Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year!

Hadji would like to wish all of its readers a Happy New Year. Now, we know there hasn't been much posting around here since, well, the last post, but while toasting bubbly and muttering gibberish last night at New Years festivities, Hadji came across a sign that there needs to be more action around here. Yes, the stranger's New Years party that Hadji might have crashed had this on the tele:

If that isn't magical, I don't know what is. Stay tuned for what hopefully will be a more eventful year here at Hadji.

Oh, and welcome back to the country, SM.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Diwali!

Everyone here at Hadji would like to wish you all a HAPPY DIWALI!  (And because Rajiv will be upset with me for not representing my South Indian roots - a Happy Deepavali!)

My mom always says whatever I do on New Years Day, I'll do for the rest of the year, so in an attempt to blog more often I am posting today!  Today I am also eating lots of sweets, studying, doing my laundry, and procrastinating...sounds kind of like a regular year for me anyway.  

So light a few lamps, say a prayer, eat, make merry and celebrate the triumph of light over darkness!

I'll leave you with Michael from The Office singing about Diwali because it's everyone's favorite Diwali song... 

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Call Centers are Still Funny, Apparently

I remember when making fun of Call Centers was all the rage. "Hey guys, they're calling from India! They give themselves fake names like Sarah and John when they really have names like Shakuntala and Jigneswaran! Isn't it HILLARIOUS!". I'm pretty sure all of us have gotten pretty tired of the automatic association between South Asia and that phone call during dinner from AT&T. And yet, nobody in the world, state side or in the subcontinent, seems to be ready to let the call center fade from the grasp of popular culture. A recent article in the Washington Post discusses the way that call centers have entered Indian Popular Culture, and how this is influencing the way many Indians view their own culture. The article focuses on Hello, a film based on the novel One Night @ The Call Center by Chetan Bhagat, which I haven't read, but from Amardeep Singh's review on Sepia Mutiny, I can only assume it isn't worth subjecting myself to. The article has some excellent insight on the role of the call center in pop culture:
It was bound to happen. The glitz of globalization provides its own cultural
cliches. The call center is the most widely shared temptation among the
chroniclers of new India," said S. Prasannarajan, editor-at-large of the popular
English-language magazine India Today. "For the metaphor hunters of Indian
popular culture and fiction, the call center has replaced the old snake charmer.
The call center is the new go-to stereotype about India, and India, unfortunately, seems to have embraced it whole-heartedly. What at first might have been an interesting observation about India's middle class has transformed into a trite source of humor about Indians trying their hardest to mimic the West. Jokes about fake names and accents from the American media can sometimes be disturbing, and I can't help but be reminded of the colonial Babu figure, the Indian who tried his hardest to be British, only to turn into a source of comedy because of his hopeless inability to overcome his inherent Indianness. Hollywood has produced it's equivalent to Bollywood's outsourcing comedies with the new film The Other End of The Line, starring some dude from Desperate Housewives and Shriya Saran, one of the Tamil film industries most successful actresses. The film deals with an Indian call center worker who travels to America to find her true love and escape her oppressive parents and blah blah blah blah. I doubt the movie's going to do that well, honestly, so I don't think we have much to worry about, but still...

Call center culture is here to stay apparently, and I guess we'll just have to wait for India and America to grow tired of it, which might take a while, considering that neither Bollywood or Hollywood is quick to give up on a source of cheap laughs.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

I, However, Am Not Dead

So I've been M.I.A. for a while, but I felt it was extremely important that I bring some attention to an online project called 42 Writers for Liberty. 42 British writers have each written extremely short pieces of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction to protest legislative action that might increase the amount of time a prisoner can be held in Britain without prosecution. I particularly recommend Tahmima Anam and Nadeem Aslam's contributions, though all of them are worth reading. I always like to see projects like this that combine art and political protest, and I think that this project is a great effort.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Shot Heard Around the World

Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama on Meet the Press.  His endorsement was very strong and every point he made was so wonderful to hear from a respected Republican politician.  Watch the entire video of Powell's endorsement below:  

The most important point that General Colin Powell makes comes at 4:35 where Powell criticizes the McCain campaign for spreading the lie that Obama is a Muslim.  A few days ago, ennis on Sepia Mutiny posted about this same topic, adding that when both candidates clear up these accusations they should be saying: "not that there's anything wrong with that."

