Macho Meesha’d Men

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I get a daily email from Rediff.com. Usually I don’t have time to skim it for Sepia-ness, but tonight, I finished your 55s with time to spare so I gave it a cursory cook. :) Near the bottom of the tailored-to-my-preferences Rediff-o-gram were the following words: Top Malayalam Actors 2005. Like I could pass THAT headline up. ;)

Before the page even loaded in a foxy new tab, I knew I was going to spy with my round eye either Mohanlal or Mamooty. Survey says? The man to the right, Mohanlal. I found myself wondering, “Sheesh…ARE there other mallu phillum actors besides those two??”

Browsing through the pictorial essay taught me that Manoj K Jayan (Anandabhadram), Dileep (Chaandupottu) and Suresh Gopi (Bharat Chandran IPS) also act in the sort of films my Aunt and Uncle sigh over as they eat their kappa and karrimeen (washed down with kappi, natch). I don’t join in, mostly because I hate kappa and meen. ;)

Perusing all this coconut-flavored photography, all I could notice was moustaches. Malayalee men are devoted to them and I was actually shocked when I noticed that one of the men pictured (Jayan) did NOT have one. It weirds me out as I pause and grok that I NEVER saw my father without a meesha. Same with the majority of my uncles. Meanwhile, I loathe facial hair, goatees included. No wonder I’m not married. ;) Well, it’s either that or because I’m on the wrong team. Continue reading

55Friday: The “New Years Day” Edition

The next time I prattle on about orgies, nanofiction and Fridays, there will be a “six” marking the days of our lives instead of a “five”. :) I didn’t know what would happen the first time I posted about daring to write short-shorts; I certainly had no expectation that fiction-filled Fridays would become a much-loved tradition here at the Mutiny. Now, I can’t imagine an SM without tiny stories, each exactly 55 words in length.

Thank you for writing so regularly, so publicly, so generously. You have become some of my favorite authors, and reading your creations is something I look forward to all week long. For those of you who lurk, doubt or hesitate…make one of your resolutions a promise to yourself that you will write. Almost everyone I know lists “write a novel” when answering one of those silly numbered/question-riddled memes, specifically when asked about “things you’d like to accomplish eventually”. Baby steps. Fifty-five of them. You can do it, we’ll be thrilled to watch you try.

Happy New Year, writers. :) Continue reading

The Man on ‘Black’

Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan and Time film critic Richard Corliss just named Black to his top ten movies of 2005. Here’s the catch: like that famous Aishwarya Rai cover, the list is only for Time Asia. The same spot on the U.S. list is occupied by Caché.

Rani Mukherjee in Black

This is an unofficial remake of the 1962 U.S. film The Miracle Worker, about the deaf-blind child Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan… This is an unusual film for India: no songs, a running time under 2 hrs. and most of the dialogue in English… Amitabh… harnesses gravity and humor to his magisterial machismo in what may be his greatest role… In so many Indian films the deepest searches are for romantic ecstasy and for reconciliation with the father figure. By addressing both these needs, Black is more than a noble weepie; it is the ultimate Bollywood love story. [Link]

Heh, ‘unofficial remake’ Corliss may still be smarting over the collective global yawn over Devdas:

I wished Devdas had been in the competition for the Palme d’Or; it bested the Festival winner, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, in verve, visual acuity and the hero’s sanctified suffering… it could also be the most visually intoxicating film ever[Devdas] could also be the most visually intoxicating film ever

My devotion to Devdas was a minority opinion at Cannes. The pack of international critics is usually a tolerant one; I might say they share some of the Devdas hero’s self-flagellating tendencies, since each May they sit obediently through dozens of mopey minimalist movies. (This year’s prime example: The Brown Bunny, the notoriously painful American indie that only a handful of scribes walked out on.) Yet in 2002… exactly one critic — and by now you’ve figured out who — was there at the end… for TIME’s International editions, I went further, really too far, and named it the film of the year…

But you never heard of Devdas. That’s because no review appeared in the major New York or L.A. newspapers, or in most others, when the film opened last July. [Link]

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Bangla woman killed by celebratory gunfire in Queens

A 29-year-old Bangla woman from Queens was accidentally killed two nights ago when a new army recruit fired celebratory shots outside her window:

Selina Akther was shot in the head and died instantly at the window of her fifth-floor apartment in the Queens borough of New York. Police arrested a US soldier who they said was on leave and had been drinking when he fired shots into the air. [Link]

It had been a night of celebration for the young Army private, who had just returned from basic training at Ft. Hood, Texas. “We believe he was out partying with his girlfriend and he comes upon his friends,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at police headquarters. “He approached his friends, and that’s when he fires the shots in the air.” [Link]

After being shot, Ms. Akther lay bleeding on the living-room floor by the bullet-pocked window for about 20 minutes until her husband saw her and realized she was not breathing…

According to a law enforcement official, Private Carpio was extremely remorseful, and was cooperative in trying to help police find the gun, which he said he threw away after firing into the air. The official, who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing, said Private Carpio had told investigators that while home on leave, he had visited his goddaughter, drank some beer and vodka, left his family and bumped into some old friends, and then, he said, did “something real stupid.” It was not until the next morning that he saw on the news that a mother had been killed. [Link]

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Purification

The use of fire in achieving moral purity:

Hindus in India are cremated upon open grounds upon wooden pyres…The body is to be set alight only by the male child of the deceased, or the closest male relative. [Wikipedia]

Thousands of alleged militants, human rights activists, and ordinary Sikhs in Punjab were summarily executed by security forces… Their bodies were then cremated to destroy the evidence… His investigation led him to enquire into the purchase of firewood by security forces. He found that thousands of so-called unidentified or unclaimed bodies were being secretly cremated by the police with this firewood. [Human Rights Watch]

Today’s WaPo:

But the detainees were moved elsewhere to similar CIA prisons, referred to as “black sites” in classified documents… The agency is working to establish procedures in the event a prisoner dies in custody. One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body, according to two sources. [Washington Post]

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Beebful of Russell

Here’s yet another Russell Peters comedy clip. A thinner Peters makes an appearance on the Beeb and does a shout-out to Meera Syal, who’s sitting in the front row.

Madhuri Dixit and Vinod Khanna in Dayavaan

You’ve probably heard most of the material before, but there’s a cute joke about what porn would be like if it conformed to the standards of Bollywood censors. Contrary to popular belief, there have been oodles of smooches in Bollywood films, including by the faux-virginal Rai, and even some toplessness.

Way back in 1933, Devika Rani shocked people with her lingering kiss with Himanshu Rai in Karma. [Link]

… [Dimple Kapadia] created as big a splash with her comeback in Saagar when she flashed her exposed breasts to the camera for a few quick frames… a shocking first for a mainstream actress in a Bollywood film. [Link]

Mrs. Kapadia presents! This gallery of kisses through Bollywood history is way too rrro-man-tik to be saved for V Day.

For readers of different suasion, try Dosti: Friends Forever (trailer). Bobby Deol and Akshay Kumar gaze deeply into each other’s eyes, vowing eternal love and loyalty… on motorcycles. They were trying for ‘Yeh Dosti’ from Sholay, with Deol as the younger Dharmendra. What they got instead was Brokeback Hillstation. A film culture which only mentions gays when ridiculing them, affords lots of room for hot hetero phrendship.

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A letter to the editor

Following up on my post about Bobby Jindal being named Person of the Year by the India Abroad newspaper, a helpful anonymous source has emailed us a copy of the letter sent to the editor of India Abroad, expressing displeasure at their choice. What makes this story interesting is the list of signatories:

  • Anurima Bhargava — Staff Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Vanita Gupta — Staff Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, past winner of the Reebok Human Rights Award and India Abroad Publisher’s Special Award for Outstanding Achievement
  • Shyam Maskai — attorney in private practice, former President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York
  • Cyrus D. Mehta — leading immigration lawyer, TV commentator on immigration law issues, and member of the Executive Committee of the NYC Bar Association
  • Purvi Shah — Executive Director, Sakhi for South Asian Women

Here is an excerpt of the full letter:

Dear Editor:

We attended the function on December 9 where Congressman Bobby Jindal received The India Abroad Person of the Year 2005 award. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Jindal paid tribute to the achievements of the Indian-American community, especially its first generation immigrants who, like his parents, have sacrificed much to enable the next generation to fulfill their dreams.

