Male Monday: Vivek Shraya

Posted on 31 January 2011 Monday

Congratulations to Tara and Evelyn, winners of copies of Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger!!

I’m going to combine Male Monday and UndercoverMonday today by featuring the work of a young man of Indian descent who currently lives in Canada.

I recently became aware of  Vivek Shraya when I posted the 2010 Rainbow Project book list. Seeing that  Shrya’s God Loves Hair was self published and managed to achieve such recognition, I had to get a copy of the book. I’m glad I did!  He’s a very small sample from this thin but moving book.

I love when colours join forces. The smell of wax and invincible possibilities when opening a new box of crayons. Or rainbows. Like my Smurfs rainbow belt and neon rainbow suspenders. But if I had to choose just one, ok two, then I would say yellow is my favorite colour and purple is my favorite colour to wear. My mom tells me I am “a winter” which apparently means, I look good in dark “winter” colours like black (not white), navy blue and purple. To me purple is more spring like lilacs or the flavour of grapes.

I plead with my parents for a Starter baseball hat in the same way I pleaded for a New Kids On The Block sweatshirt –  until they relent. I am clueless about baseball and don’t really understand the point of sports. A ball being hit or thrown or kicked around doesn’t captivate me the way Nancy Drew books do. But all the other boys in my class have these hats. This cluelessness proves to be critical as my parents and I are standing in front of rows and rows of hats at the store. I am dizzy from the options and the thought of buying a hat of an unpopular team. After what feels like an hour of torturous indecision, I lean on my aesthetic sensibility, and reach for the purple Los Angeles Lakers hat. I have no idea who the LA Lakers are or if they are any good, but at least the hat looks nice. I place it on my head. It feels too big even though my mom adjusted the strap in the back. The three of us look at my reflection in the store mirror.

I am one of the boys now.

God loves hair is a collection of stories  that combines coming of age and sexual awareness in the context of Hindi faith and tradition. Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld.

UPDATE:  Visit this page on Shraya’s website to order your copy of the book.

MaleMonday is a meme started by Ari @ Reading in Color

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