Caption Contest: Mark Zuckerberg parties it up, desi-style

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a break from rewriting his company’s privacy policy last winter to attend the wedding of two of his employees in India. Facebook’s Principal Project Manager Ruchi Sanghvi and Director of Engineering Aditya Agarwal were married in January.

Fast Company reported these details about the ceremony back in February:

…Zuckerberg and more than a dozen past-and-present Facebook indispensables — including now-departed cofounders Adam D’Angelo and Dustin Moskovitz — trekked to a beach in Goa, India, for a week-long family celebration. Everyone dressed in costumed splendor; Zuckerberg looked fetching in a maroon silk sherwani. Women flashed henna tattoos. The groom arrived on horseback.

The photo above was one of five pictures from the wedding that were recently submitted to a photo contest on the Indian IT news site Techgoss. Receiving the photos was a big coup for the site, as they had unsuccessfully tried to photograph Zuckerberg both while he was in India for the wedding and during his 2008 trip to the country.

Of course, the first thing I thought when I saw this photo was that it was the perfect entry for a caption contest. So have at it, Mutineers. Leave your wittiest and most creative captions below.

(Via Valleywag)

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M.I.A.: Mommy In Affluence

Oh M.I.A…. How we loved you at The Mutiny when you first came out, hustlin’ like a brown around town. Only five years later…. how far you’ve fallen. (h/t Ateqah)

This video was hilarious while being oddly depressing. It echoes with truths. The actress in it is Lindy Jamil Gomez, a Spanish-Lebanese comedian out of N.Y.C. I hope she’s prepared to get a sternly worded tweet from M.I.A.’s wrath. M.I.A., I still love you tho! I’ll keep buyin’ your music! Um, unless I can get it online for free….you know…! Continue reading

Not All Indian Émigrés Are Engineers

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[Originally published in The Caravan under the title "A Normal Man in a Not So Normal World." Photos by Preston Merchant.]

On a warm July morning, I boarded the London Tube to Boston Manor station. The southbound Piccadilly Line, represented by a Navy Blue line on my map, would terminate at Heathrow airport. My stop came a few stations before the line ended.

The people I had come to meet were waiting outside in a car, and after introductions had been made, we drove to a store to buy meat and beer for lunch. The man who was driving was in his early 30s. He wore a stylish shirt and dark glasses. His name was Aryian Singh, but he later told me that this wasn’t what he had been named at birth. He had changed his name after he had come out of prison. When I questioned him about his job, he said he was working on a couple of film projects but didn’t provide details. I noticed that there were small scars on his face. I later learned that a couple of them were from injuries inflicted by his mother when he was a kid–once, his mother had smashed his face with a milk bottle.

The man whose face I was now watching in the rearview mirror interested me. His name change and the reason for it wasn’t what one has come to expect as a staple of Indian fiction about diasporic lives–Samiullah changing to Sam or a Madhu becoming Maddy, one pining for the neem tree outside his ancestral home and the other for her mother’s cardamom-scented fish curry. In those stories, particularly those written in the US, the only crime a human seems capable of is forgetting to write a letter home. Or if there are transgressions they seem to have blossomed out of a fantasy spun out in a garden called a creative writing MFA program. But Aryian Singh’s story appeared to be different. Sitting in the backseat of the silver Mercedes E220, I imagined an entry into another life. Not one offered as homage to quiet domesticity but one lived in recognition of the reality of the street. Continue reading

The people behind a polarized debate

Cross-posted on rawtheekuh.tumblr.com.

As an excited member of the American University class of 2014, I was ecstatic that the President of the United States had chosen MY future alma mater to discuss an issue that is both highly personal and politically polarizing: immigration.  Since I have a talent for stating the obvious, I will say that I simply would not be here without my parents’ fateful decision to leave their pyaare watan. I feel you, Mr. President – we’re both the children of immigrants. Indeed, the act of migration is an experience that bonds us.

 

Watching Dana Bash make googly eyes at the CNN cameras and tell the world how “angry” the Latino community is about the lack of comprehensive reform makes ME angry. Last time I checked, Latinos weren’t the only immigrants affected in this increasingly contentious debate . Why limit the discussion to just the impact on the Latino community? I’m from Houston where we have a substantial number of immigrants, legal and otherwise, Latino and non-Latino. The immigration debate hits close to home for me, not only as a Texan and a young second-generation American, but as someone who has seen her own friends and family members put through the ringer trying to find work, live an honest life, and stay out of trouble to achieve their version of the American Dream.
 
