Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How To Have A Perfectly Sane Brown Wedding - Part 1

I attended a lot of weddings this summer, mostly desi weddings. If you don't know how desi weddings work, here's a primer. Now, in the interests of preserving sane-ness amongst desis, I give you (for free) my 5 tips on How To Have A Perfectly Sane Brown Wedding.


Rule Number 1
If you invite 600 people, make sure the hall can, oh-I-don't-know, HOLD 600 people.

This is your wedding. If you can afford to invite 600 people, then PLEASE get a big hall. Don't think "half won't show up" and "we don't need air conditioning in Canada".

Here's a rule: 600 people = 600 chairs (minimum).

Rule Number 2
You know, you don't REALLY need to invite 600 people.

It's wedding, not a Facebook invite to a teenager's party. Brown people invite EVERY body, lest someone get offended. Sure, you may not have seen me for 10 years, but you will be offended if I don't invite you to an event where you will be ignored for the whole 3 hours because there's 599 other people who want to take a photo with me.

And here's some information for desi parents: "Mr & Mrs." is good enough. You don't NEED to add "and family" to John in the cubicle down the corridor whom you have never known but feel obliged to invite anyways.

Rule Number 3
Please Vet All Wedding Speakers, including the imam/priest.

So here's the situation. I attend this wedding where the food has NOT been served and there's a whole bunch of white people also in attendance (and being fussed over by the host) while the brown guys run riot and throw seating arrangement plans out the window (including PHYSICALLY lifting chairs and taking it to another table AND picking out the 'reserved' tag on some tables and chucking it) - when the long bearded imam stands up to speak.

"Greetings and peace be upon you," He starts. "So here is my tip to the newly wed couple. You have certain rights over each other."

And then he goes to entail how the wife should seek the permission of the husband before leaving his house and how she should always submit to him and the husband should break the news gently to his wife if he ever takes a second wife.

By the end of the speech I had learnt that homosexuals should be stoned to death and a couple can enjoy marital relations in any position (minus the exceptions) and how in this society every woman in a short skirt is a temptress and every man has to fend for himself.

All spoken with a very bad accent.

The food then arrived. I had lost my appetite.

Please pay close attention: VET ALL SPEAKERS. VET THEIR SPEECHES. If possible introduce tape delay.

And do NOT stone homsexuals to death.

Rule Number 4
Women Need To Pray Too.

This is more for Muslims but I have seen many weddings where the hosts go to great lengths to make prayer arrangements - for the men. The women? I guess you can pray in your chairs. I get it that some women may not want to pray given their state of ablution and the heavy make up but for those that wish to pray you SHOULD make the arrangements. If you can get a prayer space, the women can just pray BEHIND the women.

But that would make sense.

And while you are about it, can you get an imam who will NOT decide to read Surah Baqarah while leading that prayer? Seriously, Allah revealed short surahs for a reason.

Rule Number 5
Calling For Food By Table Numbers - a primer.

Please, please DON'T DO THIS. It makes sense when there's only 5-10 tables (see Rule number 2 and refer to white weddings as example). It makes NO SENSE when there's 60 tables. And it makes absolutely ZERO sense when you are reading table numbers in some random order of prime factorial and forget to continue after '39'.

Either have a buffet with at least 4 lines (2 tables with people on either side) so it moves fast, or have food brought to the table. If you want some priviledged people to eat first (i.e in-laws or white people at the office you want to impress), AGAIN, bring the food TO THEIR TABLE.

Otherwise, have a free-for-all buffet.

Again, see rule 1 and 2.


Extended in Part 2 ...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boston Pizza Now Halal

This weekend the Wife and I decided to check out a Boston Pizza (a Canadian-based restaurant chain) near our residence. There was an added attraction this time around - the Boston Pizza locations in and around the Greater Toronto Area now offer Halal options!

Usually when we want a halal pizza, we go to Pizza Pizza's (some of whose locations carry halal options). With Boston Pizza being a more upscale place, we decided to give it a try.

While I am not really a big fan of Boston Pizza, I think it's great we can now go and order from the same menu as everyone else and not be restricted to seafood/veggie entries (although I must confess I really love their Cajun Shrimp pizza even more than the meat ones!).

When I asked about the halal options, I was told I can order any of the chicken items, except ones that are breaded. We ended up getting chicken wings and a Tuscan pizza which had grilled chicken in addition to other stuff.

Overall, it was good and different, although a bit pricey. I wouldn't go there all the time but once in a while it's fine. I found the pizza a bit too oily for my taste, although the Wife liked the dough and feta cheese combo on our pizza. If you are in the GTA, you should give it a try (and do ask for the halal options). If you are used to usual halal pizza joints (which despite cleanliness being considered half of the Islamic faith are hardly the epitome of hygiene), Boston Pizza was a refreshing change.

Hopefully more mainstream restaurants will now start offering similar options.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why India Is Not Going Anywhere Fast

This article is penned not to bash India, but to remind Indians that glossing over their country's problems is not going to help India in any fashion, but would hinder their progress.

Last year a work colleague of mine was quite happy about an upcoming trip. He was scheduled to go to Goa, India. For the life of me, I could not understand why he was so excited about a business trip to India.

"It's quite exotic and they are the new world power and think of the business opportunities and ..."

