With So Much Drama in the DMV

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I walked outside and felt abnormally grateful for the traffic clogging my street at lunch time. I needed a cab and there were several, stranded in front of me.

The middle one had a female driver, so I chose her. Once I slammed the door, I was surprised; the interior smelled like auto parts, dust and WD-40– a combination which transported me into the past, to my father’s garage, a place where I learned the difference between a flat and Phillips screwdriver before I figured out the alphabet. I checked my sexism immediately and felt bad for the dissonance I was experiencing at the shock of such a scent combined with a female driver. I knew better than that.

“Thanks for picking me.” She smiled wryly. She was middle-aged and African American, with thick, bouncy curls. Some of her facial expressions reminded me of Loretta Devine, which secretly delighted me. Devine was the best part of one of my favorite seasonal guilty pleasures: “This Christmas“. Stop judging me. I liked it before Chris Brown did that. Oh, you’re judging me because it’s a mediocre film which over-relies on holiday cliches to make its point…sure, I deserve that. Carry on!

“I’m not going to lie,” I began. “I thought it was cool that you were a female cab driver. I don’t usually get those.” I smiled at her.

“Yeah, we’re rare.” She studied me in her rear view mirror.

“Are you Indian?”, she asked.

“My parents are–”

“And so are you!”, she declared, emphatically.

I laughed. My pat answer had been challenged; that usually doesn’t happen. Continue reading

A Meandering Welcome to Lawrence Singh, Teen Boxer Extraordinaire

On Sunday night, my right knee gave out. Twice. This was only mildly surprising, since I was born with a bad right knee and I spent a year of college with it in a full leg immobilizer. The problem is, the Sunday before that, my left kneecap moved in a way that it shouldn’t, as I was ascending the stairs to my beloved cathedral while wearing the most glorious suede four-inch platforms.

That might be the single worst circumstance during which to injure your knee. Stairs? Heels? Hell. The pain was excruciating. I never made it past the narthex, which is where I collapsed on the first bench I could find. When the liturgy was over, I limped out of the handicapped exit and proceeded to drive a stick shift to the nearest CVS in Georgetown, where I procured a knee brace to hold my kneecap together.

Oh, the looks I got in that store, people scornfully glaring at me as if I were an idiot, stumbling around in heels when injured. Silly make-an-ass-out-of-you-and-me strangers. I am stubborn and unwise, but not THAT stubborn and unwise. Sheesh. So let’s recap: two Sundays ago, I hurt my left knee, and by the time I made it to urgent care, favoring my feeble right, it was too late– both were busted. And when they gave out this weekend, I knew that my Orthopedist might have underestimated how serious my injuries were. I swear, I have a point, and that point is, I am not very mobile right now.

Forget driving, I can’t walk without a cane. And that means that I am at home. All the time. Often with a boxing writer. And so I marinate in the sweet science, because, well, I have no choice. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chamberoffear/4439398769/ I guess there are worse sports to be subjected to, visually. Golf. Bowling. Drawn out games which involve bats and balls– of course, I am talking about vampires and testicles there, I promise. But I’m not that into boxing, despite said boxing writer’s endearing attempts to draw me in. He started (somewhat logically, given my mutinous proclivities) with Amir Khan.

Amir Khan is a British pugilist of Pakistani descent who is referred to as “King Khan”, or the “Pride of Bolton”. Khan is an Olympic medalist, and he’s a big enough deal that he trains with Freddy Roach; in other words, when he runs around, toning that lovely body of his, he might be trotting next to Manny Pacquiao. Perhaps you have heard of him? Anyway, I’ve seen King Khan throw stiff jabs and it barely inspired me to look up from the interwebz. Yay team brown and all, but it’s hard to cheer for someone who is prettier than and weighs less than me. I keed, I keed. It’s hard to cheer because I don’t give a tatti. Continue reading

First…ever…MICHIGAN SM MEETUP!

507658440_ea165e80a1.jpgThat’s right brown boys and girls…for the first time in months– and for the first time ever in the mitten state of MICHIGAN, Sepia Mutiny will host a meetup!

This weekend, I will be speaking at the SAAN conference which is going down at Abhi’s alma mater, the University of Maize and Blue; since our Sugi lives in Ann Arbor, it seemed apposite to host a raging party while I’m there, and by raging party we mean eating Masala Dosa, Idli and Vada until we have to be rolled, still ghee-covered and burping happily, out of a restaurant.

I’m still not over the loss of my beloved Amma Vegetarian in Georgetown– side eye to the person who closed it– and worse than that, it’s been ages since I had a nice dosa. The thought of proper Southie food makes me giddy, so when I think of how I’ll get to nom some of that AND squeal at Sugi AND potentially meet some of our loyal Midwestern readers, lurkers and trolls…well, I feel faint from such excitement. Remember: all are welcome at meetups. Even if you’ve never commented before, feel free to stop by– Sugi and I would love to meet you!

