Fairmont Preparatory Academy

How to write about India: A Satire

Please note that piece is intended to be a satire. As an Indian-American, I am writing to bring light to how India is portrayed in writing and popular media.

Always use India as the virgin body of your spiritual desires. You are a western wanderer yearning to break free and as is India, yearning to be heard through the melodious humdrum of your thoughts on paper. Serve her well as you pen words like “spiritual,” “ colorful,” “ Bollywood,” “call centers” and “ tribal” in your diary of discovery. They are, to you and your intellectual oligarchs, the ‘spiritual ones’: sirens and muses who will guide your soul through its bare-footed journey across the polluted streets.

Never depict Indians at work or speaking fluent English. They may only be seen speaking English if they are working at a call center, serving the British or the American. Make sure you make their accent as thick as possible and ensure that they are doing the sideways head nod as if to bow down to Western culture.

Food is important. It signifies their sophistication, culture, years of practice, medicinal benefits, and history. And what better way to summarize all of this to the naked western eye than to abbreviate it? “Curry,” say “Curry.” To Indians, it is only a vague word to represent any dish with meat or vegetables, but they have not been able to look into its true meaning like you, the Westerner.

To you, curry is an acronym for ‘cures unwanted rackety ruptures of yours’. C-U-R-R-Y, what a beautiful name with a beautiful spelling. Now, to impress a bit further, add some information on what type of spices are being used. I would recommend turmeric or ginger to seem like the cultural connoisseur you were raised to be.

Now for geography. Nothing to worry about here. It is hot and there is too much pollution. The streets are littered and beggars are lined up across the street. People defecate in the open and there is a general stench of urine. Now, you must mention that to be loyal to you readers, but also add how much you are blind to the stench due to the overpowering sense of ‘mokshaaa’. You are too engulfed in your sense of dharmic duty to care about the physical world, so showcase that to your decibels. To them, you are a spiritual Columbus of sorts. You must pillage and ponder for your eager audience, so please do so!

Throw in some political commentary about India while you’re there. Mention how she is a British widow and how Gandhi was the peaceful protest guy. Then immediately jump to corruption and demonetization. Then jump back to cultural saffronization. Then jump, yet again, to policies for women. Contrast women’s rights in India to that of the West. Then jump to something about Kashmir and jump back to how there are so many languages in India. Then mention local religious conflicts and empathize with either one, but do not offend either one. You are not there to straighten the heathen, you are there to depict them in all their glory.

Love is also quite important. Now please pay attention. If you have two Indians in your love-story, one of them must hate the marriage. The marriage absolutely must be arranged against their will and the female must give up her previous love to be with her new, aristocratic husband. There must be some physical abuse, but not too much: please remember that Western folk are soft-hearted and cannot be exposed to too much violence at a time. On the other hand, if one of your characters is Western, make him/her a doctor, businessperson, or a profession for the educated wealthy.

After you are done building the Westerner’s credibility, maybe even with some Bollywood music, immediately contrast him or her with the misery faced by their soon-to-be Indian life partner. What happens in between the love-story is not really all that important. In the end, make sure you talk about how important it is for love to be blind and for two souls to connect, just as yours did with India.