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Edit: My brother won! Thanks for your support!
I know I haven’t been terribly active here, and I do apologize. Life has a funny way of taking unexpected turns, both new and exciting (but oftentimes time-consuming!) so blogging has taken a backseat for now.
However, I really wanted to plug my brother’s work. He produces music under the DJ name Emissary and recently entered Penn Masala’s IPM Remix Competition. Penn Masala is the oldest (and best) collegiate Indian a capella group in the country. They have released several albums and have even been invited to the White House. IPM=Is Pal Mein, one of the tracks off of their album “Panoramic.” Here is the original track.
Here is my brother’s remix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhcdwOzDqIM&list=UUHTOHkoIesovMlUUdfjXy6A&index=1&feature=plcp
Please “like” and comment on the video, these are both used in the judging process.
Thank you so much for your support!
Egypt has seen days of protest, unrest, and recently, violence since January 25, 2011. The events in Egypt have certainly galvanized the people in Egypt, but perhaps more interestingly, have stirred the sentiments of Egyptians born abroad when previously, little existed to tie them to their ancestral homeland.
The story of so many first-generation Americans starts with parents who were born and raised abroad, but came to the United States to pursue greater opportunities and raise a family. While there is a vague sense of culture and heritage, their children are quick to adopt an American sense of self, that is to say, an amalgam of cultures and points of view that are distinctly American. While they know that their roots are miles, if not seas and oceans away, and while they may eat the same foods, believe in the same religion, and accept the same cultural practices as their forebears, they hold America to be their country. This is my story, and the story of many people I know who, like me, are first-generation Americans.
Yet, for me, when the Mumbai terrorist attacks occurred, I was once again Indian. These were my people, who were mercilessly gunned down. These are my people who now bear the scars, and hope for justice to be served. The story is no different for many young people of Egyptian origin, who find themselves strongly identifying with their countrymen, even if they haven’t set foot in the country, or stayed for more than a few weeks at a time. This is likely the story of any group of first-generation Americans whose country of origin was mired in war or subjected to other unspeakable conflicts and tragedies. We identify with their plight, because it could have very well been our parents or relatives who were involved (and sometimes they may have been).
As far as Egypt goes, there has been a considerable amount of violence and bloodshed over the past few days that have no doubt shaken legions of young Egyptian-Americans to their core. Yet the people of Egypt (especially the youth) are demanding change, and calling for an end to politics as usual. Despite curfews, threats, and fighting, they have continued to stand their ground, calling for democracy. For that, Egyptian American youth can certainly be proud to call themselves Egyptian. Certainly, for that, we all can be proud to ally ourselves with their cause.
A friend sent me this article just today: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1999416,00.html
Needless to say, I was appalled.
Yes, I see what he was getting at. The face of American towns is changing, new ethnic groups are claiming them as their homes and setting up shop (many literally). Yet I’m not sure the author could have masked his petulant whining any more poorly, not to mention the casual use of racist language. Even more surprising is that it was published in Time magazine, a publication of reasonable repute (at least last I checked).
I’m more than aware of Edison, but perhaps more so of Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights is another “little India” in Queens, where I spent the first year of my life, and would continue to visit. You know it’s little India because of the paan stains on the sidewalk and the kulfi stands lining them. Can’t get much more Indian than that, I think. This town, like Edison, is often a starting point for many Indians who come from India seeking their fortune in the United States. Having that much of an Indian presence so close at hand provides comfort and a sense of belonging that curtails some of the homesickness and, in time, allows them the confidence to branch out and search for greater opportunity elsewhere. Yet they can still return if they feel a sense of nostalgia, or want to give their children–newly minted US citizens–a small taste (literally or figuratively) of home.
I’m fairly sure the mostly Anglo-Saxon and Nordic stock that made up most of the population of the US before the end of the 18th century didn’t take too kindly to new immigrants setting up little nooks for themselves. Yet eventually, they were embraced, and allowed their little slice of their homeland’s culture. Even today, there is a Little Italy in Manhattan, as well as a Chinatown, Koreatown, and all sorts of towns that cater to specific cultures. What about those places? There may be some grumbling behind the scenes, but certainly it isn’t aired in such a childish manner in a publication that doesn’t usually cater to such banter.
The face of America is changing in many ways. If you can’t deal with it, that’s too bad. You’re just missing out.
I have personally found outsourcing hilarious since I’ve had to contend with it. When calling my bank for information on a credit card results in the guy on the other side (who sounds very much like my Bombay-raised uncle trying to inflect a Midwestern accent) asking me about where in India I’m from and where my parents are from in India, hilarity is just part of the equation. Apparently the powers that be in American mainstream media have picked up on that fact, and in a time where Indian culture has become the new “it’ factor, it is inevitable that outsourcing to India will play into movies and television shows.
