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Player Information
Player name: Sarah
Contact: PM this journal or send me a private plurk since I turned pings off.
Are you over 18: Yep!
Characters in The Box Already: n/a

Character Information
Character Name: Amal Chakravarthy
Canon: The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
Canon Point: End of chapter 38
Is your character Dead, Undead or Alive: Alive
History: There's no wiki, and information on Amal's backstory is scattered around on the artist's tumblr accounts and dA and Y!gallery such, but there's a cast page with some basic information.

Amal's family is Indian-American, hailing from Seattle. He's the oldest of three and the only son -- his sisters are Sangeeta, who at his canon point will be graduating from Brown soon (this is important), and Radhi, who's high school age (this is not). His father has a tendency to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and is maybe a bit too focused on order and perfection. Not much is known about his mother as a person other than being generally more down-to-earth, but she incidentally shaped a big part of who Amal is: it was during her battle with ovarian cancer that he discovered his passion for medicine and understanding the human body.

At the time the story begins, he was getting ready to wrap up his third year as a med student at Berkeley. He was in an arranged engagement to a woman named Kavita, which made things a bit complicated for Amal since he's known he's gay since he was about 17. He finally decided he couldn't put off the truth anymore, and in the space of about 24 hours he broke off his engagement, came out to his family, was promptly disowned, stormed out and got drunk off his ass, passed out, and woke up the following morning to TJ, the other main character, frying eggs in his kitchen.

If TJ is to be believed (and no one's saying he is), he and Amal made an agreement at the bar to travel together. Amal promised Sangeeta he'd make it to her graduation even if he had to drive across the country to get there, and TJ has a friend with a job waiting for him. The arrangement is simple -- TJ pays for everything, including hotels and car repairs, and all Amal has to do is drive.

Their adventure has turned into quite an interesting tale: scenic detours into rainy national parks, accidental shoplifting, Back To The Future quote-offs, Waffle House brawls and run-ins with red state cops, an impressive pile of coke, and less than (but close to) epic amounts of booze, weed, and sex.

Personality: In other ways besides the literal, Amal is on a journey. He's been living a double life for years -- out at school, closeted at home -- and even outside of his sexual identity he's always compartmentalized himself. To his close friends he's an unabashed nerd cracking Star Trek jokes and meeting up with them a couple of times a week for D&D sessions. To the world in general, he's recently come out of what he laughingly refers to as his Douchebag Phase. Basically, once he got to college he tried to put forth this generically attractive figure that wasn't engaging at all: gay but not TOO gay, fit but not TOO cut, a good student but not an unfun egghead, cool and social but not a total toolbox. He was trying so hard to be the person he thought everyone else wanted him to be that he was making himself miserable, and no one else was impressed either. His attempt to break into the club scene was a failure as well, as he himself put it: he left as nothing more than a short brown footnote in a big white book. He has a better sense of who he is now, but he still struggles to reconcile his selves: Indian man, gay dude, future doctor, awkward nerd, insecure youth, wayward son. By the way, if you now have "Carry On Wayward Son" stuck in your head, you're welcome. Kansas is like weed, best shared with friends.

Despite his best efforts, Amal is still not a flawless individual. He can be obtuse at times and has been known to miss (or misread) social cues. He's proven capable of making snap judgments about others, and they're not usually very kind. He's somewhat vain and very image-conscious; he wants things to look and be as close to perfect as possible, even more so when these things involve him personally. When reality inevitably crashes in, he's prone to blowing up and acting foolishly in the heat of the moment, only to regret it all once he's had time to think about how things went down. He has a big issue with facing his problems head-on, preferring instead to smoke or drink them away or focus on other, smaller things to take his mind off them. He also sucks at confrontations. He might be totally swole, but when bullied or threatened he has a tendency to regress back into the skinny little wallflower he was in middle school, the misfit everyone picked on. When talking to someone he sees as less educated (or at least not as knowledgeable on the subject at hand) he has something of a condescending streak. It's not a thing he does maliciously or even consciously, but he's been caught correcting people's grammar or talking down to them. When called on it he always backs off and apologizes, but he has a little trouble remembering not to underestimate others.

