So long, and thanks for all the fish

Ahem. (tap tap tap. Is this thing on?)

Hi, everyone. For the last few years I’ve been pretty much fulltime over at our twitter franchise, one of a few people trying to make sure you get all your savory brownness in an 140 character packet. As a result, I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty at this longer-form blogging.

But the truth is, as my exes can attest, I’ve never been any good at final goodbyes. I even skipped the funeral of a close friend because I couldn’t stand the finality involved in watching him get cremated, even though I knew he was already gone. But I’m afraid there’s no way to skip your own wake, and once you’re there, you might as well try to deliver a eulogy, awkward as it is.

Part of the problem is that Sepia was never just one thing, it was many. There were the blog posts, but that was just the tip of the iceberg, the part you could see. There was also everything that happened out of view, so many stories that I don’t think any one of us knows them all.

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The Onion, on the end of the Mutiny

Exactly and approximately 0.002% of the world’s Desis gnashed their teeth in frustration today as they realized that for all intensive purposes, Sepia Mutiny, the blog they used to sometimes mayhaps read if they were procrastinating for a big test or project, and they had already cleaned their toilet and had their wisdom teeth extracted, was going to cease all operations on a Saturday, a day when no one reads blogs anyway.

Though it took over two weeks for most readers to realize that the site’s demise was imminent, surprisingly, those patrons denied the reality of a declining readership after coming to rely upon the site during eight long years of Mutinous blogging.

Nine people had nearly identical reactions to the news: “What? No! Why? Of course people still read it! I mean, I don’t, but…it should stay alive. We need it!”

One of the 816 Ami Shahs from Chicago, Illinois (read: south Naperville…she just likes to SAY “Chicago” because she likes to pretend she’s Carrie from “Sex in the City” amirite?) was overheard telling her friend Priya Cherian why the site mattered.

“Sepia Mutiny taught me that not all Indian Christians are sell-outs like Bobby Jindal. Like, I totally loathed you until that drama queen  A N N A  kept going on and on…and on…about the plight of the poor pitiable Malayalam Christian. Like, I totally thought YOU were some lame convert, you know? Because your name is like Priya? But apparently you’ve been literally a Christian for like, years. So you’re fine.”

Priya Cherian side-eyed her friend before expanding on Shah’s…remarks. Continue reading

Your Last Chance… *UPDATED*

UPDATE: To accommodate our adoring mutinous mutineers – we’ve shifted the location and time. Same date, March 31st 2012, THIS SATURDAY.

NEW TIME: 2:30pm – 6:30pm

NEW LOCATION: The Liberties Bar, 998 Guerrero Street  San Francisco, CA 94110

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What’s that you say? It’s the end of a mutinous era and you never even made it to a Sepia Mutiny Meetup? Rajni the Monkey went wild in the bunker once he heard this news and is now throwing poop at your computer screen. But ask and The Mutiny delivers – at least for the next 15 days till the April 1st door slam. ANNA revived the 55 Friday because of this tweet and hell, thanks to this forlorn tweet from @YungCoconut and @AmericanTurban, I will do the same.

Join Manish, Vinod, Pavani and myself for the Cali swagest meetup of your mutinous lifetime in San Francisco on Saturday March 31st. We know that you Alterna-Desi types have already bought your tickets to the 8th annual Yoni Ki Baat performance. “Yoni Ki heh…?” you ask? Desi, please.

South Asian Sisters are back again to present another brand new script with funny, touching, sensational, and thought-provoking raw performances submitted by South Asian women across the country! [southasiansisters]

 

For more info and to purchase tickets to the March 31st & April 1st San Francisco Yoni Ki Baat shows, please check out their site here.

As for the LAST CHANCE AT GOING TO A SEPIA MUTINY MEETUP…

  • New Time: 2:30pm – 6:30pm
  • Date: Saturday, March 31st, 2012
  • New Location: The Liberties Bar, 998 Guerrero Street  San Francisco, CA 94110
  • Facebook Event Page Right Here

 

Please comment below if you will be able to make it! Since this is the last meetup – EVER – I highly suggest out-of-towners fly into SF for a Cesar Chavez long weekend of Mutinous fun. If you have a bar/lounge suggestion (that is open at 4:30pm) do let me know and we can change the local, as long as we keep it in The Mission. And if you can’t come to the meetup but want to keep in touch - you can always find us on twitter, too.

It’s not goodbye – it’s just a farewell, for now. I’ll see y’all on the internet flip side and by that I mean IRL.

55Friday: The “Doowutchyalike”-edition

Well.

It’s been an eventful 24 hours, hasn’t it? The end of an “era”, is how some of you readers generously termed it on various social media sites. It’s really just the end of a site that was once bigger in every way than it currently is. What was once a “must-read-daily” turned in to an “Eh, I’ll poke my head in weekly”-sort of a blog and that’s perfectly understandable. The party has been over for a little while. But while many of you wish we would stay around for at least those weekly visits (you are creatures of routine, aren’t you!), that wouldn’t be right.

We can, however, resurrect SOMETHING weekly: the 55Friday flash fiction challenge. See? I didn’t ignore ALL your tweeted pleas.

I know in the past that I picked a theme to help you start your engines, but somehow, I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Write about whatever you like– just contain yourself in 55 words when you do it. Ready? For old time’s sake…go.

