Indians – Fact or Fiction?

I was chatting with another Indian writer on Twitter about growing up in America, trying to fit in, and the like and cracking up about the stereotypes out there about us. Every group has them, which got me thinking – what a perfect blog post



Shekhar Kapur’s Devi – badass enough to help bust some myths

The following is my handy-dandy guide, put together with the help of my friends – an utterly crazy lot, so don’t say I didn’t warn you – to dealing with the Indian in your life:

1. We eat meat. Sure, some of us don’t, but a shit ton of us do. Take my brother for example – die hard meat eater. I’m almost certain that if he could, he would survive on a diet of steak, and steak alone, all day every day.

2. We know how to speak English, and without an Apoo accent. Of course, we can all do the Apoo accent, with the requisite head shake, but that’s to make each other laugh, not because we really speak that way.

3. We don’t all worship cows but seriously, cows are kind of amazing – so maybe we should. Have you ever seen their eyes up close? Uh mah gawd, they have some eyelashes bitches would kill for.

4. We can probably drink you under the table – have you been to one of our weddings? Do not test us.

5. We’re not all Indians, but because we want to really fuck with you, we all kind of look the same. Don’t worry, I suck at this one, too. I couldn’t tell a Bangladeshi from an Indian from a Pakastani if I tried. I’m getting better with my Guyanese peeps, but that’s probably because they’ve yelled at me so many times for mistaking them for Indian that I’ve kinda put some effort into the nuances of the distinction. Which is all to say, I don’t really care, but other folks do and since I’m supposed to be helping you handle the Indian in your life, just remember, there’s a chance that Indian isn’t an Indian at all.

6. We don’t know every Indian, so if you’re tempted to mention your friend Priya in DC, don’t bother. I can guarantee we don’t know her. That’s not to say we don’t know Priya in DC, because we do since every tenth Indian girl is either named Priya or Priyanka, we just don’t know your Priya, so yeah, don’t mention her.

7. We’re not all doctors or engineers, we don’t own the convenience store down the block, nor do we know the owners, and sorry, but we can’t all fix your computers, although I do know this guy Ravi at TekServe who has worked wonders on my laptop…

8. We don’t speak Hindu. No one in the entire world speaks Hindu. Sit with that one for a second.

9. We’re not all Patels. Don’t get me wrong, there are Patels every fucking time you turn around, but I swear, not all of us are Patels.

10. We don’t know how to make roti. Most of us can’t even cook Indian food. Some of us don’t even eat it. Those are the stupid ones, of course, but regardless, they exist.

And there you have it – it’s by no means exhaustive, but shit, it’s a start.

Now go forth and mingle with an Indian, just don’t ask us about Bollywood.


19 thoughts on “Indians – Fact or Fiction?

  1. Interestingly enough I loved my local Indian today XD My boss speaks Gujarati, claims he don’t speak a lick of Hindi XD My uncle speaks Bengali, totally different. Im really trying to love my far away Indian, but I think he got a restraining order against me XD

    • oh good one – I totally forgot about the yoga assumption, which happens all the time. People are shocked that I don’t do yoga and I’m always like, “uh yeah, no. but if you want to go to the 1pm kickboxing class, I’ll see you there.”

  2. Nice one 🙂 I write Indian Steampunk (not that I am Indian and I don’t speak Hindi – I saw what you did there) but I do have Indian beta-readers to make sure I don’t do anything stupid.

    • Thank you very much – for the kind words on the post and for picking up on the Hindu thing. It’s almost as brilliant as being asked whether I speak Indian. Now onto your work and Indian Steampunk…I’m totally intrigued.

      • Thanks for asking 🙂 My main series is about an Anglo-Indian Maliha Anderson (Brahmin mother, Scottish engineer father). I started out with the intention of just writing murder mysteries – but the characters had other plans. I’d say the stories are unclassifiable – murder mysteries with action, slow-burn romance, espionage, sex, violence and characters that will make you scream at them (I know this because that’s the feedback I get).

        Mixed in with that you’ve got themes of racism, sexism, gender issues, religious bigotry and all the other popular prejudices.

        And all in a steampunk world which is almost identical to our world except that in 1843 Sir Michael Faraday demonstrated his Principle for the Partial Nullification of Gravity – from which point everything is alternate history.

        I’ve written a lot of books in this setting and there are many more coming. The Maliha Anderson stories are the “flagship” series set 1908/1909. There’s the “Frozen Beauty” series which is a bit like a TV series (think Firefly/Serenity) also set in India in 1909. The “Harriet and Khuwelsa Edgbaston” series (I know, it’s a bit of a mouthful) which is set in East Africa in 1896. I’ve just completed a romance called Broken Vows which is a pre-side-quel to the Maliha books set in 1857 (box of tissues required).

        You can get to all my books from here:

    • Girl, I couldn’t even tell you. Had to Google that shit and still don’t know. I’m thinking it’s Sanskrit but also saw one blurb calling it a Hindu greeting, which still allows for the Sanskrit origins, but this is all way more info than you expected from your most excellent joke. Glad you and the wife loved it – it was even more fun to write.

  3. Love #7– I’m constantly trying to point out writers and film makers and actors (plus all the Indians I worked with in India and China). People do love to stereotype, though, at least to get a point of reference for cultures they’re otherwise utterly ignorant about. Not that you hadn’t already thought of that.
    #8 cracks my arse up
    #10– an auntie from my Hindu (not Hindi) classes invited me to her place to make roti. Bloody L I love making those things– eating them even more!
    Cheers, girl.

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