Thursday, February 26, 2009

#Channel 14: Chris Matthews' Macaca Moment

Macacas back! With a vengeance. In describing the Republican leadership's selection of a governor instead of a member of Congress to rebut President Obama's economic address on Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews used the term "outsourcing." It would've just been more empty, cable news ranting if the person Matthews was referring to wasn't Republican Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American Governor in American history.

Really, Matthews? We're winning Oscars here and you're making outsourcing comments about a dude that's an American citizen? Oscars, dog. Now we got hardware to go with our software. Jai ho.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

#35 Days: Aerogrammes

Monday, February 9, 2009

#19th Amendment: Curbing Women's Lib

In India, equality is a privilege, not a right. Brahmins govern wisely by the grace of Gods; Kshatriyas peddle wares, and Untouchables beg for change at traffic signals and get nominated for Academy Awards.

There is caste, there is class, and there is whup dat ass for anyone who steps out of line. Whether he be a tribal minority, a muslim immigrant from Bangladesh, or whether she simply be a she.

Though Indians honor Gandhi as a hero who stood up against the imperial power of Britain and delivered to India a long-deserved independence, some find the opportunity to subjugate and oppress too tantalizing to ignore. Though a majority of Indians prefer freedom and democracy, a few bad mangoes can't resist denying others their rights. Most Indians like freedom, but some Indians like oppression even more.

This oppression takes many forms: killing those of a different faith, exploiting those of lower status, and beating those of the fairer, though ultimately inferior, sex.

While India enjoys a progressive reputation in comparison to its neighbors Pakistan, Myanmar and China, some Indians still harbor a peculiar penchant for putting women in their place. Though "pub culture" abides throughout India's more cosmopolitan cities, some conservative Indians believe the opportunity to imbibe is a privilege held exclusively by the male. Though the result of this mind set is an awkward amalgamation of men dancing together with their arms up and interlocking pinkies after 3 too many Kingfishers, it's far more desirable than Mindy, Summana, Kabita and Karbi knocking back Mumbaitinis in public while waiting for their Maharaja Big.

Just ask 21 year-old Sanah Galgotia, who was quoted in the New York Times. "In India, no matter how modern you are, you're still in this schizophrenic nonmodern thing," she said, straining to be heard as the D.J. blasted Pearl Jam.

Some Indians also take a more proactive approach to their harassment of women. Instead of responding to women who drink, dance and fraternize in public, they go out of their way to bother women on the street. For example, if a group of Indian men in a Tata Sumo pass an Indian woman walking down a street, they do not see anything wrong with aggressively cat-calling toward her. If this woman has the gall to confront her tormentors, however, the jeep full of Indian men will feel affronted, make horn, and attempt to run her over. Hitting Shrutis with Marutis is an acceptable practice for the unenlightened Indian male, some may even call it a time pass, like carrom or maths.

If you are ever in India or within the company of Indians, closely monitor the interaction between the sexes. If the tone appears to be civil, proceed with common social decorum such as saying please, saying thank you and refraining from beating women if they choose to express an opinion.

If the tone is noticeably hostile, however, and an Indian woman makes the mistake of speaking out of line, quickly hold hands with another man since the normalcy of this homosocial behavior may diffuse the tension of a woman asserting her independence. To some Indians, equality is a privilege, women socializing in pubs is wrong, and the opportunity for men to hold hands with other men is the only right that's right.

Monday, February 2, 2009

# 1's and 2's: DJ'ing

A non-scientific study conducted by the SILDC interns (all of whom are majoring in some facet of engineering and applied mathematics) revealed that 11 out of 10 Indians in the United States are DJ's. 200% of them are from New Jersey while 300% of them spin exclusively in Chicago and at the occasional Ohio State Desi Party. In fact, 4 of you just became DJ's as you read this paragraph.

Indian DJ's separate themselves from their black, white, Asian and Persian counterparts by adopting Indian DJ names such as: DJ Aladdin, DJ Dosa, DJ Vikas, and DJ Vijay.

The music spun by Desi DJ's, however, is not so homogeneous. Styles range from hip-hop to rap to urban to R&B to "Latika's Theme." All tunes, however, will be introduced and categorized within the only musical genre Indian DJ's choose to recognize, "remix."

Occasionally a Desi DJ will play house music or trance. Though he may be brown, he is not considered an Indian DJ but rather a Canadian DJ since he's most likely from Toronto. Desi DJ's in India are also considered a different breed since they mostly play bizarrely dated Western pop songs by artists such as ABBA and Michael Learns to Rock.

The prevalence of Desi DJ's also has its down sides. At popular Indian punctions (sic) such as Desi Parties, Weddings and punctions (sic), the count of DJ's per head often swings drastically out of balance. At this point, several Indians will attempt to usurp the decks from the appointed DJ through a host of strategies. For example:

Krishna: Yo, man. You have that new Ne-Yo remix with the Timbaland tablas? I was thinking about droppin' them over "Latika's Theme."
DJ Caucasian: What? Um, no, I don't.
Krishna: No worries, I got it on my iPod right here. Yo, lemme hook it up.
DJ Caucasian: I don't think that'd be a good idea.
Krishna: No, it's cool. I got that line-in.

Several of Krishna's "boys" from their UPenn "dance troupe" will then surround DJ Caucasian and breathe heavily from their mouths until he excuses himself to the bar to get a Coors Light. Bass thumping Indian remixes accompanied by unequalized treble will play for the rest of the night as sport coats are removed, collared shirts are pitted, and feet are interlocked.

The Desi DJ should not be confused with the Desi Party Promoter, though they are often one and the same person. Desi DJ's focus on the music, setting the playlist and leaving the turntables unattended to dance aggressively to their own beats. Desi Party Promoters, on the other hand, over-charge patrons, pay-off bouncers and fight with their girlfriends, usually named Leena, who have just thrown up in the pool table.

If you ever run into an Indian there's a 500% chance that he or she is a DJ. Be cautious to invite them to your wedding or bat mitzvah since they will usurp the decks. Also, invite them into your home warily since 12 times out 10 they will press you on the tech specs of your "system," secretly download audio mixing shareware programs on to your computer when you're out of the room and try to talk you into buying their old "mixer."