My son has recently mastered the game of Uno so we typically sit down after dinner to play as a family. The tv is usually playing in the background, tuned to some harmless network channel, mostly as a light source in an otherwise dimly lit living room (you know, for ambiance). Recently, during one of our intensely competitive rounds of gameplay, I heard this distinctly Desi sounding song coming from the tv, and glanced up to see this iPhone X commercial.
I immediately hit rewind (thank you Xfinity X1) and Shazam’d the commercial, confirming my initial hunch. The wordless ad features a young woman unlocking various items with just a look, alluding to how amazing it is that the iPhone X is able to be unlocked with facial recognition (Full disclosure: I have an iPhone X and the Face ID only works about 60% of the time) all to the early 80s era, Bollywood pop hit, inspired song “Bang Bang” by Pete Cannon.
He’s British which explains the Indian music, ’cause we all know that England continues to be the motherland for all Desis. The cover art features a mendhi inspired drawing with the author’s name and track title running across it. I can’t seem to find much more about him online, so if anyone knows what his connection is to the Brown world or how he happened to stumble upon this sample, I’m curious to know more!
The YouTube page includes the credit: The track “Bang Bang” features a sample of “Meri Nazar Hai Tujh Pe’” sung by Asha Bhosle music by R.D. Burman and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi licensed courtesy of Saregama PLC. The original song itself borrows some influence from Spanish Flamenco which of course is par for the old school Bollywood course; they are well known for “borrowing” influence in their songs/films. Also, the movie it was in is called “The Burning Train“. This just gets weirder and weirder!
The tv was on in the background while I was doing dishes and the kids were playing with Viraj. All of a sudden, we heard a little kid speaking Hindi and everyone immediately froze and turned to the tv to see what was going on. The above commercial was playing and just as soon as we all realized what was happening, it was over. Just like that, 15 seconds and it was done.
We get a glimpse into a new immigrant’s experience of lunch time in a school where he doesn’t speak the language. Equally as important is the fact that the other child sitting across from Krish is also an immigrant and does not speak English. They bond over their shared love/language of Star Wars. The fact that it was Campbell’s soup doesn’t really make sense because let’s face it, pasta in soup out of a can is a very American concept that newly immigrated families probably aren’t packing for their kids’ lunches.
Seeing this commercial made me feel hopeful for my kids, who though can speak English, have their own immigrant experience that they bring with them to the lunch table. We’ve come a long way from the days when my sister and I would bring Indian food to school for lunch and the white kids would make fun of us.
There is so much great work being done by film makers and actors outside of the realm of Bollywood and I want to do my part in helping them succeed. This will be the first in a series of posts about independent movies. As I watch them, I’ll update the post to include my review or thoughts.
Plot Summary: A young Indian man relocates to 1970s Chicago to become an engineer, but when his job falls through, resorts to an elaborate charade with misfit friends in order to woo his childhood sweetheart.
The Tiger Hunter deals with my favorite topic: the Indian-American Immigrant experience, and takes place in my favorite city – Chicago! Also, the movie features my favorite Chicago Desi Actor, Parvesh Cheena. Go see the movie and leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Read this article for insights from The Tiger Hunter‘s director, Lena Khan, and why this movie is so important for the Indian-American community or this one in Teen Vogue on being a South Asian Muslim in Hollywood.
Job Opportunity for South Asian Health Study in Skokie
The Skokie Health Department is seeking applicants for a new National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded full-time position as a Community Health Specialist. This employee will work on the South Asian Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (SAHELI), collaborating with Northwestern University. The aim of the SAHELI is to evaluate and implement health interventions targeted specifically toward South Asians and their lifestyles. The NIH grant is expanding the original SAHELI pilot study done by Northwestern to include South Asians in and around Skokie. Interested applicants can find the job description here. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
For more information on the study, check out this story.
I recently came across this sweet ad about a mother/son reuniting after years apart. It brings up feelings on the immigrant experience that I’ve heard echoed from my parents while I was growing up. The son describes his love for his native city of Mumbai or Bombay, which is also one of my favorite cities on earth. You can almost smell the delicious food the mother painstakingly makes for her son which she believes will be sent to him, courtesy of British Airways. I’m a sucker for emotional commercials featuring real people and this one even incorporates my other passion, the Indian diaspora! Enjoy.
In response to recent anti-immigrant sentiment expressed and embodied by our current President, Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago have launched a “One Chicago” campaign, to showcase a unified voice across all of our residents, citizens or not. Unity, equality, and inclusion, that’s what this city is all about. Below are a few featured stories from the campaign.
Alpana Singh is one of my favorite Indian American celebrities in Chicago.
Alpana is a Master Sommelier and entrepreneur. She moved to America from Fiji with her family when she was three years old, and at age 23 she moved to Chicago to run the wine program at Everest. Now she owns three restaurants and believes that her story could not have happened in any other city. (caption from https://onechi.org/stories/alpana-singh/)
I wanted to share Retaj’s story because the reason for most immigration is to secure a better future for the children. I know that’s the driving force for my parents and I want to do what I can to ensure that more children are given the same opportunities that I was.
Retaj is a student living in Kedzie. She recently moved to Chicago with her family as a Syrian refugee looking for safety and a better education. She loves school, learning ballet and wants to be a surgical doctor when she grows up. (caption from https://onechi.org/stories/retaj-abedat/)
Chicago is a city known for it’s music. Be it the Blues, to House, to Kanye and Chance, we definitely leave our mark on culture. The Peoples Music School seeks to ensure everyone has affordable access to music and a chance to pursue their passion.
The People’s Music School was founded by Rita Simo, a pianist from the Dominican Republic whose education at Juilliard inspired her to teach music to American students for free. The school started in Uptown in 1976 and has expanded to four different programs across Chicago. Reflecting Chicago’s diverse ethnic makeup, there are over 20 languages spoken by the families of the 600 young musicians who attend classes. (caption from https://onechi.org/stories/retaj-abedat/)
“Three million Chicagoans. Three million stories. Three million reasons to stand together.”
I can still distinctly remember the first time I wore a sari. I remember feeling so beautiful and grown up (even though I was in the awkward teenage years). I had planned with my mother, for a week, on which one I would wear and why. Since then, even with all the changing fashion trends, I still prefer to wear a sari whenever the occasion presents itself. There is something so femine and elegant about the sari and it’s versatility is a testimony to its ability to survive thousands of years.
Did you know there are over 100 different ways to tie a sari? Let Rta Kapur Chishti teach you The Art of Sari Draping during her talk and live demo on Sunday, April 23rd in Oak Brook. The renowned ‘sari historian’ is being brought to the Chicagoland by the Indo-American Heritage Museum whose mission is to celebrate the culture of Indian Americans in Chicago.