Tuesday, July 12, 2005

One party, two nations, a horny man (another missing) and several women

Busy, busy weekend. It started off with a party in Akis' place on Friday night. Now Akis was the president of the Greek students association at my university for a while and was always very generous about throwing parties at his house. We've attended parties at his house where there seemed to be almost 150 guests, only a fraction personally known to Akis. I think he and his roommates learnt their lessons from those wild days (the house getting royally trashed!) and decided to restrict the number of guests by passing out personal invitations only (no mass invites through mailing lists).

So off we went, the usual suspects, me, S, Suze, Soto, E-M and Angel man. We arrived, walked around a bit, got ourselves drinks and then after a while Suze, E-M and I settled into gossip mode. E-M said that she thought the other Greeks at the party were rather snooty and stand-offish and she wondered if they were like this because all of them were stinking rich. She said that she had encountered such behaviour back home only among the rich spoilt brats. I told her that I was amazed that she had faced such behaviour as well, since S and I always wondered if we were at the receiving end of such cold shouldering because I didn't speak Greek and S was excluded by association. Turns out they were just plain clique-y and didn't really care to accomodate newcomers to their groups. And none of them were rich, very middle class like the rest of us.

Of course, such behaviour was typical of most Indian students at the university as well, where tight-knit, exclusive groups were formed on the basis of language and nationality and the more cosmopolitan types were excluded. For such Indians and Greeks, you either have only Indian or only Greek friends, or you are the oddities that they'd rather not hang out with. Suze and I had operated on the margins of the Indian student population for years, by virtue of being non-engineers, not having exclusively Indian friends, and good heavens, not subscribing to the "good Indian girl" stereotype.

But then, I choose my friends based on mutual empathy and their ability to agree to agree and disagree with me in civil ways about everything under the sun. Language is important to me, only to the extent that at times I crave engaging conversations in Bangla and refined Hindi/Urdu. In the absence of such sophistication of ideas, a shared nationality is not exactly a very powerful binding agent. Let's just put it this way. Most of the Indian students here are those who would not be very close to me back home by virtue of a lack of a shared pool of ideas. Certainly I would not become interesting to them overnight simply because we happen to study at the same university now. Add to this all the points I listed above about them being clique-y, having exclusively Indian friends, and the men subscribing to some strange stereotypes about the women. And this is as true of the mainstream Indian students body as of the Greek, Chinese, Korean, Iranian, etc.

But I digress (and this topic deserves a full post of its own). We continued talking till E-M's friend Helen walked in, who is also an aspiring actress, and whom E-M wanted to introduce to Soto (and watch the sparks fly I guess). They were duly introduced, but there weren't any sparks. Accompanying Helen was an Indian-American boy who works as an assistant to James Cameron. He seemed like a fun guy to talk to, and he and Suze seemed to hit it off, but we thought that this is where E-M should be doing her networking and moved off to leave them to talk to each other. I talked to many others, including an Iranian boy who is an aspiring pop singer. He was very frustrated with the Iranian music companies based in LA, and felt that they operated like a mafia, controlling every aspect of the music business and wresting creative control away from the artist. As Emil said later when I told him about this, "Welcome to the real world!". But then, I think his task is a bit easier than E-M's. The Iranian music business is fairly small scale compared to Hollywood production budgets, and the record companies are far more likely to risk promoting a new artist. Don't be fooled by the Hollywood teen queens, most of them like Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan have been in this business for ages, and hence do not represent that much of a risk for the studios.

At some point, Suze wanted to go home, so we dropped her off, and on our way back we met the very drunk, ever smiling surfing buddy of S, Burak. Turns out he was too drunk to drive home, so we did another drop-off trip. When we returned to the party, S turned to me and said, "Have you seen Soto"? We planned to leave soon, and Soto had come to the party in our car, having parked his car near our apartment, almost a mile and a half away from the party venue. We looked around, Soto was nowhere to be found. Was he dozing off? We checked each room. Nope. Did he hook up with one of the girls, and was whisked away by her? Well, none of the girls he was chatting up were missing. So maybe not. Did he just wander off to the party down the street? We went up to the house, to be met by three drunk frat boys. "Hey did you see a Greek boy called Soto?". "Oh sure buddy, he just walked off that way." Trust me, we weren't gullible enough to swallow that, but Soto was well and truly missing at this point, and we wanted to cover all bases. Off we went in that direction and went round and round the neighbourhood, covering every little alley and corner. All the time frantically leaving messages on his phone. Not to be found.

