Indian Elections and the Change – Not so fast

They say, time changes everything. Now, how fast or how slow? – It depends on the time or the force of change!

The Indian elections bring one of the biggest change in the political scenery. The Congress Party – the ruling party for decades, has been voted out. The Gandhi dynasty is gone, for now. The Indian public have spoken, They wanted a change, and the change they got; at least that’s what they think!

However, lets be clear; BJP is the winner by default not by merit. People wanted congress gone, no matter who the opposition is. The change is more driven by the fact that Congress was dissed by the masses, not because BJP is embraced by everyone. In other words, the common man on the street was more interest in ousting the Congress party. As a result, BJP came out a winner in big way.

This is a major change in Indian politics after a long time. The majority of Indians are happy about the results. But, are they more hopeful for a better future, for a better India? Not necessarily, not if you look around. Nothing is changing in a hurry; there is nothing new on the horizon!

For example, take the case of common corruption. The corruption runs deep in India, it is an accepted way of life. When it comes to corruption and the common ailments of Indian society, the boundaries of political parties don’t matter. No matter who sits in the high office, the middle management is still the same. An honest police chief will be always honest no matter if congress ruled or BJP. A corrupt office will still be corrupt, even if there is s change in the political party. So, the things have hardly changed for the common man even though there is a major political change.

So what gives! The BJP promise of better days ahead – is it false? It may not be false, but it is not so true either. There is not going to a change overnight, let us be realistic. The web of Indian corruption and other political evils has deep roots, it cannot be eliminated by taking out the current ruling party. It is not so simple. It is not the color of a party’s flag but the color of money that drives India and the Indian infrastructure. And lots of that money is still black, no matter which party rules the high offices.

For an average man, there is hardly any change – nothing, nada, zero!!

So, are the better days ahead? Not in the near future, not for a common man. Continue reading “Indian Elections and the Change – Not so fast”

The Ant and the Grasshopper – The Indian Version

An old story:ant_grasshopper

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The Indian Version:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC, CNN and other media outlets show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast – ‘How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer! What an injustice!!’
So, Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter . Mayawati states this as `injustice’ done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and United Nations criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper, many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance.
Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers. Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’. Continue reading “The Ant and the Grasshopper – The Indian Version”

Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

Diwali – the festival of lights, the king of the all the Indian festivals. There is nothing more festive and more celebrated than Diwali in India.

You have to be in India to understand and experience this festival. A few candles and some firework – that’s nowhere c;lose to the actual Diwali. But, we are not in India; we have our own style of celebrating Diwali abroad.

All around the globe, Indians celebrate Diwali festival, but in our own way! The families and friends get together to drink and dine, to party and dance. Seems familiar? Well, that is how we celebrate almost everything abroad – by drinking, dining and dancing! Be it a wedding, a birthday party, even the Holi festival.. or anything in-between …. we never pass on an excuse to drink, dine and dance!!

‘Festival of Lights’ is an understatement to describe this celebration in India. But, then again, we are not in India. The euphoria of Diwali, the traditions of the day, the competing fireworks late into the nights are hard to describe, even if you try.   The feeling and enigma of Diwali is beyond what words can narrate. The thundering sound of the fireworks and the glow of night-lights gets lost somewhere in the translations, the translations from Indian culture to the life abroad! Continue reading “Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!”

The cat and the cage

metal_cage1Her grandma had a cat; a cat she found wandering around in her farm when she was a little girl. That was a long time ago, even long before India’s partition in 1947. The life on the farm was simple back then.

The little cat loved to run through the farm and all over the house, always on the run. Grandma named her Tufaan, which meant storm.

The day her grandma got married, they caged the cat under a big wooden box. Perhaps, they did not want Tufaan to run through all the sweets and the decorations. The grandma remembered it vividly – the cat scratching the box, begging to be freed. They had to put extra weight on the perforated box to keep her from escaping.

The wedding went smoothly, grandma lived a long and happy life.

“Let me tell you Aman,” Grandma would love to talk about her cat, ” Tufaan was my good luck. Our family’s prosperity is tied to that cat! She was my best fried!!”

Twenty years later, when Aman’s mother got married, grandma told the servants to arrange for a cage. For two days, during the ceremonies, grandma made sure that the cat stayed in the cage.

She repeated the same ritual when he other daughters got married!

“I am not very superstitious, only when it is logical,” Grandma would say if anybody asked about her cat being restrained in the cage during the ceremonies. Nobody questioned her; they did not question their elders back then.

And then, many years later, Aman came to Canada for studies. After her graduation, she got a good job in Toronto and decided to stay in Canada.

