Friday, June 09, 2006

BlondBoys and Indians

Reproducing conversations is fun. Here's one of the stranger ones that I've been part of:

Time: last Tuesday (oh wait, that was the much hyped 666 right?)

Venue: A little place on Sunset with cheap-ass margaritas and tacos

Occasion: An industry networking mixer organized by a casting agency in LA to bring together actors/actresses, casting directors and producers

Oh wait, what the hell are you doing there then, TM? Well, I was the fly on the wall, just tagging along with E-M who was there to do some actual networking. Though I was under strict instructions to pretend that I'm an actress if approached by any casting director type (Which is kinda oxymoronic if you think about it).

So anyway on to conversation. I'm in the line for the bathroom, and the line happens to be unisex and is snaking around the bar (all those cheap-ass margaritas). In front of me is a blond dude with a helmet of hair who's had one drink too many. Acting in the hallowed tradition of bathroom line small talk he turns to me and goes:

Blond Dude (BD): You must be Indian right?

TM: Wow, you're very perceptive. Usually I get called Mexican.

BD: Naaaa, you're not Mexican. Mexican girls are more like....(and here he wiggles his body as if to enact a sleazy dance move). You've got Indian written all over your face.

TM: (I ignore the sleazy allusion and nod my head)

BD: You've got a great smile, you'd have to be Indian.

TM: (I nod again, getting fidgety with increasing desperation to pee)

(Hot girl passes by)

BD (bringing his face close to my ear): She's hot, but her tits are small.

TM (weirdo alert up to level yellow): Yeah, she's very pretty.

BD (changing tack): Hey listen, I think I'm in love with this one Indian girl I met last weekend.

TM: Oh, good for you.

BD: Yeah, I figured, even if I have to smack her ass or something, I'd go ahead and do it, 'cause I really dig her.

TM (eyebrows arched up, weirdo alert up to level orange): Sure.

BD: Hey, so let me ask you, so when you are with someone, and you're having sex, do you like to be smacked in the ass?

TM (red alert going off like crazy in my mind): Dude, I really need to pee.

Just then, one of the bathroom doors opened, and BD, being first in line went in, leaving me to figure out what the hell I just heard. Actually, what I really wanted to do was take my mind off the mental imagery this had produced.

As I turned to my right, I noticed the boy right behind me in the line. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.

TM: You're beautiful.

Gorgeous Boy: Excuse me?

TM: You're so beautiful. I just had to say it.

GB (blushing furiously): Oh thank you.

Other bathroom door opens, and I walk in, pleased to have replaced ass-smacking thoughts with pretty boy thoughts.

The rest of the evening was nice enough. The place was swarming with actors and actresses with nary a producer or casting director in sight. If only trapping the fat cats were so easy. But the actors were having a merry time all by themselves, trading stories about nasty managers and cocaine habits of Hollywood megastars.

I met an actor who was a trained classical cellist who had gone backpacking aroud South-east Asia after struggling in Hollywood for many years. After a year and a half of backpacking, he had returned, to give Hollywood fame and fortune another shot. The acting bug is a hard one to shake off. He joked about how you can tell that there was no producer or casting director in the room because everyone was so good-looking!

After the networking party, E-M and I decided to visit our friend Em, and turned up unannouced at his apartment. Turns out he was in the shower. Without the patience to wait, or the inclination to turn back, E-M and I broke into his house by removing a window panel (yeah, hide those valuables of yours the next time I come visiting).

We merrily jumped in, helped ourselves to cake and soda from the fridge, and slumped on the sofa to watch TV. Em, having figured out that two intruders were watching "Dr. 90210" in his house, sensibly retrieved his clothes from the other room. He then joined us, as we watched in amazement as perfectly attractive looking women were willing to undergo painful and potentially dangerous surgeries just to look closer to an imaginary ideal. The delusional and their money are easily parted.

P.S.: I apparently look so unlike Indians (as if there is an archetypal Indian), that many Indians cannot tell if I'm Indian or not. I've been mistaken by Indians for Mexican or Malaysian, leading to the hilarious situation where a couple of boys kept saying nasty stuff about people (including me and my friend) right next to me assuming I couldn't understand them :)!