To the majority of people in the West, India was suddenly their new darling. Obama invited the Indians as his first State Dinner guests. Everyone does business with the Chinese, but no one likes them. India is "democratic" and so they are our new best friend. As for me, I had always maintained the impression that while India may, in some distant future, perhaps be a world power, right now they are a third world country.

Why? If you really boil down to specifics, Indians are no different breed of people than Bangladeshis, and Bangladesh is going nowhere fast. The problems of Bangladesh are the same problems Indians face.

Consider the latest Commonwealth Games (2010) fiasco. The Games may be doomed, writes Biswas. The athlete village that the organizing committee chief touted as being better than Beijing Olympics is "unfit for human habitation", according to team delegates. Construction delays, corruption, dangue fever, toilets backed up all do not point to a first world powerful country. At first, I thought it was just Western elites complaining about a pan system toilet but on second reading, their concerns seem justified. If you are holding a world class event your facilities should be world class. Apparently, the definition of "world class" in India is not the same as elsewhere, not to mention their shoddy construction standards which has seen a bridge collapse days before the event.

Why am I bringing up the Commonwealth Games? It's because it's a symptom of what ails India in general. Corruption. The same vice that is the reason for Bangladesh's backwardness is the reason for India's lag. India cannot even considering moving towards being a world power until its corruption bug is nipped out.

Consider the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket. When it was announced with such dizzy heights and the ridiculous sums of money, I was amazed. Can India, with 42% of population below poverty line cope with IPL? In three years, the IPL was exposed as a den of corruption with few individuals alleged to own shares in every team, laws being re-written so that conflicts of interest were overlooked (with the secretary of BCCI which makes rules also owning a team in the IPL) and so on. It only came to a head last year when the IPL fell foul of a government minister. And anyone who follows cricket knows that in the current, as well as past match fixing controversies, the trail of bookies ultimately end up in India.

Does corruption exist in the West? In the so-called "first world"? Sure it does. It may even involve very large sums of money. However the institutions in those countries, the laws, the court system etc. are remarkably powerful and free from this vice. When caught, you can expect all hell to break loose. In India, the BJP led rallies to destroy the Babri mosque resulting in riots that killed thousands of people and their leader became the Prime Minister and was never charged. In Gujarat, Muslims were slaughtered just a few years ago while the governing party and police stood by. After the murder of Indira Gandhi, thousands of Sikhs were butchered in the streets of India. Till now, the culprits are yet to face justice.

One does not have to go far to see India is far from being a perfect democracy with perfect freedom of speech. Last year, Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar, expressed a view on Pakistani cricketers. Such was the ire of one political leader, Bal Thakaray, that his followers ransacked cinema houses, set fire to posters, vandalized stores with the police unable to do much. In the past, Thakaray has threatened cricket superstar Tendulkar and Bollywood supremo Amitabh Bachchan. Meekly, these people had to recant and make their peace while Thakaray goes unpunished. In a Western system, such a person would have been arrested as a goon, or charged as a terrorist.

Therefore, to any person who thinks India is now a world power, they are dreaming. I say this as someone who wants India and the surrounding countries to succeed, as they have a lot to offer the world. However, India has lots of problems, starting with corruption, female infanticide, a blind hatred of Pakistan etc. to name a few. India is no where close to being a world power. It is just like Bangladesh, except with a bigger army.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lego Bollywood

So, following on from a busy Eid, I had a little bit of time on my hands this weekend.

Movie: 3 Idiots

A promotional poster for the movie.

Film: Baazigar

The scene that defined the movie.

Film: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

The best song from the best movie of all time.

Film: Hum Tum

The characters from the comic strip in the movie.

Film: Mr India

"Mogambo Khush Hua"

"Main hoon Mr India!"

"Mr India laal rang pe dekha dete hain!"

Film: Om Shanti Om

From the song Dard-e-Disco (4 minutes into the song)

Film: Silsila

Song: Dekha Ek Khwab

"Fool bhi ho darmiyon to faasle huyain"

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

The climatic scene from the movie, when Anil Kapoor goes "Chaiwala Jamaal from Aamchi Mumbai!" [images]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lego Collectible Minifigures Series 2 Fun!

When the staff only half turned into a snake, Rameses the 75th decided this was the last time he bought something from Walmart.


Tonight we dine in Hell!!!

The Prince of Persia crashes the Collectible Minifigures Series 2 party ...

... to be followed by his arch nemesis, the Skeleton Prince.

Always a pleasant distraction back to the 1990s, when she actually looked good!

Do gentlemen always prefer blondes?

Back to reality for Canadians, we are a winter country. Well, all those medals can't be wrong!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How To Spot The Eid Grinch

Are you an Eid Grinch? Do you not have fun on Eid? How do you tell someone if they are the Eid humbug? Here are three signs.

1. Working on Eid when they don't have to


2. Not giving Eidi or gifts to children/family


3. Staying home and watching TV all Eid day


Eid is meant to have fun. It is meant as a celebration, BY GOD, for all you have done in Ramadan. It may be a challenge to celebrate Eid in a non-Muslim country but it's not hard, nor is it particularly tough. Really, is it that hard to just have a good time?

Have a party. Arrange some games (here's some Eid game suggestions!). Visit your friends. Give your mom a call (and dad too). Forgive your enemies. Switch off the TV and go outside. Don't be a $$$$ miser, give some gifts!

Here's in advance a very happy Eid Mubarak to all my readers.