Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sangeeta Singh, Ph. D.

The first South Asian character on Ph.D. comics - Sangeeta Singh.

It is strange how the choice of name for a peripheral character from a particular community reflects the perception of the community by outsiders.

There were a few smatterings of South Asian characters in Jeffery Archer and Arthury Hailey novels - very typecast, very typical. Either they were the counter clerks or loyal employees.

They were usually called by some very general name like Mr. Singh or something terribly wrong like Dr. Rao Shastri. (Strong Medicine). For God's sake, both Rao and Shastri are surnames. You would never find a real person named like that. Another was the cashier in the Simpsons but I dont recollect his name. I dont know whether he has one in the first place.

Asok (the IIT graduate from the comic strip 'Dilbert') was the first character whose name was apt somehow. I love his dialogue -"At the IIT, we are trained to sleep only on national holidays". He was shown to be super-intelligent, super-deductive. Type-casting? I say, yes!

J.K. Rowling was better with Parvati Patil but there was the still-unbelievable Padma Patil. Here they are thankfully just students not menials or super-smart geniuses. (Though no fault of hers, IMHO these things were negated when the characters were made to wear those terrible ghagra-cholis at the Yule ball in the movie)

Sangeeta Singh from Ph. D. comics seems just right. Though the cynic in me wishes that George Cham could have used a more unique(?) surname.

Too bad that she is just from the past of Professor Smith.(She was a fellow student that Prof Smith supposedly had a crush on during his grad school days). That means she won't be a recurring character!

See the comic here and here!


kate said...

That's Asok.
and the cashier is Apu...i think..

samudrika said...

That figures why a Google search with 'alok dilbert' was giving me random junk!
Thanks. It has been edited.

kray said...

--"At the IIT, we are trained to sleep only on national holidays".--

Heartily disagree :D!! Trained to sleep anytime anyplace is more like it :P.

Guess Who? said...

There was also that bit where Asok says he heats his coffee up by holding it up to his forehead that had me in splits!

(I wonder how many IITians reading the strip went back to their rooms and tried that? :p)

ggop said...

Its Jorge Cham - not George (wonder if it is pronounced Hor-he like the classical Spanish rule) :-)
Catching up with your posts. How fun!