This is Not a Dev Patel Movie

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A preemptive South Asian diaspora confessional

I will go to Mumbai this summer and I will eventually write about it. Presuming all amateur diasporic literature of this era (the stuff of online zines, obscure journals, narcissistic blog posts and, even worse, shitty Instagram poetry) abide by the same semantics, structures and themes, I will attempt to exhaust them, right here, right now:

Monsoon, marigolds. My mother’s feet. The smell of the damp earth of my motherland. Motherland again.

Gulab jamun or jalebi. The sun beating down on me. Aunties have oppressed me by recommending Fair and Lovely. I love my brown skin, the color of the earth. Did I mention the earth, especially when it is damp?

The smell of fried pakoras, the taste of chai with elaichi. Chai again. Confusion.

Home. Home?

My father is distant and overworked. My aunt recalls Partition. The Ganges. I feel bad about the plight of a particular religious minority and I have inherited their trauma.

Motorcycle. Sari. Sufi music. Sufi poetry. God is one and we are all the same. My childhood in the States. Rickshaw. Bollywood music. Bollywood is corny. Bollywood is my childhood. I love or hate Bollywood, and I will make it known.

Dancing. Poverty. Photos.

Anger towards white people wearing bindis and taking pictures of poor people. Inability to realize that I actively benefit from the continual subjugation of poor people as a privileged guest in this country, and when I go home, I really won’t do anything to help poor people there or abroad.

My studies. Laundry. Kites. Taj Mahal. Sweating in my kurta.

Obligatory expression of disdain for Eurocentric beauty standards. Celebration of body hair.

Feminism. The British. Marriage. My relatives ask, when will I get married? Reminiscent idealization of an ain’t shit former lover. +10 if they are not South Asian. +5 if they are South Asian, but not Indian, or from whatever my region of India is. +15 if they are a different religion. Sadness. Nostalgia. Perspective.

The phrase, “a billion people”. A buffalo in the street. My grandmother’s wrinkles. Bright colors and loud noises. Firecrackers. Temple. Yoga appropriation.

Over simplification of all Indian people. They are happy. My people. A smiling old person or young child living in a slum. Connection. Chappal. Airplane. Dosa. Identity.

Dupatta flying in the breeze.

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1 Comment

  1. This was pretty amusing. Kind of true that the vast majority of Abcd and bbcds who visit India write this rubbish on their blogs.

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