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. Very funny post! ROTFL about “how many kinds of pickles were necessary for an overnight camping trip, whether a pressure cooker will work over a campfire”.

    Melbourne Desi and Krish, we do find that there are very few Indians who go camping here in Ozland. We’ve gone camping at many great places in Victoria and Tasmania. It’s a great way to encounter animals in the wild, especially in places like Tassie–pademelons lurking outside the tent, encounters with kangaroos as you make your way to the loo in the darkness!

    That being said, some of the locals camp in such luxury that it defeats the purpose of being outdoors. They literally bring everything and the kitchen sink along, not to mention a port-a-loo and a shower cubicle.

    What we like about camping is the sheer simplicity of the life–going to bed when darkness falls (to the sound of waves on the shore, after watching the brilliance of the stars), waking up when it’s light. and spending the rest of the day bushwalking.

  2. I cant imagine defecating in the open – brings back some painful memories of younger years.

    at the risk of incurring your wrath for scatalogical reminders—if you go climb the highest peak (whitney) in the lower 48 states of us, you have bigger problems than that. not only you…ahem… do it outside, you pack it up, keep it with you and discard it only when you get back to the base camp.

  3. We’ve gone camping at many great places in Victoria and Tasmania.

    Tassie is beautiful – am happy to walk around and take in the beauty – just not into living outdoors even for a few days.

    I have NEVER seen another brown face at my neighborhood pool

    sadly true. It is even worse at the surf beach. Often been mistaken for an Abo (aborginal australian). Do American Desis surf?

    It’s fun. ……… parking fee (if applicable), and greenhouse gases.

    I concur with all of that but it is still too third world for me. I dont even use the cycle at the gym :)

  4. Actually in India we do alot of “parikramas” which are pilgrimages to holy sites. Many of them require several hours, even days of what could be considered hiking, especially up to Vaishno Devi and other places in the Himalayas. Been doing that for centuries so I would imagine hiking and camping as a natural thing for desis to do outside of India as well.

  5. Tassie is beautiful – am happy to walk around and take in the beauty – just not into living outdoors even for a few days.

    Cabins OK, or do you object to roughing it at all?

  6. I concur with all of that but it is still too third world for me.

    That’s probably part of the desi curse/mentality :D :D

  7. since when do indians go camping?

    My dad and his siblings went camping often :) They are straight desi. I wonder if some of the camping hesitancy (for some) is class-based. Ohh, yes I just opened that can of worms.

    Amen, Amit & DJ on Points Reyes and Bonita, the former being one of my fave places, ever. Seriously, though, if you’re in the Bay it’s not far to Yosemite (usually about only 1-2x the amount of time it takes to get to Pt. Reyes). Every time I go I am soooo happy. But we’re lucky and have Monterey and Santa Cruz nearby, also, and of course Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tam.

    Meena, I love water but am not a strong swimmer — same goes for a lot of my fam/friends, actually. I like to think that if we lived in a warmer climate we would swim more; this was certainly the case when I was very little and a much better swimmer. At any rate, water sports are fun,b ut it does help to have a warmer climate (or at least warmer water!).

  8. Do American Desis surf?

    Yes! And snow board! Although the former is nicer to do in southern Cal/HI, and the former is easier in NorCal/Tahoe.

  9. My dad and his siblings went camping often :) They are straight desi. I wonder if some of the camping hesitancy (for some) is class-based. Ohh, yes I just opened that can of worms.

    Seems like it, someone else mentioned above;

    My cousin often commented, “what the poor do by neccessity in India, the middle class does for fun in Europe”, upon her return from working in Switzerland, regarding camping out and bathing (swimming) in rivers.

    It’s interesting to note how the wealthy versus the poor in India conduct their pilgrimages. The wealthy often stay in what would be called “luxary hotels” (just motels) along the way while the poor will stay either in cheap dharmashallas or just out in the open if they can’t even afford the dharmashallas. Yet come morning time we are all trekking together.

