I Jinxed India!

27 Nov

I have a confession: through a convoluted turn of events, I might have something to do with the recent Indian terrorist attacks! (Dear FBI: my middle name is “kidding,” please disregard the confession on this blog, you have more important things to do anyway.)

Well, I’ll tell you what happened, and you be the judge of my connection, either way, I do believe it to be incredibly ironic. So this morning, as I was getting ready to head out to work, I was thinking: “why do most people mistake me for an Indian?” When I was first told I looked Indian, I was surprised to be honest. I did not think I looked Indian at all. Even though I still hold that view, I do see where people are coming from. In the States, I get asked if I am Indian 90% of the time, a lot of the time by Indians. The other 10%, I have been mistaken for Dominican, Brazilian, Polynesian, and the really sharp self-described “worldly” ones just point out that I am probably North African. So I said to myself: Self, you know it is actually better to be mistaken for an Indian, because then all the subsequent conversations will revolve around people’s proclamation of their love for Chutney, questions about Cricket, or if it gets really intense, they will want to discuss their friend Sanji’s arranged marriage, and inquire about whether or not my family is forcing me to marry “that Indian doctor.”

This I thought, was a lot easier than saying that I am Sudanese and getting either one of two looks: The “Aww I’m sorry” look, which usually comes from people who are generally sorry anyone has to be from Africa, or the Arab world (or lo and behold, an Arab country in Africa!) They then take liberty in divulging their views on the Darfur “genocide,” terrorism, that Arab restaurant they tried the other day, and how they would have never guessed I am Sudanese, because I look Indian. The other look comes from people who take it upon themselves to hate anyone who is not a disenfranchised African. Its more of the “you have no right to have that Gucci bag and enjoy life, while your people kill Darfurian babies, you Arab Sudanese murderer, you” look. That look I generally ignore, because it usually comes from the “omg, Africa is not a country?” crowd.

Anyway, I kept thinking about this while driving to work, and decided that from now on, if someone decides I am Indian, then so be it, because I am sick of discussing the politics of my country and neighboring train wrecks. I decided that some days, it’s just easier to discuss the deliciousness that is Masala and why I worship cows. That’s until, two hours later, India was all over the news for terrorism. Damn. No more “are you going to wear that red dot on your forehead” conversations. I am afraid I jinxed India!


6 Responses to “I Jinxed India!”

  1. Eu November 27, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    Don’t you get told that you look / seem ‘ethnic’? Lol! Cracked me up when I heard it in the States.

    I see where you’re coming from re: being Sudanese but is it convenience or defensiveness?

    The media frenzy over Darfur has led to mass recognition of the crisis in Sudan by people who wouldn’t be able to name Sudan’s capital or place it on the map.

  2. sudaneseoptimist November 27, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    To some Americans, anyone who is not White or African American is decidedly either Brown or Ethnic. Actually what I have been told, and it cracked me up, is that I look “exotic.” Excuse me but I’m not a fruit.

    To answer your question: convenience, never defensiveness. Its just that sometimes you want to enjoy life without explaining Darfur to someone who is not going to believe your account and stick to the Western media’s bad Arabs vs. good Africans simplistic view.

    Eu, isn’t it rather annoying how Sudan has become synonymous with “Crisis.” That’s why being Indian was a fun temporary “diversion”.

  3. Dare or Truth November 27, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    Noooo, i just left you a long comment but forget to fill out the email field, and it got deleted 😦

    anyways, it was something along the lines of :

    if i had to guess where you are from and I did not know, I would go for Brazilian , because they are hot 😉

  4. sudaneseoptimist November 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    Dare or Truth- That’s interesting, usually Arabs can tell I’m Sudanese, but they almost always ask if both my parents are Sudanese.

    What do you think of what is going on in India by the way? Who’s the culprit? What’s the motive?

    What is wrong with the world… I can’t help but to think of the cliche “can’t we all just get along?”

  5. Eu November 27, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    What do you think of what is going on in India by the way? Who’s the culprit? What’s the motive?

    Vested interests, power assymetry, greed…

    Cruelty and carnage have existed since time immemorial – see 2:30 Holy Quran

  6. shab sudani December 31, 2008 at 3:36 am #

    You are a good writer and i think I’ll come here a lot… keep it up

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