We went back to the party house, wondering if he'd returned. When we arrived there, something else was going on. Another digression, since this requires a bit of background. See, S has a friend who shall be known as Triangle. That name has a history too. It was given by my dear friend Poorya, because of the incredible shape of Triangle's body. Broad sculpted shoulders that meander down to a taut waist. He does have a triangular body. Besides that body, his other obsession is his car, and almost every weekend is spent devising new ways to spruce the poor little thing up. And then there are the women. The boy is an unabashed player. So much so that Suze nicknamed him "slut machine". He may have had a steady girlfriend years ago, but for as long as I've known him, he's always flitted from one girl to another, at times hooking up with two or more simultaneously.

Now enter Anna. Vivacious, very pretty, smart, and very popular. And hopelessly attracted to Triangle. She's stuck to him for more than a year in the hopes of securing him in a monogamous relationship with her (why are women so deluded?) and in the process tolerated numerous hook-ups he's had with other women. He feels guilty about hurting her, and has tried to break away from her a number of times, but she's held on to him, doing everything she could to be with him. Even on the night of the party, just to be with him, she drove all the way from her house to his (perhaps a good 30 miles), picked him up, brought him to the party (another 30 miles) and would be dropping him back. All of us feel bad for Anna, but tear our hair over why she sticks to him, when she can have any man she wants (but then, she only wants him). E-M, furious at Triangle's cheating, walked up to Anna at a party and told her that he was cheating on her and she'd be better off without him. But then, the rest of us know that Anna is well aware of what Triangle is up to, but would rather bury her head in the sand than face up to facts. And pointing it out to her is only more painful to her.

So on the night of the party, as soon as they reached Triangle separated from Anna and went for the girls. And of course in no time, he made out with a few of them. In his mind, he's not accountable to Anna and sees no reason to exercise any discretion in her presence. But Anna was very hurt, and when we found her after coming back from our Soto search expedition, her eyes were red, and she'd obviously been crying. E-M was standing close to her and was fuming mad at Triangle's behaviour. As for Triangle, he was drunk, horny and cared two hoots. Somehow we managed to convince Triangle to leave with Anna, as she was not only upset but very tired as well (and had to pee, the toilet flush at the house wasn't working). And then, S and I resumed Soto search. After exhaustively combing the neighbourhood, we decided to check out the car, having decided it was impossible that he would have walked all the way to the car, unless someone gave him a ride. We went up to our apartment, and what do you know, Soto's car was gone!! So he had managed to find his way to his car. But how, and why??

We received the answer the next day, when he called to tell us his head had been screwed by a particularly stiff vodka drink. He had walked out to get some air, and had kept walking till he reached his car (in a drunk state!) sat inside, and slept for an hour. At some point he woke up, and drove off. Darn, no woman involved.

8 Comments:

Blogger Vishnupriya said...

god!!! too much drama for one party. but a pity mr soto was alone in the backseat of his car, or that might have been another story. ;)

oh, and a thing that ive noticed about indians is that they form a clique if they are very few, but if there are enough, then the bongs, southies, etc all form their own little sub-cliques. and whats really sad is how these guys diss the other cliques, and anyone else who doesnt understand their language openly amid much sniggering. like theyve done something to be proud of.

4:22 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Sly me, hoping for even more drama, as in Soto decamping with a woman from the party!

Yes, I have definitely noticed the sub-cliques at my university, which incidentally has the highest Indian student population in the US. It is more regional than linguistic though, there are the Gujjus from Gujarat, Gujjus from Bombay, Bombayites in general, Bangaloreans, North Indians, etc.

And of course they bitch about each other, fight along these lines for the Indian student body leadership, and generally do not interact with anyone beyond their circles.

The saddest bit though (and I want to blog about this) is the interaction between the men and women.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Heh Heh said...

I feel sad for Indians who hang out only with other Indians. They don't realise the fun they are missing out on. And they get offended when they see you with "others", making you feel as if you are betraying them or something.

