A marriage of East and West

Earlier this month, the NYT ran a wedding announcement for the marriage of Nicolette Bird and Ravi Mehta. At first this seemed like the usual thing: one person with family in Calcutta, went to college in Calcutta, marrying another person with family in New York who went to Harvard.

Except …

In this case it was Nicolette Bird who is from Calcutta and works in Bollywood, and it’s Ravi Mehta who was born in Colorado, with his parents and job in New York City.

The bride, 25, is an actress and model and has had roles in the Bollywood films “Rock On,” released in 2008, and “Striker,” released earlier this month. As a model, she has appeared in television commercials and magazine advertisements in India. She graduated from Bhowanipur Education Society College in Calcutta. She is a daughter of Edwina Bird and Nicholas Bird of Calcutta.

The bridegroom, 28, is the founder and managing director of Steadview Capital Management of New York, a hedge fund that focuses on companies in India. He graduated from Harvard. The bridegroom is a son of Geeta Mehta and Krishen Mehta of New York. [NYT]

And why not? We hate it when people ask us “Really, where are you from” do we think this only happens to brown folks in America? Heck, this week people sent me two links to Indian TV ads which had anxiety about hybridity as their main theme:

No word yet on what the Mehta-Bird’s will be eating at home, but given that he grew up in Japan I imagine their dinner table negotiations are quite intense. Or maybe they just get takeout.

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What’s Behind That Blouse?

…oh, wait! In this case, we know. So! Sometimes, less is more.

More scandalous.

More tawdry.

More of a “hot mess” (Thanks, Cicatrix.)

Via the Daily Mail:

She has a legacy of wearing revealing dresses. But it appears at the age of 44, Elizabeth Hurley is still not ready to give up the game.

The actress attended the Love Ball charity fundraiser last night in a dazzling blue sari WITHOUT the cropped top, a Choli or Ravika, which is typically worn underneath it.

Ravika? There’s a word I’ve never heard. According to Wiki, it’s Telugu. The more you know (Ahhhhhhh!). Back to shiz, I mean, Liz:

The mother-of-one left nothing to the imagination in the ensemble, showing she still has the voluptuous figure to carry off even the most risqué of numbers

I think she could have shown that even with the briefest of blouses. But I’m a rude prude. Some have said that she was probably caught unaware, much like Alexandra Kerry was at Cannes. What, you think Kerry knew her girls would show through? I don’t. She would’ve worn different knickers, if THAT were true. But back to Miz Nangi. I agree with the Daily Mail:

As someone used to attending showbiz parties, she would probably have been aware of the revealing glare of the paparazzi flashbulb.

But it was unclear whether the revealing nature of her outfit was a ‘sheer’ accident or intentional.

Liz was accompanied by her Indian textile heir husband Arun Nayar, who she married in 2007.

Adding to the craptacular effect? Those wild raccoon eyes. Sure, there are smoky eyes and then there are cautionary tales about the dangers of shadow and liner, when applied with a spatula. Perhaps I’m being too harsh? Did any of you find her fetching? Or does the collage below the jump (25-50% NSFW) leave you retching? Continue reading

Pulchritudinous Padma produces a pretty penne!

Ah, a post in which I celebrate my beloved Padma’s miracle baby with a wholly apposite indulgence in that ever-so Malayalee pastime: alliteration. Well, in the title, at least. 🙂 More on “titles”, in a minute.

Padma step and repeat.jpg

Unto us, a daughter is given. Krishna Thea Lakshmi was born on Saturday and according to Mama’s spokesperson, “Mother and baby are well and happy.” Congratulations, Padma! No, there is still no word on who the Father is, and to those who are consumed with knowing, I can’t help but ask a futile question, “WHY DO YOU CARE?” Yes, I know she is a public figure and nosiness is to be expected. I am also aware that I’m way biased in her favor, but I’m not defending her right to keep Mum (ha!) because of my proclivity to adore her. Even if she’s a celebrity, I believe in her right to keep certain things for and to herself. You want to know who made that dress she rocked in front of the Step and Repeat (see: picture to the right)? Totally understandable. You want to know whose baby juice was up in her plumbing? WHY? Ugh.

