“We were the first Sikh family in Bamberg. It was a small town in South Carolina, a closed community at that time,” recalls Ajit Randhawa of the 70’s. “Our daughters Simmi and Nikki entered the Little Miss Bamberg contest but the school selected only a White Queen and a Black Queen. So Nikki and Simmi were not eligible as contestants. Nikki was five years old at that time and sang, ‘This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to New York Island’ and received a resounding applause.”
Fast forward to 2010 and Nikki Haley (nee Randhawa) is not only a contestant in the most powerful contest there is – US politics – but has won big time. Forget black and white, she has shown that an Indian-American can be a game changer where race and gender is concerned in the Deep South.
November 8 came and went and it’s the morning after, and many of us seem to be in the grips of a surreal nightmare from which there is no waking.
Donald Trump is the new president-elect of America, and the world is undergoing shock waves and trying to understand what really happened.
Manning the cash register at a 711 or a gas station is no laughing matter – especially at night when the crazies and the desparadoes come out. Many an immigrant tale of striving and dreams has ended in a hail of gunshots. Here is one fiercely brave Indian immigrant who changed the outcome – but was she foolhardy or just plain lucky?
Lassi with Lavina reads and reads noted publications and unknown blogs, obscure magazines and news zines – so you don’t have to! Here, ferreted and gleaned are some of the buzz stories from the web – some hopeful, some sad, some funny – but always telling us a little about our changing world.
News for You! The case of the vanishing Asian American characters in ‘The Martian’ “NASA’s Director of Mars Operations is…
“Most Indian-Americans are an infuriating, thin-skinned bunch, their runaway success in this country notwithstanding. Always on the alert for cultural slights, theirs is a largely mercenary attachment to American society…They are ‘drop in’ immigrants—like those drop-in cricket pitches so popular these days: situated on American soil, but not an organic part of it. ”
Tunku Varadrajan on Indian Americans and their reactions to Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley.
Who would have imagined a Prime Minister of India lying in the middle of the road (the yellow traffic line is visible) on a yoga mat doing yoga asanas with the aam janta, an image which would be flashed across the world for all to see?
Where other leaders in his place may have just made lofty speeches or inaugurated events, PM Narendra Modi sat down cross-legged and actually did what all the citizens of India were doing and kept up with all 35,985 of them. There was no self-consciousness or hesitation, just a passion to pass on the benefits of yoga to everyone.
The world rarely seems to agree on anything ever but this time a simple, peaceful four-letter word has brought them together – Yoga! Thanks to a suggestion by the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, over 177 countries co-sponsored a United Nations resolution to make June 21st the International day of Yoga (IDY).
From the Great Wall of China to the Eiffel Tower, yoga is going to take a bow. So be it Shanghai or Vienna, Belize City or Chandigarh, Berlin or Edinburgh, yoga is having its day in the public square. In countries across the world yoga events are planned on this one day. Who says the world can’t speak the same language? Yoga asanas are certainly bringing people closer together.
No doubt about it – education is going to be the key to solving so many of India’s problems. Give a child education – and the world is his oyster. Here’s a telling story from about 18-year-old slum dweller Niraj Kumar Ja who beat the odds and got into an IIT which is eight times tougher than making it to Harvard University.
In India, skin color seems to dominate all else. In this land of ‘wheatish’ skin, why is white skin so cherished and so desired? Why is black denigrated?
A new ad for jewelry features the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, white as can be, and a small dark child slave holding an umbrella over her head. What were the creators of this ad thinking?
Will colonialism and the British Raj continue to dominate our lives in free India? And how many more young people will associate dark skin with failure and repression. Is the solution in life a tube of skin whitening cream?
City women enjoy all kinds of fashion – here’s a story about the bindi which has been rural women’s style mantra (as well as cultural underpinning) for decades. Now comes a new twist to it, thanks to city slickers!
What is the Jeevan Bindi? One which saves lives – and here is a thinking out of the box idea from an advertising agency which could have an impact on the lives of women in rural India. Hope that it won’t be a flash in the pan and will become a part of daily life… This from Ecouterre.
‘India’s Daughter’ is banned in India but Jyoti Singh’s story cannot be put under wraps, it cannot be muzzled. It is all over social media, and it needs to be seen and seen by a lot of people, especially the gatekeepers of patriarchy.
What happened in Delhi on 16 December 2012 has come back to haunt people, and to see that justice gets done. It is said that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes and the time is not for complacency. To those who say the documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ should be banned, there is only one thing to say – watch it and then decide.
He came, he saw, he conquered.
In popular desi lore, even the name of the venue was transformed from Madison Square Garden to Modison Square Garden. The chants of ‘Mo-Di! Mo-Di!’ were more fevered, more fervent than that for any rock star.
Yes, the rock star of Indian politics is undeniably Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and with his American visit he was on the international world stage. He was in New York and Indian-Americans headed out by the thousands to Madison Square Garden to greet him, to hear him, to just be on the same ground that was beneath his feet.
Lavina’s Picks – Cruising the Web. There’s info overload, so what do you read? Well, certainly about George Clooney’s upcoming wedding to Amal Alamuddin! Also about Zubin Mehta’s passion – chilies and his love affair with Indian food. And all about the young Indian-American who created E-Mail!
These things were probably not in your formal education but really useful stuff to know if you’re traveling to India!
Did you know the top ten phrases Mumbai cops use to ask for bribes?
Did you know bagpipe music is played at Indian weddings?
Did you know this luxury bathroom showroom existed in India where millions don’t have access to toilet facilities?
Did you know there’s a town where you can get training if your life’s ambition is to be a disco bouncer?
Read on for bits and pieces of wisdom from the web…
You have to give it to South Asians for out-of-the-box thinking. No access to a school bus? An auto-rickshaw will do.
No budget? How about a bicycle with seating made out of a plastic crate which fits two school kids and gets them where they have to go?
Not the ideal solution and certainly not the safest but typical of what is known in India as ‘jugaad’.