What Vivek would really say

Those of you who use gmail and gchat will have seen the news that gchat has gone from monogamous chatting only to full on orgy mode:

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

My reaction to this news is that it’s about time! Not the move to group chat, but the use of Vivek in an example. I mean, if you go into one of the many googleplex fine dining establishments and holler “Yo – Vivek!” you know how many people would turn around? So what took Google so long?

Of course, if they’re going for versimilitude here, Vivek would probably not be going camping with Todd (not unless they were a couple) but instead with a truckload of other desis, especially if Vivek is an IBD. The example should really say something like “Group chat – so 10 desi couples can coordinate their camping plans!” The chat would show people discussing who was bringing the dal, who was bringing the chaval, how many kinds of pickles were necessary for an overnight camping trip, whether a pressure cooker will work over a campfire, etc.

Actually, on second thought, I think we’re better off with the example provided. I don’t think even Google’s mighty servers could survive the surge in load from brown people going camping alone, not to mention brown people coordinating movies, dinners, or weddings. Back to Todd and Vivek it is.

124 thoughts on “What Vivek would really say

  1. Most of my dealings with desis other than my family have come through either cricket or bharatanatym–granted, both activities can be claimed by those eschewing strenuous exercise

    cricket: yes. bharatanatyam: no.

  2. we did tons of hiking/camping/nature walks at school in india and so did a lot of the other area schools. it seems to be a function of where you are. people in more scenic, hilly/mountainous areas did more of that, including long daily walks. and of course rural people “hiked” (practically bounded up and down steep slopes) just to make a living. the people from the hotter areas who visited were of two types: those that just wanted to enjoy the scenery in a leisurely, non-taxing manner (picknickers – equivalent to RV-ers in the u.s. who drive from place to place, go for a short stroll or day hike and then move on. not really “camping” as such and not really that taxing.) and those who came for more strenous hiking, usually as part of a group.

    when i first saw a camping store in the u.s., i was astounded. every mod-con possible to help you conquer the elements and keep nature at bay (sometimes a good thing, sometimes not)! it almost seemed pointless to leave home. i was actually suckered into buying a lot of gizmos and gear. i used one-fourth of the stuff i bought and felt very silly and conned by fear-mongering:) i then remembered the carefree/foolhardy days of youth when one had the basics only and wandered around not even caring what was lurking in the undergrowth. the adventure market is growing in india amongst the middle class, with more young people taking up whitewater rafting etc.

  3. p.s.: a thumbs up for point reyes (that whole part of the coast is beautiful).

  4. muralimannered:

    Fair enough. I thought by “as such most eschew” to refer to the entire Desi population stateside. Most of my dealings with desis other than my family have come through either cricket or bharatanatym–granted, both activities can be claimed by those eschewing strenuous exercise but the desis I knew did not fit this profile in the least. I guess the snark came from my experience being the polar opposite of your own

    For the nth time, I’m not from the States, nor from India. Obviously my experience is polar opposite to yours; the United States attracts a different sort of South Asian immigrants than does Europe.

  5. For the nth time, I’m not from the States, nor from India.

    meena may I suggest that the addition of a word to your handle would reduce the chances for such confusion. e.g Dutch Meena – Groningen Meena – Meena the Hag(ue) ;) Tongue in cheek – please dont get offended

  6. For the nth time, I’m not from the States, nor from India. Obviously my experience is polar opposite to yours; the United States attracts a different sort of South Asian immigrants than does Europe.

    save the outrage for someone who cares. If you bothered to qualify your “all desis eschew exercise” statement with “in xxx country” then people would know WTF context was in which your experience was grounded.

    fyi I have relatives in Europe and none of them exhibit this supposed desi-specific indolence of which you seem so sure.

  7. For the nth time, I’m not from the States, nor from India. Obviously my experience is polar opposite to yours; the United States attracts a different sort of South Asian immigrants than does Europe.

    You do realize that the vast majority of comments here come from people residing in the US. If you find a generalized statement and it doesn’t seem to apply to your context–voila!–there’s the reason why.

