Earlier last year we introduced you to writer and actress Mindy Kaling’s brother who alleged he got into medical school by posing as a Black Man. Well true to his word he released his tell all book, which details his exploits and he has decided to expose a few of his sister’s secrets too.
Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam, Mindy Kaling’s older brother, has just published his tell-all memoir Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got into Medical School by Pretending to Be Black. In addition to reconstructing how he “conned” 11 top medical schools including Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania, Chokal-Ingam also includes an exposé on Mindy Kaling in his book.
First of all, despite Mindy Kaling’s public claim that that she has no involvement in her brother’s med school scheme, the truth is that she knew about the plot all along.
To help Vijay avoid detection, Mindy actually talked him out of applying to Harvard and Dartmouth where she had personal connections. Mindy was also the first person to suggest that she should write a book about his “surprisingly funny” scam.
In a bonus chapter titled Mindy Kaling: The Goddess of Vengeance, Chokal-Ingam also offers a rare look into Mindy’s relationship history and reveals how she has “made it” in Hollywood. Highlights:
- “B.J. Novak has exactly zero long-term romantic interest in Mindy,” while she has been hung up on him like forever.
- The reason why Mindy broke up with ex-boyfriend Benjamin Nugent was because she deliberately asked her connections at William Morris Endeavor not to represent Ben’s sister Annie Baker, an aspiring comedian, even though she said she would “help.”
- “My sister has engineered similar public and private plots against her many frenemies in Hollywood (including Greg Daniels, Anna Camp, Amanda Setton, Matt Warburton, Ellie Kemper, etc.).”
- Mindy Kaling snubbed Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, stars of Slumdog Millionaire, when she ran into them while dining with her family at Mendocino Farms, the sandwich shop on Fairfax.
- She had only sent out this too little, too late “nice to meet you” tweet after Chokal-Ingam yelled at her for not being polite.
- Mindy Kaling had an abortion in 2008.
The True Story of How I Got into Medical School
by Pretending to Be Black
“This book will bring shame on the family!” – Mindy Kaling
IS THAT A DAGGER IN YOUR HAND OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?
Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive. Sir Walter Scott.
Before we do anything else, I need to explain the incendiary quote on the cover of my book
Almost Black: “This book will bring shame on the family!” from my sister, Mindy Kaling. The
reader needs to know what up, right?
If you’re saying “Who in jack shit is Mindy who?” or “The hell with Mindy Kaling, can
you get back to the part about how you partied your way through college yet beat the system by
getting into med school while posing as black?” I certainly won’t fault you, and you have my
permission to skip this article / blog post and read my book, Almost Black: The True Story of
How I Got into Medical School by Pretending to Be Black. However, you might miss a useful
pointer or two about the cost of backstabbing and deception courtesy of my sister, Mindy Kaling,
former star of NBC’s The Office and current star of The Mindy Project on Hulu. Of course,
Almost Black has plenty of backstabbing and deception also, so there is lots to go around.
Okay, did Mindy really fear endorsing this book as I state on the cover? Well, the story is
more complicated than that. When I approached Mindy about writing this book, we were on
good terms: I used to come to her house every week to work out together, even though the
UCLA gym was much closer and more convenient for me. At that time, I hoped my sister would
be the writer and director for the movie version of Almost Black. I dreamed my sister would win
her first Oscar for playing my mother in the movie: a courageous Indian mother and doctor
fighting for the rights of her children when they were discriminated against in school admissions
in chapter one of Almost Black. (Sounds crazy now, right? But, we are family after all.) Our
mother, Swati Chokalingam, MD is the inspiration for The Mindy Project, after all.
I had hoped for Mindy’s support. Worse case scenario, I figured she could say she didn’t
support it but respected my decision to write it anyway. She’d known and loved this story for
years and was one of the people who laughed hardest when recounting it. So her actual response
Her exact words after reading my book proposal were, “This book will bring shame on
Shame? Are you shittin’ me? What is she? Amish?
Once I got over the shock, I decided to use the quote on the cover of the book.
You want shame, Mindy? Signed, sealed and delivered.
Her attack quickly got personal. She hurled a full kitchen sink array of allegations that
had happened twenty years earlier. Her overreaction was weird, maybe even a little unhinged. It
wasn’t like I’d written The Necronomicon.
I mean, she’s not the only one in our family who gets to talk shit about themselves.
Feeling under attack, I defensively countered, “You play a slut on national TV, and you
think this will bring shame on the family?”
It was one of those circular brother/sister arguments with no one able to see the other’s
point of view. After a long estrangement, she eventually apologized, and so did I, but the
bitterness endured. Her venom remained both toxic and in abundant supply.
After news had broken last year I applied to medical school by posing as black, Mindy
Kaling’s rep has told US Weekly that “she was not aware of his decision to apply to medical
school under a different name and race.” Well, that’s just a blatant lie.
Let me set the record straight. She’s known the story pretty much since day one, but
never took exception to it or judged it as some moral turpitude against the “family.” In fact, she
helped. Despite receiving an invitation to apply from Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine,
I did not eventually apply because Mindy suspected the admissions office might
recognize our shared last name, which was made famous by her comic strip Badly Drawn Girl
and other campus activities at Dartmouth. I applied to Harvard Medical School after receiving an
invitation to apply from Dr. Alvin Poussaint, the famous professor of psychiatry at HMS and
friend of tranquilizer enthusiast, Bill Cosby. However, I subsequently withdrew my application
after Mindy kindly reminded me she was high school friends with Poussaint’s son and warned
me that my racial fraud might be detected. Dr. Poussaint knew my family was Indian, not black.
In other words, Mindy helped me dodge a bullet.
And the icing on the cake? In 1998, Mindy was the first one who suggested she should
write a book about my “surprisingly funny” scam. I nixed the idea because I wanted no one to
spill the beans about how I got into medical school by posing as black.
Only after reading my proposal her opinions changed and she was furious. I’m certain, as
are several friends and colleagues who also read it, that the big problem was it was simply a
whole lot better than she expected it to be.
Who the hell does Vijay think he is, trying to be funny?
I admit I didn’t write this all by myself. I found a very talented and experienced writer in
Matt Hansen to help me make it as funny yet as poignant (in the right moments) as possible.
However, knowing her so well, I know that after reading the proposal (not this part!) she was
incensed I was trying to hone in on her turf. She saw me – her brother, “the resume writer” – as a
threat to her.
You can read the rest of the first chapter here.
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