My parents, my sister, the Bhutanese Nepali refugees I met through my summer internship, the friendly Latinos who come up to my father at Fiesta and start speaking Spanish: all immigrants. They all represent sides of the immigration issue that I have experienced but that the American media has failed to show. Though each immigrant community has distinct challenges, they also have similar desires: independence, freedom, & security. I thought it was difficult for my family members, skilled & English speaking, to deal with the INS and wait to become citizens. I realized that they had it easy compared to many. What if you’re like one of the Bhutanese boys I met, 17 and translating between Nepali and English for your parents, relying on charities and social workers to help you fill out your green card application?
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Not Just Another Nanny’s Diary: “Tell Us We’re Home” by Marina Budhos

I was listening to a new NPR series not so long ago: The Hidden World of Girls. That particular episode featured Nigerian novelist Chris Abani’s childhood memory of touring the Nigerian countryside with his mother, Daphne Mae Hunt:

My mother became certified as a Billings Ovulation teacher. And her job was to go and teach this to women. … Part of the problem was that her Igbo wasn’t good enough to discuss people’s uterus. She needed an interpreter and mother decided to ask me to interpret for her. I was eight years old. So we would set off, the two of us, and I would have a backpack. … We would go door to door. Everything starts with a greeting … It would be followed by an apology from me because I was about to discuss something sacred, taboo.tell_us_were_home.png

These women would never discuss [their period] with their husbands and here’s this eight-year-old boy … [See full transcript.]

The image of a young boy accompanying his mother to strangers’ homes and acting as a middleman stayed with me for several days, and when I recently heard Marina Budhos reading from her new, terrific young adult novel Tell Us We’re Home, I was reminded of it again.

In Budhos’s novel, we meet three young girls, Jaya, Lola, and Maria, all immigrants, who find themselves in a different kind of countryside than Abani — American suburbia — where they act as their mothers’ interpreters and translators.

Their mothers are nannies and housekeepers in Meadowbrook, a picturesque New Jersey town off the commuter rail, and these girls are the invisible teens who help their parents navigate a new culture while struggling to find their own place within it. They go to school with the same kids whose families their mothers work for.

Jaya is West Indian, from Guyana. She assumes the responsibility to help absolve her mother of the accusation of a theft that in her employer’s home. Maria is Mexican. She accompanies her mother on job interviews and acts as a conduit for her employment searches. And Lola is a Slovakian self-appointed revolutionary whose mother is a housekeeper at her classmate’s home and whose father is a depressed former engineer. Each girl’s story–and the story of their friendship–allows us to peer into the hidden world of working class immigrants. Until they meet, each girl lives in a lonely bubble of invisibility, but chance brings them together and their friendship saves each of them in some way. Though they are outsiders, they are outsiders together.

I was a fan of Budhos’s first YA novel, Ask Me No Questions, and am glad that this book more than lived up to my expectations. Continue reading

Friday Find – The King of Pop

I have a lot of records.

Not more than the KGB of course, (that nonsensical distinction is for MIA alone to lay claim to) but enough to have seriously impacted my pocketbook, personal life, and also to provide me with an escape when pressures of living with wackily overbearing desi parents prove to be a bit much.

I started collecting in 2000, a year before the first generation iPod was first released (partially designed by my friend’s dad while we were still in high school, no less). Since then, I’ve accumulated probably close to 1000 records but, to this day, my audiophilia never translated into me owning an iPod or any other personal mp3 player. The reason is simple- those devices offer the exact opposite experience to that of the LP. The record is a tactile medium and it is almost not possible for the music to be seen and felt as much as heard, a reality totally lost with the iPod. The mp3 player certainly provides incredible convenience and portability for those who want hours of tunes at their disposal without a wheel-barrow to schlep it around in, but I’ve found that it deracinates and decontextualizes the music from the interesting history and processes that helped created it. It’s in the spirit of this obsessive nerdery that I came across, via reading the miscellanea on my record sleeves, the subjects of tonight’s post and the nuggets I’ll be sharing every Friday with all ye Mutiny Faithful.

Pensive after reading Anna’s tribute to Michael Jackson last month, I remembered that I had seen something completely unexpected while scanning the sleeve of his single for The Way You Make Me Feel: the familiar “P-word.” I knew I was onto something big. Continue reading

Saturday Sounds – Indian Summer

This week’s nugget is a soon-to-be-legendary gem of a track that I’ve spent over 3 years trying to dig up before finally tracking down a copy in a warehouse in Delhi. It was mine (and mine alone!) to enjoy until I foolishly informed Manish of this magical slice of audio heaven at a party last March. I guess if I’m going to have to share it with him, I might as well introduce you guys to your new favorite summer jam.