For last two years, she was in her first serious relation. She was happy, for a while. Earlier this year, she decided to back out; things were not working out.

Last month she went ahead and bought a large animal cage from the local pet store.

Now, all she needs is a man, and a cat.

Did I tell you – she is not very superstitious, only when it is logical!

Other Short Stories Continue reading “The cat and the cage”

Best Bollywood movies of 1960s

The top Bollywood films of the 1960s (1960 to 1969):

The decade of 1960s was unique for Bollywood in many ways. The legends like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajender kumar, Sunil Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dharmendra were the leading heroes. The beauty and acting of Saira banu, Sadhna, Vyajanti Mala, Mala Sinha, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz was at its prime, adoring the big screens. Madhubala1The color movies had started to replace black-and-white cinematography. Mohammad Rafi,Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey were at the peak of their vocal magic….

The decade of 1960s delivered some of the ever-green Hindi films, supported by soulful music and memorable acting. Here are some of the top Bollywood movies from 1960s.

Mughal-e-Azam (1960): This is one of the all time greats and one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made. The star cast is great: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Durga Khote. The acting is very ‘real’. The dance sets are unparalleled for its time. Some of the famous dance sequences of Madhubala are filmed in the Shish Mahal -The Palace of Mirrors- in Lahore Shahi Qila.
Barsaat Ki Raat (1960): This is beautifully told love-story; another classic B/W of the 60s. The film starring Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala, Shyama, Mumtaz Begum and K.N. Singh in the lead roles. With lyrics from Sahir, the film is also popular for its qawwali songs, the likes of ‘Yeh ishaq ishaq’.
Chaudvin ka Chand(1960): Another great movie with equally great music. The film centers on a love triangle between Guru Dutt, Rehman and Waheeda Rehman. The ever-green songs are composed by Ravi and the lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni. Rafi delivered a very versatile vocal performance for the title song ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho’ and other songs like ‘Mili Khak Main Mohabbat’.
Junglee (1961): The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Lalita Pawar, Shashikala, Asit Sen in the lead roles, along with Saira Banu in her debut role. The movie is lighthearted musical; it established Shammi Kapoor’s as the youth icon of the times. The song ‘Yahoo’, sung by Rafi, became a symbol of Shammi’s wild (Junglee) and lover-boy image.
Dharmputra (1961): Directed by Yash Chopra, the film features Shashi Kapoor and Mala Sinha as the lead cast. The movie is based on the the partition of India and the Hindu fundamentalism at the time. The film deals with the issues of religious bigotry and fanaticism during the dark days of 1947. This was Shashi Kapoor’s first film as an adult actor. Film’s music is by N. Dutta with lyrics by the famous poet of the era – Sahir Ludhianvi.
Bees Saal Baad (1962): This is a brilliant suspense thriller; the spirit of a dead girl, who committed suicide after being raped, seems to avenge her rapist. The film stars Biswajeet, Waheeda Rehman and Madan Puri among the main actors. With lyrics from Shakeel Badayuni, and vocals from Lata and Hemant kumar’s, the movie has some of the most memorable hits songs, like ‘Bekarar Karke Hume…’. Continue reading “Best Bollywood movies of 1960s”

Accent improvement for Indian Speakers – the sounds of p, t, ch and k

English accent improvement for Indian speakers
In American or European English, the sounds of p, t, ch and k are pronounced somewhat differently than an Indian speaker is used to these pronunciations. The English sounds  of p, t, ch and k are ‘aspirated’ at the beginning of a syllable that has the accent. For example –  pin, tin, chin, kin are supposed to be aspirated.

Now, what in the world is an aspirated sound, you may ask?

The aspirated sound is the pronunciation with an initial release of breath air. For example h, as in hurry, is aspirated. Also, the rule is equally noticeable in English sounds like pit or kit where a puff of breath is clearly audible in the pronunciation of p and k sounds.
You can try pronouncing “pit” out loud and hold your hand in front of your mouth, or a lit candle if you need a more dramatic effect. You will feel a puff of breath, or see a flicker of the candle flame, that accompanies the “p” of “pit,” because it’s automatically aspirated in English. That is, of course, if you are pronouncing it with American accent.

In Indian speakers, the speakers with Indian accent, the required aspiration is missing by habit. This is because we are used to our speaking habits based on Hindi, Sanskrit or other mother tongues from India. In Indian English p, t, k are well-known to be unaspirated. If no flicker of candle flame in the above experiment, then you need some practice!

