In honor of the Lahore Literary Festival this weekend, we decided to round up all the signs that you are reading a South-Asian novel. So grab that steaming mug of golden liquid and some crumbly, buttery bakery biscuits punctuated with a globule of red and oh wait, you might just be reading a desi novel…
You know you’re in a desi novel when:
1. You suffer from post 9/11 ennui because you are abroad and brown in this white world and you just can’t even anymore.
2. Everything is dripping, gleaming or has a patina of oil. The corn is always roasted and italicised words tell you that is makkai to make it as authentic as possible.
3. The city is an all-consuming entity. The city breathes life and sucks it out of you. The city is a concept, ever-evolving, eternal. You know this because there are detailed descriptions of the traffic, the building and the life that drums within it all.
4. The women are exotic and you want to sleep with them. She is beautiful, broken and tragic and you have an affair.
5. The electricity goes out often and the light from your candle catches the smoke from your cigarette as it spirals while deep thoughts about living in a city that is so all-consuming churn within you.
6. You imagine life from your domestic servant’s point of view and always envy him/her.
7. The humidity is directly proportional to graphic descriptions of your sweat stains.
8. The sound of the Azaan is always rich, robust and other-worldly but of course, no one is religious.
9. But on the other hand you always fall down in prayer and the words always come to you easily.
10. Everything can be traced back to the moment of partition i.e 14/15 August 1947.