Saturday, March 12, 2005

Indian stories

I once tried to read Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. I never knew it was possible to write so many words about shoe-making. It's a huge bible-sized thing which I gave up on about one third of the way through.

Better luck was had with Meera Syal. Her Life's not all ha ha hee hee was funny and sad, sort of a Hindi merger between Sex and the City and Bridget Jones' Diary.

It was to be expected though, knowing that she's worked on Goodness Gracious Me. Anyone who has seen that skit where a crowd of drunken Indian diners go to an English restaurant and demand "the blandest thing you've got" and "loads of chips" could only expect good things from her.

At the moment I'm really enjoying Q and A, a first novel by Vika Swarup. You can't accuse the guy of having a frighteningly large vocabulary, he sure does tell a good story. It's about an uneducated young Indian man with an unusual name - Rama Mohammed Thomas. He unexpectedly answers all 12 questions correctly in TV quiz show, but the TV guys are reluctant to award him the one billion rupee prize, so they arrest him for cheating instead. So to show how he knew all the answers, he tells the story behind each one.

It seems to me that Indian stories are so much less depressing than Chinese stories. Except for the film Fire - or was it Earth? The one set during the time of the Partition.


EB said...

Seen that skit too and Meera Syal is funny in the Kumars.

Ista said...

Yes, it was 'Earth' with Aamir Khan - very un-Bollywood like and quite refreshing in a depressing way.

Meera Syal is great and that restaurant scene is the highlight of Goodness Gracious Me. ;)

Desiree said...

My other favourite Goodness Gracious Me skits were:
1) the one where the gay Indian boy comes out of the closet and brings his boyfriend home, only for his parents complain, "We don't mind you being gay, but why couldn't you have brought a nice Indian boy home?";
2) the one where the family are being taught how to look after their pet sacred cow (e.g. teaching it to fetch a stick, curling up on the couch with it and a good book, etc).
Quite stupendously ridiculous!
Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" is a fav of mine - it tells the story of 1,001 children born within the first hour after midnight on the day India declared it's independance from Great Britain. It's a huge sweeping tapestry, don't try to work out all the details, just go along for the ride.

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