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it started off as a nice story about a writer who also sells tea…but then he started talking about Indian literature in general.

And then, alas, entered Graham Chapman as the Colonel.

Colonel: Now, I’ve noticed a tendency for this program to get rather silly. Now I do my best to keep things moving along, but I’m not having things getting silly. Those two last sketches I did got very silly indeed, and that last one about the bed was even sillier. Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do…except perhaps my wife and some of her friends…oh yes and Captain Johnston. Come to think of it most people likes a good laugh more than I do. But that’s beside the point.

Future note to all journalists writing about India: If you dont want the Colonel to cut your article/broadcast, follow these guidelines for Not Being Silly. In other words, Do Not Say These Silly Things

“Hindi’s reach is lengthening. Although it is spoken by half of India’s 1 billion people, its writing is absent in the literary canon of India, which is dominated by exiles such as Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth.”

“Factual information, as well as fiction is increasingly sold in Hindi. The biggest-selling newspapers in the country are no longer English-language broadsheets but those printed in Hindi.”

Also, Do Not Quote Other People Saying Silly Things

“In 1997 Rushdie, who was born in Mumbai, declared that Indian writing in English was “proving to be a stronger and more important body of work” than writing in home-grown languages.””

OK, this post is getting silly now. Here’s the Colonel again.

Colonel: Now, let’s have a good clean healthy outdoor sketch. Get some air into your lungs. Ten, nine, eight and all that.


About Samit Basu

Novelist. Best known for fantasy and science fiction work. Most recently, The City Inside (Tordotcom)/Chosen Spirits (Simon and Schuster)


7 thoughts on “Silly

  1. he could’ve elaborated the tea seller’s story instead

    Posted by mayank | November 18, 2005, 6:05 am
  2. i wheel not bai this tobacconist. eet is skrached.

    Posted by gideon the gorilla | November 18, 2005, 6:05 am
  3. oh lord…hungry for hindi?????
    To be very frank it was the bane of my existence for ten of my formative years…it filled my nightmares and my waking hours were spent worrying about its traps and intricate plots for your downfall..i still have the scars!!
    What i dont get is why paople cant accept that there neednt be a conflict between hindi and english…english opens up the world to us…and for heavens sake hindi isnt the only regional language around. forcing us to study it in school is bad enough.

    On an unrelated note, i do hope you
    come to chennai when promoting manticore….

    Posted by the bored one | November 18, 2005, 6:06 am
  4. This kinda reminds of the days when a foreign language was forced upon us. I barely scraped through CBSE 10th and was glad to get rid of it. The irony is that though I did my schooling in my home town, where everybody speaks the mother tongue, my school did not give me the oppurtunity to study my mother tongue instead of an alien tongue.
    As a result I could not learn the alien tongue properly coz it was forced upon us, and now i can barely read it though my travels around India have made sure i can understand all is dialect. But the biggest tragedy is though I can speak my mother tongue fluently, as far as writing and reading is concerned, there is only one language which I am fluent in, that is English.
    In case you are wondering which alien tongue was forced upon us its was “Hindi”. and the mother tongue – “Punjabi”.

    Its good to see people starting to appreciate literature in their mother tongue, and at the same time its sad to see so many regional languages being degraded in the name of pseudo-nationalism.

    Posted by Tanveer | November 18, 2005, 6:06 am
  5. I’ll add to the general silliness. I saw the author’s name, Randeep Ramesh, and couldn’t help an evil grin. A shorter version of the man’s first name is funny in both languages, English and Hindi.

    Posted by thalassa_mikra | November 18, 2005, 6:36 am
  6. hey samit…couldn’t find your e-mail id so wrote back. I’m not actually replying to the post. I think last week’s award on the Sunday Telegraph LOOK page should have gone to one Tipnis Shobha. At the 12th impossibility challenger world record trials in Dachau(of all places)she becae the first woman to blow up a regular hot-water bag til it burst. The telegraph carried a small and amusing picture. Unfortunately i don’t have the date; just the picture. Be resoursceful & check it out. Also S.Sreesanth, the medium pacer from kerala, turns out to have been Boogie Woogie dance competition champion from south zone in 95. He’s publishing a book of poetry on cricket, life kerala and his life playing cricket in kerala. Peep that. Oh, by the way this is sammy and this is the forst blog i’ve checked out on my own pc. God bless the kanada film industry.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 19, 2005, 9:20 am
  7. hahahah..that was hilarious

    Posted by Docs Dope | November 22, 2005, 3:24 pm

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Copyright (c) Samit Basu. Images copyright respective holders.
November 2005


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