In other words, the American “p” sound is much harsher than Indian sound where a speaker tries to pronounce it quietly without accompanied burst of air. The same distinction applies for t, ch and k sounds.
The Indian speakers don’t have this problem with many other aspirated sounds, included the pronunciation of h, as in hurry.

The Indian speakers can overcome this pronunciation habit, the lack of aspiration, by repeatedly and consciously practicing the correct sounds of p, t, ch and k. Continue reading “Accent improvement for Indian Speakers – the sounds of p, t, ch and k”

Weight-Loss Intervention

“it is very noticeable, especially on your tummy!”

“Extra weight doesn’t look good on you!”

“Everybody is asking if something is wrong with you.”

“We have a wedding next month, your own brother-in-law!”

“yes, our own family celebrations!”

“Sari does not look good with tummy sticking out!”

“We love you, that’s why we are asking you.”

“yes, do something. You need to lose some weight!”

Her mother-in-law and the two aunts continue the bombardment. Everyone else is quiet, as if silent witnesses to the ugly situation. Continue reading “Weight-Loss Intervention”

A boyfriend, a husband and the God

“Oh God, what should I do!!” She asked

‘What do you mean?” The God replied.

“I mean what should I do?”

Silence. There was no response from the Almighty.

“Seriously, I am in pain. Please help me!”

“Pain? Are you sure? Why?”

“You are supposed to answer my prayers, not ask question after question!”

“That is what you think!” He paused. “Why would you be still in pain?” the God asked again.

“My husband hates me, and my boyfriend doesn’t want me anymore?”

” A boyfriend and a husband –  looks like you have one of each. That is non-traditional. Most women have them both covered in one person!” The God chuckled.

“I know, I am torn! That is a sin, right?”

“It depends on you!”

“For my child, I have decided to stay with my husband. Not an easy choice, you know.”

“I know!”

“But he is mad at me everyday!”

“Oh!”

“He found out about my boyfriend!”

“Love is hard to hide, especially the forbidden one!”

“Forbidden, I know, but I could not help it. My boyfriend gave me love that my husband could not!”

“Looks like a bad husband.”

“He never loved me!”

“Did you love him?”

“I tried, yes, since the day I met him.” She paused, “We rushed into the marriage.”

“Why?”

“My parents liked him because he lived in Canada; I did not think twice!”

“Arranged marriages – very common in India.”

“i did not know what I was getting into!”

“That is normal….And, your boyfriend?” Continue reading “A boyfriend, a husband and the God”

What do foreigners find most annoying about Indians overseas?

Every culture, every race, every lineage, every ethnic group has some quirks that irk the outsiders.Here are some of the desi traits about the people from India that foreigners find annoying or not-so-pleasant:

1. Self-isolation and slow to adapt: Indians are known for their reserve nature. They don’t mingle well unless you are part of their social circle; and the social circle is mostly Indian friends. Sometimes this behavior is mistaken for aloofness and showing general disdain, and others may find it annoying. Socializing is a skill that Indians need to acquire more and improve.

2. Parental overshadow (momma’s boy syndrome): Many westerns (Western meaning Americans and Europeans, not cowboys and cowgirls) avoid dating Indians because most of them don’t move out of their parents houses even after the college is done. And, parents try their best to hold on to their kids and ‘baby’ them even when the ‘kids’ are in their 20s or beyond. Annoying? – probably not, but lack of independent living? – yes.

3. Big houses and cheap clothes: The Indians love the concept of mortgage – saving every penny for down-payment and then spending everything on a big house, bigger than their cousins’ or brothers’ houses nearby. And in the process, if you have to penny pinch from everywhere else – that’s okay.

4. Body odor and dental hygiene: Some Indians (and then the perception becomes for all the Indians) do have the problem of body odor, bad smell from the mouth and the dental hygiene. This problem is not-so-common among the younger generation, but a perception is there. Continue reading “What do foreigners find most annoying about Indians overseas?”

Bollywood – Do you know their real names?

madhubala200x260
Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanaa, Madhubala, Sri Devi…. all these well-carved actors and actresses were not born with these popular and stellar on-screen names. Nargis’s real name was Fatima Rashid.
Want to test your knowledge of the given names of the Bollywood celebrities? Try this quiz:

This famous actor was born Muhammad Yousuf Khan





This Famous actor was born Dharam Singh Deol.





This famous actress, who dies at the young age of 36, was born Mumtaz Begum Jehan Dehlavi





This famous actor was born Jatin Khanna.





This famous actor was born Harikrishna Giri Goswami





This actor was born Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia





This actress was born Reema Lamba





This actress was born Tabassum Hashmi Khan





This actress was born Katrina Turquotte.





