And thanks for all the fish

We Sepiaites recently had a facial hair contest down in the North Dakota bunker in honor of our one-year-and nine-month anniversary. Ennis and Amardeep went all uncley (‘you young pups’) and were excluded for obvious reasons. The womyn were granted compassionate dispensation. Vinod dropped out early, muttering something about ‘Malayalee genetics’ and ‘evolution into hairless geniuses.’ The rest of us sported five o’clock shadows by eight o’clock in the morning.

Siddhartha broke down under the strain of the face-off and admitted to having his back waxed this one night in Tijuana. Neha looked ready to leap in with war stories, but something in Anna’s look said ‘unh-unh, don’t go there, girlfriend.’ The legend of Cooch Behar is apparently not, repeat not about royalty.

Finally it was down to Sajit, Abhi, Fofatlal and me. Sajit flexed his square jaw thoughtfully and instantly sprouted whiskers. Abhi downed some freeze-dried astronaut food and grew a Mangal Pandey before our very eyes. Fofatlal misheard the goal of the contest. He had his eyebrows singed off with incense and honey and pranced around yodeling ‘Ya-hoo!’ like Shammi Kapoor.

I, having out-hirsuted the Greeks, out-grown the Sicilians, out-whiskered the Iranis, was now faced with my own private I-da-ho’: geek stubble from the Punjab was beaten by astronaut stubble from Houston. Abhi once bragged:

I haven’t met a person alive that has more lethal stubble than I. Any girl I might date would have friends thinking I was abusing her because her face would be left raw.
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Unable to bear the shame, I went down to the SMU, passed out some endangered bananas and whispered a stoic farewell to my fine-furred friends. And then left the bunker for the last time, the pneumatic doors closing in the distance. Unlike Star Trek, they don’t say ‘shhhhhhhh’ when they close, they say ‘Desi please!’ with sass in the neck and quiver in the booty. Goddamn back-talkin’ bunker doors.

We’ve always thought of the Mutiny as a salon with a rotating cast of hosts. Nearly two years on, I’m proud of the neurocrack we’ve whipped up together. I’m proud of the rockin’ bloggers and readers we’ve managed to swindle rope in. And now I move on.

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Please write the Mutineers if you know Movable Type or PHP and are willing to help out on occasion. And do come read me at The samosas and Maggi sauce are always kept aflame.

No rage, rage against the dying of the light. I go gentle into that good night.

81 thoughts on “And thanks for all the fish

  1. manish:

    readers of SM will miss you…your photos that you share of your adventures, the wit, and humor… thanks for your insight on several topics through the years…

    happy trails to you my stubbly friend.. until we meet again…

    –the bean

  2. This is where everyone out there in Sepia-land writes a comment demanding that Manish change his mind immediately, for the good of the entire South Asian diaspora, and indeed, all freedom-loving people everywhere.

  3. Thank you for putting together this wonderful forum…I discovered this relatively recently and am much impressed with those who took the trouble to create such a neat desi space. Wish you all the best in all you do!

  4. PS Can’t resist…thanks for all the baingan bharta (since you’re Manish Veg :) ! )

  5. Manish:

    You’re leaving us? But I really enjoyed your blogs on SM!

    In regards to men having facial hair, there are some women who wouldn’t mind a bit of facial hair. The five-o-clock shadow,coupled with moderately uncombed hair, can be immensely attractive at times, giving off the “scruffy” look. Full length beards and moustaches are not always unattractive either; the natural look can be quite appealing.

  6. Manish, Say it ain’t so!!!! I will truly miss you and your puns. I hope you’ll be blogging just as frequently on your own site. For the last 1 year and 9 months I’ve been addicted to the Mutiny and I’ve always enjoyed your posts. Best of luck! -SG

  7. Thanks for opening (at last count) several dozen cans of whoop-ass on the orientalists. Your labor will not soon be forgotten. Every time mutineers read the word “spicy” in connection with literature or film, every time they see a sari-bordered book-cover, they shall surely think on thee.

  8. Neha looked ready to leap in with war stories

    i’m going to have to do a zoom on someone’s flick files….

  9. Manish:

    Reflecting upon my by now 2.5 week frequentation of SM, I have realized that your blogs deal with sensitive topics and issues. Who will take your baton?!


