We Will Wade in the Shine of the Ever

Last night, with the power out and the insomnia I have battled since puberty ruining whatever chance I had of making it to church on time, I resumed a familiar, loathsome dialog with the gatekeeper to the Land of Nod. He is very bored with his work and I am loquacious, so he uses me for his own amusement, claiming it helps make his job less tedious, even as I wish he would just let me in so I can finally rest.

He is he, because I am a she, and I refuse to believe that this sadist is female. I wear too much pink for that.

Me: 5am. 5am of the last day of this life.

He: Bit dramatic, innit?

Me: Not at all.

He: ’tis.

Me: No!

He: Your last day has long passed. You forsook that life exactly four years ago, when you chose an actual life over a virtual one.

Me: But I was coming back.

He: You always say that.

Me: But I was. Not in the way people expect, but I was. I have schemes. Schemes!

He: Annabel. How long have you been writing that one post?

Me: I am unaware of to what you might be referring.

He: Not ending a sentence with a preposition is a bit of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.

Continue reading

The Onion, on the end of the Mutiny

Exactly and approximately 0.002% of the world’s Desis gnashed their teeth in frustration today as they realized that for all intensive purposes, Sepia Mutiny, the blog they used to sometimes mayhaps read if they were procrastinating for a big test or project, and they had already cleaned their toilet and had their wisdom teeth extracted, was going to cease all operations on a Saturday, a day when no one reads blogs anyway.

Though it took over two weeks for most readers to realize that the site’s demise was imminent, surprisingly, those patrons denied the reality of a declining readership after coming to rely upon the site during eight long years of Mutinous blogging.

Nine people had nearly identical reactions to the news: “What? No! Why? Of course people still read it! I mean, I don’t, but…it should stay alive. We need it!”

One of the 816 Ami Shahs from Chicago, Illinois (read: south Naperville…she just likes to SAY “Chicago” because she likes to pretend she’s Carrie from “Sex in the City” amirite?) was overheard telling her friend Priya Cherian why the site mattered.

“Sepia Mutiny taught me that not all Indian Christians are sell-outs like Bobby Jindal. Like, I totally loathed you until that drama queen  A N N A  kept going on and on…and on…about the plight of the poor pitiable Malayalam Christian. Like, I totally thought YOU were some lame convert, you know? Because your name is like Priya? But apparently you’ve been literally a Christian for like, years. So you’re fine.”

Priya Cherian side-eyed her friend before expanding on Shah’s…remarks. Continue reading

55Friday: The “Doowutchyalike”-edition


It’s been an eventful 24 hours, hasn’t it? The end of an “era”, is how some of you readers generously termed it on various social media sites. It’s really just the end of a site that was once bigger in every way than it currently is. What was once a “must-read-daily” turned in to an “Eh, I’ll poke my head in weekly”-sort of a blog and that’s perfectly understandable. The party has been over for a little while. But while many of you wish we would stay around for at least those weekly visits (you are creatures of routine, aren’t you!), that wouldn’t be right.

We can, however, resurrect SOMETHING weekly: the 55Friday flash fiction challenge. See? I didn’t ignore ALL your tweeted pleas.

I know in the past that I picked a theme to help you start your engines, but somehow, I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Write about whatever you like– just contain yourself in 55 words when you do it. Ready? For old time’s sake…go.

And You Don’t Look…

Asian Diabetes.jpg

One would think that an educational website from the NYU Department of Medicine might be produced by people who are familiar with actual South Asians. One would think.

SM reader SS sends us a link to the site you see above, with her take on it:

While not much of a true story, thought I’d send your way this article about South Asians with accompanying stock photo of people who, last I checked, are NOT South Asian. I find this even odder coming from the NYU medical school, where there are presumably South Asian med students.

Now let’s get the politically correct and enlightened shit out of the way early, shall we?

There’s probably no way to check on the genetic makeup of the couple on the couch, up there. They could be South Asian, after all, there are many, many ways a South Asian person can look. From fake-Italian (although you Guindians aren’t fooling anyone) to fake-East Asian, our phenotypes are many…which makes sense since we’re from all over a subcontinent.

