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carpet” (2006a: 79). Ironically, it is the self-degraded and

physically weak Jas

the white boy who tries so hard to imitate the

rudeboys in the ways he speaks, walks, and behaves and to

assimilate himself into the desi culture by learning Punjabi, Hindi,

and a little Urdu

who has a father who needs to work around the

clock to make a living in his small shop selling mobile phones.

Here, through the contrast between Jas’ lack of self-confidence and

the desi boys’ wealth, physical strength, and linguistic prowess, the

novel has an almost inverted reversal of the Orientalist stereotypes

of weak, poor, and inferior colored immigrants.

Secondly, the desi rudeboys in the novel are not gangsters as

much as they are mommy’s boys. Hardjit and the other desi boys

may swear and act like gangsters, but their overly exaggerated

words sound awkward and hilarious at times. The following words,

spoken by Jas during the scene when Hardjit, Amit, and Ravi

verbally and physically abuse the white boy, demonstrate very well

how Jas is aware that their gang identity is simply a performance:

To make up for my useless shitness I decided to offer the


carefully crafted comment

: Yeh, bredren, knock

his fuckin teeth out. Bruck his fuckin face. Kill his

fuckin . . . well, his fuckin, you know, him. Kill him.

This was probly a bit over the top but I think I’d got the

tone just right an nobody laughed at me. (Malkani, 2006a:

9; emphasis added)

Here, and in several other places in the novel, as Michael Mitchell

points out, language is “a fabric” worn by Jas “like a costume as a

conscious part of his performance” (2008: 332). Hardjit and the

other desi rudeboys may not be as self-aware as Jas of their

“inauthentic” gang identity, but their self-claimed gang identity is

likewise a performance and an expression of their hyper-

masculinity. A huge gap can be detected between what they say and

what they do. For example, on their way to an expectedly violent

fight with Tariq, a Muslim boy in the neighborhood, whom they