UPDATED: On Lurve: SM’s Second Annual Valentine’s Day Contest

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love,  And feed his sacred flame.” Thus wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his 1799 poem “Love.” And what better time to celebrate love in all its shapes, forms and torments than in the days leading up to St. Valentine’s Day? Find your fanciest pens and papers ladies and gentleman, because it’s time for our second annual Valentine’s Day haiku-writing contest.

For you poetry noobs, a haiku is a Japanese verse form that employs sentences in the 5-7-5-syllable pattern.  Last year, we received a number of heartfelt entries from our readers. (And quite a few deliciously cheeky ones. Amitava, I’m looking at your “Size does not matter, you say. This small haiku in place of my — uhmmm — love” piece.) Come on, you can do it, mutineers. Give it a shot. Your Valentine will thank you.

Deadline: Submit all Valentine’s Day haikus in the comments below by 1PM on Friday, February 10. Please include an email address in your comments so that we can notify the winner.

2012 Theme: Love, ishq, pyar, mohabbatein, kadhal, prema, premam, et. al.

Winner: Winner will be announced in the comments on Tuesday,  February 14, 2012.

Judge: Amitava Kumar – writer, journalist and professor of English at Vassar college.

Prize: Winner gets a copy of The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time, along with a personalized, handmade Valentine containing their haiku – mailed to the person of their choice (mom, dad, sis, BFF, bf, gf, yourself, etc.) by Valentine’s Day.

Group Snark: Paris Edition

You might have come across this article from the New York Times Travel magazine titled India in Paris. As colorful as it was, some of us felt it could use a little more. So we’ve reproduced it below, with each of us snarking in a different color. And don’t worry, we’ll get better at this with more practice.

Legend: Phillygrrl Nilanjana Sugi Vivek

There are times when Paris is (unwillingly) touched by other cultures. (“Stop touching me!” “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!”) (Touché! Sorry, couldn’t resist.) The touch may be temporary — like a spritz of (jasmine? can it be jasmine?) perfume. (There’s always the possibility of sandalwood. Or… even better for the hippie love fest, Patchouli!!!!!) Or it can open up a well-established world hiding in plain sight. (Like a woman in a burka?! Sign me up!)

This, by the way, has nothing to do with how Paris has clobbered other cultures. Continue reading

US Hopes Desis in India Make Chai Not War in 2012

The U.S. is sending comedy showcase “Make Chai Not War” with performers Rajiv Satyal, Azhar Usman and Hari Kondabolu to India for a seven-city tour starting this week. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the tour is part of the State Department’s regular global exchange cultural programs. She offered more information on why the government is supporting the $100,000 tour.

“The reason we decided to support this tour is because, among the things that they are known for is their talk about religious tolerance, about the importance of breaking down prejudices and about the positive experiences they had growing up as Indian-Americans in the United States,” Nuland said.

“In addition to doing shows, they’ll also be holding audience discussions on these issues of religious tolerance, and doing workshops and having some interviews with the press,” Nuland said, adding that the seven city tour costs about US $100,000; of which the US Embassy in New Delhi is supporting them with a grant of US $88,000. (Economic Times)

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The One Stop Jihadi Superstore

With all this controversy around the One Stop Jihadi Superstore aka Lowes, (as Aasif Mandvi oh so eloquently put it in this Daily Show bit) and their caving to a Christian fringe extremist organization (as Phillygrrl blogged about here), it was only a matter of time before the ads that were pulled off air for the TLC show All American-Muslim took the viral airwaves. Exclusively for Sepia Mutiny mutineers, we were able dig up one of these lost commercials starring former Outsourced stars Rizwan Manji & Parvesh Cheena.

As the token Muslim mutineer, I will attest, my folks also have holiday lights up at their house, I buy candy canes and we even mail out holiday cards. This parody ain’t so far from the truth. Happy holidays, from our mutiny to yours!!

P.S – Continue to boycott, sign petitions and write letters to Lowes – it’s been a week and they still haven’t come up with an acceptable response. And while you are at, boycott the website Kayak.com too for their backhanded apology for pulling their ads off the show. But do support Russel Simmons and all his business ventures for buying ad space when no other corporations were willing to.

A conversation with Unladylike’s Radhika Vaz

In her one-woman show Unladylike: The Pitfalls of Propriety, comedian Radhika Vaz tackles subjects like “proper” female behavior, modern relationships, and the ubiquity of bikini waxes. Having recently returned from touring India, Vaz will be performing Unladylike at the The Producers Club in New York City on Friday, December 9 (more details below). I recently had the chance to ask her a few questions about the show.

What inspired you to write Unladylike?

I had been doing improv for a really long time and then I started writing monologues. I always wanted to do a one-hour show on my own for a few reasons. I was auditioning for parts and wasn’t getting anything. You know, I am practically 40. I am Indian with an Indian accent, I’m not even an Indian with an American accent, so I wasn’t fitting into any of the roles. Writing the show was what really pushed me out there.

Stories about your husband and family often appear in your work. Have any of your relatives ever told you that something was off-limits?

No, they haven’t. I definitely do believe that I have to at least show them the piece before I post it to my blog. Most of my pieces start out on the blog, I usually post it before it is performed.

I remember I posted something once and my husband was like, “You really should have shown me this before you posted.” If it is something related something like alcohol abuse or anything embarrassing, I show it to them. When writing about my friends I change names a lot.

Do you consider Unladylike to be a feminist show?

I hope it is. I am certainly not the first person to talk about these things, but I definitely hope that people look at it that way. To elaborate a little bit, I definitely think that I speak a lot about the wide disparity in the way that men and women are viewed.

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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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