Tuesday, March 20, 2007


As I have made it known on this blog I was in a cultural show last Friday. It went well, and I heard good reviews of it from many people. However, while rehearsing for the show and during the show itself, I met a new type of desi that I had not before.

You see, most people are familiar with the two extremes of desis. There is the FOB (Fresh Off Boat). This is the guy who has a thick accent, puts oil on his head and sets off the fire alarm when cooking. Then there is the coconut – brown on the outside, white on the inside. He has hardly seen an Indian movie or eaten a samosa, yet can be spotted sitting awkwardly at a desi party trying in vain to keep himself updated of how badly the Leafs are sucking. The rest of the desis fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Yet, last weekend, I met - the FOBonut.

FOBonuts, as the name suggests, are FOBs pretending to be coconuts.

You see, FOBonuts are in reality FOBs, with one major difference. Whereas genuine FOBs know they are FOBs, they are comfortable with that fact. They are really nice people. Yes, their accent may be thick, but so are their bank accounts. They will gladly and proudly go to a Hindi movie because they love it, and they enjoy themselves watching Shah Rukh Khan ham.

FOBonuts, on the other hand, are ashamed of being FOBs. Ashamed of being desi at all. Yet they live in a contradiction world because they really LOVE those desi stuff.

“No, I am not buying Hindi movie tickets, I hate Hindi movies. Yes, I realize I am right now in a Hindi cinema hall buying Hindi movie tickets … but they are for my friend! I am just picking them up… ya, that’s right!”

They try in vain to pretend to be coconuts.

You see, coconuts are genuine stuff. It’s not that they hate desi stuff, they just are not interested. They are cool with that. FOBonuts see this cool attitude and want to copy that.

“Who the hell wants to go to a Bengali CULTURAL show? What’s so cultural about it? You want real CULTURE? You should see an opera, like in that movie Dil Chahta Hai – oops! I mean that French movie I can’t recall now. Opera! Now that’s real culture. Of course I don’t understand what they are shouting saying but it’s real CULTURE!”

I have no problem with opera man but dude! Don’t pretend to like something just because it’s the “in” thing to like.

FOBonuts come in a variety of forms. One such interesting one is the “well done FOBonut”. I say well done when I meant burnt. When things become burnt they become black. And that is what has happened to our “well done FOBonut”. It seems he has taken a knock on the head and woken up convinced he is a black man.

There are some Bengali kids around Victoria Park near Toronto that act like this. Loose baggy pants, bandannas, chains, and huge dark glasses form their attire. Yet there are two fundamental differences between genuine black thug people and this wanna be black thugs.

Number one, size. Get your mind out of the gutter, I meant height! Bengalis are not six feet one, they are usually five feet eight. And fat. These thugs spoil for a fight yet run away as soon as they are challenged and alone.

When we had our shows some years back they used to come by the dozens to cause trouble. And then they would see the lone policeman hired as security and run away.

Number two, vocabulary. These kids could hardly swear even if their lives depended on it. All swear words are restricted to a biological sibling combined with a biological act to produce another sibling.

Moral of the rant: Don’t pretend to be something you are not. You are brown. Accept it.


Em said...

Hehe, I like the moniker :).

But really, Mez, 'hardly seen an Indian movie' to imply coconutiness? I only learned of the existence of Bipashas, Udays and Dhooms from your blog, but hehe... I have set fire alarms off with my cooking (hey it was just innocent old pasta once...). Yikes, so your logic would make me a coconut trying to be a fob? A coconOB? o_O

'liya said...

"It seems he has taken a knock on the head and woken up convinced he is a black man." - can be applied to some brown women I know too! (not the being a man part, I mean the whole idea of trying to act as the stereotype of the black gansta).

Glad your show went well :)

Athena said...

"It seems he has taken a knock on the head and woken up convinced he is a black man."

"All swear words are restricted to a biological sibling combined with a biological act to produce another sibling. "

ROFL. I haven't laughed this hard in a long long time. Thank you hahaha

Suroor said...

