We vish you a Merry Vishu and a Happy New Year!

Vishu.jpg

Okay, full disclosure: I have no idea whether my title is inapposite or borderline offensive. If it IS either of those things, I apologize in advance. I was just trying to be cute while exposing my lack of knowledge for a good cause– learning more about Vishu! There is no better way to understand something than to admit my ignorance to all of you. Because if there is one thing I have learned over these past six (!) years at the Mutiny, it is that when I mess something up I will be corrected by commenters and trolls alike, faster than my Dad could say, “Edi, MANDI!” back in the day.

Could I have looked Vishu up instead of harassing all of you? Sure, but how much can one read about the unknown without one’s eyes glazing over? But just to prove I Googled it, here’s the obligatory blockquote from Wiki:

Vishu is a festival celebrated in the state of Kerala in South India. The same day is also celebrated as New year in several other parts of India such as Punjab (Baisakhi), Assam (Bihu), Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka where it is known as Bisu as well as in Tamil Nadu. The festival marks the first day of Malayalam Year and falls in the month of Medam (April – May). Vishu generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian calendar…”Vishu” in Sanskrit means “equal”…

Although Vishu (first of Medam) is the astrological new year day of Kerala, the official Malayalam new year falls on the first month of Chingam (August – September). However, 1st of Chingam has no significance either astrologically or astronomically. Chingam is the harvest season in Kerala and southern parts of coastal Karnataka.

The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which literally ” the first to be seen on the Vishu day”. The Vishukkani consist of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the House. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed the previous night. On the day of Vishu, the custom is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first sight of the new season.

According to that entry, Vishu is bigger in Northern Kerala. My family is from South-Central. I wonder if that’s part of why I’m so ign’ant about Vishu…or if it’s the whole “Christian” thing. No matter, I’ll happily welcome any excuse to consume more Mampazhapachadi. I looooove eating pachadi, especially if it’s Paavakka-based. With tortilla chips. DON’T JUDGE ME.

So what inspired my whirlwind interest in Vishu? This:

Jinal.jpg Continue reading

Watch What Happened, at the State Dinner

Salahis and O.jpgI admit it. I watch two of the Real Housewives series [to be clear, I mean NY and NJ-- no ATL for me, that's alll mutineer Vinod ;) ]. When it comes to mindless entertainment with which to while away time on a cardio machine, this reliable train-wreck is mesmerizing to behold.

Earlier this month, when Bravo introduced their newest programming, it looked as if my adopted hometown would not be the next player in the RH cesspool. After all, Bravo proudly announced that Beverly Hills would be the next frontier for fame-whoring, with nary a peep about boring, old DC. And yet…

Today, the Daily Beast has confirmed from two sources that the so-called White House gatecrashers, whose prank ultimately cost presidential Social Secretary Desiree Rogers her job, are poised to take center stage once again as the most visible members of the upcoming Bravo series “The Real Housewives of D.C.” After one of the most visible reality series auditions in history–yes, Bravo cameras were on hand as the Salahis arrived for that ill-fated White House event–the couple has now been fully embraced as the focal point of the series, expected to premiere in July.

A source close to the series tells the Daily Beast that Bravo executives were more than relieved to learn the Salahis wouldn’t be prosecuted. In-house viewing of the audition footage and sample programs made it obvious that it would have been next to impossible to edit out the commanding presence of the statuesque platinum blonde, Michaele. [db]

Oh, good! They won’t be punished for their dangerous antics. Whew, that’s such a relief. I mean, let’s focus on what matters– good television!

According to Gawker, footage of Tareq and Michaele crashing the State Dinner which was held in honor of Indian PM Manmohan Singh will be shown during the DC season finale. Bravo’s slogan is “Watch What Happens”, and I probably I will. Am I rewarding bad behavior? Yes, but if I had the self-restraint required not to gawk…I wouldn’t read Gawker. Or enjoy Bravo. Continue reading

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

My FB doppelganger…my…self?