  10. Wait, when was this agreed upon?!? I’m lost and confused! Don’t go Manish, the fate of the world is in your hands! Its getting so dark…and so cold…

  11. Also when did Fofatlal took on a life form? Plus he is a permanent blogger, so why can’t you blog permanently here?

  12. NO WAY!

    who’s going to be there to point out all the ‘exotic’, ‘colourful’ books that little brown mutineers-in-the-making need to avoid like the plague?

    who will painstakingly recreate lahiri prose for our reading pleasure?

    who’ll take photos so people can vicariously live through your holiday?

    i’m sure you didn’t reach this decision easily, so good luck with the other things you’re doing :-)

    but since i’m an indian i’m going to completely indulge in the completely selfish-lack-of-empathy-guilt-tripping we all know and love so well and second Amardeep.

  13. Manish, Say it aint so.. Or is it April 1st again?

    You will be missed not just for your wit, but also for your beautifully crafted writing. Good luck with everything.

    On the plus side: I’ll probably be able to cut down my obsessive Sepia browsing from 10X to 2X daily. It was starting to get out of control…

  14. now who’s going to keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to the evil influence of cliched book covers?:) best wishes.

  15. WHAT?!?!

    Manish, you’re kidding right? can’t just leave. You ‘n’ AbhiAnnaSajitVinodEnnis started this! You’re a founder! Does nothing meeaaan anything anymore? Pretty soon we’ll have, like, all new faces! Maybe even BONG BREAKER! Do you really want responsibility for that!!


    (It’s cuz I wasn’t commenting as frequently, wasn’t it? Dammit. I’ve got work to do too, you know, brah. Come back and I’ll work back to my usual 267 comment average. please. I swear.)

    Besides, what’s this nonsense about not raging? We all must rage! RAGE!

    dammit. I guess you’ve tired of being shut in a tower of words.

    I hate being sad like this.

    sometimes the sky’s too bright

  16. Wait! What are you going to do with your life without the mutiny?! Don’t leave!

  17. HUH?!?!?

    Motion for reconsideration? Appeal? Writ of error coram nobis?? Petition for certiorari?!? For goodness sakes, there must be hanging chads somewhere in that bunker — RECOUNT?!?!?!

    APRIL MAY is the cruellest month :(

    p.s. — Cicatrix, the rest of us will indeed continue to RAGE, pace Manish — and when we do, he’d better be right there with us.

  18. This is where everyone out there in Sepia-land writes a comment demanding that Manish change his mind immediately,
    p.s. — Cicatrix, the rest of us will indeed continue to RAGE, pace Manish — and when we do, he’d better be right there with us.

    hmmm, maybe everyone can go to and tell that Pakistinian guy to go back where he came from? ;)

  19. Is there ANY way to convince you of otherwise? I can’t imagine what this radical space will be like without your voice!!! Nonetheless, thank you for being one of the creators of this forum and for igniting something magnificent.

    Let’s see who rotates through the salon next…

  20. can’t just leave.
    Besides, what’s this nonsense about not raging? We all must rage! RAGE

    So I mostly lurk on this site [its become a part of my daily fix] but couldnÂ’t not add my two bits to the sepia raging…

    Manish you can’t leave the mutineers!!! [cause we say so :) ] And I think you missed the memo… in the summer of sequels “moving on” is just not an option! ‘I’ll be back’ though can be taken into consideration

    BTW in what parallel universe is a post about you leaving the mutineers categorized as “humor”??? :(

    [sigh] Thanks for all your contribution in to this amazing space… you will be greatly missed.

  21. Manish! I don’t even know you and I’m so sad right now. How can you leave SM? What could possibly be more important than this blog ?!?!

    We’ll miss you. I wish this was April 1st so I could come back online tomorrow and find out this was a joke.

  22. Whaaa?? No way… Well, good luck to you. Will Smith said it well:

    Pain is the mother of change. The rain must flow so the seeds of joy might grow.

    There is, somewhere, a bright side to this sad news.

  23. Quite shocking news, people.

    Manish bro – It’s a real shame that you’re leaving SM. You were the Mutineer I identified with the most, personality-wise.

    Your writings are superb, and you are a smart, sensitive and extremely eloquent guy. I am sure that your contribution to SM will be greatly missed by everyone concerned, with regards to the other “founder members” and all the commenters/visitors to this blog.

    Thank you very much for all your articles and posts which I have tremendously enjoyed reading since I started visiting SM late last summer. I wish you all the very best for the future.