It’s not fair to suggest that there’s only one way for South Asians to look and don’t you dare accuse me of doing that– I’m the one who, as an already put-upon college student, had to deal with Punjabi Aunties from Fremont who constantly came up to my window at a certain Bank of America, only to say…”You Fiji? No? But you’re so DARK. Indian people are not SO dark!”

I get how much that sucks. It’s ignorant and divisive and rude. A blue-black Southerner is just as Desi as a sharply-featured woman from Kashmir, right?

Still, would you expect to see that picture paired with an article titled, “You Don’t Look Diabetic:Diabetes in Non-Obese South Asians-Is There a Molecular or Genetic Basis for Increased Insulin Resistance?” Continue reading

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On Being Othered in an Enlightened Elevator

3089136578_c9dfc6e152_b.jpgI trudged into the elevator, miserable with stomach cramps and a half-assed fever which made my body the same temperature as this 100 degree day. In my hands, an austere haul from Whole Paycheck: a four-pack of Reed’s “Extra Ginger” Brew and a wheat baguette. I have food poisoning, the worst case I’ve had in years.

My body was still in revolt as of 3 am; I slept for four restless hours and then forced myself to get up for work. In exchange for not calling in sick on my third day back after two months of medical leave (which allowed me to walk again), I allowed myself to wear my “Are they or aren’t they”-yoga pants. No, they are not from NuNu Nimbu. I don’t know where they are from, but they are clutch as hell. From five or six feet away, they look like pants. I have them in charcoal, too.

I calculated that no one would be scrutinizing my lower half based on my hideous reflection in the bathroom mirror. Black under-eye circles, dazed red eyes, green skin. Merry goth Christmas! If anyone made it past my face, the black Alternative Apparel v-neck which makes my boyfriend look like a euro-trash hipster would distract my coworkers. On me it looked like the raiment of a round woman who had given up on life. At least I’d be comfortable as my innards putrefied.

As I reached for an elevator button with a shaking hand, manicured fingers swept past my sallow skin.

“Oh! You got it before I could.” The innocuous comment was punctuated by a curious smile.

I slowly turned my head, reflexes dulled by…well, you know.

It’s why my spider sense didn’t tingle in time, either.

“You have…very interesting…skin.”

The way she paused before uttering “skin”. It was almost as if she hadn’t decided exactly what she would choose to “compliment”. It was an awkward moment to hesitate. Does she mean “color” because I’m greenish toda-

“Where is the origin of skin like that?”

Uh? Continue reading

Bombs Over Bombay, Again.

BBC ss.jpgEarlier today, Mumbai was struck by three explosions designed for maximum impact; homemade bombs erupted during rush hour, a time when the blasts were guaranteed to injure and murder as many innocents as possible.

It worked. Over 131 people were hurt and 18 perished in the coordinated attacks, which targeted popular areas in India’s financial capital. A list of those lost and injured is here.

The people of Mumbai reacted with bravery and heroic self-sacrifice:

Hitesh Soni said that people offered their private tempos, scooters and motorcycles to rush the victims to hospitals. “Ambulances and the police arrived later. It was local businessmen who came to the rescue and saved lives.” Businessman Manoj Jain added that those from the nearby textile (kapda) bazaar also came to the rescue of the victims.

Many of those involved in rescue operations were local residents. “We do not know about our families but are helping in the rescue operations . Once this work is over, we will check the whereabouts of our family,” said one of them, oblivious of his blood-soaked clothes.

On Twitter, a non-desi follower with far too much faith in my abilities asked, “Why does this keep happening to Mumbai?” I am definitely no expert; I’m not even Indian by anything other than heart, genotype and phenotype. Continue reading

A Well-Educated Snob Gets on a New York Train…

Q: When is it all right to ask someone, “Do you know what schools I went to?”

