Thursday, February the 23rd, 2006

Alright people, it so happens that my life has (and I have) been sort of bleh for a while now. Apart from a constant daily grind that I’m ambivalent about, I’ve also been feeling remarkably uncreative. I’ve been sleeping oddly (2–3 days without sleep, followed by a day or so entirely sleeping); and spending a good chunk of my waking moments salivating over my new not-yet-shipped computer hasn’t helped either.

Somewhere along the line (my hiatus coupled with only being active online at Mac forums), my site’s primary traffic base has shifted (so says google analytics) from being 9/10 chic women to 10/10 Mac geeks (6/10 UNIXish + 4/10 Artsy).

I am not particularly pleased by that, but I’m not in a capacity or frame of mind to reverse the trend either. Which, I must admit, sucks.

But I figure I might as well kick up some uproar by violating confidence and posting some recent communication. I’m going to snip all informative regions, highlight the sections I found most controversial, and sit back and watch the fun. I am not even going to get into whether I agree or not with the mailer.

From an e-mail to me:

I have actually moved-on to making small bags of money (more like pouches than bags I think) at a job that seems to be less real than grad school.

… snip …

The plan is to try some totally different field for a little while, to see how I like it compared to good old engineering.

… snip …

It looks like you’re getting good action down there with junior girls and what not. Desi chicks aren’t really top drawer stuff. As discussed, a downhill slope from our VM days. And everyone seems to be married/hooked up already. I wonder if the old cliche about the best one being already taken is true.

… snip …

And I just have to add this for effect. Two (and I’m limiting it to two) adjectives that women back home have brought up when the conversation steered toward women here are: Phirangi[1] slut and Caucasian bimbo. In light of what the mailer above had to say, how am I to intepret this malevolence?


[1] I don’t know Hindi, so I don’t know what phirangi means. I’ve just assumed it to be foreign. I tend to assume a lot.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Stoking the fire” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

12 Responses to “Stoking the fire”

  1. anonymiss says:

    I don’t want to get into this one either.

    And phirangi DOES mean foreign. I’m sure you can understand at least SOME Hindi, being Indian and all.

  2. pundit says:

    But I’d… like you to? :)

    And actually, I was forced to learn some Hindi as I needed to pass exams and such for 10 or so years. But I’m from Madras, and that (and the crowd I hung out with I suppose) didn’t give me an opportunity to ever use it. My limited knowledge is quite broken I’m afraid.

    The deeper-darker tale here is that I wasn’t good at it at all, and I have quite the aversion to things that don’t come easily to me.

    Now I wonder why I go about admitting things like that.

  3. pUl| says:

    I don’t intend to start a debate on whether knowing Hindi is useful etc., but IMHO, given a choice between Hindi and Tamil, I would most certainly pick the former, period.

    “adjectives that women back home have brought up…”

    Most derogatory if I may say so. There’s this thing I’ve realized after a (sadly) long long time – It makes most sense to judge people individually than group them into categories and conveniently albeit most inaccurately address the lot.

  4. pundit says:

    I never said Tamil was more useful. I didn’t even mention Tamil at all. I just said I didn’t get the chance or need to use Hindi.

    And it’s not up for debate; I firmly believe languages are just a means to convey ideas, and knowledge of one is plenty.

    (Now here’s where some zealot will chime in, “but Swahili poetry, you don’t know what you’re missing”. Do I look like I care? Besides, how good could it really be?)

    And those comments were made in jest, and I’m throwing everything in here out of context. I was just poking for a hidden thread. Either way, I say this often, “it’s just a lot more fun to generalise”. And that is what I do, as do most people.

  5. J says:

    hmm… now let’s hear about the stuff that don’t come very easily to you.

  6. anita says:

    i had never heard the word phirangi (at least, not that i can remember), but i’m more confused by what “top drawer stuff” means…

  7. pundit says:

    J: I really thought long and hard about it, and it began to scare me how much I just shut-out because I know it’ll take some work on my part. I need some time to get myself to open up and start talking about these things.

  8. pundit says:

    anita: Neither had I; that was my first experience with word. As for top drawer, here’s the definition. Make of it what you will, I’m not going there. :)

    top drawer

    Of the highest quality, importance, or rank, as in The musicians in this pick-up orchestra were top drawer. It probably alludes to the uppermost drawer in a bureau or chest, where the most valuable objects (such as jewelry) are usually kept. [c. 1900]

  9. niyati says:

    u didn’t know firangi!?!…hmm…i thought all history books resounded with the firangi desh choro andolan details…most bollywood movies (pertaining to the specific period) definitely do!

    desh= country, choro=leave, andolan= movement :)

    malevolent description … yeah…considering we decided someone with a nice boring daughter to dispose off would think of/use the phrase

    and me .. i’m just a wee bit envious of the slut..she probably has a life!

  10. bhavya says:

    aha! so girls from VM are appreciated! (interesting….even if only in comparison to ‘desi chicks’)

  11. pundit says:

    niyati: I think the textbooks we were (or at least I was) exposed to were sort of language-agnosticized. The other words sound more familiar though :). I have to admit I suck at languages in general, and a good chunk of this is probably just repressed memory.

    And you know what?, I never once assumed the wee-bit-envious might stem out of that. I was being typical male-like and chalking some of these adjectives being thrown out as some sort of misplaced possessiveness toward me. You know, a typical male-like “Oh, see, she really likes me so she says mean things when I mention firangi women”.

    You could see how that might have worked out in my brain.

  12. pundit says:

    bhavya: I can quite honestly tell you ‘appreciated’ is a bit of an understatement. More importantly, it was implied in an absolute sense and not in comparison with ‘desi chicks’.

    Every single time I meet up with people from school (after what, 7–8 years?), this comes up almost immediately in the conversation. It soon breaks-off into a tangential discussion on whether we were more impressionable youth then, or whether our thoughts on the issue really were untainted.

1 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.