Thoughts on Kind of Hindu

I read Kind of Hindu, from Mindy Kaling’s Nothing Like I Imagined, a 6-parts Amazon Original Stories, on Kindle Unlimited yesterday. I chose to read Kind of Hindu first (other titles include Big Shot and Help Is on the Way) just because I find it the most relatable, as I too am kinda Hindu.

The book started with how Mindy identified as a secular American. Growing up as an Indonesian Indian, with very less exposure to both Indian culture and Hindu religion, I can relate to her. Though I have always held on to both my religion and cultural heritage. Even stronger now as an Indonesian Indian living in Australia.

The book is a light entertaining read. Dripped with the usual Mindy-ism. One of my favorite phrases in the book: “my Indian Hindu assistant, Akshara, had once hired (an Indian priest) to bless her new VW Jetta“.

I got a bit emotional towards the near end of the book when she talked about her mother. Maybe because I read it past midnight, after a couple of glasses of alcohol. Or maybe because I haven’t hugged mine for almost a year now, no thanks to Corona. Either way, I was like “I get you, sis!”.

But there are parts in the book that made me go “huh?!” — like when she categorized paper towels, scissors and apples as mysterious items just because the Indian priest had asked for it. Because, as she said, Mindy had been to Hindu pujas before, where all these items are must-haves. And even if, you have never been to any Hindu ceremony before, I can guarantee you there is no mystery about a regular household paper towel.

Also, I don’t get the joke about not knowing whether to call the Indian cities Chennai as Madras (former) and Calcutta (former) as Kolkata. Even I, the third generation of Indian Indonesian, know the reason they changed the names of some cities in India — and my parents were born in Indonesia! I didn’t find that bit funny. It was kind of knowledge-white-washing of your own heritage. I didn’t expect that from Mindy, my brown heroine.

The rest? Well, you gotta read it, I am not going to give you any more spoilers of the 23 pages book.

Kind of Hindu would make a perfect blog post or two (it’s divided into two stories in the Kindle version), not something I would pay $1.99 for. But since it’s on Kindle Unlimited, which means I am getting it for free, I have downloaded the next one, Please Like Me But Keep Away.

This time I am going to listen to it. Because listening to Mindy reading a Mindy’s adds a lotta charm to it.


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