Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I plan to get on the local news

I leave Chicago for just a few days and what happens? Absolute pandemonium it seems. Geez, couldn't someone hold down the fort? What I'm talking about is the whackjob driver who drove into the local Chicago ABC station on State Street during Ravi Baichwal's live Sunday newscast. (Click here to check out the YouTube clip.) Soon afterwards the main story on the news was, well, the news itself with the anchor talking about what just happened 30 feet away. I haven't read too much about this, but one report suggested the driver may have done this intentionally because he was annoyed at being told to move his car. (Parking challenges apparently "drive" some people crazier than others.) In case you're wondering this will absolutely not deter me from getting on the news one day by standing outside the station waving like a madwoman. You know what I'm talking about: Right after the 5:00 and 6:00 broadcasts the camera pans to the crowd and sometimes does a close-up of a cute, little baby or a random weirdo. Seeing as how I have no baby to pull the camera my way, I'll just have to let my inner weirdo out. Shouldn't be tough. So keep your eyes peeled, as I'd hate for you to miss my 15 seconds of fame.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Hindu priest and his cell phone

INDIA: I’ve lamented in earlier posts about the absurd situations in which people answer cell phones. The phone rings in the loo? No problem… answer it. Marathon? What the heck… you’ve got 20+ miles to go. Sex? So what… pick up the phone dammit. Now you can add to the it’s-ok list the puja, a Hindu ritual performed for various purposes (e.g., religious holidays, functions). I was at a relative’s housewarming last night when, during the puja, I noticed that the Hindu priest had a cell phone fastened snugly in a belt holder. The phone didn’t ring, but it did get me thinking. What if it did? Would he have answered it? Or does he turn the ringer off? (In my experience Indians are worse than even Americans about turning off their ringers; they simply don’t.) I broached the topic with my aunt, who wasn’t surprised by the phone. She informed me that the priest who comes to their house has answered his cell phone mid-puja. Of course that got me thinking too. What are the phone calls about? Some distraught mother requesting an urgent puja to get her 30-something daughter married off? Hmm. As for the priest at the housewarming, he wrapped up the puja, put away a few things and quickly took out his cell phone. (See picture.) I suspect he was checking for missed calls from distraught mothers and not text messages from friends asking where to meet for drinks that night.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What's on TV?

INDIA: Since I've become such an expert doer of nothing and watcher of TV the past 10 days, I might as well report back on these most substantial of activities. So if you're dying to know what's on TV here in India (or what I’m watching anyway), I’d be most happy to fill you in.

Madhuri Dixit (above) - She's all over the telly doing press for her new movie. As you may know she was the biggest Bollywood actress of the 90s. She got married eight years ago to an Indian-American surgeon and now lives in Denver with the doc and their two kids. Now she's back in 'Aaja Nachle', a movie that released on Friday to so-so reviews. It's been in the news because a few states wanted to ban it owing to a few apparently offensive lyrics and of course because it stars Madhuri, who's back at 40-something and still gorgeous. She's in India for just 20 days to do press.

Cricket - India's playing Pakistan, and I've been watching a little. It's kind of fun, but I admit it’s also because some of the players are cute.

Telugu serials – Unlike in the US even nighttime shows comes on every weeknight instead of once a week. From what I can tell it's all about rape, in-laws, pious women, evil women and, oh yeah, a couple of guys. My grandmother watches for more than four hours a day, so I can't help but catch a little of the fare.

Shah Rukh Khan (right) - King Khan, as he's called, is still the biggest actor in Bollywood. He's in all the fricking commercials (Tag Heuer, cellphones, cars), so you can't escape him on TV either. It's annoying, but then I've never been a huge fan. By the way he's crazy ripped now with six-pack abs and all. I can't figure out how he did it. Steroids? Or maybe it's the supermodel triple cocktail of cocaine, cigarettes and anorexia? Hmm.