  10. I hear that. I have NEVER seen another brown face at my neighborhood pool. While I know several desis who golf, play tennis or squash, and run, swimming has not caught on yet, for whatever reason.

    Mira: What I have found is that most of the DBDs who know how to swim are from rural or wealthy backgrounds. Opportunities for swimming are rare for the urban middle class that produces the most expatriate DBDs. Rural kids swim in open irrigation wells & rivers, the rich have clubs and certain classes of the govt that have pools in their “colonies”.

  11. Camille:

    Meena, I love water but am not a strong swimmer — same goes for a lot of my fam/friends, actually. I like to think that if we lived in a warmer climate we would swim more; this was certainly the case when I was very little and a much better swimmer. At any rate, water sports are fun,b ut it does help to have a warmer climate (or at least warmer water!).

    Pish-posh – not an excuse, it rains all the time in my country and everyone knows how to swim. Scuba divers go under in water that is 10 degrees Celsius. I’m a huge wimp about cold but even I love swimming…

    Though in my experience desis hate to get hot and sweaty in general, and as such most eschew physical exercise…

  12. Though in my experience desis hate to get hot and sweaty in general, and as such most eschew physical exercise…

    patently untrue. would you venture next that all south indians eat thayyir saadam and drink buttermilk all day while patting their paunches and squealing in porcine glee?

  13. There’s a huge generational divide between DBDs in terms of athleticism and interest in the outdoors. My parents’ set, I will have to agree that most leisure activities took a back seat to getting established. The young set of DBDs trains for marathons, does backwoods extended backpacking trips. They are Lemurian Teddy Roosevelts & Scythian Annie Oakleys. Let’s not generalize.

    Pish-posh – not an excuse, it rains all the time in my country and everyone knows how to swim. Scuba divers go under in water that is 10 degrees Celsius. I’m a huge wimp about cold but even I love swimming…

    In your country you have no choice but to remain in continuous motion lest you succumb to the effects of your mayonnaise & snausage based “cuisine” ;-)

  14. Seriously, guys, don’t you think this “IBDs hanging out only with IBDs” thing is getting old? And, ok, so they put a guys called Vivek in the Ad. What’s to celebrate?

  15. Camping, Hiking and backpacking are favorite DBD activities. I’ve met tonnes of DBD grad students who’ve been to dozens of national and state parks, camped there, taken hiking and back-packing trails etc. Grand Canyon, Smokey Mtn, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Acadia are desi favs …almost all my friends have camped there. From my personal experience, I’d say that I hardly find any ABDs (college students) at those camping grounds. Is it because they’ve already been to those places (when they were kids) ?

  16. louiecypher:

    In your country you have no choice but to remain in continuous motion lest you succumb to the effects of your mayonnaise & snausage based “cuisine” ;-)

    Sausages? Dude, that’s Germany. Get your cuisines straight. ;) muralimannered?

    patently untrue. would you venture next that all south indians eat thayyir saadam and drink buttermilk all day while patting their paunches and squealing in porcine glee?

    What part of the phrase “in my experience” did you not understand? For the record, I AM South Indian.

  17. What I have found is that most of the DBDs who know how to swim are from rural or wealthy backgrounds. Opportunities for swimming are rare for the urban middle class that produces the most expatriate DBDs. Rural kids swim in open irrigation wells & rivers, the rich have clubs and certain classes of the govt that have pools in their “colonies”.

    I can second that. Didn’t have any swimming pool where I grew up and the river wasn’t safe to learn swimming. The college swimming pool had a physical test for entrance (# of sit-ups & push-ups – guys who went with friends simply exaggerated the numbers and helped each other out) and a limited capacity, so didn’t make the cut. Took swimming lessons here at the Y and while I’m not a good swimmer, it doesn’t stop me from going to the beach and swimming+floating. It’s fun, especially skinny-dipping where possible. ;)

    Played a lot of sports growing up, but from 10th-12th grade, more time was spent on studying. Renewed it during college years, but yeah, in general, regular physical activity is difficult to maintain in India, more so for adults. Hopefully the popularity of yoga will compensate for lack of other PA/sports.

