Things That Make No Sense


WP_000501Before getting into my post, I feel I should explain why I have been so silent for the past six months. In January, I began a project—writing a memoir. Now, nine months later I have completed the 300+ page, first draft.  After a number of rewrites and editing, I hope to find a literary agent to represent my work to a publisher. The project was a rather consuming one and I called on my family, especially my sister Hannah to remember details. The memoir focuses on how the death of my mother at a young age influenced the seven children she left behind. It also examines the challenges of living as an Indian-American in 1970’s Minnesota. While the memoir is bittersweet as it deals with a longing and search for love, it is also filled with humor and pleasure in the small moments of life. The first part of this memoir Mamaji, will be published in anthology to be published April 2014. The anthology is edited by Nina Foxx, and is titled, A Letter for My Mother. Look for it at Barnes and Noble or on Amazon.

After writing such a long piece of work, which was often serious and rather emotional, I wanted to write a blog that was lighthearted and funny.  Since getting my smartphone, (btw all you Apple users—the Windows operating system, with its live tiles, is far superior to the IPhone!) I have been using one of the apps available for taking notes. I often get ideas for writing as I am out and about and I keep a running list of things that annoy, amuse and inspire me.

 Random List of Things that Make No Sense

  1. Trinidadian people who insist that the practice of wearing saris at their weddings is somehow organically Trinidadian. This is also true of some of the so-called Trinidadian food like roti, channa, paratha (even if they call it Buss-up-Shut—it’s still Indian). I had a long conversation with a group of ladies originally from Trinidad who insisted to me that when their daughters were married wearing a sari, that this was a traditional Trinidadian piece of clothing. Of course I tried to explain to them that along with the many Indians that had settled in the Caribbean, their food, words, clothing, music had also been brought over with them. They refused to acknowledge that many of the local Trinidadian customs, such as the practice of celebrating Diwali, were originally Indian. I wondered how the Italian community in New Jersey would react if they were told that cannoli or pasta e fagioli originated in America.
  2. Tattoos. I have heard so much about tattoos being an art form and that the body is a canvas on which the tattoo artist displays his artistry. While I must agree that some (not very many) tattoos are rather beautiful, most of them are at best, quite average. To compare a tattoo to a fine painting doesn’t make sense to me, because when enjoying a piece of art, I see the entire piece at one time. The artist does not display his work with most of it hidden from view. Tattoos are often hidden under clothing and it seems pointless to compare them to fine art, when most of it is not even viewable. Fine art is also judged by its longevity—the brightness of the color over time or how fine lines cut into stone that have endured through the ages. A tattoo rarely looks good for very long—after four or five years the work starts to fade or blur as the skin sags and stretches. I just don’t get tattoos—and I don’t understand the comparison to high art.
  3. It can be said that the originators of the English language—the British, are those who speak English with the correct accent. That is to say, if one was going to speak “unaccented” English, the use of the British English pronunciation would be deemed the most unaccented. What I cannot understand is while British singers speak with a British accent, when they sing; they choose to sing using American English. Listen to Adele, Elton John, Paul McCartney or Amy Winehouse. Each one of them sings using distinctly American English. And it’s not because it’s impossible to hear British English in songs—some of the early albums from The Who were recorded in distinct British English.
  4. Recently when I was using the ladies room, I washed my hands and was handed a paper towel by a bored bathroom attendant. It was just a standard paper towel, she had pulled it from the dispenser just seconds before—it wasn’t perfumed, warmed or soft and thick; just a plan old rough paper towel. She yawned and then not so subtly took it from me after I had used it and wiped up a few drops of water from the counter and moved her tip basket ever so slightly toward me. While I reapplied my lipstick, I thought about what it was that she had done for me that required a tip. My arms were not broken so I could have easily pulled my own towel. She hadn’t wished me good evening or even smiled at me. While she waited, I applied hand lotion and waited to make my getaway. Just then another lady came out of the bathroom and I hastily exited.  Why should I tip someone a dollar for giving me a paper towel? I never tip the vendor who sells me a can of Coke when I’m in the city, either.  I give him two dollars; he gives me a can of Coke and two quarters in return. How does that warrant a tip? However, I tip lavishly when it comes to those who are in the services industries—waiters and waitresses for instance. That’s a hard job and good service should always be rewarded with at least a 20% tip.
  5. Getting charged for feminine products. WHY? The whole experience is such a retched one accompanied by pain, malaise, irritation and inconvenience. Why, oh why do I have to also plunk down $10-$15 to assuage the symptoms? It seems that just going through this on a monthly basis would be enough. There should be some sort of foundation, (maybe Bill and Melinda Gates can start one), that provides feminine products for free to all the women of the world. It only seems fair.
  6. The commercials for combating hunger puzzle me. In the old days when there was a call to feed the hungry children, the children actually looked hungry. They were skinny, crying and flies flew around and landed on their eyes. The ads for No Kid Hungry or Feeding America don’t feature hungry kids at all. Instead, they’re pink cheeked, smiling and some of them even look like they need to lose a few pounds. Most of them look healthier than I do. They certainly don’t look like they need to be fed! Why don’t they get some scrawny kids to pose for a few pictures? Or maybe they can just use a few supermodels.
  7. Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits. I don’t know why but the whole idea of a pelvic mesh sounds so interesting. I wonder what kind of mesh it is—does it look like a fishnet? Or more like a ladies pantyhose? Does it function like a colander or a tea strainer? How is it attached? Does it hang from two hooks like a hammock? Or is there sort of belt around the waist? Who gets to wear this? Babies? Old Men? Teenagers that need to be restrained? Whenever this commercial airs, my imagination runs wild. I want to know how something that sounds as amazing as a Pelvic Mesh could possibly be the subject of a lawsuit.

Anyway that’s just one of the lists on my smartphone. Enjoy the rest of this beautiful autumn season!

12 comments on “Things That Make No Sense”

  1. I will watch for your memoir at B&N. Somehow I either did not know or had forgotten that your mother died. Even though it is a long time later, I am sorry for your loss. I look forward to reading your book.

    Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 02:13:12 +0000 To:

  2. thanks Phyllis! My memoir is still a work in progress—however a portion of it will be published in an anthology that is coming out in April 2014. I’ll keep you posted on the progress regarding my memoir. Thanks for your support!

  3. I was wondering at your long silence. Great to hear that you were hard at work on your memoir. Hope it gets into print fast because I’m really looking forward to reading it. All the best!

  4. Finally! I will soon be able to say I own a work written by the famous Elisheba Haqq Stevens!! After I read your post I said to myself, ” Oh, Elisheba!”. Can you hear me saying that?

  5. Elisheba, I like your list of things that make no sense, especially the pelvic mesh lawsuits, couldn’t stopped laughing. Darned lawyers have to take away those simple pleasures of life like the pelvc mesh hammock haha. Waiting to read your memoir as soon as it’s out.

  6. Hi Elisheba, I came across your blog and was quite surprised at your #1 Random list observation. I’m an Indian from Trinidad and am totally confused as to why the Trinidadian women you mentioned cited saris, rotis and such as being organically Caribbean. Of course the origin is Indian! Not sure why they would claim otherwise. I’m sorry you had the frustrating experience of trying to understand their views/claims. I don’t understand it myself!
    Rest assured, most of us are quite proud of our Indian roots and have no misconceptions of where our Indo cultural practices come from. Keep on writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s