I found it interesting that there is a movie called “Outsourced” and a new TV show called “Outsourced.” One is a spinoff of the other. The former was a movie that premiered at the Toronto film festival, the latter will be coming to NBC in the fall. Here is a preview of each:
Outsourced (TV series)
The movie seems charming enough, but I’m not thrilled about the TV series. I want to be excited, it’s an almost all-Indian cast. Yet they’re made to look like idiots, and play into all of the conventional stereotypes of Indian people. Granted yes, that’s the whole point of making a series about outsourcing–to poke fun at the concept itself–but it borders on equating the stereotypes with the culture, rather than using it as a means of disentangling one from the other.
Maybe they’ll take the show in a positive direction much like the movie, but at least based on the trailer, it just seems to be an opportunity to make fun of Indian people, not the concept of outsourcing. That being said, the one shining moment in the trailer for me was when the Indian guy was going on about grits in a perfect Southern accent (2:39 in the trailer). If the show sticks with humor about outsourcing rather than about Indian stereotypes, it could be pretty good. If it doesn’t, though, I’m not sure it’ll make it out of the starting gate.
Oh and for the record, there is no rule of thumb that states that Indian food as a whole is gross and gives people diarrhea. While I’ll admit, some Indian food doesn’t necessarily LOOK appetizing (think aloo palak or anything involving palak), it has something that a lot of other foods lack: flavor. If you can’t handle it, that’s your problem and your loss.
Fox’s beacon of all that is true, just, and patriotic was at it again with this gem, dissecting why the American health care system is more expensive than the Indian health care system:
Not only does he insult the quality of the health care system, but he also takes a jab at the Indian lifestyle and Hindu faith. Why this guy is still on the air still boggles my mind.
About 1 in 20 doctors in the United States are of Indian origin. 40,000 Indian doctors practicing in the United States had their training in India. Some of the top doctors in the United States are of Indian origin (some are listed here). What does that say about the Indian medical education system? I’d say it’s doing all right, producing doctors who are both well-versed in their field, and compassionate health care providers. I know this first hand. I almost died as a baby when I visited India, and was revived by Indian doctors. Thank you, Indian health care system.
Seriously though, what do flush toilets have to do with anything? Yea, some Indian households don’t have flush toilets. Flush toilets aren’t a status symbol. In fact, they’re not the most ergonomically friendly pieces of equipment, as far as toilets are concerned. Sorry Glenn, the Western way of doing things isn’t always perfect.
Oh Glenn, insulting the Ganges does not help matters. It must be a shame, living in your little world, and finding anything beyond its borders baleful. Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion on earth, it has endured eons of disparaging remarks like yours, and numerous attempts to stamp us out of existence, and yet we persevere. Oh ye of small mind and even smaller willingness to open aforementioned small mind to new ideas, do not mess with people who are different from you. Also, angering people who make up the second largest group of people in the world in a country that is rising on the world stage with astronomical speed is not a way to attract new viewers to your show. You have never had a viewer in me (I like my neurons intact), and you probably will lose many more after this little stunt you pulled.
I can’t say angering Indian doctors will make much of a difference in the way we deliver care to you. Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic oath to never withhold treatment from anyone, whether it be a rich man, poor man, intellectual, or fool. We (and I mean the current Indian doctors, future Indian doctors, and doctors in general) will never waver from our commitment to providing care.
It’s my hope that the U.S. health care system is reformed and becomes more accessible to people like Caroline, so they don’t have to shell out money for a plane ticket to some far-flung corner of the world (India or anywhere else) for affordable health care. Yes, they may receive equally good health care for a lower price, but is it worth the trip? You, Glenn, should be turning your supposedly analytical eye inward instead of criticizing the world outside of your borders. Our system is hurting, and needs to be fixed. People who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones.
I first heard about Project Remix last year–or at least the collection of nascent ideas that would eventually become Remix–from one of the creators, who is also a good friend of mine. I was immediately sold on the idea, which was to create a site that provided resources and information to Desi (South-Asian) youth. A site created by the Indian youth for the Indian youth.
The official site launched recently, though it had already started generating buzz among our peers when it had made its first foray into the collective consciousness. Currently there are sections for cuts, cultural media, and articles. The cuts feature mixes used by various student groups and collegiate dance teams (bhangra, raas, Indian fusion, etc.) from across the country. Cultural media highlights video performances from various collegiate groups. The articles on Project Remix have been broken down into smaller categories and initiatives, devoted to everything from the arts to sports (currently I’m contributing to Team Innovate’s Neurobio series so be sure to check that out!). Examples of articles currently up on the website include my neurobio piece (an overview of neuroscience), a two-part series on biofuels, a review of Slumdog Millionaire, and a piece recounting a trip to Chennai to volunteer.
Project Remix is seeking new, fresh voices that can contribute to the site in any capacity. If you are a writer or blogger who is interested in appearing on the website, you can email projectremixny at gmail dot com. For any other questions, you can also send an email to the aforementioned address. The website is http://www.projectremix.org.
In addition, you can follow Project Remix on Twitter @ProjectRemix for updates.
