'Meatspace Rap' the official trailer to 'Meatspace' the new novel by Nikesh Shukla.

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Vox: Nikesh Shukla
Music: Vee Kay
Backing vox: Sir Loin, Phil A. Mignon, Chuck Steakson
Directed by Nimer Rashed (Largo Films)
Actors: Poppy North, Neel Upadhyaya, Bertie Fox, Aria Alagha
'Meatspace' by Nikesh Shukla (The Friday Project) is out 3rd July 2014.



Nightshoot for our short film Two Dosas went well.

Nightshoot for our short film Two Dosas went well.

On toothpaste

You’re brushing your teeth and you’re living the dream. All at the same time. You’re not sure whether to change into clean pants though. Even though this is a fancy television production company’s ground floor toilet, it’s still essentially a public toilet, no a communal toilet, used by 100s of staff and they probably don’t care about pissing on the floor and leaving dirty bog roll everywhere because they pay someone else to clean it up.

You’re looking in the mirror, brushing your teeth, thinking, today your life is going to change. You’re looking in the mirror, brushing your teeth, thinking, today your life is going to change, trying to speed up the minty fresh feeling around your mouth because anyone could walk in. And if anyone did walk in and see you brushing your teeth, obviously wearing yesterday’s clothes, it might be time to wake up, because living the dream comes on a short leash.

You were so excited to get this job you neglected to bring a change of clothes. Or a toothbrush. You were so excited to get this job you come to London the night before. You were so excited to get this job you stayed out with friends till late celebrating it before it had even begun. You were so excited to get this job that you missed the last train back to your dad’s and you stayed with a friend who has an early start, ushering you out of the door at 7am, into the street, hung over with nothing other than a half-charged iPad and yesterday’s clothes. You sat in a café across the road from the television production company and you watched Pacific Rim on your iPad at 8am. You went out and bought toothpaste and an expensive pair of pants, because what option do you have in Camden at 9am on a Monday.

Someone was asleep in the café toilet so you watched your film and went to your first ever television writing job early, asking if you could use the toilet. You did, and here you are, brushing your teeth, knowing that from this point on, everything will be different. You are about to have made it.

Your boss for the day walks into the toilet and looks at you as you’re mid-spit. He says your name quizzically and you smile and nod and spit. He goes into the cubicle and you try to finish your tooth-brushing as quickly and quietly as possible as he does a loud fart followed by an empty of his bowels.

You stare in the mirror. You’re living the dream. You’re a writer now.

You have toothpaste on yesterday’s shirt.

What would you have to eat if you could have anything you wanted?”
“Excellent question. I would have a magnificent buffet. I would start with rice and sambar. There would be black gram dhal rice and curd rice and—”
“I would have—”
“I’m not finished. And with my rice I would have spicy tamarind sambar and small onion sambar and—”
“Anything else?”
“I’m getting there. I’d also have mixed vegetable sagu and vegetable korma and potato masala and cabbage vadai and masala dosai and spicy lentil rasam and—”
“I see.”
“Wait. And stuffed eggplant poriyal and coconut yam kootu and rice idli and curd vadai and vegetable bajji and—”
“It sounds very—”
“Have I mentioned the chutneys yet? Coconut chutney and mint chutney and green chilli pickle and gooseberry pickle, all served with the usual nans, popadoms, parathas and puris, of course.”
“Sounds—”
“The salads! Mango curd salad and okra curd salad and plain fresh cucumber salad. And for dessert, almond payasam and milk payasam and jaggery pancake and peanut toffee and coconut burfi and vanilla ice cream with hot, thick chocolate sauce.”
“Is that it?”
“I’d finish this snack with a ten-litre glass of fresh, clean, cool, chilled water and a coffee.”
“It sounds very good.”
“It does.”
“Tell me, what is coconut yam kootu?”
“Nothing short of heaven, that’s what. To make it you need yams, grated coconut, green plantains, chilli powder, ground black pepper, ground turmeric, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds and some coconut oil. You saute the coconut until it’s golden brown […] Have you ever had oothappam?”
“No, I haven’t. But tell me about it. What is oothappam?”
“It is so good.”
“Sounds delicious. Tell me more.”
“Oothappam is often made with leftover batter, but rarely has a culinary afterthought been so memorable.
From ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel

Maneck emptied the alayti-palayti from A-1 Restaurant into a bowl and brought it to the table. “It’s out of my pocket money. I can spend it any way I like.”

Chunks of chicken liver and gizzard floated tantalizingly in the thick, spicy sauce. Bending over the bowl, [Dina] sniffed. “Mmm, the same wonderful fragrance that made it a favourite of Rustom’s. Only A-1 makes it in rich gravy—other places cook it too dry.” She dipped a spoon, raised it to her lips, and nodded. “Delicious. We could easily add a little water without harming the taste. Then it will be enough for lunch and dinner.”

From A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The Soods

The Soods

by Chimene Suleyman

Growing up in Finchley, in the 80s, my neighbours were the Soods. Their adult children lived mostly in America; their grandchildren - older than me in age - completed a close family. They were an old Indian couple, who I called, fondly, Grandpa and Grandma Sood. With their children abroad, and my older relatives in another country, they enjoyed me as another granddaughter, there daily, the love very much mutual.

I was in my 20s before I experienced my first English wedding. Yet, in two decades, the Indian marriages and celebrations we had shared were uncountable. On birthdays and Christmas, Grandpa Sood gave gifts; encyclopaedias, a thesaurus, dictionaries. Once a teacher in his youth in India, he told me I must always love words. As memory faded, the same gifts - naturally - were repeated. As a result I received, multiple times, “The Reader’s Digest: Big Book of How To Be A Strong Beautiful Woman”. I have 12 copies.

With both grandfathers passed before I was born, Grandpa Sood was the closest I have come to having one.  When I was 19, Grandpa Sood passed away. He was 98. Grandma Sood had gone a few years before. Though my parents still live in the home I grew up, the Sood’s house has been demolished. There is a railway track that has stayed, running alongside the space.  

I do not remember the exact dishes that we ate in the tight kitchen; laminate floor that was easy to wipe clean with Grandma Sood’s bracelet-dressed hands. I do not remember the names of the sweets she made, or the meals that she cooked, after school, or on weekends with my parents next door. I do not know how she prepared the food, the ingredients, or length of time it took. I cannot remember which vegetables she preferred, or the spices that dominated. Cooking, I believe, is instinctive, sculpted and natural. I have never learnt to cook. Or wanted to. And whilst, sadly, the best Indian meals I have eaten have left with the Soods, I have 12 copies of “The Reader’s Digest”. They are not half as delicious, but just as wonderful.

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Author Nikesh Shukla eats Indian food. Nikesh blogs about Indian food.

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