Simply put Sanjaya Malakar is to American Idol what Shilpa Shetty was to Big Brother. A lucky 17 year old who found instant stardom after participating in the American Idol season 6. More known for his on & off stage charm and much less for his singing talent.

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So what’s the fuss about now, one may ask?
He is not much of a singer. But so are many others who participate in American Idol you might say.
He has funny hairdos. So what? You exclaim!
Well, he is half-Indian. Aah! Now I get it you say. J
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Here is a little snapshot on Sanjaya  

    • Sanjaya & Shyamali both auditioned for Americal Idol season 6 and both got selected for the Hollywood round. But only Sanjaya made it till Top 8.  
    • His father is a Bengali Indian while his mother is an Italian American.  
    • He has J Lo for a “fanjaya” for she said, “I like this kid. I love Sanjaya!” after hearing him sing in Spanish in rehearsal, the only one of the remaining 8 contestants to do so 
    • The real controvery started when Howard Stern, veteran radio and television personality, announced that he was launching a campaign with his listeners to vote for Malakar to win the competition.
    • Simon Cowell told Extra, an entertainment news television program, that if Sanjaya Malakar wins, he wouldn’t return as a judge to the show, even though he is contractually obligated to return

What I get to understand is – The world of entertaiment has hit on this new age formula for instant revival of dying television shows & it is quite simple – 1. Start a new season or series, 2. Get an Indian to participate (whackier the better), 3. Throw in few hundred supporters and a few thousand opposers. Sit back and watch your fortune turaround.

For now we got to wait and watch what magic Sanjaya spins for American Idol.

[Image Source: Wikipedia & Bodog Beat]

Cross Posted Here


When the state transport secretary GS Gill was taken for a ride by a cabbie in Mumbai, all hell broke loose. But the result is that rides in Mumbai cabs are going to be easier on the pocket as electronic meters will be installed. Electronic meters are not only difficult to tamper with, they will come with a printed handout which will make it easier for customers to prove that he/she has been cheated. In fact a cabbie taking an unusually long route from point to point will also be caught. This itself should act as a deterrent.

Fines for rigged meters will also rise. We hope. Because cabbies are not too happy with the move as they feel that not only are electronic meters expensive, they will cost more to repair. In any case taxi unions are already very unhappy… taxi fares have been reduced by 50 paise per km, because cabs have switched to CNG. And fines for faulty meters now stand at anywhere between Rs 500 to Rs 1500/-

Unfortunately the reduction in fares as well as the increase in fines is going to be challenged in court by the taxi union. Reduced fares or not, the union hasn’t accepted it, and consumers have to pay the original fare.

We have to admit that though Mumbai cabs are said to be the safest in the world – when it comes meter tampering, they don’t score very well.

Actually, the move to improve the cabbie system in Mumbai is not a new one. Upgradation of the rickety black and yellow cabs is very much in keeping with the state government’s policy for improving the city of Mumbai. In fact recently the chief minister inaugurated a modern fleet of GPS-based technology taxi services, with the flag off fare of Rs 15. Six months ago, a similar service was introduced.

One can only hope that the taxi union’s plans to scuttle the government’s move to reduce fares does not succeed. Well, at least the union has not opposed electronic meters, and once they are installed, Mumbai will be safer from cheating cabbies. If there are complaints one can complain online at

Finally, it took the state transport secretary to suffer at the hands of a cheating cabbie for all this to happen. While electronic meters were to be installed on all new cabs anyway, now they will have to be installed on all cabs. 🙂

You and I are watching a news channel. We see the fate of widows of farmers who committed suicide in south India. As usual we say a word or two in sympathy, gets angry about the government and the system, switch off the television and goes back to our own busy life.

But that is not what author and Hollywood musician Joseph Curiale did. When he saw the news in CNN about the poor widow Anjamma and many others like her from Andhra Pradesh, he decided to help them out with what he had in hand.

