India Day and Lying Cake

August 18th, 2010

Last weekend was Indian Independence Day, and the local India League of America had a big celebration for it. As I planned to go, I decided to wear something in orange, since it’s one of the colors of the Indian flag. But the only orange t-shirt I own is this one, from Woot! shirts:

The Cake Is a Liar

The event was in a giant expo hall, cavernous and noisy. People crowded through the aisles and booths in a manner equally fitted to a Delhi bazaar as a suburban American weekend. My friend Shriti and I swerved our way through the crowds.

We’d glanced at the booth of a local Hindu temple, looking at the books and pictures they had on display. As I turned to walk on, an old Indian man stopped me and looked at my shirt. “This is a very good shirt,” he said. I thanked him and started to move on, but he spoke some more. “Many companies these days will tell you lies through marketing. They tell you that their products are nutritious. It’s very bad, this dishonesty.”

I shrug and smile in agreement. I could have explained, “See, there’s this video game, and an evil robot tells you you’re going to get cake if you finish. But there really isn’t any cake.” But I figure if he wanted to think I was taking a stand against, say, Vitamin Water, I’d accept that as a valid interpretation of the shirt.

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