Now about those “titles”…in my preparation for the production of this post, I saw plenty of them, most of which were innocuous, if not eye roll-inducing or superficial:

“Padma Lakshmi Welcomes Miracle Baby Girl!” [E!]

“The Bun Is Out of Padma’s Oven!” [Not the New Yorker, the other one]

“Padma Lakshmi Has a Daughter, Ensuring That There Will Be Hot Chefs in the Future” [Celebuzz]

And then, there was the inevitable lameness:

“Hairy Krishna! Padma Bestows Baby Girl Upon the World” [Village Voice]

Really, Village Voice? The child is two days old. I’m sure she, like thousands of other babies is covered in lanugo. I get that you were attempting to be clever but why go there in your attempt to reference Hare Krishnas (I think that’s what you were trying to do?). Maybe my kundi is especially chapped because brown girls have enough follicular drama at (or even before) puberty with which to contend; I’d hope that newborns might be spared from such insults. Think I’m overreacting? Endure a bikini wax and then get back to me. “Hairy” is not to be bandied about lightly, damn it. But the wit continues: Continue reading

Caption This: Carnival Style

Over at the Boston Globe there is a beautiful array of images on this year’s Carnival. Image number 31 is the following (h/t Yoga Fire):

Rio Float.jpg

I wish the image had audio – I would have loved to hear what I can only imagine as Samba-bhangra-fication. I’m guessing it’s like Chutney music, but with more sashay, if that is possible. So have at it, Mutineers. How would you caption this image? Continue reading

Supporting your causes

Ruchira from the Accidental Blogger called me up the other day to tell me she was very passionate about a new cause she was supporting called Save A Mother. She asked if I could highlight the cause here on SM (I urge you to check their website for more info):

India Development Service (IDS) Save-A-Mother project aims to minimize suffering and death associated with pregnancy and child birth. We have been working in partnership with local NGOs in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Many other regions in India and rest of the world are in a similar situation where this program can be replicated.

Save-A-Mother programs educate women about pregnancy, nutrition, immunization, delivery and care of the child. Save-A-Mother has a complementary benefit in saving the child also.
Our Objectives

1. Decrease maternal mortality by 50% in Sultanpur in 5 years. (Pilot Project)
2. Replicate this model to two more districts in 2 more years and institutionalise the program.
3. Replicate the program to vulnerable districts where mortality exceeds the national average.
4. Partner with NGOs in other high MMR countries [Link]

Ruchira said that the Chicago-based organizers are primarily looking for involvement via the donation of money. They have a dedicated core of organizers and volunteers, including Ruchira, but they were having some trouble spreading the word and gathering contributions for their efforts, especially from the younger demographic. This led to a conversation between myself and Ruchira as to why it is often difficult to find donations from the under-40 crowd. I attribute it to several reasons:

1) Younger potential donors usually want to donate more than money. They typically have youthful energy and a full supply of idealism. Thus, they want direct involvement, not simply involvement by proxy. Continue reading

Bollywood on Ice

If you have been following the Winter Olympics than you probably know that tonight starts the ice dancing competition. Competing will be UMich grads, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who have a “unique Indian-themed original dance” that may or may not be performed at the competitions.

“It’s very cool,” Davis said. “Charlie and I have always been excited about being different and embracing what we could bring to the sport. It’s really exciting to expand the fan base, and expand the fan base to parts of the world that haven’t really experienced it before.” [ap]

Alright, okay. I’ll take that. Respectably not as orientalist as it could have been said. But why did they choose Bollywood?