Since I had just written a book “The Spirit of Creativity,” which contains a chapter devoted to following one’s intuition, I knew I had to walk my talk… Not surprisingly, a few days later I got a royalty check of $1,600 from a music-related source that I was completely unaware of. I knew instantly that I had just received the money to pay Anjamma’s debt and have a bit left over for expenses…

He came to India and paid off the debts of Anjamma. Again he came back after collecting more funds and helped those poor widows whose husbands have committed suicide because they couldn’t pay off the debts. To the date Joe managed a total of nearly Rs 11 lakh, settling about 12 families. Plus he paid 25 others, about 5,000 each. He spent most of the money on his own and raised some money from his friends.

It is not just giving money, but Joe is also thinking about permanent solutions to solve this problem. In a Tehelka interview, he said:

My point is you have to get them on level ground before you can do anything. People say that about education… but these people are too weak and don’t even have any food. They don’t give a darn about going to school! I was helping them personally. But now I’ve got a foundation started by Indians in the US called Asha. They sent two people, one from Chennai and one from Hyderabad for my help. I’m trying to cover every aspect. Devendra Sharma with his political journalistic side is trying to bring greater awareness. I feel it’s important for people to work irrespective of the money they have. It’s important for one’s self-esteem, sense of purpose. I got to get them out of the hole, and give them hope. To be poor is one thing, but to have no hope… then one feels there’s no reason to live.

Joe puts the arm-chair activists like me to shame. I believe we cannot always expect governments and politicians to act on issues as we know how our governments and politicians are. Although it is important to keep the government and politicians responsible, we as the citizens of this country cannot just wait for them. It is time we get into the scene and put the politicians into shame.

If you care for this cause and would like to help your fellow countrymen to bring back hope in their life, please contribute generously through Joe’s website and also spread the word. This is the least we can do from wherever we are.

Saving Lives India – Joe’s project
The Hindu article
Interview in Tehelka
Musician comes to orphan’s aid – NDTV

Cross posted here

Today I read in the newspaper about how couples were hounded at Bandra Reclamation. This is not the first time that this has happened. Every once in a while the cops go into overdrive and start harassing couples. It was on Marine Drive that they did it some time ago. The cops insist that these couples are being obscene, but I beg to differ. It is rarely that one comes across obscenity here, at least I have never seen it on Marine Drive.

Ofcourse I don’t think that kissing lightly in public is obscene. There are those who feel that kissing in public is wrong, but the young do not feel that way. I am past the college going age, but I feel there is nothing wrong with it either. Maybe it is because places such as Marine Drive hold special memories for me. Marine Drive was a place that my husband and I frequented when we were in college and a little later when we took up our first jobs in Mumbai. Not a single cop ever harrassed us, and all we did really was hold hands and stare into each other eyes. From newspaper reports today it is apparent that couples are not even being allowed to do that, and in fact even those simply snacking or talking were hauled to the police station! The criteria apparently is that the couples should be married?

Just a few days ago I was reminiscing about Marine Drive and posted a slideshow on my personal blog. We enjoyed a sunset there, after a gap of some years. Here it is:

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Marine Drive has always been one of my favourite places. I have been coming here ever since I was a kid. And sunset on Marine Drive is one scene I will never tire of. And by the way, it is one of the most romantic sights ever.

😉 Guys !!! Take your eyes of them and tell me what brought these ‘awesome’ pics appear in a daily. Your options are (a) because they are Victoria Secret Models (b)Models from Milan Fashion Week (c) I dont care what it is, i just want to keep staring at them.

Then here is the next one …

WOW Celina Jaitly… Ohhh… What brought this photo of this bomb-shell in the papers? Options (a)Kingfisher Calender 2008 (b)She donated her clothes to the poor (c)(I see the leopard skin)She is protesting like Rakhi Sawanth against animal cruelties (d)I don’t give a damn, i just want to drool…

🙂 gotcha .. The answer is no where in the options. If u seriously burnt your brains over it, don’t blame me. Blame the reporter who put these pics in his article, blame the editor approved these contents in the paper and the least blame me for putting it here. If it was not for the pic i wouldn’t have read these articles in the first place… ( 🙂 ya thats a confession i make).