3:57 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

@fingeek: Yes I've been at the receiving end of the "stare-down" as well. And somehow, the deal breaker with many Indians (not all) I've tried to befriend has been the fact that I have so many non-Indian friends.

I once met Indian two girls from my university in our local tram, and they seemed fun to get to know. We met again in a Starbucks with my friend Suze and then I invited them to a party (with a very mixed guest list). The girls were very uncomfortable, and left early.

Later, Suze and I met them at and Indian student association party, and they seemed almost unwilling to talk to us! I see them off and on, hanging out with only other Indians.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Apoplexy said...

Classical European liberalism is not equal to american liberal democracy..and he doesnt love the country in the"this is my country, right or wrong" way.And in fact that love has been changing( See more recent Z-net articles).
His expressedly calls himself a libertarian socialist, which can be construed as a version of anarchist thought.
As for the comic, sorry that you didnt get the joke.As for videos, he has said elsewhere why he does so many of them, notably with Dave Barsamian.He says, those who dont care to read must not be left out of the dialogue, but the brought into the "book circle" slowly.Hope that clarifies,mikra.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am new to your site and I like the way you write. As this matter is close to my heart, I couldnt help but hastily scribble a few lines-

I do agree that Indians tend to be cliquish, but I think this is fast changing. I have live and studied in Singapore (since my undergrad days)and have loads of non-Indian friends but my closest friends are still Indians........ literally spanning from Kashmir to Kerala. It is just common experiences and wave-lengths that has made it this way. And I or any of my girl friends are definitely not stereotypical in any way. Ofcourse there are tons of Indians I would stay away from. Just like there are tons of Chinese and Americans and French i wouldnt be able to mix with.

All other races and nationalities are equally cliquish, if not more. We tend to stand out more because of our sheer numbers.

If you see the racist and superiority complex infested behaviour of many of the non Asians (ofcourse there are exceptions) in Singapore, you would probably understand why I am peeved.


One problem i have with Indians is that they take great pleasure in finding faults with other Indians.

One must realise though that it is not an issue with Indians alone but with any race/nationality all over the world. A small town American from the south who has grown up with racial biases would not be easy to mix with just like I wouldnt be able to relate to a small town Indian girl who thinks girls who drink are sluts.

Having said that I certainly agree that Indians should make more of an effort to open up to other cultures.

11:43 PM  
Blogger aa said...

As I write this post—longhandOffice 2010in a spiral notebook—I’m 20,000 feet above eastern Washington, having Microsoft Office 2010just crossed above the Cascades on my return flight Microsoft wordto Chicago. I visited Seattle for the weekend to Office 2007and I have known each other for 20 years now. They Microsoft Officehad a lovely ceremony, and the trip in general was fantastic.Microsoft Office 2007In the 13 years since I left Seattle, I’ve Office 2007 keyvisited six or seven times, and I always return to wherever has Office 2007 downloadOffice 2007 Professionalbecome home with mixed feelings about the place. It Outlook 2010both alarms and pleases me to see howMicrosoft outlookthat once-familiar areas seem almost foreign. ForMicrosoft outlook 2010neighborhoods have changed, to the point Windows 7 as have cookie-cutter, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow nightclubs that cater to the shiny shirt crowd.

11:58 PM  
Blogger aa said...

As I write this post—longhandOffice 2010in a spiral notebook—I’m 20,000 feet above eastern Washington, having Microsoft Office 2010just crossed above the Cascades on my return flight Microsoft wordto Chicago. I visited Seattle for the weekend to Office 2007and I have known each other for 20 years now. They Microsoft Officehad a lovely ceremony, and the trip in general was fantastic.Microsoft Office 2007In the 13 years since I left Seattle, I’ve Office 2007 keyvisited six or seven times, and I always return to wherever has Office 2007 downloadOffice 2007 Professionalbecome home with mixed feelings about the place. It Outlook 2010both alarms and pleases me to see howMicrosoft outlookthat once-familiar areas seem almost foreign. ForMicrosoft outlook 2010neighborhoods have changed, to the point Windows 7 as have cookie-cutter, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow nightclubs that cater to the shiny shirt crowd.

12:02 AM  

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