This actress was born in Canada as Karenjit Kaur Vohra









Related Posts:

Continue reading “Bollywood – Do you know their real names?”

You Know You’re Indian If (funny):

Some fun-facts, interesting observations and comic beliefs about Indians living abroad!  🙂
U r desi if:

  • Your parents drink 6 cups of tea a day.
  • When you are unwell/sick, everyone turns into a doctor advising what to do.
  • You have a 40 lb. bag of rice in your pantry.
  • Your parents lecture you in English “No English; you should speak in your mother tongue at home!”
  • “You want an iPhone? When I was your age, I didn’t even have shoes!!” Parents quip.
  • You have to call just about all your parent’s friends ‘Auntie’/’Uncle.’
  • You arrive an hours (or two) late to a party and think it’s normal.
  • Your dad is either some type of engineer or a doctor or a taxi-driver… or owns a convenience store.
  • Your parents blame everything bad on bad Karma from previous lives.
  • Everything you eat is savored in garlic, onion and tomatoes
  • Your parents talk for an hour at the front door when leaving someone’s house.
  • Continue reading “You Know You’re Indian If (funny):”

The Vaisakhi Abroad

April 13 – The Vaisakhi Day! The Baisakhi Day! Call what you like! 🙂
The Vaisakhi is one of the most popular festivals of North India.

For centuries, Vaisakhi has marked the time when farmers get ready to put their sickles to the harvest and celebrate a new year. Those old sickles have been replaced by the modern automated machinery; the farmers have outsourced the labor to the migrant workers but the Vaisakhi festival continued to be celebrated with same vigor, with same fanfare.

The festival bears even greater significance for the Sikhs – the Sikh Religion foundation was laid on this day in 1699.

The Vaisakhi festival is equally popular among the Punjabi communities abroad. Throughout the world wherever Punjabi’s are settled, the festival is a key part of their social and religious customs. Desi communities all over the world have their own ways of honoring this tradition of Vaisakhi Mela. Continue reading “The Vaisakhi Abroad”

Indian values or right values?

Learning the mother tongue…
The Sunday classes in the temple or Gurudwara…
Attending religious recitals even if you don’t understand what the priest is saying….

Growing-up abroad is a challenge in itself, not that we realize it when we are kids. Being a minority has its own offshoot effects that you cannot control.You cannot change your skin tone, unless you are Michael Jackson – not so easy, and you are still the same person inside! 🙂

Being an Indian overseas comes with its own demands. You not only have to worry about the the bigots and the racist idiots on the street, but your parents and elders are paranoid to the point of obsession; the obsession with raising the kids with ‘Indian values’.

Growing up in India – you are amongst your own kind; you are immersed in your own culture. As a child in India, the social values are spoon-fed over the years; you are surrounded by your own kind; you are the majority. No confusion, no duplicity.

Living abroad however, our culture at home is often different than the culture on the street. We are dealing with a multicultural society. Our social settings are totally different and multidimensional. As a kid growing up, we adapt to the surroundings, to the society we grow-up in.

Growing up in American or any other Western society, the Indian American families tend to hold on to the inherited culture and Indian social values much more closely. The parents cling to the carried-over traditions from India, holding on to the Indian roots very dearly. The Indian families make a very conscious effort to instill the Indian values into their kids. Continue reading “Indian values or right values?”

The Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

Top Bollywood films of 2012
As every year, Bollywood industry churned out hundred of feature films in 2012 – some very good, some very bad and a lot of mediocre ones. Here are some of the standouts of the year:
Barfi
Barfi!: This is a romantic comedy written and directed by Anurag Basu. The movie narrates the story of “Barfi” – a mute and deaf boy in Darjeeling, West Bengal. The plot beautifully outlines his relation with two girls, one of whom is autistic. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz in lead roles.

Gattu: A low-budget flick for all ages, Gattu appeals to kids and adults alike. Directed by Rajan Khosa, the story revolves around a kid living in a small town where everyone is obsessed with kite-flying. No glitter or high-budget stunts here; just pure human drama at its best.

Vicky Donor: This romantic comedy with modern twist is directed by Shoojit Sircar and produced by John Abraham.The movie explore the subject of sperm donation and infertility, something new for Indian cinema. It stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor as the main cast.

Ek Tha Tiger: This is an action film, directed by Kabir Khan and produced by Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films. The movie stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles supported by Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth and Gavie Chahal. A combination of love story and spy drama, the movie is full of dazzling action, beautifully filmed international scenery and pleasant music. Continue reading “The Best Bollywood Movies of 2012”