Devy, devy funny! I espcially liked "sets off the fire alarm when cooking"!

You have a gift, my friend!

Abu Sinan said...

Yeah, lots of Arab kids like this as well. It is SO sad to see a bunch of kids like this talking about their "niggaz" and stuff like this.

What is sad is well is that these kids want to act ghetto, but in reality both of their parents probably make 6 figure salaries and they have never set foot anywhere near a ghetto.

isheeta said...

I realize you have just got yourself of being surrounded by FOBonuts.. but in order to completely make a FOBonut see how ridiculous they sound/look, you MUST see, "Malibu's Most Wanted" starring Jamie Kennedy.

Replace him with some brown dude and ure set! I was laughing throughout the movie.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mez...

hahahah...boy, this seemed like some sort of rant that was just waiting to come out...

All swear words are restricted to a biological sibling combined with a biological act to produce another sibling.



Nowal said...

I have been known to end my sentences with a "yo!" sometimes.

*blush, fluster, blush*

Aisha said...


Fobonuts. I have recently met two. They really get under my skin though they dont mean to!

I love when they deny they have accents as well! :)

mezba said...

Em: no you are not a coco-nob. Conflict, contradiction and low self-esteem is necessary to be a coconob or a fobonut.

Liya: really? brown women acting gangsta? This I gotta see... are they good "ho"s?

Athena: lol.

Suroor: Thank you. In all honesty, I too have set off the smoke alarm at times, that too while cooking Shaan paratha!

Abu Sinan: Sadly, I have seen lots of gangsta Arab kids in the middle east. They are the norm rather than the exception. Too much money, too little to do, too much restrictions and youth - bad combo.

Isheeta: I must check out that video.

Behbood: I know. Hehe.

Nowal: yo yo wassup my n-

Aisha: exactly! Whassup wiz denying da ak-shent?

Squarecut said...

That darn fire alarm went off the other day, hungry me was trying to cook chicken! I think the fire alarm is too sensitive, b/c the egypotian neighbor has the problem everytime they are about to cook fish.

I don't watch hindi movies. I never did, even before I came here. I don't even know why. Never appealed to me. I do watch classical Bengali movies though. Ok, I am just not that into mives of any language. But why does Hindi movie hold so much importance in "culture"? Just wondering. How much of our culture gets represented by a main stream hindi movie?

However, I am a proud FOB! Without a thick bank balance :(

About kids imitating black folks, I think Bengies in NYC (the kids I mean) that want to act black do imitate the Puerto Rican brothers. And a Bengali boy can often be mistaken for a Puerto Rican/Dominican Republican brother on the streets of NY. But I think I know why they imitate black/hispanic people as opposed to say, the whities. It's harder to blend in with the white folks. White folks in general are not that welcoming, or just culturally they are not that approachable, whereas with the black and hispanic folks, the immigrants share this common ground of belonging to a minority population.

Victoria Park is an awesome area, if I remember it correctly. Is that place where they have a few really tall apartment buildinggs exclusively occupied by the Bangladeshis?
Anyway, in the US, most immigrants initially end up in low-icome/black/hispanic area and kids start picking up on that culture.

Just a thought.

However, I just like the word Fobonut. It has this ring to it.

Rawi said...


I almost thought I was a FOBonut, but reading all your descriptions, I'm relieved I'm not! And I totally set off the fire alarm a couple of weeks ago when frying just a paratha!

Sonia said...

heh heh Mezba you are good with coming up with the terms! FOBonut I like that one..

desi accents are fun anyways, and its great having brown skin. such a nice year round glowing tan..

mezba said...

Squarecut: I once set the alarm off when making porota! If it was legal to take the batteries off I would.

Hindi movies are the most visible means of proving one's desiness I believe - short of eating with one's hands.

Personally I find nothing in common with Caribbean black culture, but more with African black culture.

You are right about Victoria Park. It used to be a ghetto fob area, but now we have better class of people there.

Rawi: So that's where you disappeared to!

Sonia: Fobonut it is then. I once did a post on the perks of being desi, have to dig it up.