Taqwatweet’s Research Assistant, Nyle, is an embedded researcher on tour with the Kominas during July and August 2009. All material on this page was contributed by Nyle. He is also tweeting about the tour:
Post 1: -The Beginning-
The grimy vehicle sluggishly rolled into the parking lot and slowed to a stop. On the outside, the juxtaposition of the chic Honda Civic Hybrid attached to a dingy plain cargo trailer couldn’t have clashed more; It was clear this time around, the sequel to the 2006 Taqwatour was a different beast all together. The sleek punkmobile was left behind in favor of an efficient pseudo electric engine and a body just big enough for the equipment, heavy enough to be pulled up semi-rough terrain, and stocked with enough cans to act as an impromptu bomb shelter. Yes… This tour left the cute theatrics behind, because the name was already out there. Taqwacore already exists. The idea hearkens back a bit of RZA philosophy. RZA always said that to build an empire you have to start with a base and then work in every way necessary to expand it. That’s why the soldiers are out this time around, ready to do 15 shows in over 10 states in 24 days.
The engine hummed to a stop as our eco-terrorists arrived at the scene. The golden letters of the Kinko’s echoed a promise of roads paved with opportunity, and after much journeying and coming upon a series of closed Kinkos, this one seemed to live up to that American Dream. Finally… A chance to produce ultra cheap merchandise, stickers, and other means of expanding the more commercial aspects of the scene. All that remained was the anticipation of how many would actually come to the first gig.
End Post: P.S. The first show at New York ended up being awesome. About 60 people came out to see the Kominas.
Post 2: -The UncleNet-
Opening the car door, I shifted my legs outside and slowly brought the heels of my feet to the hard concrete. Gripping the side of the car, I pulled my body up to a stand and was hit by a sudden wave of vertigo… dizzy. I started stumbling out, feet uncoordinatedly lining up as if I was walking across the starboard of a ship for the first time. I decided to take this rare opportunity of moving at my steady 4 miles per hour pace to see the sites of the town, and maybe replenish myself before the next hours of travel. I was hungry…and even in a town stocked with home made organic, I tore open the back of the trailer and grabbed a cheap cup of “cup noodles”. I thought of it as a meat flavor additive to water: Not a sign of nutrition, yet awfully filling.
Large Styrofoam cup in hand, I made my way down a street looking for a way to fill it with some necessary boiled water. As I strolled, I peered through windows out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly a cardboard cut out of an ice cream cone stood out to me with three words: “Sweet Karma Bar”. I looked in the shop to see nicely polished wooden counters and walls… a slick and clean look. This was the convenience stores to end all convenience stores. An Indian man and his wife were working behind the counter. I opened the door slowly and pretended to scour the various shelves with no intention to purchase anything. I don’t know why I came in…it was like some invisible affinity. Maybe it was because I had hours to kill…Maybe it was because I wanted to talk to someone besides the band. I looked at the man behind the counter.
I waited for a sign of acknowledgement.
“Aap Hindi Bolthay Ho?” I asked
We continued a conversation in Hindi/Urdu. I asked him where he was from, and he replied India. He asked me where I was from, and I told him Pakistan. He said it made no difference. The age old rivalry we would have ordinarily adopted melted away when our planes flew and left the border behind. I asked him why he came to America. He told me he had come here at the age of 18 with his parents…Not much more was said here beyond the simplistic portrayals and stories I had heard from my early years at school.
The Land of Opportunity. Golden Roads, and a world of acceptance, tolerance, and support. His dad came here, and established a convenience store like so many others. Fast forward a generation and this man in front of me had upgraded his convenience store to a classy sophisticated convenience store. All I could think about was the annual Association of Pakistani Physicians of America meeting I would always attend with my mother. Looking around the room, I had always assumed almost any South Asian had at least one doctor in the family, and the other member would have to have been a software engineer, house husband/wife, or maybe another doctor. Not everyone funneled into prosperity like my parents had.
We talked a little more, and my opportunistic mind lit up with an idea.
“Uncle, could you fill some paani in this?” I asked, holding my cup noodles up to him.
“Sure Bayta” he said with a smile across his face. I thought about this exchange…Thought about how if this was anyone who entered this store with cup noodles in their hand, they would be damned crazy to ask for free water. My mind hovered over a previous term I had heard before…One time someone explained arranged marriage to a friend of mine and told him
“Its more like a dating service, but more efficient. People say that the auntienet travels even faster than the internet.” Shared diasporas, immigration backgrounds and an experience complicated by the atmosphere of suspicion caused by our skin color…Yes. I could already tell that the unclenet would have a lot of perks in the long run on this 24 day tour.