[C]horeographer Marina Zoueva wanted something that would really make Davis and White stand out. When she spotted an Hermes scarf with brilliant colors and Indian dancers last spring, she knew she’d found the answer. [ap]

A Hermes scarf?!? Continue reading

He’s a Terrorist. Just say it. Terrorist. For F*%k sake!

There was a terrorist attack earlier today in Austin, TX. I can’t immediately learn about this incident though if I visit the New York Times website. This (see below) is what I would see on the “National” section of their website as of 8p.m. Central, 2/18/10. The main page of the NYTimes has no prominent reference at all. It just has a single line hyperlink under the section “more news.”

Got that? “Plane hits building.” Written as commonly as “Dog Bites Man.” Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

It wasn’t just the NYTimes though. To their credit FoxNews features the incident as the main story on their website. “Cowardly criminal,” it blares. You know, kind of like an intoxicated hit-and-run driver is a “cowardly criminal.” No terrorism here.

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Oh, the life of an Olympian

It must be nice to be an Olympian, especially if you’re one of just three athletesIndia team.jpg representing a country of a billion-plus people at the Winter Games. Shiva Keshavan, Jamyang Nangial and Tashi Lundup must feel like kings, what with the Indian sports ministry bending over backwards to give them royal treatment.

From bearing the expenses of their ceremonial clothing to daily allowances of $50 per day, the sports ministry on Tuesday said it has spent around Rs 7.4 lakh on the eight-member Indian contingent at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. [Link]

Wow, a daily allowance of $50 per day! They’ll be able to visit the prestigious French restaurant Lumière, order whatever they want on the menu — six mushroom ravioli, Fraser Valley farm duck, braised eggplant & peppers — and dash out before the bill arrives. No point in being a top athlete if you can’t make a fast exit.

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My Name is Khan: Review Roundup

A man travels across the United States on a quest. Along the way, he meets a variety of colorful characters and despite a possibly debilitating condition, manages to influence the entire nation for the better and win back his love. Sound familiar? Of course it sounds familiar, it’s the plot of Forrest Gump, err, My Name is Khan, which centers around a South Asian family torn apart after 9/11.

This past weekend, I braved the icy roads with members of my family and a rabid-SRK teenage fan from my church to go to a half-empty theater in Philadelphia and watch the movie I’ve been blogging about since September. As an American-born South Asian, I was curious to see how Indian director Karan Johar, whose prior experience consists only of making three romantic-comedy-type films, would portray America and especially the events surrounding 9/11. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Shararaten(Shenanigans)

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day, mutineers. Hope you lovely folks got all the flowers, chocolates and cards you deserve. I was doing a little post-celebratory research tonight on Valentine’s Day and came across a couple of interesting facts I thought you folks might like to learn a la our good friend, Wikipedia. For instance, did you know that American men spend twice as much money on Valentine’s Day than women? And that in Paris, there was a ‘High Court of Love’ established on Valentine’s Day in 1400 that dealt with crimes against women? And that the judges for that court were picked by women, based on their love poetry? Oh yeah, and finally did you know that in India, Hindu fundamentalists highly discourage the celebration of Valentine’s Day? Of course you do, you read SM. We’ve covered that in the past. Not to worry, Shiv Sena continued its anti-Valentine’s Day diatribes this year, although they were a little distracted. So many grievances, so little time… what’s a violent protestor to do nowadays? It’s gotten so there’s too many effigies to burn.

With most of their aggressive workers identified and picked up by the police ahead of the release of My Name Is Khan, Shiv Sena members have admitted that their annual Valentine Day protests will likely be low-key, if they happen at all.

Every year, Sainiks denounce the concept of Valentine’s Day and warn couples against celebrating it, but this year, they say, the agitation against Shah Rukh Khan and his movie are of more immediate importance. [Link.]

Perhaps they’ve turned their sights to virtual protests? Alongside the other factoids on Wikipieda, I came across this interesting new poster, which was uploaded on Wikipedia’s ‘Valentine’s Day’ this past Saturday. I thought SM readers would find it as amusing as I did. Continue reading