Friday, April 20, 2007

twice tagged

I have been tagged twice in the past month and have done nothing about either, so now's time to start.

First, a belated nod to the fact that the good folks at First City nominated me for a Thinking Blogger award. And I'm supposed to tag five other folk whose blogs make me think. Since this is going to be an unjust rollcall at the best of times (only five?) I'm just going to go with the top of my head. And the nominees are -
Chapati Mystery, now on Facebook
Horror Vacui, with his cheerful thoughts on melancholia, soon to be joining us in Noo Yawk
Known Turf, the lady with the conscience that (unlike mine) hasn't been numbed
Within/Without, for understanding about the ruins, and about es muss sein, and about red earth and pouring rain.
Buoyantville, for turning the everyday into aching poetry.
XXX

Speaking of thinking, I had two thought provoking conversations last weekend, both of them, sort-of, in Punjabi.

The first - in the front seat of a cab heading to Brooklyn. The cab driver gets a call from his family in Sialkot. Apparently, people have been being infected by a 'virus' after answering calls on their cellphones from unknown numbers. They're calling to check if he's ok. There's no problem here, he says. Then he asks me if anything similar has happened in India. No one's called me, I say.

The next conversation a few hours later, after a night of sweaty dancing and Bhangra 101, is even weirder, if possible.

- What are you doing here? asks very pretty girl, in Punjabi.
- I just came dancing with my friends, you know, we love this place...
- Tusi hijde naee ho? she asks. You are not an eunuch?
I am momentarily struck dumb. By hijda/eunuch her reference was obviously to being gay, a very misplaced reference that would not fly during polite conversation in a queer space in Delhi or Bombay. I think. Ah, the diaspora and the shit they get away with...
- err, no, i'm sort of straight...

Then she introduces me to her partner as her bibi (wife), and another woman present as her saas (mother in law).
Pairi pauna pabiji, I say to the partner. In the middle of a lesbian bar in Brooklyn, we've just completely redefined Punjabi familial relationships.
I'm still getting over it.
XXX

Elizabeth tagged me with 'five things that you may not know about me' (and were probably better off not knowing). This is a hard one, given that so much of my life is already out in the public domain :)

- I have once jumped off a moving train to rescue a snatched purse. (The jump was successful in recovering the purse, but not in the ways you would imagine.)

- I am the king of abandoned literary projects. (Which is probably why I started blogging). As of now, I have one finished but unpublished novella (set in Delhi during the Kandahar hijacking of 1999, narrated from the pov of a guy who sees aeroplanes in his head all the time - yes this was written way before 9/11); the first draft of the first half of a dystopic science fiction novel set in future Delhi, abandoned after the beginning of the Iraq war); and the scattered beginnings of a collection of pieces on Delhi. Some of this stuff is good, if I may say so myself, and needs to be rescued from my constantly-moving-on-to-other-things.

- I recite poetry, aloud, when walking in the rain. The usual suspects - Ghalib, Nida Fazli, Faiz, Robert Frost.

- I am very, very neurotic about paperwork. Particularly filling out visa forms. It gives me the screaming heebie jeebies, whatever those are.

- I am terrified about losing my accent and sounding American. To the point that when someone compliments me on my English, i take it as an insult (which it is, of course, even if unintended), and start getting very, very frantic indeed.

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