  8. meena may I suggest that the addition of a word to your handle would reduce the chances for such confusion. e.g Dutch Meena – Groningen Meena – Meena the Hag(ue) ;) Tongue in cheek – please dont get offended

    come now melbourne desi, it would be so much easier to contextualize your comments if you went by the handle “Nondescript Desi” or “Non-Region-Specific Desi.”

  9. when i first saw a camping store in the u.s., i was astounded. every mod-con possible to help you conquer the elements and keep nature at bay (sometimes a good thing, sometimes not)! it almost seemed pointless to leave home.

    I agree, and had a similar experience. Though I find it unimaginable hiking in the White Mts without proper hiking boots. Hiking on some/most of the trails there wearing sneakers is a sure recipe for slipping and/or broken bones and/or twisted ankles. Ditto for hiking without a goretex-like jacket, given the weather in the north-east. But if I go hiking in the Blue Hills (gentle trails), then sneakers are fine.

    I’ve also seen some people camp and they bring every possible contraption to have the same luxury in the wilderness as they would at home. It probably wouldn’t work for me as I enjoy the elements somewhat and don’t mind a bit of temporary “discomfort,” (sitting on a tree stump instead of a folding chair) but if that’s what floats their boat, then so be it. I guess everyone has a different definition of what the “essentials” are during a camping trip. :)

  10. Most of my dealings with desis other than my family have come through either cricket or bharatanatym–granted, both activities can be claimed by those eschewing strenuous exercise cricket: yes. bharatanatyam: no.

    I totally agree… muralimannered, weren’t you trained in bharata natyam? you didn’t find it be strenuous exercise?

  11. I totally agree… muralimannered, weren’t you trained in bharata natyam? you didn’t find it be strenuous exercise?

    I was trained in a style that was especially physically demanding. The effort level and basic technique I’ve witnessed from some other teachers’ (looking at a sample population of students coming to a summer camp taught in my style)students has been alarmingly low and very sloppy. This does create a situation in which people do not really exert themselves significantly at any point in a particular piece because their arms are not at the right angles or they are not sitting enough. If you do it right, you will most likely be exhausted as well. There is general cardiovascular fitness and then there is BN fitness and the latter not immediately picked up by people in good shape by reckoning with the former method.

    thus it’s possible to have people who eschew strenuous exercise call themselves BN dancers.

  12. come now melbourne desi, it would be so much easier to contextualize your comments if you went by the handle “Nondescript Desi” or “Non-Region-Specific Desi.”

    interesting handles with food for thought.

  13. I was trained in a style that was especially physically demanding.

    Do you teach BN?

  14. I was trained in a style that was especially physically demanding. The effort level and basic technique I’ve witnessed from some other teachers’ (looking at a sample population of students coming to a summer camp taught in my style)students has been alarmingly low and very sloppy. This does create a situation in which people do not really exert themselves significantly at any point in a particular piece because their arms are not at the right angles or they are not sitting enough. If you do it right, you will most likely be exhausted as well. There is general cardiovascular fitness and then there is BN fitness and the latter not immediately picked up by people in good shape by reckoning with the former method. thus it’s possible to have people who eschew strenuous exercise call themselves BN dancers.

    True, I’ve seen some stuff that just made me cringe myself. Though maybe it’s to be expected at a summer camp, where students are not learning as a continuous process year-round (and if they do, it wouldn’t with the same teacher as the one they learn from for the rest of the year, possibly), and it’s summer camp, so they might be more lax about, with a ‘I’m just here to have fun’ attitude, right?

  15. I guess the snark came from my experience being the polar opposite of your own For the nth time, I’m not from the States, nor from India. Obviously my experience is polar opposite to yours; the United States attracts a different sort of South Asian immigrants than does Europe.

    Meena: Are the desis in Amsterdam mostly Surinamese? Are they working class or professionals? If they are directly from South Asia, are they from India or Pakistan? Do they dip their naan in mayo ?