Desktop.jpg About a week ago, I noticed that many of my friends on Facebook had changed their profile pictures to images depicting various celebrities. “Maybe they were bored”, I thought. Perhaps there was a current event which was prompting this; when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, I made an image of her my profile picture. So I barely paid attention and wasn’t super-curious as to what was going on. I prefer Twitter to Facebook, anyway.

I became a little more surprised when I noticed that some of my friends had changed their profiles more than once a day and that each update was accompanied by either accolades or criticism. Despite reading, “that totally looks like you!” a few times, I didn’t immediately figure out that this was [a meme](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme_(Internet) or a game, and that people were doing this to participate in some greater movement until one of you spelled it out, in the comments section under your newly-changed picture. Don’t blame me, unlike you MIT-alums or Ivy Leaguers, I went to a state school. Suck it, with your superior deductive skills. At least I figured out the “bra color in FB status” thing without googling it. Go me!

Obviously, I’m not writing this to tell you about a “hot, new trend!”. I’d be more than two weeks late for THAT. I’m writing because I noticed something very interesting occurring in my feed, and many of you are responsible for that. It started simply enough, with this:

“I’d participate, but there are no Hollywood celebrities who look like me. :o (“

And with that, so much was conjured. Memories of being at Disneyland or airport souvenir shops, standing next to my sister as I excitedly snatched a license plate or key chain emblazoned with, “A N N A”…while she glumly turned the display to “V”, where there was nothing which read “Veena”.

“Is someone feeling left out because they are Brown?”, I wondered. “Because THAT’S a post!”. I had no idea how much of a post it could be until my own Facebook profile became a hotbed of discussion about why people were participating, what it meant to participate, as well as questions of representation, inclusion and “[passing](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_(racial_identity)”. The original point of the game may have been to simply change your profile pic to that of a celebrity whom you allegedly resemble, but I sensed that there was more here than a mere meme. Continue reading

How you doin’, Kamaljeet?

Jay Sean, the brown (whom we’ve known about for years) who crooned “Down”, was on The Wendy Williams show two days ago. Behold:

After he performed “Down” and “Do you remember , Williams exclaimed to her guest, “You are, STUNNING!” She followed up with “You’re exotic and spicy, what is your background??”. Mr. Jhooti let her know that his “heritage” was Indian and immediately clarified that he did not, in fact, live in a “wigwam”, i.e. that he wasn’t THAT kind of Indian.

Other scintillating bits from the show included Jay swatting down rumors about Ashley Tisdale, a mention of how the New York Post named him one of NYC’s most eligible bachelors and Sean’s confirmation that he’s already got a bird. So all you single ladies (all the single ladies)…and single men (all the single men), if you were in to him…you’re tatti out of luck. :) Continue reading

Happy New Year

Whether you are planning on painting the town brown or you intend to pass a quiet evening at home, Happy New Year, to you and yours.

Any predictions for 2010? Thoughtful resolutions which you care to share with anonymous commenters, loyal lurkers and terrible trolls? Me? I resolve to be more mutinous than I was in 2009. Make of that what you will ;)

One of Twitter’s trending topics right now is “#10yearsago“. People are using that hashtag to categorize tweets which discuss what they were doing during what I like to call “Prince’s NYE” (“tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999” etc). Continue reading

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Did someone “Indian” help the Nigerian bomber in Amsterdam?

abdulmutallab.jpg

I left work later than I intended to tonight, and this concerned me because I’m in the middle of a rather difficult move from one apartment to another here in Chocolate City. Moving. Ugh, right? Anyway, while worrying that I now had even LESS time to sort and pack my crap, I overheard something important on NPR. “Maybe I was meant to run late”, I mused to myself…maybe, indeed.

What I ended up listening to had me riveted to the news [though it wasn't quite a driveway moment-- that would be challenging here in the city :) ]. NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel was interviewing a Michigan-based attorney named Kurt Haskell; Haskell was aboard Northwest flight 253, along with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who attempted to blow it up on Christmas day.

