Meet the MetroPCS Guys: Q & A with Ranjit & Chad

The MetroPCS Tech & Talk ads are a long-running series (two years in December) featuring desi characters named Ranjit and Chad expounding upon the evils of contracts and benefits of MetroPCS’s phone plans and features. The characters are not a little zany, dressing up in colonial-style wigs to declare wireless independence, playing an intense guitar-riff set off by fireworks and using “Holy shishkabob!” as a catch-phrase, to give a few examples.

As I noticed in retweets about the ads posted by the characters @ranjitmetropcs and @chadmetropcs, some people found the ads hilarious, declared themselves fans of the duo, and wanted to dress up like them for Halloween. Others writing for business and tech sites found the ads cringe-worthy, racist and/or in poor taste.

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Mindy Kaling on The Daily Show

There are no actual questions about her new book on the Halloween night episode of The Daily Show featuring guest Mindy Kaling. But you’ve probably already read excerpts and other slightly more substantive interviews if you’re interested in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. So sit back and enjoy a six-minute segment (I would embed it here in addition to the audio book excerpt above if WordPress allowed it) in which Kaling and host Jon Stewart joke about Halloween costumes, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and her FOX News-watching, Sanjay Gupta-loving parents.

Kaling also stops by The View this morning at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. PT/C.

Pakistani Politi-Pop from Beygairat Brigade

The trio of young men from Lahore, Pakistan, in the pop group Beygairat Brigade (The Dishonor Brigade) seem to be singing a catchy little ditty in Punjabi complaining about their mom making potatoes and eggs when they really want to have chicken. But those are just the opening lines of their first song Aalu Anday–the lyrics appear in English subtitles. Before the video’s three minutes are up, the group has covered many topics that pack a political punch.

Dawn’s cultural critic and senior columnist Nadeem Paracha offers details on a few of the many references contained in the lyrics of Aalu Anday.

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White House Recognizes Vijaya Emani

Yesterday the President presented 13 Americans with the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor which may be granted to any United States citizen who has performed “exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens.” Vijaya Emani of Strongsville, Ohio, a single mom involved in so many different ways in her community, was one of the honorees. Emani, who passed away in 2009, was recognized for speaking out against domestic violence.

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Maharajas, maharanis and more

Today marks the start of a new exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco,  Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts running until April 8, 2012. The museum’s assistant curator of South Asian art Qamar Adamjee writes that the exhibit is more than a chance to look at beautiful objects.

The two principal narrative arcs around which the exhibition is organized bring to life the complex and fascinating worlds of India’s great kings. They help us to understand the real people behind the objects that were made for them. The first goes behind the scenes to analyze the roles and qualities of kingship in India. The second traces the ways the institution of kingship shifted against a rapidly changing political and historical backdrop from the early eighteenth century through the 1930s, a period that saw a change in the maharajas’ status from independent rulers to “native princes” under British colonial rule.–Decoding Images of Maharajas

The exhibit is free this Sunday, October 23, when the museum will also offer a family fun day. In the process of rebranding the Asian Art museum has taken on a new logo, an upside down A (a symbol with a meaning of “for all” in mathematics) in a move to be more inclusive.

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Gill grows campaign cash stash

You may remember Ranjit “Ricky” Gill, the young candidate who in May announced his run for Congress as the Republican candidate for California’s 9th district against incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney. The third-year law student will be eligible to serve in Congress when he turns 25 a month before the primaries next June, and he’s keeping busy in the meantime. His campaign told the San Francisco Chronicle that it has already raised $725,000, more than almost every non-incumbent Republican candidate in the nation.

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From deli streets to Delhi streets

Aakash Nihalani’s solo exhibition in India opened on September 24 and runs through October 22 at Seven Art Ltd. in New Delhi. Aalign presents new works in metal and wood sculpture, embroidered patterns on silk, interactive work shown on a tablet, and the installations of colorful, geometric tape work on the street for which he became known in New York. Nihalani shared a few thoughts after I asked him about his experiences in New Delhi and the differences and/or similarities between making street art in New York and New Delhi.

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Kumail Nanjiani on the Comic Life

You may know comedian Kumail Nanjiani from his stand-up and TV work (Franklin & Bash) or his brush with John Mayer, all of which have been the subjects of past posts on Sepia Mutiny. If you’re a fan, you’ll want to listen to his recent interview with Shirin Sadeghi of New America Media covering such topics as how he went from studying philosophy and computer science in Iowa to stand-up, the biggest challenge of being a Pakistani American comedian, what he describes as his fading Pakistani accent with a trace of British school, his Twitter presence and his nerdist alterego.

In the beginning of his stand-up career, Nanjiani said the biggest challenge of being a Pakistani American comedian was telling the jokes he wanted to tell about movies, video games and TV shows, and not the jokes he was expected to tell about 7-11 or 9/11. After Nanjiani and his interviewer made reference to what was a new crop of post-9/11 comedians who were South Asian American and Middle Eastern American, the interviewer noted that unlike many of them he has an accent and “does not speak as someone born and raised here.”

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Yogurt: A Gut Feeling in the Mind

When I was younger, yogurt repulsed me. This was no small thing because my parents come from southern India, where yogurt seems to serve as a sort of digestif without which meals don’t feel complete. There was always a pot of homemade yogurt in the fridge or on the kitchen table.

Family members would marvel (and sometimes take offense) that I wasn’t finishing up my meal with yogurt, mixing it up with rice or using it to temper the spicy foods or pickles. Imagine a grandma’s Ayurvedic admonitions in place of a Robert Mitchum voiceover and a symphony of joyful slurping instead of Copland’s “Hoe-down” and you’ll have an idea of what the Yogurt, It’s What You Eat After Dinner experience was like. Some of the reasons why I was supposed to eat it:

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