New evidence uncovered about Gandhi’s assasination

A while back Jon Stewart of the Daily Show ran a clip demonstrating how often people overuse references to Adolf Hitler when talking about some political move they disagree with.  I would like to forward that Gandhi references are similarly thrown about with reckless abandon.  Former SM heart-throb Apul (who will be performing tomorrow night at 10p.m.) brings to my attention the latest such reference:

It’s nearly a year since Tara Reid popped out of her dress at Diddy/ Puff Daddy/ P Diddy/ Puffy’s 35th birthday party – and she’s finally spoken out about Taragate.

The American Pie star promises she’s finally got her “hooters under control” and says she can’t believe the storm it caused – as if her boob “popped out and shot Gandhi”.

Tara was left blithely exposed as the cameras flashed at Sean Combs’ bash, exposing a pretty major nipple scar.

I am actually stunned that she knew Gandhi was shot but that doesn’t make the statement any less idiotic.  Here is ESPN’s Dan Patrick (DP) interviewing Dallas Mavericks (now Suns) point guard Steve Nash (SN) a few years ago:

DP: Gandhi is your hero, right? Is there a Gandhi-like player in the NBA?
SN: Gandhi-like player in the NBA? I don’t know a Gandhi-like person in the world.
DP: Well, what position would Gandhi have played?
SN: He would definitely have been a point … but you can make a case for every position, because I think the man had a lot of power. He was definitely small, so probably point guard. But I think he would have been the most versatile player in league history.

Sheesh.  Anyone have other examples?

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Angry Eggplants!

tin and snowy.jpg

Fifteen years ago, I fell for an oddly-coiffed Belgian boy named Tintin. I was Anna-Johnny-come-lately; the object of my affection had been loved by people all over the world for 75 years. I met Tintin in India, where his English-language comic books have always been popular. Looks like the cub reporter who has starred in more than 120 million books 200 million books (Thanks, Avi) is about to make a whole new set of friends:

for the first time, DVDs and Video CDs (VCDs) of “Adventures of Tintin” have been launched in Hindi too…
Saibal Chatterjee, a media critic, says the move is driven by pure commercial sense.
“When you do something in English, you’re only reaching out to a certain number of people, a certain percentage of the audience,” he says.

Herge, the nom de plume of Georges Remi, Tintin’s creator, imagined up some charming friends for our boy with the unique hair. They included:

Tintin’s loyal dog and partner-in-adventure, Snowy, and Captain Haddock – famous for his love of whisky and colourful expletives

I guess some words just don’t translate well:

For the curious, Captain Haddock’s “blistering barnacles” translates unexpectedly as “bhadakte hue baingan” (literally, “angry aubergines”). “Thundering typhoons” comes out as “toofani lehren”.

It’s so strange, if were to compile a list of MY statistically improbable phrases, “barnacle” would be one of the anomalous words they’d notice– suddenly, I’m struck by one of those “eureka” moments which occurs when something I’ve always done has a new and logical explanation. ;) Continue reading

The only good woman is a dead one.

votecorpse06.jpg When I commenced grad school at GW, new-to-DC-me spent a lot of time in “J street”, a food court so egregiously expensive and depressingly mediocre, I have NEVER complained about airport food since. One night, while gagging down waffle fries from Chik-fil-a, I was yanked away from my deep-fried poo by a popular Bangladeshi kid whom Sajit probably remembers. :D

“Come on, come with me, RIGHT now!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, but I need your help!”

Intrigued, I closed my textbooks and followed him, chucking Chik-fil-ewww on the way. Within minutes I was somewhere I had never been, looking at super hot boys in soccer togs.

“What is this?”

“IM soccer. You’re on our team.”

I chortled, but he was serious. Since he was heading a co-ed team, he needed a certain number of women on the floor and they were one short. Never mind that at that point in my life, I was more of a futbol spectator than a participant, I was suddenly a player. They told me to just stand there, so that they wouldn’t have to forfeit. I stayed in my corner while the footie fiends whom I had befriended kept the ball far away from me. Their efforts were wasted; the other team destroyed them.

I’ll say this much for my friend– at least he used a “live” woman to achieve his ends.

:+: Continue reading

Love means never having to say “good bye”

One cold and rainy night, Manish and Abhi were going to White Castle when they found me shivering under the hedges that surround the ND HQ. Thinking I’d just lost my way, they offered me a blanket and a Slyder, and decided to let me stick around for a month. But once I tasted the shweet shweet intoxicating nectar that is Admin Privileges, I found myself trying to wrangle a more permanent invite. To that end, dear readers, you won’t believe the things I’ve done. I’m ashamed to say that I: sepialast1.jpg

  • Reorganized Anna’s closet (the shoes! the shoes!)

  • Agreed earnestly when Vinod discussed Milton Friedman’s theories in a Libertarian context (I lied! I lied!)