What was that insufferable science-fiction movie that came out a few years ago, set in an improbable parallel universe where a wisecracking 16 year-old could simultaneously make superfluous references to Soupy Sales and nonchalantly decide the future of her unplanned fetus all in the same hamburger-phone call? It doesn’t matter, as the only interesting part of that unbearable film was the unearthing, for the masses, of Sonic Youth’s cover of Superstar. Eerie, with equal parts irony and insanity, the Thurston Moore-led reworking revived interest in the track that helped define the careers of both Bette Midler and The Carpenters and introduced his art-rock band for another generation of smarmy hipsters. Now, imagine the inevitable Bollywood remake and that scene, where little Jaanu slow dances with the Uncleji vying for the child inside her womb- what uberhip, obscure cover song by a brown artist could match Superstar’s cool cred and lilt ominously from the record player? Glad you asked. Continue reading

Somebody’s feeling a little snippy

Looks like all of the recent criticism of his work has gotten to the notoriously sensitive M. Night Shyamalan. At the Mexico City press conference promoting The Last Airbender, Shyamalan went on the defensive after a questioner pointedly noted that “the audience has lost its faith in [his] work” and asked whether Airbender was his attempt to reinvigorate his career.

Shyamalan’s response? “If I thought like you I’d kill myself… Your impression of my career is not my impression of my career. It’s something you read on Google.”

He goes on to make the dubious claims that Unbreakable was a better film than The Sixth Sense and that his favorite film was The Village. (Editorial note: The Village?! Really, Night? Really?)

Watch the whole clip below:

Perhaps worst of all for Shyamalan is the fact that this isn’t the worst story that’s come out about him this week. IFC reports that moviegoers have been “audibly recoiling” at the sight of the filmmaker’s name during the trailers for the movie Devil, which is due out this fall. (Devil is directed by Drew and John Erick Dowdle, but the plot comes “from the mind” of Shyamalan.) Continue reading

Indivisibly Yours: Part II

Last week you saw a Part I posting on Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry, an introduction to this first-of-its-kind collection of poetry and its contributing poets. In this second part, Indivisible’s editors (all three of them!) respond to a few questions about poetry, the process of bringing the anthology together, it’s eye-catching cover image and other topics.

Neelanjana Banerjee, Summi Kaipa and Pireeni Sundaralingam are not only the editors of Indivisible. Banerjee is a journalist, fiction writer, and blogger/editor with Hyphen magazine; Kaipa is a literary curator, psychologist, and editor of a literary magazine; Sundaralingam is a playwright, literary judge, and scientist. They are also poets in their own right. Read on for more about them and the process of bringing Indivisible together.

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Q & A with Comedian Hari Kondabolu

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New York comedian Hari Kondabolu is known for a lot of things. There is of course his standup comedy, which landed him on Jimmy Kimmel Live and on the HBO Comedy Festival. He’s also the prolific creator of hilarious comedic sketches, which he often posts on YouTube, including the award-winning short film, MANOJ (which Amardeep blogged about in the past). But what I found striking about Kondabolu’s particular brand of comedy is his determination to both entertain and enlighten through his work – as opposed to simply mining his South Asian background for laughs. Says Kondabolu, “When you’re doing something that is clearly ignorant and at the expense of others in your community, that’s a different kind of thing… There is enough racism in comedy directed towards us [as a South Asian community], why are we adding to it?” Below is an excerpt of the interview I did with Kondabolu for MTV Iggy in anticipation of his appearance alongside DJ Rekha, Fair and Kind, The Kominas and other artists at UNIFICATION 2010. (You can find the rest here.) I hope you mutineers will enjoy his incisive answers as much as I did.

When did you start doing standup comedy? Was it something you always knew you wanted to pursue as a profession?

No, I definitely didn’t see this as a job I could have in the world. I remember first telling my parents I wanted to be a comedian when I was like 7 or 8 years old and my mother flipped. “Absolutely not! Don’t ever say that!” It was like I had used a curse word or said “God doesn’t exist” in front of them (I have done both these things in front of them since then.) Even if I day-dreamed about being a comedian as a kid, how could I ever see it as a full-time job knowing my parents busted their butt to feed and educate their kids! I’m still amazed at how I stumbled into this career and what has resulted.

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