On December 16, a week after winning the award, Mr. Jindal voted in favor of The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, H.R. 4437, which if passed into law, would destroy immigrant families by creating new grounds of deportability and gutting immigrants’ due process rights. Continue reading

Murder at Bangalore’s IISc

An erstwhile IIT prof is dead and several others remain injured, after a brazen terrorist attack at a conference which was being held at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore (Thanks Aj, for the link):

The suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorist entered the complex through the main gate, took out hand grenades and an automatic rifle and started firing indiscriminately at the scientists who had come to attend the International Conference on Operations Research Applications in Infrastructure Development —2005, according to eyewitnesses.
While Prof M C Puri succumbed to injuries at the M S Ramaiah Hospital, Dr Pankaj Gupta, Patellappa, an IISC employee, Dr Sangeetha, Dr Vijay Chandra and four others were injured. All the scientists had come from Delhi and other places to attend the international conference.

When security isn’t secure enough:

Only three private security guards were on duty when the incident occurred. They were not trained for this situation, according to sources.

More, this time from Rediff:

Sources said the possibility of terror attack could not be ruled out given the nature of the automatic weapons used in the attack. A state-wide alert has been sounded…
The officials are also trying to ascertain whether the underworld had any role in Wednesday’s incident as the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, Abu Salem is in Bangalore to undergo lie detector and brain mapping tests, sources said.

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We are the World, We are South Asian

Dear () :

First, allow me to congratulate you on your excessively clever handle. Normally, I’d be jumping out of my chair like the little cartoon man who signifies “stellar!” for the San Francisco Chronicle’s arts reviews, out of appreciation of your FANTASTIC taste in music, but I am almost 99.9% certain that you weren’t paying tribute to a three-year old release from Sigur Ros with the whole empty parentheses schtick.

Second, allow me to even more sarcastically congratulate you on your attempt at incisive commentary, issued in support of the link you wanted to tip us to…ouch, I think it gave me an owie:

Islamic terrorists attack IISc in Bangalore and shoot a professor dead. Such beautiful gift from our loving South Asian brothers deserve a mention on this blog….or perhaps you’d choose to bury your head in the sand and pretend that this doesn’t/didn’t/won’t happen.

Not.

This trifling game is getting so old, I can pay a premium for it (still in the original box! mint!) on eBay. This Mutiny is brown. We like the term “South Asian“. We write about stuff that happens in the countries that surround India. We care. If you don’t, then that’s unfortunate. Getting snide in an ANONYMOUS tip isn’t going to change our minds, surely you had to be aware of that. If not, let this “musing” of mine clue you in: inclusiveness is how we roll, even though every one of our parents once had an Indian passport and exactly eight dollars in their pocket, upon landing at JFK. Continue reading

Seasons Greetings from the Mutiny!

As I am sure you have all noticed, the number of posts here at Sepia Mutiny have declined during the past week. All of us have fled from our blogging world headquarters in North Dakota and are currently traveling parts of the country. I myself am safely ensconsed in a suburb of D.C. and will soon make my way up the coast for New Years festivities. Unfortunately, the safehouse I am currently at has only a 28.8 Kbps rate phone line, which means that every post is completed only after a Herculean effort. Similarly, the other mutineers are adjusting to life on the outside for a week or two. Our current situation is kind of like the one Morgan Freeman’s character faced in the Shawshank Redemption when he finally got out of prison. Life on the outside is hard to get used to after one has been institutionalised. I fear that many of us felt the same as we left North Dakota. We do want a shot at a normal life though. Hopefully we will run into some of our readers on the outside during these holidays.

As the year draws to a close, we at Sepia Mutiny would once again like to thank our readers and wish them a happy holiday season. I am sure that I can safely speak for my co-bloggers when I say that any success this site sees is only partially attributable to the bloggers here. Our readers and their comments complete us. We have now logged over 2 million visitors. SM has also gotten two recent shout outs and I’d like to point them out as thanks. Today Feedster named us the #5 Feed of the Year.

This feed is aimed at South Asians, and provides a feisty and entertaining look at cultural and political issues involved in what the site editors call a “Diaspora.” No Forums, but site features a wide variety of well-informed, well-traveled and well-opinionated contributors. [Link]

Feedster index of over eighteen million syndicated feeds, including more than 75,000 professionally published sources such as the BBC, CNET, The New York Times, and Wired.

Feedster Searches for Updated Posts from Millions of Sources [Link]

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