However, the first person to say this was Colin Powell:
"And it is permitted to be said such things as, 'well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.'  Well the correct answer is he is not a Muslim.  He is a Christian.  He's always been a Christian.  But the really right answer is: what if he is?  Is there something wrong with being Muslim in this country?  The answer's no.  That's not America.  Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?"
Finally, someone has publicly made this point!  And people will hear!  Colin Powell just may be influential enough for both Republicans and Democrats to think twice about this statement.  

Already, there are news pieces on what Powell said here and here.  Hopefully, there will be more to come. Hopefully, this will cause the exact conversation we need.  

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Post for the sake of posting: Clickables!

Okay, so we've been rather lazy around here, but it's because school has once again taken over our lives (I mean, Rajiv works like 10 jobs, cut us some slack, ok?). I put this up because it's been pretty dead here, which, despite our name, isn't something we really want.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Stuff We Like: Dolcezza Gelato

Hadji's been to this place a couple of times, but he wishes he could live a life where Dolcezza's weekly flavors were readily available at the 24 hour 7-11 (yes, the 7am to 11pm store actually never closes). Alas, you can't have your cake and eat it too, but chances are, if you visit Dolcezza, you will probably find something that eats like ice cream, but tastes JUST LIKE A CAKE!

Seriously, the flavors are absolutely delicious. The best part is the patient ladies behind the counter that let you sample whatever flavor you like before you buy. I find it most satisfying mixing a creamy flavor with something fruity; Your taste buds will hook you up with their hottest friends for doing them such a big favor. The other best part is that it's quite far up Wisconsin Avenue (Wait, what? It's good that it's far? Are you on drugs, Hadji??). No, Hadji is not on drugs, but the inaccessibility makes it a great place to gather friends and hike up to, and since it's not close by, it won't get old.

So, while the weather's still nice, gather your friends (or that girl you've been facebook stalking eyeing) and walk up M street, take in Gtown in the evening, turn up Wisconsin, and explore head up a neighborhood that's hardly touched by most people in Foggy Bottom. They'll/She'll love you for it (Use as supplement for seduction only).

Dolcezza: Artisanal Gelato is located at 1560 Wisconsin Ave, with other locations around the city.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power

Tonight I got to attend a preview of an upcoming Richard Avedon exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art here in DC. The exhibit, which starts Saturday, September 13 and continues until January 25, 2009, is definitely one worth checking out, as it contains some of Avedon's most famous and touching photographs from the 1950s on to his final assignment for the New Yorker in 2004. How does this relate to brown people? Why, 3 of India's Literary Superstars are featured!

Arundhati Roy looks beautiful and mysterious in the 1998 portrait of her, taken after her success with her brilliant (and so far, only) novel The God of Small Things. A slightly senior South Asian Literary Superstar on display is Nirad Chaudhuri, whose beam and bowler instantly made me think of the Kooky Senile Uncle who always insists on giving you toffees that may or may not be decades old and you have to accept them because he's just so darn nice and also he's your Elder.

The portrait of Salman Rushdie (which I can't find online so now you have to go to the exhibit!) is dramatically lit, almost lampooning his intense, fatwa-garnering persona. A sense of peace radiates from him though, and it's a great example of Avedon's ability to capture the soul of his subjects.

Overall, fans of Avedon's early, much revered fashion photography for Harper's Bazaar may be disappointed, for this show is focused solely on the intervening years, when he grew as a photographer and developed an interest in politics and war. Perhaps the most striking, and harrowing, juxtaposition of photographs is the grinning "most decorated soldier" in Vietnam with the large closeup of the disfigured face of a Vietnamese woman who survived a napalm bombing attack.

Avedon's famous biennial-election marking portfolio of the 69 most important figures of the Washington establishment of 1976 is also on display. Titled "The Family," it is perhaps the best display of his minimalist, revealing portraiture style, with a number of familiar faces to boot(Ralph Nader, Bush Sr., Donald Rumsfeld).

His last assignment for the New Yorker, which was left unfinished due to his 2004 death from a brain hemmorrhage, was a chronicle of the US during the months leading up to that year's presidential election. Selected photographs from that collection, "On Democracy" are definitely worth checking out, both for Avedon's rare forays into color photography and for the relevance to this year's election.

Ultimately, the show has great selections from Avedon's career. In particular, I think the Vietnam-era photos and his various portraits of protestors and politicans alike will be of interest to everyone.

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Two Events of Note


This is just a short, quick post about two events going on this week and next week that new Indian people on campus should be attending:

Friday the 12th (before you go out and have a livin' spree):

And Next Wednesday the 17th:

Man check that fresh-to-death flier designing.

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