Monday, March 30, 2009

#12:15 PM: Taking Lunch

People around the world make lunch; they take lunch breaks and they have lunch together. Only Indians, however, find the in-between gray area of "taking" lunch with friends and family.

Go to an Indian relative's house in India and they'll ask you, "Have you taken lunch?" Tell your parents you can only meet them for twenty minutes, and they'll suggest, "Okay, we'll take lunch together."

Of what, you ask? The frozen parathas, biryani rice, lamb curry and vindaloo they stacked into a cardboard box with seven rolls of packing tape and checked into baggage on AirTran flight 770 to LaGuardia, of course.

Yes, Indians take lunch together but they also physically take their lunch across the country and to wherever they may go, toting tiffins to work, tupperware on trains and, on planes, beat-up cardboard boxes (recycled from the previous journey) scrawled with magic marker, "FOOD," so that the TSA and Dept. of Homeland security understand that the foul-smelling, viscous liquid they come across during a random baggage check isn't explosive in itself, but may, if ingested, cause explosive diarrhea.

The Number 2 you take in the bathroom (or a little in your pants) after a healthy round of aloo ghobi is par for the course when you get brown and dirty with Indian food, the ceremonial 5th course to cap a meal of tandoori chicken, naan and roti. It's a natural, and unfortunately inevitable, prologue to a lunch taken with Indians: Take lunch; take dump; take nap and repeat. Bon appetite.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

#600 Calories: THIS

Least Hindu thing since the Legend of Bagger Vance.

Monday, March 16, 2009

#88 Keys: Quitting Piano Lessons

For Indians there are many traditional rites of passage such as the annaprasan, the thread ceremony for those fortunate enough to be Brahmin, and the big, fat, monsoon wedding. There are also, however, several informal milestones of youth and adolescence that Indians share. There's karate class on Saturday mornings, swimming lessons to get into Flying Fish at the YMCA, the dreaded Friday night Bharatnatyam class that prevented attendance at any fourth grade sleep over and, of course, that universal tribulation of every Indian growing up, taking and subsequently quitting piano lessons.

While growing up, Indians have two options for learning a musical instrument. Either violin, or piano. These can be supplemented with an additional instrument, of course, as long as that instrument is either a flute, clarinet or cello. As a matter of course, most Indians will pretend to take interest in the tabla at the age of 14, around the same time they start seriously considering Hinduism as a lifestyle, dabbling in vegetarianism and listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan records at Borders coffee shops.

As sure as every Indian must at some point take piano lessons, he or she must also go through the uncomfortable process of quitting. Usually, parents are the last one to know their child has quit piano lessons. Even the teacher will know, watching the kid sit through rehearsal awkwardly trying to play through a song, pretending like he'd practiced. He didn't. Check his theory book. It's empty, and if it's not, he hastily filled in the triads with a pencil in the waiting room while going through the Hidden Picture Puzzle in Highlights Magazine.

Though many parents are strict and often impose their will on their children to do what they themselves could never do, there is a chink in the Indian parents' armor that, when exploited, forces them to choose between the lesser of two evils when it comes to the upbringing of their kids. That is, the fundamental trade-off between heavily regimented free-time for college applications, and good enough grades and PSAT scores for college applications. To successfully quit piano lessons, all an Indian kid has to do is cry a little and say, "But quitting piano lessons will give me more time to shtuuuudy." Done.

Parents will immediately cancel the payments to the teacher and remove the kid from piano lessons. Over the years they will realize their mistake as they watch their child try to teach themselves the guitar, dabble in marijuana, underachieve through school, go to a public university, drop pre-med sophomore year and major in Youtube.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

#23 Followers: Tweetin'

Yeah, we know the word "Tweet" makes you think of that song from '02 that made you want to get randy warhol with Phi Delts at the 1800 Club, but we're not trying to dwele on the past herre. We're forward thinking like TiVo. That's why you should follow Stuff Indians Like on Twitter. It's mostly just me and Subhash talking long distance about various Indian girls we stalk on Facebook and how we can trademark a Mumbaitini (Vermouth, Gin and Chai) and popularize our SILDC signature cocktail the Slumdog Chamillionaire (Kingfisher and Sewage). Join the party, yar!

Monday, March 9, 2009

#PG-13: Benign Naughty Snaps

Someone's got family in Medford, MA.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

#112 The Remix 2 the Remix: Singing R&B, Seriously

A-N-Double-O-P D-O-Double-G. Looking good in the freshman homecoming blazer.

Indians growing up in the United States are of two varieties. Either they love the Dave Matthews Band, and by extension any guitar-sax-viola corollary, or they love R&B, singing Mariah Carey songs at desi birthday parties and mixing Usher's "You Make Me Wanna" into Dil Lagi in their South Asian college a cappella group performances.

Singing English R&B is very different than Indian popular and classical music, and those Indians with a talent for the soulful often develop a deep appreciation for artists such as Brian McKnight, Monica and Wanye from Boyz II Men, less because of his voice and more because Indians as a people identify with those of larger lip.

Though the Indian R&B crooner has found an audience in the UK, his or her American analogy has yet to break through: Sandeep is at Harvard Business School, Himal is applying to Harvard Business School and Nora Jones is half white. The responsibility then falls to the next generation of Indian-Americans to pick up the slack of their predecessors and saaaang like Udit Narayan on a compilation disc of Eros Music's greatest hits. Gods speed, young whodis, make us proud like Dave Cook did for beer jowls and goatees.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

#1166 and Rising:

Easy, desis, it's Reddit, not Rediff. That's a different post. Reddit's like Digg except, I don't know, less popular. At least we got our boy Prameya Bhandari representing drunk Redditors 7 beers deep at JFK en route to DC. You do you, Prameya, and we love the #2 on the sides you got going. We should swap facial hair stories some time.

Update: Prameya removed his video, presumably after he sobered up. We mourn ya till we join ya, brohmin.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

#12:30 AM: Getting on TV at Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon

Monday, March 2, 2009

#300 lbs: Putting Their Elbows Up to Show Someone's Portly

There are few universal symbols among Indians. There's the head waddle to indicate "Haji;" the cupping of the hand downward and the flick of the wrist to indicate "Come;" and then there is the sign for "motu" or fat.

To accomplish this simply puff your cheeks out, straighten your back and hold your arms at your chest, elbows out, like a chicken about to flap its wings, or an Atlanta A&T drumline captain kicking off the halftime show vs. Georgia Tech.

This is often done to describe those of the portly set behind their back. If in an elevator with an overweight white person, however, Indians will most likely just discuss how overweight that person is in Hindi or in whatever Indian language they speak.