I’ve heard great things about Madras Masala; not only is the food supposed to be good (It’s auntie-tested, uncle-approved), it’s well-located, which is helpful since neither Sugi nor I have cars. Let’s meet there at 6pm on Saturday– which is after the SAAN conference. I’ve been warned that they may not have enough space, so if you could let us know in the comments if you’re going to join us, that would be a great help.

Oh, and D.C.? You’re up next. :) Look for a post on THAT, soon. Continue reading

For Those of Us with Beard-envy

Beardhead!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really pumped about 2011. There are so many things which sucked about 2010, I commenced this year wanting, nay, NEEDING change. Like millions of others, I made resolutions– in fact, I probably made more of those than I ever have, before. But they are secondary to gut feelings, intentions and the power of inspiration. Instead of resolving to work out every day until my body looks like it did when I played indoor soccer four days a week, I’m looking at my friend GD who beasts through frigid weather to run, no matter what (and he eats cleanly, too!). Let me make this hyper-relevant to the SM crew. It’s no secret that despite my ancient history with mutineer Vinod (KIDDING! You all wish!), Ennis is probably my favorite mutineer, evar. I’m not talking about his blogging skills though– I’m lucky enough to know him in real life, as a good friend.

Ennis is thoughtful, patient and occasionally funny enough that I laugh until I cry. Point is, he can be hilarious. He can also be sweet and kind, the best, most loyal, encouraging sort of friend, the person who texts you reassurance and silliness one day and a quiet, virtual hug the next, when it’s your Dad’s death anniversary.

So why am I making Ennis blush right now? Believe it or not, I have a point! I have figured out the power behind Ennis’ awesomeness. You’re going to love this epiphany.

Ready? Continue reading

Ten minutes of your time could save her life

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We’ve posted about this so many times at SM and the sad tips and pleas for help keep coming– and that means we haven’t done enough, as a people. There aren’t enough Desis in the national bone marrow registry and because of that sad reality, when my Uncle or your favorite college prankster is diagnosed with a life-stealing ailment, the amount of hope they are given by someone in a white coat is tiny.

Without other Desis in the system, the chances for a match grown narrower and narrower; I know at one point, a non-trivial number of our readers were getting swabbed for Vinay. Thank you for that. You are still in the system. Since then, new people have joined the Sepia Mutiny community and it is my flickering, idealistic hope that one of you is a match for Sonia.

If you are in D.C., please consider going to Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple tomorrow between 11am and 3pm, to get swabbed for Sonia and everyone like her. It only takes a moment and you, you could be the one who saves a life. Please. Continue reading

Let’s Help Juan Williams Identify More “Muslim Garb”…

Hi, my name is Anna, often spelled “A N N A”. You might remember me from my past roles as “Mutineer # 3″, “Only Vagina in the Bunker”, “Over-dressed-brown-girl-at-Bhangra-Blowout”, “The abnormal, Vegetarian Mallu” and “Token”.

These days, I am consumed with my nifty new job as a reporter with D.C. NPR-affiliate, WAMU, 88.5 FM, where I write and curate the DCentric blog. Precisely because of my dream job, I have received emails from some of you asking me to opine about Juan Williams, who was recently let go from NPR because of comments he made on FOX’s “The O’Reilly Factor” about Muslim people and their garb freaking him out. To those readers who have reached out to me, I would like to say two things:

1) Aw, thanks! I’m flattered you care what I think…

2) ARE YOU INSANE? If I get fired, I ain’t gettin’ $2 Million from FOX.

Instead of wading in to this controversy, I will point you towards this HILARIOUS Tumblr called, “Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things”. And if you insist on a Desi connection, check this out:

This unfortunate Muslim is wearing Ed Hardy. He is called Salman Khan.

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I will also add that this wasn’t the first time NPR had issues with Juan (he did, after all, call the First Lady “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress“). Hey…is it just me, or does Juan Williams seem really preoccupied with what people wear… Continue reading

Tyler, Dharun and Molly: One Life Lost, Two Lives Ruined

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Police believe they may have found the body of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who jumped to his death after a roommate spied on him having gay sex. Meanwhile, some Rutgers students are saying Clementi’s roommate’s actions were misinterpreted.

Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, turned on his computer’s webcam and apparently spied on Clementi while he was hooking up with another man. After Clementi found out, he ended up throwing himself off the George Washington bridge. [gawker]

Do you remember what it was like to be 18? Most of us consider ourselves much wiser than we were back then; many of us would cringe at what we thought and the asinine shit we did. The problem with being 18, if I may be so blunt, is that most 18-year olds are stupid. Yes, we are brown; we get near-perfect scores on the SAT and take so many AP classes, we can skip our Freshman year of college. Big deal. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about emotional intelligence. Compassion. Wisdom. That last trait isn’t gifted to a teenager because it’s a consolation prize for approaching middle age, for suddenly possessing an underperforming metabolism, greying temples and baggage “life experiences”. Continue reading

Rani Taj beats the hell out of “Rude Boy”

Three of you sent me this video, so I get the feeling that you want SM to post about it. :) If only I hadn’t spent my entire Friday in meetings…you Left-coasters could’ve enjoyed an all-natural jolt from something besides your morning coffee. Better late than never, I always say. Type. Whatever.