In my Mexican immigrant dominated neighbourhood I fit right in, and every day I have to reply to "Ola, como estas" with a silly smile. The Mexican assistant at my grocery store insisted that I cannot be Indian - "Oh no, no, you not Indian, you look Mexican". To make matters even more confusing, I run after every peripatetic Mexican street vendor for tacos, tamale or fresh fruit, as I did this morning and managed to score some good tamales and champurrado.

So it is always a pleasant surprise when someone does manage to get it right, however, quite frequently these are the Curry Kings a la the gay Curry Queens. Which means they have an inordinate interest bordering on fetish for Indian women to begin with. Which I find amusing, and a little annoying. I've often told friends that during my singledom, the phrase "I love Indian food" and "Indian is a fascinating country" from a man trying to interest me romantically used to send alarm bells ringing in my mind. Little did I know I would find such a specimen lurking where I least expected, as a fellow sufferer in the bathroom line!!


Anonymous Aka said...

EDvery post you write makes me want to immigrate to US!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Old Spice said...

Sounds hysterical - the bathroom line guy, I mean. A lot of guys are unsure of how to act around "babes" (in Hindustan Times lingo), so decide just to be as outrageous as possible from the outset. (I find I can be like this as well, especially after having downed a few. I recoil in horror at what I apparently said the next morning, of course, but making insinuations about people who've just had braces put on their teeth can be hard to live down.)

And I've been called Arab, Iranian, Puerto Rican and Iraqi in the recent past. It happens.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Vijayeta said...

LOL! It must've been soooo weird having that conversation, wanting him to shut up and also wondering where all this was headed to. And that too in a room full of actors, aspiring actors and wannabes. If you dont keep your sense-of-humor handy, soirees like this can be very very taxing on non-actor type people!
Thank God for Gorgeous Boy! Eye Candy is always a respite and a saviour.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Grey Shades said...

Great writing there TM. I actually visualised almost every line of what you've written there (including the, excuse me, certain smacking :). Once when I was in the US, this drunk gal came up to me one one of our weekend pub hoppings and engaged me in a deep conversation about India and how different Indians living in the US are from the ones in India. I mean, I saw my country in a new light that day!

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding archetypical Indian face, I thought the young girl in "Spanglish" or the lead singer in "Pussycat dolls" have typical Indian look. Well, their head shape in fact belong to opposite ends. The young girl has "round" head and lead singer has "long" head. So I don't think the head shape makes any difference. I think it has more to do with the skin tone and also something in their face that I am not able to figure out.

Well, Bengalis do have a bit of East Asian look. And I suppose this look could be found in both Mexicans(because of their native American ancestry) and Malaysians who are obivously East Asians.

I think archetypical Indian look is basically south Indian.

12:05 AM  
Blogger AB said...

Ha ha I liked the part where you told the beautiful guy he was beautiful. It must feel nice to make a guy blush;)

3:32 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Albert, am I really culpable in the Indian brain drain :)?

Graduate, yes it was hysterical and a hoot! To be honest, I don't think he was hitting on me, there's are certain persons who've managed to normalize the outrageous with effortless ease.

Vij, that's exactly what it was, morbid curiosity as to where this would end up :). Actually it can be fun being around actors, simply because they are supremely self-indulgent and fuss and preen like no other.

Grey Shades, I've had that too. A Mexican-American girl who'd never visited India educating me all about how India is really like. The mind boggles!

9:55 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Anonymous, repeat after me: There is no archetypal Indian face. Not South Indian, not North Indian, not North-east Indian, none at all.

The country is extremely diverse, and a lot of this diversity cannot even be attributed to in-migration, but to diversity within the indigenous population.

Even "South Indian" is a meaningless category, because there is immense diversity within the South Indian population as well.

And since I seem to be in a mood to nitpick, here goes:

Malaysia is a diverse country, there is no archetypal Malaysian face. There is great difference in the looks of the ethnic Malay, Chinese and Indian populations.

Mexico too is a fairly diverse nation, with indigenous population, mestizos, and people of European origin. There's no "Mexican look" either, and the matter is a contentious one for many Mexicans.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take it like this. You have lived all your life in India. As a result you can't tell a Chinese from Korean and Korean from Japanese. Similarly, you can't tell a Kenyan from a Zimbabwean or from an Angolan. However, in India if you are a Bengali you can tell Bengali for others or if you are a Malayali you can tell a Malayali from others. Similarly people in the US can tell themselves from Mexicans, Malaysians and Indians. Are you sure by Indian he meant "Native American" or "East Indian"?

