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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
“But Indians are spiritual!” said the German lady sitting at a bar in the Greek island of Rhodes, disappointed and reprimanding, when I told her my novel was titled The Revised Kama Sutra.

No, I am not!

I am who I am, and not someone else’s idea of what I ought to be.

And I don’t want anyone defining me, pigeonholing me, limiting the person I can be, or curtailing my freedom as a human being.
I choose the right to define myself by my choices, by who I want to be. I will write not according to some critic’s or publisher’s idea of what an “Indian” novel or book ought to be like—exotic, spiritual, full of strange and magical phenomena and spices, with exotic rituals and customs, and very little sex if any.

I fully realize that had I listened to them, and had I followed The Rules, I would be rich today, invited to conferences to speak (expenses paid), and frequently be on chat shows. And publishers would constantly be calling me asking for what book I had in mind next.

But I have refused to bow to them.

I was born in India, to Catholic parents, was educated in convent and Jesuit schools, and read many Western authors and comics in English when I was young—in fact, I hardly read any books in any other languages, except the short textbooks that were required in class.

And I had so much spirituality rammed up my *ss by my society that when I was 16, I rebelled against it all and became a skeptic, an atheist in all but name. For what I had discovered, and continue to see, is all that spirituality or external spirituality at any rate, rarely makes people into better human beings.

I am a human being, male, with a history of having grown up in a very diverse India. That is all. I claim the right to define my own self.

No, I am not what you tell me I ought to be: as a writer, I have been a rebel ever since the moment I became a writer—or found my voice as a writer—which happened one night in December 1993 in Long Island, New York.

For a literary rebel, the title “I Will Not Go the F**k to Sleep” is a perfectly appropriate title for a book that fights ethnic stereotypes by making them so laughably extreme (an Indian whose mistress is a cow, for example), that the reader ought to get, at some point, that I am making fun of the whole idea of stereotyping anyone at all based on their appearance, national origin, name, or skin color.

In a metaphoric sense, the title reaffirms my point of view: I will not be put to sleep as a writer, and I will not follow your instructions or commandments on what I should write and how I should behave
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Nearly every one of my other books contains this rebellious note in one form or another.

This is my way of celebrating July 4, American Independence Day: to reassert and restate publicly my freedom to be the kind of person and writer I am.
 

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Good for you Richard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, T Silver.

"Nunzilla Was My Mother" is a great title and sounds like a fun read.

Good wishes,
Richard
 
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