The first two models in lingerie came as the photos for an article reporting the apparent ban of FTV by the government.Now the funniest part, the second photo was for the article on Celina Jaitly’s apparent comment that “The more you dress, the more sexier you look”… 😆

Now to the real matter, FTV is banned for 2 months for beaming objectionable content programs

The official Report said : The channel has been banned for showing programmes that were against good taste and decency, denigrate women and likely to adversely effect public morality, it said.

How sad!!! Many people are going to be heart broken. What the hell. The banned a TV channel for airing such a program. Then what about this paper that have these fotos in a daily basis. This appeared in the Bangalore Times supplement of the famous Times of India news paper.The funniest thing is that Bangalore is a place where ‘Night-Life’ like pubs, discos and parties are banned after 10PM (if u call that as night life) by the police.

So the print media has the authority to print anything. If its the morale of the society that the ‘government’ is planning to protect, then this is not the way to deal things.

How many schools offer proper sex education? How many youngsters have the liberty of having an open conversation with their parents on these matters? In how many homes speaking or mentioning of sex is still a taboo? Ya they might argue that they give their kids the liberty, the freedom to have a drink with them at times. But that is what you shouldn’t encourage and teach them about much important things. At least teach them to be responsible citizens, the crime rate may come down.

So for the time being guys don’t loose heart, Mid-night Hot and Too Hot at 2 will be back after 2 months. Till then read the daily edition Bangalore Times of Times of India.

(cross posted here)

Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel are among my favorite and I’m like glued to these channels for hours. Lately i was watching the show where they show the construction and other details of this M6A1 Tank of the U.S. Armed Forces.

I was totally glued to the program and i enjoyed the program about these mean machine.

Towards the end there was this statement that totally got me off guard. It was the concluding line of the program and it went like this – “.. and Its ready to be deployed over-seas!!!” 😮 .. what the hell.

Aren’t these things meant to protect once own home land or is it to destroy someone else’s overseas. Now i’m thinking twice of watching these programs. If its meant to display the arsenal and military strength of some country run by stupid politicos who fool their people when wrecking the peace at some distant place, No Way, i got better use with my time.

At Mutiny, Polite Indian has covered the Supreme court verdict on the reservation issue comprehensively. I have been following other news on this too, specifically television programmes which aired the opinions of young students on this issue. It is interesting to note that some students who are anti-reservation are not against reservation per se. A programme on CNN IBN for example shows one student (in the anti reservationist group) saying that he doesn’t mind reservations, but for gods sake let their be a time line! Say 50 years. Another student, again from the same group, is against the creamy layer getting reservations. Another says that he wants the percentage of the quota to be reduced. I have watched other programmes too, on Times Now for example and here it is a similar story. A lot of heartburn on the creamy layer being entitled to reservations. Some insisted on reservations in elite primary schools, not higher education.

I emphathise with the moderates, although they are not called moderates. They are clubbed under anti reservationists.

I had written about the Supreme Court staying the OBC quotas on my personal blog, and had gone a step further saying that not only should the creamy layer be excluded, but people from all religions be brought under its fold. That is a very controversial opinion I realised after I got a comment about how easy it is for Brahmins to talk like this. I couldn’t quite understand that comment because I simply cannot think in terms of caste however hard I try. My identity is not Brahmin, its Indian, and to some extent – regional (Maharastrian). I think this is a lot to do with the fact that I studied in St. Mary’s school, Pune, and half the class were Christians, several Muslims and Parsees, Jains, and in fact the Hindus were in a minority. I was never conscious that I was a Brahmin and I guess that has remained with me throughout my life.

Today I feel that the disadvantaged, whatever the community they come from, should get reservations. No, I am not for reserving such a great number of seats, and I am not sure whether it is a good thing to have reservations in higher educational institutions, but I can be convinced. Also, I feel the modalities can be worked out better and there should be transparency… right now there is a belief (probably erroneous) that even those with 50 per cent marks can get into a higher educational institutions.

The good thing about the Supreme Court judgement is that everything will now come out in the open (hopefully). The main question as to who the reservations are for, should be answered satisfactorily.

And let us never forget the reasons why the non-Hindu disadvantaged are where they are today. Many of those who converted (how I hate writing this, in case someone misunderstands!) were not Brahmins.

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