Monthly Archives: October 2008

diwali mubarak

Dear Readers,

Today is Diwali.  The Hindu new year, the Hindu thanksgiving, the Hindu festival of lights and family-visiting- gift-giving session.   We light candles for Laxmi, the goddess of wealth in all its forms, so she knows to come through and pay us a visit.  And I’m just dropping a line, to wish you and yours a Happy Diwali.


roopa singh


inspiration: teaching opens up the sky of my heart

Dear Readers,

I just left the neighborhood watering hole.  Went to celebrate a red letter day.  I sat at the bar.  Struck up good convos with the mezzo soprano on my left.  And the EZLN painter on my right.  What a day.  The kind of 24 hour experience only life could provide.

Teaching today meant meeting each of my students in the eye. I talked with them about writing, and allowing ones writing to be a vessel for ones thoughts.  We ruminated on how good academic writing is like a good referee. You barely notice it, yet it is holding everything together. One by one, I gave them my all.  All 60 of them shone like the sun.

You know, my parents never used an alarm clock a day in their life. And yet they’ve never once missed a crack of dawn flight. I will be forever inspired by their internal clocks.

Today, in my economics class, I taught on John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was a deep dude, he created an economic model which responded to Depression era years. In the dance between a nation state and its economy, Keynes advocated for a tango. He liked to see the government all over the economy, legs intertwined, hips grinding.

Keynes inspired a whole host of people with his theory. Lover and haters. A lot of those people were inspired to create anti-Keynesian, contradictory models. That is, Keynes had plenty of haters. Haters who made it part of their life’s mission to prove Keynes wrong. And though I’ve learned this lesson before, I learned it better than ever today.

The key is to inspire. Whether folks love you or hate you, your impact on their life is what matters.

Kat Williams, whose going to be at Carnegie Hall soon, said “Ladies, if you have 5 haters, find you 10 more.”

Forget what you inspire, focus on being inspiring.

Here’s some poems I wrote at the bar this evening. From political poet to you.



1. opera

opera is only elitist in america

the land of equal opportunity

where opera is elitist

and your health care is elitist

oh yeah the justice system is elitist

don’t forget education is elitist

even being an artist is elitist

because everywhere you turn

more money gets you more service

more care, more fun, more learning

more freedom

in the land of the free

the land of equal opportunity


2. stupid poems

if once upon a time

were the start of my every rhyme

would you love me

or leave me



3. the boss

i once went to a bruce

springsteen concert in

jersey all by myself and

smoked while the

boss’s lovers

story spit



4. my love

my love if you’re looking

follow the light amongst my eyes

render the sun

the night magic

of my lies


5. an indian girl who says jesus

funny about jesus

how he always pops

outta my mouth

and no one in my lineage


ever said his name

before me

was b.c.


Stay tuned for more from your girl.


roopa singh/N

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i believe in you: a great recipe

Dear Readers,

The stereo in my living room corner sits on top of my amp. Right now I’m playing Luscious Jackson, the Ladyfingers album. It’s got a warm subversity to it, I used to jam to all the time when I lived in Austin. It was perfect for the spaced out heat of Austin. Downtown, 6th street. A strip where the armed services meets sleepy sharp philosopher collides with the neo-con, techie, and the new, ultra-hip.

“I’ve got lady fingers baby, I’ve got kid gloves baby, I’ve got heart, I’ve got heart.” And they’re right, Luscious Jackson has mad heart.

My day (plus recipe bonus):

I was up in an Indian Cinema class today at NYU. The film was devastating and crucial and Bengali. It had to do with a young woman who sacrifices everything for a family who wouldn’t sacrifice shit for her. Gave me the creeps. Or maybe it was the sterile classroom atmosphere, a bunch of non-South Asian, “South Asianists” picking apart the South Asian family in film. Christ.

But I went to Trader Joe’s after and that lightened my mood considerably. I love shopping at TJ, even with the crazy Union Square crowds. Reminds me of Cali, and I miss the Bay Area. Which is why I’m siked that my Bay Area hip hop poster is finally framed on the wall. 2Pac, 2 Short, San Quen, Heiro, Mac Dre and so many more, wrapped in the colors of every rainbow. I love my home.

Bonus Recipe:

Came home and whipped up an incredible, quick, healthy, mouth watering dinner. Main ingredients: colorful greens, sliced baby portobello mushrooms, sugar snap peas (whole), and tofu. Plus coconut milk (fuck the lowfat kind) and peanut butter (I used Jiffy, extra crunchy).

Start with a non stick pan on medium heat, a splash of olive oil, chop in a clove of garlic (I bought a container of pre-peeled garlic cloves at a local bodega, so worth it). Next, add the tofu, I cubed in about a third of the basic “firm” pack. Add the veggies. Add some coconut milk, I used a third of the can. A bit of MSG free soy sauce and/or salt to taste. Some hot red pepper flakes. And a half a spoon of peanut butter. Stir.

Melt. It’s that good.

I was read todays Times all mashed up on the subway on my way to NYU. The Tampa Bay Rays made it to the World Series. How dope!

Supposedly, Sarah Palin’s Saturday Night Live appearance rocked the viewer charts, 14 million, more hits than the shows gotten since 1994. The article said Palin deepened her mark as a great entertainer, though not a great potential president. And I wonder. I walk around NYC and I keep seeing Guitar Hero for sale. And I wonder.

What would it take for everyone to be the artist they wanted to be? What would it take for me to be the artist I most want to be. I’m willing to find out if you are.

I’m back on Thursday, come visit then.


roopa “back to full time teaching schedule” singh