  18. Do American Desis surf?

    Hell yeah we do. Some of us rip too. If you ever come to Jersey, stop by Darlington in Deal — any season of the year. I’ll be the one in the big ass yellow banana board.

  19. but it does help to have a warmer climate (or at least warmer water!)

    Camille, what’s the deal with the chilly water around SF-Bay area? I went to a beach during the height of summer and the water was still cold that you couldn’t stay in for more than a few minutes, and the only people swimming had full-body rubber suits on. Is there a cold current in the Pacific around SF? Do the beaches south (and maybe north?) of SF have warmer water? Just wondering if it’s a regular phenomenon, or whether I visited at the wrong time of the year. Around here, the beaches are swimmable from July-Oct and the water gets quite warm.

  20. Camille, what’s the deal with the chilly water around SF-Bay area? I went to a beach during the height of summer and the water was still cold that you couldn’t stay in for more than a few minutes, and the only people swimming had full-body rubber suits on. Is there a cold current in the Pacific around SF? Do the beaches south (and maybe north?) of SF have warmer water? Just wondering if it’s a regular phenomenon, or whether I visited at the wrong time of the year. Around here, the beaches are swimmable from July-Oct and the water gets quite warm.

    Amit, the water around the SF Bay Area is always cold and chilly, never ever warm, so it don’t matter when you visit. I think the Alaskan Current might have something to do with this, though I’m not sure. Not until you get down to SLO, Santa Barbara or thereabouts does the water become warmer. San Diego of course has the best temperatures and climate.

  21. Cabins OK, or do you object to roughing it at all?

    ennis – i love nature, I can pee easily in public like most desi men – no objection to that. I can rough it out – just dont think it is fun. I have used RVs and have enjoyed it.

  22. Hell yeah we do. Some of us rip too. If you ever come to Jersey, stop by Darlington in Deal — any season of the year. I’ll be the one in the big ass yellow banana board.

    That is a date ;)

  23. That’s probably part of the desi curse/mentality

    and I have often told ardent cyclists (white aussie) that it is so third world. The reaction is priceless.

  24. Meena, maybe there is more access to pools. Growing up, there were almost NO pools (including public pools), and those that did exist were private or prohibitively expensive. shrugs I still swim, just not in the open ocean.

    Amit, it’s mostly for the reasons Arjun alluded to. The water is NEVER warm from SLO (San Louis Obispo) up north. I have NEVER swam on the northern California coast — a wet suit is so much trouble, and I will not get (fully) in the water without one. There is an Alaskan current stream that swings past the northern California coast (this is why we have migratory whale patterns for whales that usually make their home up near the Bering Strait). Southern California is also cold, in my opinion (relative to the Atlantic), but much much warmer/tolerable in the summer. Their current stream comes from Mexico and the equator, hence greater water warmth.

  25. Do American Desis surf?

    Actually, I know a couple of ABD girls who surf, but no fellow DBDs.

    Hell yeah we do. Some of us rip too. If you ever come to Jersey, stop by Darlington in Deal — any season of the year. I’ll be the one in the big ass yellow banana board.

    Nice to see other east coast surfers on this board!

  26. Camping, Hiking and backpacking are favorite DBD activities. I’ve met tonnes of DBD grad students who’ve been to dozens of national and state parks, camped there, taken hiking and back-packing trails etc. Grand Canyon, Smokey Mtn, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Acadia are desi favs …almost all my friends have camped there.

    Dude, I was waiting for somebody to say that. I met a DBD family that moved to the Yay three years ago and had already driven to the Grand Canyon and camped and boated at Mount Shasta…twice. I’ve been to both places…never.