While all of you are aware of this horrifying incident, a few of you may be unaware of some disturbing additional information pertaining to that attack. On NPR, Haskell described a scene he witnessed with his wife prior to boarding that ill-fated flight home to Detroit. He recalled seeing terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab escorted to the gate by a “well-dressed Indian man”, who tried to intervene on Abdulmutallab’s behalf and browbeat an airline employee in to overlooking the fact that the wanna-be martyr lacked a passport. WTF? Who gets to board anything without a passport, these days? And also, uh, INDIAN? I think he meant South Asian, because if Mr. Haskell is anything like me, he was born here and probably can’t tell the difference between a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan from a mere glance.

Let me perfectly clear: I did not come out of semi-hiding to write this post for the purpose of moaning that now “we” look “bad”, nor am I digging in my heels and protesting this “slur” against all good Yindians from Yindia. Continue reading

UPDATED: A “Real Housewife” and her Husband Gate Crash the White House

Update: I’m watching the news, right now. Fox 5 DC is reporting that Michaele was never a Redskins Cheerleader. The Secret Service visited the couple’s winery this morning, but the party-crashers were not there. The Salahis DID meet Obama via a receiving line, Tuesday night. The Secret Service owned their failure in a strongly-worded statement today; the news said that they are considering pressing charges.

::

Before it occurred, the State Dinner was all anyone could talk about, here in Washington, D.C. After? We’re still talking about it– and yes, contrary to what some SM commenters think, State Dinners are a big deal. I will admit that my perception is perhaps tainted; I don’t just live inside the Beltway, no, I am surrounded by the chattering class and bold-faced names because I live in Georgetown, home to many elected officials, the journalists who cover them, and the staffers who serve them. So here? The State Dinner Mattered, with a majuscule “M”.

Fashion mattered. Etiquette mattered. The food mattered. Most of all, the “rules” mattered, because following them was how we guaranteed a successful event. One rule which was broken, in what many here see as a daring move to differentiate the Obama administration from those which preceded it? Serving food from the same culture of the guest who was honored:

…the Obamas shook things up by serving, among other dishes, Indian food to an Indian delegation, typically a no-no.

“You wouldn’t try to outdo the Indians; that would not be typical,” said Anita McBride, who served as Laura Bush’s chief of staff and took pains to praise Mrs. Obama as moving in a new direction. “It’s the perfect combination of American food with a nod to the visiting country.” [nyt]

It wasn’t just American food, it was a personal statement by the first African-American president. They may have started with “elite” arugula, but they also served collard greens. Who better to strike such a delicate balance, and to take a considerable risk, than a world-class chef with a seriously cross-cultural back story?

They selected a guest chef, Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit in New York, an American citizen who was born in Ethiopia, reared in Sweden and cooks up melting pots of flavors and cuisines. [nyt]

Salahis

While the culinary “rule” was broken without repercussions, a different, more serious bout of rule-breaking is what has my city (and the world, really) uttering a collective “WTF?” As almost all of you may know by now, two fame-loving, local “socialites” crashed the State Dinner. Continue reading

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans.”

I love this picture. I have no other reason for sharing it with you, other than that. I wondered if we might be able to use it for a caption contest, but I’m not sure how it would turn out (did I just diss your creative powers? I might have! Prove me wrong! ;) Your Shot - Top Shots 2009 - National Geographic Magazine.png

Fantastic capture, isn’t it? It was taken by a Debasis Roy, of Asansol, India, and I felt like it deserved to be seen, in case you missed it when it was featured on National Geographic’s “Top Shots“. As for how the fishy fared, don’t fret about the poor pet:

While transferring fish from one bowl to another, science tutor Roy, 27, was inspired. He composed this scene–a baby guppy sustained by a single droplet, cradled on a grass leaf atop a wooden stool–then put the fish back. [link]

Beautiful. I sweat such talent and creative vision. A whale-sized thank you to the Barmaid, for showing me this magical image. Continue reading