A: Never. You just negated any glory you may have been seeking when you left that preposition chilling at the end of your question.

B: Never. What kind of an insecure kundi does that?

C: If– and only if– you randomly stumble upon a celebratory gathering where such information is relevant…like at Gold Cup, where different tents are hosted by different institutions of higher learning. Trust me, the UC tent was much nicer than the jokes hosted by Bates or Rollins.

D: Okay, one more: when you run into another alum who is temporarily unaware of what you both have in common. For example, if I ever see someone getting in a car festooned with both UC Davis and GW stickers (not bloody likely), I reserve the right to ask “Guess where I went to school?” in an effusive and ebullient manner, because those are the two places I have degrees from, too! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

And with that admission of my middling alma maters, I have outed myself as someone who has no right to brag about her academic achievements. Good thing I live in swampy, sleepy old D.C. and not New York, where train conductors are sometimes interrogated by outraged ticket-holders who are really, really invested in where they paid for a degree.

I’m referring to the strange case of Hermon K. Raju, erstwhile Metro North straphanger and last week’s favorite viral-panni-on-tape. Raju was riding a Metro North train when other passengers allegedly complained about her loud cell phone conversation, which was purportedly profane. A conductor warned Raju about her disruptive language and the young woman exploded, defending her right to a “private conversation” while asking “Do you know how educated I am?” Raju also dared the rail employee to stop the train and asked for a refund before threatening that she would never ride Metro North again. To her credit, the Metro North employee remained calm despite the torrent of education-fu aimed her way. Raju, on the other hand…well, she was being taped surreptitiously on an iPhone.

Let’s get two things straight, right now.

One. I HATE people who yammer on their phones on public transportation. Here in D.C. no matter which subway car or bus I board, there’s always some idiot yelling, “What? I can’t hear you. Hold on, what?” Newsflash, dick. They can’t hear you because you are on a train. Yet WE can all hear you because we’re trapped on said train along with your entitled, self-centered, oblivious ass. Talking on the train is one of my biggest urban pet peeves. Please baby Jesus and Saint Anthony, prevent cell phone conversations from ever being allowed on airplanes. My cross-country treks home are already too infrequent and barely tolerable as they are; a cabin full of selfish morons discussing nothing important on their iPhones sounds like the third layer of hell. Continue reading

Dharun Ravi is Charged with a Hate Crime

Today, a New Jersey grand jury indicted Dharun Ravi with hate crime charges. Ravi was a freshman at Rutgers University when he streamed footage of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, becoming intimate with another man on September 19, 2010. Tragically, on September 22, Clementi committed suicide by leaping from the George Washington Bridge.

If he is convicted, Ravi could receive five to ten years in prison for invading his roommate’s privacy and attempting to cover up his actions– the 19-year old deleted a tweet that invited people to watch Clementi a second time and did other desperate things:

In addition, prosecutors accuse Ravi of attempting to mislead the investigation, deleting text messages and Twitter posts, and trying to persuade witnesses not to testify against him. He is charged with evidence and witness tampering, and hindering prosecution. [The Record]

According to ABC news, “Ravi filmed Clementi with the purpose of intimidating him” for being attracted to other men: Continue reading

Up to Rushdie’s Standards


The Sugi put me in a literary mood, so when I spotted this on Page Six of my dead-tree edition of the NYP, I had to share it with you:

Salman Rushdie knows his way around the jet set as well as he does the literary world. Now, he’s found a way to fuse both interests by selecting books for guest rooms at Andre Balazs’ Standard Hotel. According to sources, the “Satanic Verses” author is in the process of selecting 10 “American classics,” which will be in Standard rooms during the PEN World Voices Festival April 25 to May 1. The titles, being provided by Housing Works, have yet to be confirmed. We wonder what Rushdie would suggest taking to read in the Boom Boom Room?

What, indeed. I’m not the resident Rushdie-phanatic…I believe that was Manish, but I’m curious about what he’ll select to decorate the rooms of enlighten the patrons of the Standard. Continue reading