  • Asked Ennis if he’d like to be Mr. October in my Topless Turbaned Hotties Calender (Fauja Singh is Mr. January, but Ennis doesn’t know that yet)

  • Made a collage of MIA, Sania Mirza and Mohini Bhardwaj for Manish to contemplate as he Rocketposts in the darkness of his lair. (No comment! No comment!)

  • Bought Abhi a 5-pack of Astronaut underwear (plus an extra one that glows-in-the-dark!)

I gave up on Sajit cuz he never came out of his room. Also, I was too afraid to face him after the Marmite incident. He’s like Bruce Banner – you don’t want to make him angry.

They saw right through me though, cuz I’m being booted outta the bunker. But never fear, SepiaReaders…there is so much lowe, sweet lowe, in the air…I can’t help but paraphrase Ali McGraw’s famous line to the rich dude when I say I’ll still be around. Continue reading

Death Disco in the Diaspora

sepianirmala1.jpg The Sepia Music Edition continues…Last week, Adnan Y. left a comment about post-punk desi musicians. Specifically, Nirmala Basnayake of controller.controller. Smelling a fellow Sri Lankan, I tried to verify my hunch…but…nada. Ms. Basnayake apparently doesn’t see the need for a compelling backstory.

Once again though, Sepia readers came through.Mephistopheles1981 compiled a list of arty-farty Lankans in the North American diaspora, and called her out. Here forthwith, is a quick review of controller.controller’s debut album History:

Five-piece Toronto outfit, Controller Controller, are the latest mob to join the post-punk rat race. More than just another punk-funk band, though, they seem immediately capable of overriding the hype….The usual old school references are dotted throughout this debut (PiL – check, Gang Of Four – check, Joy Division – check), but distinctive female vocals (courtesy of Nirmala Basnayake), some serious attitude, dancefloor-aimed death grooves and a sense of the apocalyptic all make for a thrilling ride. [link]

More? Why not:

Recalling the best of female rock vocalists from Debbie Harry to Chrissie Hynde, Nirmala’s voice alternates from anxious and angry to pure sonic tenderness as the four boys behind her laydown seriously solid songs of punishing rhythm and dueling angular guitar work. Bust out your dancing shoes because with their nonstop four-on-the-floor disco beats and raging basslines, you won’t be able to stand still for long.[link]

Sisterfriend really gives my fav post-punkers Bloc Party a run for their angular danceability. I dare you to check out “Disco Blackout” and not twitch your feet! Continue reading

British Asian Music Comes Again

In continuing the mutiny’s hommage to the UK today, an in trying to steer clear of the all MIA all the time, I salute the Sheffield-based South Asian producers, the Kray Twinz, who were scheduled to make an appearance at the recent Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards show to promote their latest single, What We Do Yes the two British sardars who (silently) co-produced Panjabi MC’s Mundian To Bach Ke and Backstabbers are at it again. This time however the silencers are off, and Sepia Friendly MC Twista along with grime specialist MC Lethal Bizzle and ragga rapper Gappy Ranks are dropping the lyrics on top of a tabla and kanye west influenced sped-up-vocal-hip hop beat.  The tune, What We Do, which is getting some heavy airplay in the UK, and is also being dropped in American clubs could mean the resurgence of desi production in mainstream hip-hop.  Or it could just mean the Kray Twinz are finally getting some recogntion for their production.  Regardless, What We Do is only the first single off of the Kray Twinz forthcoming debut album, Indian Summer and if the Twinz photogallery is any indication of who they will collaborate with on Summer, lookout for appearances from the Pharcyde, Truth Hurts, and DMX.

Check out the music website pitchforkmedia’s mention of What We Do here, and check out the video for the track, here.

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S’cuze me Mister Hombre

I’ve got a hot-off-the-press issue of GQ in my hands, and guess who I see? Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, staring right back at me. sepiaMIA1.jpg

The article is titled “British Rule” (hmm…somehow so familiar, so soon) and it’s a style spread:

The hair, the sounds, the suits. For more than 40 years, the Brits have consistently defined the style of rock’n'roll. In this exclusive decade-spanning portfolio, photographer David Bailey proves that they’ve never looked sharper. [link]

David Bailey is, of course, an important figure in the music-fashion-celebrity matrix, seeing that a film was based on him and all. But who the hell are these musicians? Let’s see…we’ve got Pulp, and Blur. Beatles/Stones mentions: Eight. From the closest thing to a Brit OG (Paul Weller) to the youngest of the new tarts (Razorlight) everyone agrees that the Kinks were bloody marvelous and underappreciated. Sure, whatever….pleez. I could say more, but my fangs are already bloody.

Into this sea of insular uniformity they’ve thrown in the Sepia Idol herself, and she doesn’t disappoint: Continue reading

I bongo with my lingo

Can’t stereotype my tingo: As a huge fan of neologism, the poetry of idiom and general language geekery, it gladdens my heart to hear of a new book collecting words with no precise English equivalents. Adam Jacot de Boinod’s The Meaning Of Tingo sounds like linguistic jalebi (via Boing Boing):

The Japanese have bakku-shan – a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front. Then there’s a nakkele – a man who licks whatever the food has been served on (from Tulu, India). [Link]

Wayne’s World fans already have ‘scud,’ a bakku-shan equivalent dating back to the first Gulf War. Tulu is, of course, Aishwarya Rai’s native tongue. Mmm, lickable dishy.

