27 November, 2020

Clown Princess

A comedienne wasn't what her parents wanted her to be. Now, Vijai Nathan is having the last laugh.

Suresh Manjanath
Clown Princess
Ok, so she didn't turn out to be a Sabeer Bhatia clone, or a Jhumpa Lahiri lookalike. Ouch, that hurt for a while but so what? Worshipping at the Silicon Valley temple wasn't her scene, nor did she want to be among the white-robed clan with a stethoscope hanging perpetually around their neck. It just wasn't her shtick. Yes, mama and papa did their voodoo talk to mesmerise her into pursuing the tried-and-tested avenues but she said nothing, waiting to pounce back on life another way.

Vijai Nathan, when still in her bubbly 20s, had decided to explore the wild, wild world of American performing arts and become a trailblazer of another kind. So she has become the first Indian-American woman stand-up comic, a desi gal doing gigs around comedy clubs and ribbing into her own ethnic background for material and jokes. She has made waves from Boston to Chicago and last month she left for South Africa to cheer the folks there.

It is not an easy world to break into—the crowds can be tough, the clubs choosy and the compensation meagre. Often a day job is essential to keep body...


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