  16. Nala,

    The camp i’m referring to cost the parents a couple grand (outside of travel expenses, some would come from overseas), had at least 6 hours of dancing time every day in addition to hatha yoga. It’s a few weeks of intensive, forest-academy style instruction. It’s not something that lends itself easily to carefree participation–it’s certainly fun if you like to dance but it’s also a much higher workload for the newbies than anything they’ve ever taken on before.

    My original point was that there are slackers in both BN and cricket.

    PG Wodehouse,

    I do not teach because i’m a terrible teacher and i’m woefully out of practice–never pass on what you can’t do yourself and all…

  17. Nala, The camp i’m referring to cost the parents a couple grand (outside of travel expenses, some would come from overseas), had at least 6 hours of dancing time every day in addition to hatha yoga. It’s a few weeks of intensive, forest-academy style instruction. It’s not something that lends itself easily to carefree participation–it’s certainly fun if you like to dance but it’s also a much higher workload for the newbies than anything they’ve ever taken on before. My original point was that there are slackers in both BN and cricket.

    My interest is peaked… what’s the name of this camp? / Is there a website?

    my guru made ample use of the yardstick, rubber bands, and guilt-tripping. perhaps these newbies just need some of that?

  18. melbournedesi, don’t most aussie campsites have bathroom facilities? unless you are truly roughing it, of course.

    i must be atypical here – many desis i know went camping as kids. we camped a few times (not reccommended during Tassie springs).

  19. muralimannered:

    save the outrage for someone who cares. If you bothered to qualify your “all desis eschew exercise” statement with “in xxx country” then people would know WTF context was in which your experience was grounded. fyi I have relatives in Europe and none of them exhibit this supposed desi-specific indolence of which you seem so sure.

    I’m sorry you took my comment as being outraged; but the internet doesn’t allow for proper contextualization. Save your snark for someone else, please. Why are you so eager to be offended?

  20. Meena: Are the desis in Amsterdam mostly Surinamese? Are they working class or professionals? If they are directly from South Asia, are they from India or Pakistan? Do they dip their naan in mayo ?

    I don’t live in Amsterdam, but never mind that. I know very few Surinamese desis, so I have no idea if they are working class or not. I also know some Indians via my parents, and none of them eat mayonnaise(what is your obsession with mayo anyway?).

  21. Growing up, it was more of time thing with my family– they grew up with parents who told them their time was better spent studying than any sort of recreational activity, and they passed that along to me. Also me being a girl meant it was not only a waste of time, but un lady-like. My dad says he regrets keeping me away from all that outdoorsy stuff because now I have a severe disdain for all things camping, hiking, and general physical activity, and I suppose he blames himself. (I don’t think I would have liked it anyway!)

    You should not let your earlier experiences stop you from participating in some physical activity if you want now, remember it is never too late to start. Its great to be outdoors, also the choice doesn’t have to be all or nothing, for example hiking the entire Appalachian trail or being a couch potato. You can start small, go for a short hike, see how you enjoy it. Many a time I get through a crappy day, looking forward to my evening run around a lake in a local park.

    So you might want to give physical/recreational activity a try before dismissing it completely. Being physically active is definitely not a waste of time and in fact it is something that makes life richer and worth living.

    Okay getting off my soapbox now…

  22. Save your snark for someone else, please

    It’s become obvious, in this rather short exchange, that my attempts at helping you get your point across efficiently are failing. I haven’t seen your handle pop up in many threads over the past couple of months, have never responded to you and don’t see how your protestations of “having to say for the nth time” are valid. The migrant experience in America involves having to repeat many things ‘for the nth time’ and being at least good-humored when being prompted to do so. There are many things about myself which necessitate the certainly annoying but vitally important exercise of repeating myself to establish context.

    quite simply, if you want everyone to know a contextual detail that automatically distinguishes you from the vast majority of commenters here, put it in your handle. i.e. “Meena from Amsterdam/Alkmar Noord/Den Hague/whathaveyou…” or include the detail in the comment.