11:34 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Anonymous, honestly, you've lost me there, and I have no idea what your point is. You are conflating nationality with a homogenous ethnic "look".

There is no "American look". America is a very, very ethnically diverse nation. It is highly unlikely that Americans are able to tell themselves apart from Mexicans, Malaysians and Indians simply on the basis of appearance (the clothes and accent are the usual giveaways, but even those are not very reliable these days).

And he did correctly identify me as Indian, not Native American.

8:58 PM  
Blogger K said...

Hollywood networking paty - Dang!
Yes - but there can a archtypal 'Bong' face, a archetypal 'Mallu' face yada yada - archetypal Indian face - near impossible - but it is possible to tell that someone is from the subcontinent usually. I could do that in my four days in Boston. I don't know, it just happens between desis. But how Blonde Dude got it I don't know - maybe those Margarita's! They do play with your brain cells y'know!

12:51 AM  
Blogger said...

Nirad Cjhoudhury had a beautiful description of the several archetypes of bengali beauty, the long el greco madonna among the baidyas, the round face durga, I forget the details. I read all the good stuff a longfg time ago. hothaat monay holo, in the unknown Indian , of course...

12:04 PM  
Blogger Cheery Cynic said...

Oh captain my captain!!!! :p (tell me you know what I am referring to!!!!)

12:27 PM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

i think you should thank your lucky stars. i thought the conversation infinitely more interesting than it could have been in, say, Patel Nagar with the guy next to you imploring: "Can i make frenship with you?" ;-)

1:32 AM  
Blogger swar said...

i recently met an indian artist settled in germany for the past 25 years. he told me how during his early years in the country many germans he met couldn't believe he was an indian because (according to them) he was too tall and big to be an indian. heh.

conversations with actors or for that matter any artist are delicious.

5:27 AM  
Blogger that girl in pink said...

hey TM!
first time here, via vij's blog.
'allo vij!

who knew a bathroom line could be so interesting?! i love how you made beautiful boy squirm. :)

will be back for more. ta!

5:31 AM  
Blogger eeesh! said...


been real long.

as you might have noticed I have stopped blogging..well, I've actually dropped out of college and become an AD on a full blown bollywood film.. remember my internship in bombay?? never went back home!

gimme your email and will write more..

hope all's well.

and nice post!

8:20 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

K, yes desis are usually pretty good at ferreting each other out. Especially since when two desis pass each other, they give each other the stare down. And I think Blond Dude is the sort of hipster who's really keen to run into Indians.

AB, yes lovely men are even lovelier when they blush!

Gypsy, thanks for the reference. Now I must look up "The Unknown Indian", because I've only read NCC in Bangla.

Cheery, I'll disappoint you and say no. I did look it up, and found that it refers to a Walt Whitman poem. Would you believe it, Whitman's the only New England poet I've never read? Emerson, Dickinson, Poe, Frost, all, but Whitman, no.

12:59 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Bontellis, disappointed as I am to agree with you, I just have to. Yes, random conversations with strangers are much more interesting in LA than back home.

Bem, have you seen Germans? For Germans to consider him big and tall, he'd have to be a giant!! Yes artists make great travel companions.

Girl in Pink, welcome! Glad you found this interesting. Hope to see more of you.

Eeeesh, mon amie, where have you been? Do write to me at Please, please write to me, we've so much to catch up with. And congratulations, this is such a fabulous opportunity!!

1:04 PM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

why this maun vrat??

5:39 AM  
Blogger Swathi said...

interesting, i've been reading ur blog for sometime now but guess this is my first comment

3:04 AM  
Blogger eve's lungs said...

Well next time you can tell the Mexicans Salaam Namaste unless you want to fade comfortably into the background ! Lovely post there ..

3:10 AM  
Blogger 4WD said...

I really want to know what gorgeous boy will be posting about :)

12:50 AM  
Blogger Urmea said...

Stop navel-gazing and post, I say!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

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10:08 AM  
Blogger Janefield said...

thoroughly enjoyed this convo and its venue!!! good one, bring on more :D

3:44 AM  
Anonymous link said...

It won't work in reality, that's exactly what I consider.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous mamada said...

Pretty helpful info, lots of thanks for this article.

12:14 PM  

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