    I also suspect that you’ve met some lovely lady back in India and are therefore doing a Shahrukh Khan-style “Swades” ;)

    Warm regards, Jai

  24. You were the Mutineer I identified with the most, personality-wise.

    PS Manish don’t be too offended by this — I may sound like Starbuck, but underneath it all I’m more like Apollo* ;)

  25. Jai, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Manish will always be my favorite blogger for his inimitable wit, sensitivity, and class. I’m genuinely distressed at the news of his departure: right now Luke Skywalker’s revelatory scream is echoing endlessly in my head. I’m in no way impugning the irrefrangible collective brilliance of the SM crew, but to the Drrrty Poonjabi, none of y’all can hold a candle to the Vijster. Best of luck with all of your future endeavors, I’ll miss your posts at SM but I’ll be sure to check out your personal blog.

    I’m still floored. I can’t and don’t want to believe it.

    I also suspect that you’ve met some lovely lady back in India and are therefore doing a Shahrukh Khan-style “Swades” ;)

    Unless she’s a combination of Parminder Nagra and Salma Hayek, allow blogging to be your true love. @=)

  26. Seems like you are leaving….. just as I get used to reading your work again. Seems only appropriate to quote one of my favourite writings from you… albeit dated, and not part of an SM post. Wherever you go, just continue to remember to write… best of luck, and thanks for the great seva you provided by being part of the foundation of this blog.

    ” when i left you in the sunlit stairwell

    when i left you in the sunlit stairwell and i turned away to let the bushybeard in i had no idea that i’d be sitting here half an hour later still thrilling at our touch with no focus no flow just reveling in the warmth i found within my core

    it doesn’t help that my personality is one of passion that i delve into the feelings rather than fleeing them as i should

    that i just remembered what this is all about while you, sitting there, tried to forget tried to explain

    i’m sending this to you not as part of my flirtatious self not as literary amusement not as a way to woo

    but rather just to tell you

    that i’m not as strong as i thought i was

    that i remember now why i’ve preferred to be alone

    that i have to write this or i can’t write any more today

    that i’m amazed you set this off with a simple hug

    and that you’re more right than you ever knew

    that this is too dangerous to play with –

    and child that i am, i hate to accept it. ” – ~Manish Vij

  27. DJ Drrrty Poonjabi,

    Unless she’s a combination of Parminder Nagra and Salma Hayek

    Wouldn’t that make her Rekha Sharma from the new Battlestar Galactica ?

    (By the way, you need to add a “NSWF” to that link you supplied, buddy wink).

  28. I believe I speak for all of us when I say:


    Man, this place won’t be the same without you…who else will keep those fiendish orientalist cover designers in line? Send us tantalising photos from travels? Captions to keep us in stitches?

  29. Wouldn’t that make her Rekha Sharma from the new Battlestar Galactica ? (By the way, you need to add a “NSWF” to that link you supplied, buddy *wink*).

    YIKES! I was hoping only to link to the (in my opnion) SFW picture and not the NSFW site: if that’s not the case then admin please edit my last post.

    Sorry, I’m well versed enough in Battlestar lore only to get the Starbuck/Apollo reference (slash fiction pun intended) but I don’t know much about this vixen from the homeland but I’ll take your word on it.

  30. the rest of us will indeed continue to RAGE, pace Manish

    I know I certainly will!

    Change is good, Manish. Go out, stretch your wings a bit. I’m sure SM will continue as it had under your guidance. Good luck, and don’t forget your towel.

  31. She’s a clever one, I must say.

    That may be, but her cranial circumference is no match for that of Persis Khambatta, the original desi sci-fi gangsta.

  32. so long brother. Thanks for the all the wonderful posts and for your future i say good luck

    SM wouldnt be the same without you

    and to make this comment mushy…ierrr

    “tusi ja rahe ho? tusi na jao!”

  33. She’s a clever one, I must say.

    Quite a tough cookie, isn’t she ? But also very foxy while she’s being a Machiavellian minx ;)


    Group hug for Manish !!

  34. Manish,

    That’s one less free-marketer on SM – at least we still have Vinod.

    Wish you best of luck!

    M. Nam

  35. How about one last post Manish? Telling us all why you ARE leaving? And supplying us with pictures of your brown lass. You know, the one that is taking you away? ;-)

  36. whoa. hulk slow in the cerebellum. hulk not realize manish leaving.


    your eloquent, incisive posts will be much missed. and those captions! but here’s wishing you good things on all your future endeavors. may there be a homely hotel wherever you wander. may the maggi sauce always be maggilicious.