For all his faults and issues, he's a pretty good guy. He's driven; he knows what he wants and nothing will stand in his way. Even after being disowned and losing the financial and emotional support of his family, he came up with a plan to keep himself in school and moving toward his goals. He's about as reliable as they come and will go miles out of his way (literally thousands of them in canon!) to keep his promises. When he finds himself truly comfortable around a person, he shows more of a goofy, spontaneous side. While he's not always so good at defending himself, and his first reaction to a confrontation is usually to stay out of it or try to mediate, he'll jump into a fight to help a friend. He's very intelligent, and his reaction to a problem he can't run from is to gather as much information he can and make sense of it, even if he can't outright solve it. He is proud of his heritage and upholds a lot of the traditions he grew up with, at least the ones that don't clash with his sexuality. Speaking of, while he's careful about who knows just for his own safety, he's not ashamed. He's accepted that aspect of himself and he is who he is, like it or lump it. He's devoted to those he cares about, a quality that shines through in his conversations with his sisters, his reaction to his mother getting sick and his father being so disappointed in him, and even in his story about coming out: it was partly because of how much he cared for Kavi that he was able to be brave for once and explain his parents that she deserved a husband who could love her fully.

So that's Amal for you. A young man who might not be all that solid yet as a person, but he'll get there.

Abilities/Strengths and Weaknesses: He's from a mundane sort of canon, no shonen shenanigans (shonanigans?) or super special powers. Weaknesses include a tendency to drink too much under stress, being a total lightweight when it comes to weed, sucking at art and music, and having no experience whatsoever with the supernatural beyond what he's seen on TV.

His abilities include a strong medical background/education, encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek episodes, being able to conceptualize most machines (organic or otherwise) easily, and being a damn good driver. Oh yeah, and besides English, he also speaks Hindi and Telugu.

First Person Sample: Here's my test drive thread! Aw yeah, son.
Third Person Sample: "I found youuu, a tattooed tra-a-a-amp..." Amal had never been bound for a career in music, but after a drink or five his voice had veered somewhere beyond "capable" and into less enjoyable territory. "Terrible", perhaps. "Reminiscent of a confused vagrant with a head cold" also worked. Not that this currently seemed like a problem; he had gotten himself hammered to the point where he could hardly see straight, and that was fine by him. Anything was better than facing the fact that he was trapped, that he'd somehow gotten himself caught in a horror show world between worlds or something. There must have been a Twilight Zone about this, or maybe a Stephen King novel that ran about fifty pages too long, but he'd never been a fan of that stuff. On the whole, he was frightened and pissed off and wholly unprepared for any of this.

Ten minutes and a couple of minor fingertip injuries later, he slotted the key into the lock and stumbled into the hotel room he'd temporarily taken to calling home. He hated it, but until he found the escape hatch or portal or teleportation device that would bring this nightmare to an end, at least he had a place where he could lock the door and curl up under a blanket and pretend none of this was really happening. TJ had gone out, which was sort of unnerving, but Amal had already rolled into bed and there was no way in hell he was getting back up again. For one, he physically couldn't. The scotch had hit him hard and the spinning feeling in his gut reminded him of smoke-filled college bars, bad decisions made on prom night, and the first time someone had shoved a red plastic cup into his hand and told him to loosen the fuck up already. For another, even the protective layers of booze weren't doing much to stifle the overwhelming sense of dread. He couldn't run from that -- he was scared. Really scared. Death waited out there, and monsters, and all sorts of hostile wildlife. Maybe if he'd said that last part out loud in another time and place he could have laughed about it, but under the circumstances none of it seemed particularly funny.

He wondered what Sangeeta was up to. He'd already missed her big day, assuming time wasn't as relative as it seemed and things were still running the way they were supposed to where he'd come from, and it was just one more thing to feel awful about. For better or worse, he had been planning to go. He badly wanted to see her, and after nine stressful days he'd finally been about to get some sort of closure with his parents. Somehow, being trapped in this hellish limbo the day before everything had been about to resolve itself was worse than any other torture this place had to offer.
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Amal Chakravarthy

March 2014

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