No Land's Man
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Aasif Mandvi—best known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart—has been dealing with identity issues across three continents and 30 years. With wit, smarts, and a good dose of hard-earned perspective, Mandvi explores a range of engrossing stories: dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, being a teenage Michael Jackson impersonator, and playing snake charmers, taxi drivers, and eventually a fake journalist as an actor in New York, where he was even once told that he wasn't "Indian" enough for a role. Now in paperback, No Land's Man is a laugh-out-loud account of a second-generation immigrant's search for meaning and identity in an increasingly confusing world.
more knights appeared behind him, dressed identically, one after the other as if my audacity to fight back was the very thing that gave them life. Above their heads they carried large billowing banners. At first they looked like Woodhouse Grove school banners, with the green and red colors of our school shield, but as they got closer it was clear they were in fact giant pairs of dirty underwear, jock straps, and rugby kits. Below the banners were the faces of the soldiers. I recognized them all;
that’s embarrassing. Hanging off the side of a train on your way to work because it’s so crowded and you can’t afford a seat, that’s embarrassing.” I could see the waitress returning from the back of the restaurant, a bemused look on her face. I really didn’t want to be there when she got to the table and explained that just this once IHOP could give my father a 10 percent discount on the meal, or whatever other paltry salve she had been authorized to apply to this overly enthusiastic customer.
the football field to watch a pep rally for the upcoming game. Back in England I knew three students who had had been expelled for going to see a Leeds United soccer game during the school day; here it seemed this kind of behavior was mandated by the school itself. Students painted their faces and cheered and screamed for their players, while cheerleaders performed impressive acrobatics, all culminating in a kind of warrior-nation cry for blood and battle against an opposing school. The school
America, my sister sat watching television one afternoon in our modest two-bedroom home. The bathroom door was to the right, just visible in her peripheral vision. She heard the toilet flush and soon after my father exited the bathroom with a glass of liquid in his hands. Clear yellow liquid. She looked at my father, puzzled, as he stood watching the television casually drinking his beverage. “What are you drinking?” she asked. My father looked at her for a moment, then glanced at the liquid
expensive for anyone, especially someone making an off-Broadway theater actor’s salary. My opportunity to return presented itself serendipitously a few months later. After one of the performances, a screenwriter friend mentioned my show to the famed Indian film director Shekhar Kapur. Shekhar and I became friends and for a while thereafter he would buy me lunch whenever he was in New York. He also happened to be working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on what would later become the musical Bombay