    From my personal experience, I’d say that I hardly find any ABDs (college students) at those camping grounds. Is it because they’ve already been to those places (when they were kids) ?

    No, it’s because we’re always looking for the party, yaar. I’m actually kind of serious. Bhangra, babes, and booze beat out brush, backpacks, and boondocks. (In my experience, Murali: please don’t get your swimming sarong in a twist.)

    Or Point Reyes. Simply magnificent!!

    Never been.

    Only 55 minutes south of the Golden Gate: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523

    Haven’t been there either. I know, I know: for shame. Perhaps the next SF Meetup can be an outdoors one?

  27. Meena, maybe there is more access to pools. Growing up, there were almost NO pools (including public pools), and those that did exist were private or prohibitively expensive. *shrugs* I still swim, just not in the open ocean.

    I guess that must be it. There were four public pools in my hometown, and where I live now there are at least two. I find it a bit odd that there were no pools where you grew up. I’ve been to Dallas a few times (you’re from California though, right?) and there was a small public pool very close to the place I stayed. shrugs

  28. Middle class people in India hike and swim too and have been doing so for a long time. My uncle was an avid hiker and would go hike in the Sahyadris almost every other weekend, in fact there are many groups, public and private in and around Bombay that do that. Take a train Friday night, get to the destination early Saturday morning, hike all day Saturday, get back to Bombay before the workweek starts.

    In the summers these groups plan longer hikes to the Himalayas and other northern mountain ranges. One of my professors at Bombay University ( this was in the 90′s, he was probably around 55 then) was an expert climber and had hiked extensively in the Himalayas.

    As far as swimming is concerned, at least in Bombay there are many public and private pools where one can learn swimming, an activity we enjoyed in the hot humid summers as children, heck even my mother is pretty good swimmer and one of my father’s aunts was a swim coach. Another uncle who is now in his late 60′s has been regularly swimming several times a week and does so even to this date.

    I have noticed a tendency of many people on this board to make sweeping generalizations of Indians in India and the so called DBDs or IBDs. I wonder if it is because the sample size of Indians they know is very small.

  29. I find it a bit odd that there were no pools where you grew up. I’ve been to Dallas a few times (you’re from California though, right?) and there was a small public pool very close to the place I stayed. *shrugs*

    Yes (I’m from California), but grew up in a lower-income city :) Pools were a form of socioeconomic segregation. When I was in high school we had a school pool, but it was under construction for 3 of the 4 years I was there, and then they charged students $5 (per entry) to swim if it was for recreation, and the hours were super restricted since the sports teams, etc., had to have access. I think this varies by where you are in CA; I couldn’t speak intelligibly about community pools in other cities. There was much better pool access when we lived in Arizona, but I don’t know if that’s still the case.

  30. I agree with Yogi. A lot of Indians do go camping and trekking. There are even organizations like Youth Hostels Association which organize trekking trips. I remember going trekking in the hills around Nainital, more than a decade ago. We ran into some villagers who were curious as to why we were there. They could not understand why anyone would come from Delhi to see these hills, and why someone would actually come all the way to walk here :P

  31. agreed, i live in india, and people there go trekking all the time. a much smaller, but not insignificant subset of those people bring along there own camping gear.

  32. “whether a pressure cooker will work over a campfire” – heheh, good one! :)

    As a grad student in the middle-of-nowhere USA (mid-west USA), I saved up $250.00 (in 2000) to go on a trip with the University’s recreation group, on a week long hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. I got quite famous (!), with other desi students mentioning me as the (whacko?) “who spent $250.00 on a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon….”. Several students wondered what we’d DO all day (for a week!) at the Canyon!! Yes, I agree, a lot of my desi friends do not seem to like hiking or outdoor stuff. They’d prefer a Bollywood movie anytime.

  33. What part of the phrase “in my experience” did you not understand? For the record, I AM South Indian.

    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.

