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These are a few of Melvin's favorite e-mails from readers. Names and identifying details have been removed to protect the innocent. Melvin did not pay readers to make these comments, he did not hold them at gunpoint, and he did not get them drunk. At least that's his story and he's sticking by it.

 

Dear Melvin,

    I am so happy to find your wonderful writings.  I am excited to start my sub. with your site.  I teach in Panama and pass along "very important" funnies and thoughts to my fellow teachers at the ------ school of Panama.  They love your work.  Thanks.

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HELLO MELVIN DURAI,

                   I HAVE ENJOYED READING EVERYLINE OF YOUR COLUMN WHILE RIDING ON THE SUBWAY FROM QUEENS TO BRONX. EVERY TWO WKS I COME TO BUY GROCERY AT QUEENS WHEN I PICK DESI TALK . I AM NEAR TO TEARS WITH LAUGHTER WHILE DUG IN YOUR COLUMN. MOST PEOPLE MIGHT BE THINKING I AM LUNATIC LAUGHING TO MYSELF SURROUNDED WITH MY BAGS OF GROCERY. I HAVE ALWAYS APPRECIATED GOOD HUMOUR AND THAT IN A DESIMAN IS RARE.
PLEASE KEEP UP THE GOODWORK AND TRY WRITING FOR NY TIMES.

THANK YOU,
A FAN

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Melvin,

I really like your column.  I think that it is kind of ironic that you sent me that for this reason.  Earlier in the year, my roommate found a small cut-out of your face from a local newspaper from a column that you had submitted.  We liked your column so much that we put your little cut-out on the left breast of a poster of Jennifer Love Hewitt that we have in our apartment.  Everytime that somebody comes in the apartment they say, why is there a cut-out of this Melvin Durai on your poster and we just tell them that Melvin is the man and he deserves to be permanetley placed on Jennifer's left Breast.  So, in conclusion, thanks fro your column and I would greatly appreciate you sending it to me from now on.

Thank you,

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Hello Melvin! Thanks for an excellent column on weight issues. This is something I've struggled with for years (I'm not built like Calista Flockheart, more like Cameron Mannheim). I have a 12-year-old daughter who is built like her mother and I worry about the messages she is getting from shows like "Friends". I am going to forward your column to her and encourage her to read it. Keep up the great writing!

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Melvin,
   I cannot help but commend you on this weeks humor column on Africa. I did enjoy the humor but trust me it did touch my heart as well, as you had protrayed, the attitude of this Superpower nation towards certain countries, especially Africa!
Keep up this good work to enlighten others with your gift of humorous writting.

God Bless

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you can really write! i so appreciate your weekly column. the one on africa was so well written and great to read. i really respect what you have to say, in sarcasm or seriousness. i always forward it on to my dad and friends! thanks for the great email, its really nice to get some intelligence once in a while!

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Hello Melvin.
Not sure if you will ever see this message as I am sure it is probably one among thousands being sent to you.
Anyways, (if you are still reading) I am so grateful to have subscribed to your column. I am also from India, Bombay actually.Been here in the States for about 2 yrs now.
Your articles are touching and just what I look forward to you.Talking about forward, I have forwarded your URL to almost every english speaking person I know!

Wish you all the very best in your literary careeer in the US.You have one solid fan here in Chicago.

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I was reading this to friends and it we were so hysterical with laughter that Gloria, a friend, handed me a box of tissues, to I could wipe the tears. My stomach still is sore from the convulsive laughter!

A great piece and one deserving of much, much greater exposure. Have you ever considered writing for one of the network show hosts?

Regards

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hey
my name is ------ and i am from atlanta, ga, i am 17 years old and i just want to tell you that i think your jokes are hilarious, don't take this offensively, but because you are an "older" person i thought the jokes would be really lame, but you proved me wrong! good job

much love

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Mr. Durai,  Your newspaper article about "seat" belts is just great.  Great subject, presented with fabulous humor, makes the point stronger.  I've clipped your article and will use it.  I teach the AAA Driver Improvement Program to senior citizens (of which I am one).  I've used the quotation marks because we like to refer to them as "safety" belts.  I wish I could find more articles written by you ... they must be most interesting.  Keep up the good work.

