First published in guardian.co.uk on 16th May 2011
This cartoon was prompted by the thought – what if sex chat lines were, like most other things, outsourced to Indian call centres? It amused me to think that the sexy chat would be in Indish – that particular Indian English patois which (the internet informs me) is mainly from southern India. Part of it is the habit of using slightly more high falutin words than one would normally use within quite mangled sentence structures. To see an hilarious example click here.
I sometimes come up with a joke, as on this occasion, that has nothing to do with art. I then try to think if there is an appropriate artist to slot into it. Luckily for me the artworld has strange, silly stuff by the bucketload so it’s normally not a problem. Tracey Emin fitted the bill here, with her (often) sexualised ditties written in neon tubing. She’s a bit stuck for ideas in my version…
By the way, I would be very surprised if there is a more interesting place on earth than India. I spent three months travelling there in 1991 and realised the best way to describe it is that it is a human rainforest. No monoculture here. It has every variant of humanity you can think of – religion, caste, language, wealth, health, food, colour – and lots and lots of it. Every day I could count on seeing something completely unexpected: almost tripping over the head of a begging holy man buried up to his neck in the sidewalk; monkeys jumping from shop awnings to steal fruit in busy city streets; squeezing my bicycle up sideways against the rickshaw in front of me to avoid being trampled by 2 angry camels pulling a cart; a jubilant crowd parading a well-dressed man on a throne who I realised, as he passed right next to my bus window, was not very alive. There’s a real mythic dimension to India and I absolutely dug it. However, 1991 was a long time ago and people tell me it has changed dramatically. So ask someone else before you buy a ticket.