I'm a med student, I can use medical terminology with wanton abandon. I'm referring to the process of building up the identity and logistics of this character and I think embryology is a fine analogy.
If you have not check out the previous one, you need to read Experiment: Conceiving Khushwant
I was in this for fun and personal development. If it failed, it would be one big joke and we would all have a good laugh (which would still mean it was successful) and if it worked out, I get to partake in one of the biggest Mindf***ks my friends would have ever seen. You can get to see this in action when I'm doing magic as well. In my mind, I'm thinking, "These guys want to have fun" and I go and do my tricks. This is in contrast to the time I started out seven years ago. About half the time I performed, one thought that was on my mind was "how can I prove myself?" Usually in magic, this translates to wanting to fool your spectators and prove them wrong. There is a subtlety here. Contrast this to wanting to entertain your audience and for us to have a good time. All performance arts have this element of making the fictitious appear real and magic is no different. What is different with magic is that in some instances, novices especially, turn it into a battle of wits.
The other concept that I use is what Troy Dizon calls X=X. You attract what you project. Yes, it sounds like "The Secret" and I am not fan of new age woo, but there is a sense in which it is provably useful. In the most practical sense, X=X is the principle of reciprocity that governs most social interactions, people are attracted to a vibe that is a reflection of them or something they want. Freshies basically come to orientation to have fun and make friends (I hope) maybe they want to hook up as well, but let's focus on the bigger picture. As a consequence, when your predominant attitude is to have fun and make new friends, you click, effortlessly. You need to chill and remember that at no time is someone going to even think that you're not a real freshie. So do not go around with that thought in your mind.
I realised that since my character was from a different land, he needed a plausible history. I couldn't do this on my own so I enlisted the help of my mumbaikar friend. She was nice enough to dig up some places to live, a good high school to attend and a fabulous engineering college to be from. There was a limit to how much I could make up so a lot of the anecdotes/emotions/opinions were basically mine with slightly different labels. This basically sold the genuineness of Khushwant. This was emphasised by the fact that I was comfortable in my own skin most of the time.
Performing magic also means you sometimes need to make stuff up as you go along. Improv skills definitely helped alot when people asked me why I didn't have a full beard like most sikhs (I had to go for army training the week before), I made up a story about miscommunication with the barber. I was prepared to tell people why my turban looked different, of course back in Mumbai, my mom has helped me tie it ever since and over here, my sleep cycle was screwed up meaning I had five minutes to get ready for stuff.... You can get away with anything if you say it confidently and with a straight face. Furthermore, people give you the benefit of doubt alot when you are from a different culture.
Sikh boys don't always wear turbans. I realised this at the camp. It seems that more boys are wearing just the sikh bangle, without the turban. I am not sure how "authentic" that is but it seems to be becoming the norm. I tried to learn how to tie a turban online, from Baljit Singh. The video is extremely informative, however, it's edited and it makes the whole process seem way easier than it actually is. Remember that you are trying to tie a 1.5m x 5m. The other aspect is that without a substantial amount of hair on your head, it can be tough to tie a firm one. Your best bet would be to head down to the Sikh Temple at Silat Rd, they are supposed to teach you how.
When I was in town, I bumped into this sikh shop and got two turbans for seven bucks each. I managed to get a bangle as well, unfortunately, I realised I might be wearing the bangle on the wrong (left) side. That was the natural choice for me since I am those few funny people who wear a watch on their right. I was contemplating getting a cheap prepaid SIM card, the short cut option is to simply act and ask for everyone's number. Once I got a call and answered it. When I put it down, I looked at this guy next to me and said, "that call is on roaming, it's going to be shit expensive" and he agreed.
In the next post, I talk about the execution and some of the surprising things I observed
(To be continued)
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