Have you ever watched a movie called The Thing? Where a group of researchers at an Arctic station find themselves under attack by an organism that invades the body and copies each of the victim’s cells. Philosophical debate on Identity aside, the Thing makes a superb but ultimately flawed approximation of any other creature it comes into contact with. It’s quite fascinating to observe someone beginning to suspect that there’s something a little off – that you or another person might be an alien organism.
I’m out with Shasti, and we’re at a stand buying some sweets. Shasti is communicating in Tamil, and the vendor is looking at her as though he were working on Chinese algebra. His eureka moment came when he tried to put Shasti’s purchase into a plastic bag and she starts giving him the 3rd degree in Tamil about the ills of plastic (She’s from the Bay Area, California – yeah I said it). He just couldn’t wrap his head around why on earth she gave a shit about what he or anyone else does with their plastic bags.
Then suddenly, Sokath! His eyes uncovered! It was like magic. The vendor’s eyebrows raised and a grin spread across his face like: Holy moly! The reason for her crazy talk is clear now. This lady isn't an Indian!
I love it.