I was confused by the video until about 15 seconds in; that’s when the performer suddenly transforms Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” from a song I rolled my eyes at to a joint which made me sit up straighter in my office chair. Do your thang, gurl, do your thang:

None of you knew who this fierce female was, so I scrolled through 281 YouTube comments– never, EVER doubt my fortitude or devotion to the Mutiny– and saw a name which I googled for a bit. I discovered this:

My name is Rani Taj. I am the first professional British-Kashmiri female dholi, trained by the Dhol Blasters and Azaad dhol where I am a senior player. I also dance with the Bhangra Blasters and love playing the dhol, especially at public events.

That’s from her criminally under-loved Facebook fan page. Really, world? Only three of you “like” Miss Taj? Forget desis needing to support Manoj Shymalan no matter what pap he may proffer, y’all need to fan the Queen of percussion. Yes, I said “y’all”. I already did. While it’s still public, toggle through her profile pics on Facebook; she channels David Bowie while in Desi clothes. All that flavor and she’s got the beat? Got damn, Batman.* Continue reading

Beautiful, Binky’d Baby

Via my guiltiest pleasure, “ohnotheydidnt“– behold, Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman (click to enlarge):

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I can’t believe Ikhyd is so big! He is almost 18-months old. The last time we showed you a picture of him, it was almost exactly a year ago; Abhi, alarmed by Ikhyd’s onesie, was ardently pleading with PETA to take on the cause of albino ladybugs. No word on whether PETA has made any progress with that, but there are plenty of words about Mathangi’s new album (mixed reviews) and cute offspring (certified hit). Continue reading

The hills of Switzerland are alive…with Desi tourists.

The New York Times published an article on Indian tourism to Switzerland, today. The most jarring thing about it was seeing DDLJ’s title translated in English; I’ll spare you that. ;) Sangam.jpg

For years, Bollywood’s producers and directors have favored the pristine backdrop of Switzerland for their films. The greatest of the Bollywood filmmakers, Yash Chopra, is a self-professed romantic who has made a point of including in virtually all his films scenes shot on location in this country’s high Alpine meadows, around its serene lakes, and in its charming towns and cities to convey an ideal of sunshine, happiness and tranquillity.

In the process, they have created an enormous curiosity about things Swiss in generations of middle-class Indians, who are now earning enough to travel here in search of their dreams.

“The moment you cross the border it is something else,” Mr. Purohit said, “where the scenario changes.”

“No noise, no pollution, no crowds,” said Kamalakar Tarkasband, 72, a retired army officer. [nyt]

No, just pretty scenery as a picturesque backdrop for photo ops wherein they imitate their favorite celluloid moments.

Raj Kapoor may have been the first Indian director to use foreign sites for shooting on location — in Venice, Paris and Switzerland — when he filmed his 1964 hit, “Sangam.” But the entire bus knew the story of how Mr. Chopra spent his honeymoon in the Swiss resort of Gstaad. [nyt]

SANGAM! That’s one of the dozen or so fillums I’ve actually seen; it was one of my father’s favorites. I loved it.

Here’s something interesting and overwhelmingly sweet, much like a gulab jamun, the round, syrup-laden dessert which often graces Indian buffets (see? I can write like a gora):

“He promised his wife on his honeymoon that every movie he made would have to have one romantic song or scene in Switzerland,” said Rajendra Choudhary, 24, who also studied management in Pune and joined the Enchanted Journey. Mr. Chopra, now 77, kept his promise. Most of the Swiss sequences are dream scenes in which lovers dance or romp on Alpine meadows strewn with flowers or roll in the snow in unlikely flimsy Indian garb on wintry slopes. [nyt]

Obligatory negativity:

But not everyone shares the dream. In June, the Zurich newspaper Tages-Anzeiger featured an article with the headline “Into the Luxury Hotel with a Gas Cooker,” noting that “in some hotels an entire caste of guests is no longer desired: the Indians.”

The article catalogued the complaints of hotel managers: guests who cook curry dishes on camping stoves in their rooms; guests who use bath oils that blacken tubs; guests who book for a husband and wife, only to show up with the entire family. [nyt]

The first complaint makes me wonder if a lack of vegetarian options is the issue. I just asked my most well-traveled friend what he ate in Switzerland and he said his most memorable meal was a repast purchased from a farmhouse; he waxed blissfully about cured meats, cheese and a good baguette. My mom can eat one out of those three. She hates cheese. She wouldn’t be knocking out some Ulli Theeyal in her room, but she’d probably be hungry. I’ve never been, so I don’t know. Maybe Switzerland is littered with veggie noms. Continue reading