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I have read this column for ages.  I love it.  If I don't read any other mail I read this.  You give my day a really good start!!   Thanks.......

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Just wanted to write a quick note to say that I love your column, and that I am a faithful reader.  You have the same outlook on things as I do!!  Keep up the GREAT work.

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Dear Melvin,
I just happened to read you columns on ly for the past few weeks in Desi Talk.  I thoroughly enjoy reading them. YOU ARE GENUINELY FUNNY AND INTELLIGENT.
Very rarely have I come across writers of yopur calibre who are both witty and thoughtprovoking.
IfI am not personal is your mother tongue Tamil.
I know several Indian languages and Tamil is one of them. Please keep up your good work and entertain and enlighten us. I wish you the very in all of your  endeavours.   Good luck.

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Thank you, Mr. Durai. Your column on John F. Kennedy, Jr. is the most beautiful and thoughtful one that I have read yet. You have captured the beauty of this young man who was as beautiful of mind and soul as he was in features.
Your column and a picture of John is all that is needed to remember him as he would want to be remembered. An extraordinarily handsome but, regular guy.

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I have been wanting to write you a compliment for a long time.   First your
column in the Pubic Opinion on lawsuits was very good.

However, several months ago you wrote, in my view, the best, funniest and even-handed column on the whole Clinton/Lewinsky mess. Unfortunately as wives do, she threw out before I could e-mail my sentiments.  Your latest column led me to this message.

As  a one time brief member of the Guild before I found out I couldn't afford to be a journalist and have children, I wanted to offer my congratulations.  I have not normally seen this quality of writing in small, regional paper.

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Melvin:

It is now 1255 a.m. here in Georgia and I have just gotten my breath back after reading your last column. It is amazing just how good you really feel after a good laugh.

If I feel all down in the dumps I just pull up one of your columns and the humor brings you back.

Thanks Melvin.

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Melvin...

I rarely write to the newspaper.  I am writing to let you know how much I enjoy your humor columns in the Public Opinion.  Thanks for making me laugh! I love your style of writing and I love your humor!

I used to be a resident of Chambersburg and moved to the Philadelphia area about 7 years ago.  Since then, my Mother continues to send me clippings from the Public Opinion that she thinks I will find interesting.  The columns that is most frequent in my mail from "home" is your column.  That tells me something else - my Mother and  Dad enjoy your column.  It makes them laugh and that is good for them.  I thank you for bringing some excellent humor into their lives - especially as they grow older.

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Hello Melvin!

I consider your little "Thanks, Mom and Dad" article in the Opinion column of AsianWeek, March 4, 1999, something of a gem. I see things about my folks exactly as you've articulated so well in that column.

The humor and truth of it all is quite moving. I intend to print it out in large font for my new visually-compromised parents, because they will love reading what someone else captured so well in words.

Thanks for submitting this. If you have any other writings of yours I could read--I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area, not an East-Coast person--do let me know.

Cheers

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I sent your latest column to all my friends. Then I sent your column to my 14 year old daughter's e-mail address. We live in the same house together but her "Mail Box is a private place all her own and it's easier for her to "be with it" that way

I've discovered that there's more to your talents than simply the ability to get others to laugh. Over the years I've learned that the ability to laugh is most often earned by experiencing tears. I don't know your history or your future. Whatever they may be, I hope your success is so great, that you'll never ever have to deny whatever tears you shed getting there. Thanks.

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Okay, I know that you probably get alot of e-mails saying that you write really well and that you are really funny, but I thought that I would add to your collection and let you know that I really enjoyed reading your article on arranged marriages.  I am not sure exactly what newpaper you write for or in what state but, they are really lucky to have someone who is that humourous. 

I am really impressed that you could take such a serious issue such as arranged marriages and write an article that is both informative and interesting.  I am imptrssed!

Well I thought I would just let you know that I enjoy reading your stuff.  If you have anyt other stuff on Indian or Hindu families or issues could you e-mail them to me.  I would be interested in reading more of your stuff. 

Thanx

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