You know how poets, writers and Mr. Everything Comes From India sit around at desi parties and smoky cafés bemoaning what they miss about the old country? ‘Beta, how can you explain the meaning of x? It’s not translatable. Only a true x would know about x~ness.’ Here’s to moody linguistic ethnocentrism, this from Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk:

The key, he said, is to understand the concept of huzun. This Turkish word describes a kind of melancholy, he says, not so much a personal state as one shared by an entire society, a mood of resigned despair for the great past… “The thought behind huzun was: People in Europe are happy, but we are doomed…” [Link]

I’ll throw one out: in Punjabi, nakhreli, a finicky woman (from nakhra karna, to turn up your nose at everything). In the highly functional, less ornamented American culture, there’s no exact equivalent. Or in Spanish, the idiom ‘dar calabazas’ — to give pumpkins, meaning to jilt or ignore.

… nakhur, Persian for “camel that won’t give milk until her nostrils are tickled”… tsuji-giri is Japanese for “trying out a new sword on a passer-by”… [Link]

I wonder whether nakhur is related to nakhreli. Here are other poignancies:

The French have Saint-Glinglin to mean a date that is put off indefinitely… Madogiwazoku… Japanese window gazers (office workers who sit at desks with little to do)… [Link]

Kummerspeck is a German word which literally means grief bacon: it is the word that describes the excess weight gained from emotion-related overeating…

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Monday Movie


Tired of Harold and Kumar? Want a desi film that asks more than “Where’s the Party, Yaar?” You’re in luck if you live in NY, because ImaginAsian Theater is screening Kaya Taran tonight at 7pm, followed by a discussion with the Director, Shashi Kumar. From the website (thanks Saurav!):


blockquote> The film straddles two traumatic events in recent Indian history: the 1984 anti-Sikh carnage following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the anti Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002…The film essentially deals with the dilemma of identity in a multicultural society that, every so often, turns volatile. Many aspects of the highly charged contemporary discourse find resonances in the film: the religious divide, the tyranny of the majority, the issue of religious conversions, the alienation of tribals from their hereditary land.[link]

Kaya Taran won the Aravindan Puraskaram award in 2004. If the description above sounds a bit heavy, check out the cast! The 100% fresh Bandit Queen stars: sepiakaya.jpg.jpg

The 107-minute-long film…is based on the Malayalam writer N. S. Madhavan’s short story titled “When Big Trees Fall”, set in the background of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The cast includes Seema Biswas, Angad Bedi, Neelambari Bhattacharya and Neetha Mohindra.[link]

TODAY, 7pm, @ImaginAsian Theatre, 239 59th Street NY, NY 10022. Continue reading

Without fear of reprisal

Two years ago Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York issued Executive Order 41.  This order was issued…

to ensure that immigrants, and other New Yorkers, can access City services that they need and are entitled to receive. The policy protects areas of confidentiality, such as immigration status, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic violence, status as a crime witness, receipt of public assistance, and information in income tax records.

The New York Times reports on how that order, which “essentially codified a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for city workers,” (obviously including those of South Asian heritage) is now being tested:

Waheed Saleh says he was smoking a cigarette outside a doughnut shop at the rough edge of Riverdale in the Bronx when a police officer handed him a summons for disorderly conduct. He protested, he says, and the officer yelled at him to go back to his own country.

Mr. Saleh, a Palestinian, worked as a gypsy-cab driver illegally seeking fares and was used to tickets for infractions like double parking, making U-turns and picking up passengers. But he believed that this officer, Kishon Hickman, was harassing him. So he complained to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which examines complaints against police officers.

Before he heard back from the board, however, he heard from federal immigration authorities. About a year later, outside the same doughnut shop on the night of Dec. 20, 2004, he was confronted by a federal immigration agent and local police officers. The police took him into custody on administrative immigration violations, sending him into deportation proceedings. Mr. Saleh believes it was retaliation for his civilian review board complaint.

What complicates this case is that there is a possible loophole:

There are exceptions written into Executive Order 41: Illegal immigrants suspected of criminal activity or terrorism are not protected. Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, said that Mr. Saleh’s host of summonses amounted to illegal activity, just as a single parking ticket would.

In an interview at a diner near the same doughnut shop, Mr. Saleh said he left his hometown of Jenin, on the West Bank, after his wife died of brain cancer, to find a better way to support his two young children, who stayed behind with his parents.

He arrived in November 2000 on a visitor’s visa, got a valid driver’s license and stayed on illegally to work at gas stations in Rockland County and as a landscaper in Yonkers. But after 9/11, he said, it became much harder to get work without a Social Security card, and he joined other Arabic men driving gypsy cabs.

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