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Radhika Vaz

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Tribeca Film Festival has emerged to be a mecca of sorts for experimental storytelling. The year will see the launch of the Tribeca Digital Creators Market as the first ever marketplace to connect online and digital creators with buyers, producers and agents. Homegrown stand up comedienne, Radhika Vaz will be travelling to the event with her web series Shugs & Fats that will be screening under the same. It is about two Hijabi women holding on to their heritage and culture in the midst of a westernised modern Brooklyn civilisation. From out Arts Issue 2016, we share excerpts from an interview with her. 

Contextualise yourself in one line.
I keep putting myself in situations where I end up feeling like the new kid in class; I think I am still searching for what I am supposed to be doing with this life.

What inspired you to write it?
My friend and idea coach, Marina Romashko. And the desire to think, if just momentarily, that I am like David Seders. 

We’ve heard it’s a lot about wishing, as a child, that you could change ‘everything about your life’. What would you still like to change?
My feet. I want feet that can handle really high heels because heels make everything better.

The first job you were hired for?
Telemarketing credit cards to rich people in Bangalore. That was way back when only the wealthy had them. It was also way back when telemarketers were not that common and so people actually spoke to us instead of just hanging up. The first joke you cracked that had everyone in splits. I was in boarding school and my friends’ mum sent me this silly joke that had to be told in an Italian accent. I obviously had the worst Italian accent, the joke was ripped off because I didn’t actually write it, but none of that mattered. That was when I realized you just need confidence to kill it, which you have in spades as an unexposed 12-year-old.

The best thing about being a stand-up comic?
No one expects you to have anything serious to say so you can get away with quite a lot.

First memory of writing and what was it on?
The first essay I recall was for getting admission in a university in America. I had to explain why I would be a great addition to the program. Needless to say, it was pure fiction but what it showed me was how untrained I was, despite all these years of education, at expressing an opinion.

What makes life funny for you?
Everything and everyone. Any experience, no matter how painful it is in the moment can be humorous later on and often it’s the only way to deal with the ups and downs that life hands you.

The one ritual you can’t do away with?
Making my stovetop morning cup of coffee. An event from the past that has most influenced you? Moving to New York in 2000.

Favourite thirst quencher?
Weak tea.

The best thing to spread on toast?
Amul butter. Nothing else tastes like it.

Three things people will be surprised to know about Radhika Vaz.
I am very cranky and can only suppress it around strangers. I have fillings in pretty much every molar and will probably be toothless before I need reading glasses. I look down when I walk because I am paranoid about tripping. This means I can’t look up and admire anything when walking around a new city. It’s very sad actually.

The one label a person from the 31st century writing about us would use to describe humanity today?

The one cure you stand by to overcome a creative block?
Discipline. Sit down and keep writing. Eventually something worth repeating will show itself.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I drank a kale smoothie my friend made. It was disgusting but I felt so damn healthy.

Your greatest achievement so far
Finishing this book.

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