  34. Well, I got talking about this and my mom in India said in the sixties she would make breakfast and go hiking in Gomia, a little village in Bihar with a baby in tow and when they got to the river all of us would have breakfast and then hike back! The world is indeed flat. Probably they never considered it “hiking” the way I do now with my fancy hiking shoes and hiking sticks…:-). Mom says they used to do it almost every weekend!

  35. I have noticed a tendency of many people on this board to make sweeping generalizations of Indians in India and the so called DBDs or IBDs.

    How odd! I have noticed a proclivity to make sweeping generalizations about so-called ABDs (and everything else, from gynophobia to party identification).

    The sweeping, it (like Angelina) goes both ways!

  36. How odd! I have noticed a proclivity to make sweeping generalizations about so-called ABDs (and everything else, from gynophobia to party identification).

    I am sure that is annoying, I hope I haven’t been doing it and may be can agree to do away with gross generalizations as far as possible.

    Pray tell what is “gynophobia” do you mean misogyny or am I missing something?

  37. I wanted to see the Adirondacks but couldn’t convince my friends about it. And now it won’t be possible until its summer here in the northeast :(

  38. Perhaps the next SF Meetup can be an outdoors one?

    That would indeed be mutinous unlike eating and chatting indoors like moms, dads, aunties and auntas.

  39. Pray tell what is “gynophobia” do you mean misogyny or am I missing something?

    gynophobia 1)Fear of women. 2)Pussy.. 3)Guys that are probably gay.

  40. That would indeed be mutinous unlike eating and chatting indoors like moms, dads, aunties and auntas.

    No you didn’t just go there! You know what’s mutinous? Accomodating people with significant mobility issues, especially when they’re responsible for organizing and hosting. ;)

  41. Pray tell what is “gynophobia” do you mean misogyny or am I missing something?

    btw a slight variation to gynophobe leads to

    1) one who is afraid of women. (this may mutate into outright misogyny if left untreated. An excellent remedy is for a considerate, reasonably sexy, sexually enthusiastic woman to fuck the gynophobe’s brains out.) 2) a repressed woman afraid of her own vulva and/or sexuality. 3) an otherwise straight man who is too much of a pussy to perform cunnilingus.

  42. I am sure that is annoying, I hope I haven’t been doing it and may be can agree to do away with gross generalizations as far as possible.
    Pray tell what is “gynophobia” do you mean misogyny or am I missing something?

    No, Yogi. You are fine. I’m with you– no more gross generalizations! :)

    As for the gynophobia, it came up at the tail end of my thread on Chameli, “This is an uncivilized act”.

  43. That would indeed be mutinous unlike eating and chatting indoors like moms, dads, aunties and auntas. No you didn’t just go there! You know what’s mutinous? Accomodating people with significant mobility issues, especially when they’re responsible for organizing and hosting. ;)

    I agre ANNA abt mobility, I was kidding… the word “auntas” struck me this morning and I have been thinking ever since how to use this on SM :)

  44. the word “auntas” struck me this morning and I have been thinking ever since how to use this on SM :)

    (back to my spelling bee roots)

    Could you use it in a sentence? :D

  45. 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!)

  46. How odd! I have noticed a proclivity to make sweeping generalizations about so-called ABDs (and everything else, from gynophobia to party identification).

    Objectively speaking, it is far easier to generalize about ABDs than IBDs or Indians in India. The latter category encompasses over 1 billion people living in one large landmass; culture, religion language etc. are not shared.

    On the other hand, the 700,000 ABDs show some strong demographic tendencies, particularly in regards to education, profession, familial background and socio-economic status. That’s not to say that ABDs are homogenous, but that generalizations applied to them are several times more accurate than any applied to India. In fact, I could probably come up with list of generalizations right now that apply to well over 2/3 of Mutineers. You would be much more hardpressed to find something similar about those in the desh.