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Nama Slay: We’re Thai-Indian…

by Niranjana Mittal

Sumati Huber’s take on “of course we…” 


  1. Of course Thai people don’t believe we speak Thai, and Indian people laugh at our Hindi.
  2. Of course we don’t repeat any of our Indian clothes to wedding functions, and then complain that our closet is not big enough to store our lehengas.
  3. Of course we call hair and makeup people to come home and glam us up for all our social events
  4. Of course we’re friends with a wedding planner or have joined the business as a freelancer ourselves.
  5. Of course we tell trained restaurant chefs how to properly season their Indian cuisine and confuse waiters by ordering items that are not on the menu. 
  6. Of course we make plans to go out for dinner on  Mondays and/or Tuesdays so we don’t have to eat vegetarian food at home.
  7. Of course we will serve you phad mee, cheese toast and chai when you come over.
  8. Of course we worship pad krapao with kai dao, especially at the beach.
  9. Of course we all dabbled in the textile business in Sampheng at some point (or still do, much to our dismay).
  10. Of course we speak in a Western tone to our friends but turn on the Indian accent when we are with our families.
  11. Of course we tell our non-Indian friends to call us “Deep” even though our good name is Sandeep.
  12. Of course we were forced to dance at weddings of relatives we didn’t even know, since we were young.
  13. Of course we are part of at least 20 WhatsApp groups for dinners, lunches, birthday gifts, wedding dances, social events and prayer sessions.
  14. Of course we turn our heads and visibly stare when we see other Indians entering a place.
  15. Of course we will ask you when you are getting engaged or when you are planning to have a baby.
  16. Of course all the aunties and uncles in society know everything about us even though we have no idea who they are.
  17. Of course we are still scared to drink alcohol in front of our parents even though we are almost 40 years old.
  18. Of course we have the best sources for Indian sweets, vegetarian cakes, jewellery, homeware, alterations, massages, beauty services and anything else you could ever need.
  19. Of course shopkeepers tell us we have to wear size XL because our bodies aren’t actually built like Thais.
  20. Of course we have to explain to Thai people we are ethnically Indian when they ask us why we don’t “look” Thai.

An unreformed party girl and mother of two, writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.

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