To set the stage, I work for (insert cool computer company) in Chennai (South India). Here’s what has happened so far since the recession started:
1. ‘NO HIKE THIS YEAR’ was the circular [memo] that we got last December at (insert cool computer company). I was in for a nice hike as I got the top rating for my performance. (hike=pay raise)
2. Second circular during the month of Feb. (aforementioned cool company) had an excellent quarter despite the global economic slowdown. Still, they went ahead announcing that we would have to forgo 5% of our dear cost-to-company. They even said that it’s better to lose 5% than losing the job!
3. Third one is the harshest for me..I was in for a promotion, and I was told that I cannot be promoted since promotion attracts a certain percentage of PAY HIKE, and that it is against the current (cool computer company) policy of no hike and 5% pay cut!
4. I bought a house last year, and I made the mistake of approaching a private bank for the loan. The builder had a nice deal with the bank, and I was the bakra [scapegoat] there! Result: when most public sector banks have slashed the interest rates, this private bank is just too adamant scourging me (and others in the middle class) with high interest rates.
So to summarize: no pay hikes, a 5% pay cut, no promotion (because of the lack of pay hike and 5% pay cut) and soaring interest rates being peddled by private banks. India may be growing economically in some aspects, but we’re suffering just like everyone else in most aspects.
Well, all these add up to just one thing.. recession-proof yourself. Try to earn as much money you can so that you can spend happily during tough times like these.
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Slumdog did, in fact, clean shop, bagging eight of the ten Oscars for which it was nominated. The audience seemed to really like the song and dance number with A.R. Rahman and John Legend (small shout-out here to Archana, Anie, Lisa, and the other girls in Yuva, you were awesome!). Does that mean the U.S. will open its arms to all things Bollywood?
Yet Indian culture is slowly finding its way into people’s awareness. My friend recently showed me an exercise video structured around Bollywood dance and bhangra (both dance forms, by the way, are fantastic workouts). Indian cooking styles and spices have been warmly embraced by chefs across the board. I think there’s even a commercial for Emergen-C that features a Bollywood-esque dance number. I just don’t think Indian movies will be embraced as readily.
Case in point, A.R. Rahman (yes the one who got 2 Oscars) enjoyed immense success in London’s West End for his collaborative work with Andrew Lloyd Webber for “Bombay Dreams.” The same show closed after only a few months on Broadway, a few years ago. Granted this was before Slumdog Millionaire took the nation by storm, I don’t think we’ll be seeing people flocking to see films like “Dostana” or “Kal Ho Na Ho” anytime soon, for the songs, or anything else. I won’t deny, though, that there will be some increased interest in Bollywood overall, just not a lot.
Maybe American films may incorporate some of the glitz and lightheartedness that tends to characterize Bollywood films, though sparingly. In a time where we just need a chance to smile or laugh, a little Bollywood levity can’t hurt. Bollywood seems to have stuck with the musical style that was more reminiscent of American cinema from the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood. Perhaps through Bollywood, American cinema may return to the styles of those times, if but a little bit. That’s just a guess.
Slumdog Millionaire more likely represents the well-publicized start of America’s love affair with Indian culture, though in actuality it has been simmering steadily for a while. In Indian culture, there lies an exotic appeal that has sometimes been welcomed (the seemingly ubiquitous appeal of kurta tops) and sometimes shunned (yoga has been a touchy subject for some Christian groups, though most people have taken to it quite favorably).
Britain has already integrated Indian culture seamlessly into its own, oftentimes yielding a wonderful mix of East and West (chicken tikka masala, for those who may not know, was created by a South Asian chef working in Britain). It’s probably not surprising that Britain was more acquainted (and attracted to) Indian culture longer than the U.S., considering that India was the crown jewel of the British Empire for a little over two centuries.
Indians probably only started emigrating to the U.S. in respectable numbers after World War II, unlike most of the other immigrant groups in this country. Our culture was still being understood for the last three or four decades. Indian characters were a rarity in film and on TV until probably the last decade (Parminder Nagra in ER comes to mind, as well as Naveen Andrews in Lost, and Sendhil Ramamurthy in Heroes).
Now, though, we’re officially on our way to adding Indian culture to the proverbial melting pot of our cultural understanding and awareness. All it took was a little indie film about a young boy from the slums with an extraordinary story.
Ok I’m not saying all Indian marriages, I’m saying the really obscure, off-beat ones. I happened to watch the Colbert Report, where a marriage between two girls and frogs in Puducherry, India (Pondicherry) was highlighted in the “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger” segment. The way the monologue was structured, though, seemed to generalize this sort of thing to all of India.
Note: 99.99% of Indians don’t get married to animals or inanimate objects. Likewise for men marrying underage girls.
Other news agencies also have a penchant for highlighting the strange and unusual marriages that take place in India, mostly in remote villages. Generally there is some sort of rationale behind it, whether to prevent disease or bring favorable weather, but it’s still such an incredibly rare occurrence. Why do news agencies portray it as though these events only seem to happen in India? We’re really not that weird, especially in the context of the global collection of off-beat weddings that take place everyday.
I like the Colbert Report, and yes I know it’s supposed to be satirical and funny, but shame on you Stephen Colbert for helping further more ridiculous stereotypes about India and Indian culture.