to myself when I started this whole journey. I was going to write what I wanted to, unfazed by the many stereotypes out there around my gender, my race, my supposed “way of thinking”, my philosophies, well, the list goes on. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Have I been successful? In monetary terms – probably not. In emotional endeavours? Truthfully, sometimes – but only when I’m not wallowing in my grief and abusing my vanity in obsessing over my readership numbers and views. If I could go back and do it again, would I change my decision? To this I can at least defiantly and emphatically state a loud, determined No. Because I know I can live happily with having refrained from taking the easy way out and perpetuating the many stereotypes that supposedly make all of me, and I’m not sure I could have if I’d chosen to go with the flow like a lot of my fellow writers do/have.

So, if I am in a position to give any sort of advice to all you talented people out there, whether writers or not, I’d suggest to do what you want to do without thinking about the consequences or what society is going to think of you. Because in the end, you’re the only one who has to look in the mirror and truly be okay with what you see staring back.

Happily be yourself every time, all the time 🙂

Why India & Vampires are such a sexy combo …

When I was asked to contribute to a guest blog on how Indian cultural perspectives have influenced my debut vampire novel, I jumped at the idea. As a journalist, getting to write on something that truly means something to you is a rarity and even more unexpected, so the far and few opportunities that do come your way are exciting and nerve wracking all at once.

A few days ago, I wrote about the insecurities I face writing fiction, a debilitating aspect of my endeavours as a fiction writer. The crux of my editorial fear has reached its peak with the availability of my book at major online retailers last week.

This guest contribution has been cathartic in many ways for me because it forced me to uncover old wounds on why I went down the self-publishing path in the first place, and more pertinently, my motives for telling a story I strongly believed I had to let loose.

The Last True Blood (LTB) Series is close to my heart for many reasons; firstly, I have been absolutely obsessed with vampires since I was (gratefully) subjected to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in my first year of Journalism studies at University. Secondly, as a proud Indian often classified as an “International citizen”, having being born in the United Kingdom and having grown up in the Middle East, Australia & sporadically in India, it has been difficult (dare I say it – nearly impossible) finding literature with a strong, albeit, any sort of, Indian presence.

My preliminary discussions with Literary Agents internationally tended to resonate one skimpily cloaked, yet obvious fact, Mallika (my main protagonist) just wasn’t stereotypically Indian enough! As an Indian female, I myself was perplexed at this notion, which led me to ponder, what exactly is an Indian?

After bashing my head against a brick wall for the better half of a weekend, and a few bruises later, I realised that the very notion of a stereotypical anything is bizarre in itself …

For the rest of this blog, please visit the amazingly fantastical, Alina Meridon Blog here!