Tag Archives: india

BOLLYWOOD LET ME CALL YOU OUT REAL QUICK: RELIGIONISM AND ETHNICISM IN BOLLYWOOD

(Disclaimer: I wrote this like months ago, in case something I say doesn’t make sense time-wise.)

I hope religionism and religionist are actual words…

White privilege, Gandhi, man—I’ve been going HARD lately. So I was like, I should definitely do something light-hearted this week. But then I figured, I might as well get it all out, you know?

BOLLYWOOD.

Cheerful…

chandnichowk9

Scenic…

b1f03-veer1


Romantic…

soulmate

And overall just a hoot, right?
handsup




Mhmm. It is all of those things. But, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes, bollywood gets a little bit offensive.

Just…

sinb1

A tad…
sinb3

rude.
sinb4

When portraying minorities. The minority I’ve noticed being discriminated against the most is Sardars, who are Sikh men who wear turbans. Sardars are almost always portrayed as drunk, irrational, uneducated men. Some infamous offenders are Jab We Met and Veer Zaara (although Bachchan isn’t actually wearing a turban in Veer Zaara). Also, Sikhs are often shown doing things that are blatently against Sikhsims, such as idol worship, and, overall,  Bollywood mixes Hinduism and Sikhism. A lot.  And I have a couple issues with that.

First, the whole drunk thing. An argument I hear for this very often is, “But it’s true!! Sikhs ARE drinkers!” Okay, I get it. It is true. But…it’s true to the point that it’s like, an issue. Like, the biggest issue for us, basically. Drugs and alcohol are killing Panjab. 73% of Panjabi youth are addicted to drugs. Not just users. Addicts. I have family members who have had to recover from serious drug problems at very young ages. And yes, Sikhs are known to drink. Fine. But does that mean that Bollywood has to portray Sikhs as alcoholics all the time? Think about little Sikh boys and girls. When all they is  see Sikhs portrayed as is drinkers, that’s what they’re going to think is expected of them. And so how can we ever progress? We can’t. And Bollywood’s not concerned about it.

Now when Sikhs are somewhat reasonable people in Bollywood, it’s great! But, it’s also not, because, the more reasonable they are, the more the movie makers want us to believe they’re actually Hindus. They do pooja, worship idols, have Hindu weddings, and do other things that I don’t even know what they’re called, because as a Sikh, I never learned them. Also, characters who are Hindus often wear karas. This I just don’t get. Like, I was thinking about it the other day–karas were given to Sikhs so they could be identified as Sikhs on the battlefield. And so I was thinking, I get that religious traditions blend together sometimes, but karas are for ride or die Sikhs, like, literally. When I was in India, I noticed how there isn’t really a line between Sikhs and Hindus, and that scared me a little. We make up just 2% of India’s population, making it totally possible for us to kind of get washed away. And seeing so much Sikh-Hindu confusion in Bollywood seems like a symptom of this. Even Rocket Singh, which is the best portrayal of a Sikh-Sardar Bollywood has ever done, shows Sikhs praying to pictures. This even got my grandma heated. So you know it’s not just me, a rebelious youth. Also, there’s the fact that the Indian constitution says that Sikhism is part of Hinduism. SO YOU KNOW, THERE’S THAT.

Indianconstitution

Look, I love watching B-wood movies. And I’m not trying to turn anyone off of them. I just feel like we need to be aware that they don’t portray minorities, like Sikhs and Muslim, well. I don’t think anyone should stop watching them. But when you do watch them, and you see that the only Sikh and Muslim characters are the rickshaw drivers or something like that, notice. Just notice. And if you want to stand up in the theater, declare the movie ethnicist or religionist, walk out, and hold a picket-sign protest, feel free. If you feel like sending a strongly worded email to Karan Johar about how, while you have marathons of his movies every rainy day, they are damaging the image of minorities in front of an international audience, be my guest. Or blog about it heatedly. Either one.

See you next time, hopefully engaged readers,

-M

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Sheesh Mahal

I cry a lot. I’m a tear machine. When I’m sad, happy, angry, hungry. It’s a nuicance to my family. In India, I cried when I got my first glimpse of Pakistan, probably when I saw the mustard fields, in Amritsar, idk, like every other day. I’m telling you this so that you see me as an emotional artist, obviously. But also to add emphasis to the fact that, among all of this sobbing,  there’s only been one time in my entire life I’ve cried because something was just so beautiful.

Most of my trip to India was in and around Panjab, but we made a day trip to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal was the most beautiful man made thing I’ve ever seen. On our way to Agra Fort after seeing the Taj Mahal, I was pretty certain that Agra Fort would not come anywhere near as amazing as the Taj Mahal. I was really wrong. Agra Fort was beautiful and huge. Our tour guide was beautiful too, but he quickly child-zoned me when he happily told my family I could get in for cheaper because “she is looking under 15.” I received the message, we moved on.

BUT OKAY. AGRA FORT. So beautiful. We were chilling in this freaking ancient Mughal fort that actual Akbar lived in. Then our tour guide was like, it’s to bad I can’t show you Noor Jahan’s bathroom, it’s exclusive. And we were like, yeah, darn, no toilet for us LOL. Or at least I was. But the rest of my crew was like, no, we should totes pay extra to see this, and I was like aight, I’ll go with the flow. I only really started getting really interested when we started going to a part of the fort that was below everything else, where we were the only ones, and our guide started speaking in whispers. The sun was setting, and it was already breathtaking. We weren’t even at the toilet yet.

So we go inside this little area, and it’s dark. Like pitch dark, and I’m with my grandparents, so I’m trying to make sure no one falls, you know?  I’m in a dark old bathroom with my grandparents and nothing is luxurious at this point. Until I start realizing that this “bathroom” is huge, and no one else is around except my family. And child-zoning man. Who had seen us all trip multiple embarassing times all up and down that fort at this point, so was basically family too. The thing is, it was pitch dark. It was called Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), because it was supposed to be decorated with a lot of mirrors. BUT IT WAS DARK. WE COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING. 

However, our guide soon walked over to a corner of the bathroom, and held a lit match close to the wall, and told us all to look up. I looked up, and was confused. Remember how, when we went in the Sheesh Mahal, the sun was setting? Well, it seemed night had fallen, as I looked up and wondered why Noor Jahan was okay with a bathroom without a roof, because all I saw when the tour guide lit the match was a star-filled night sky. It took me maybe 30 seconds of staring at the twinkling stars before the tears came, because that’s how long it took me to realize we weren’t looking at the sky.

We were looking at the roof of the Sheesh Mahal.

It was covered in tiny mirrors, that were all reflecting the flickering flame that child-zoner was holding in the corner, so that each one was reflecting the flame. Each reflection looked like a twinkiling star.
 

 

 

I’m just so moved, to this day, by the fact that I actually thought I was looking at the sky, like actually, without a doubt. I didn’t look up and wonder, “Huh. Is that the roof or the sky?” I looked up and instantly assumed it was the sky. When we see amazing artwork, we say, “Wow, it looks so real.” YOU JUST DON’T GO UP TO THE MONA LISA AND START ASKING THE LADY WHY SHE’S SITTING SO STILL. NO OFFENSE LEO. We’re never actually fooled into believing we’re looking at, like, real, natural objects, that we just happened upon. At least, I had never been. Not until this amazing, winter’s night in Agra ❤

 

When we came out of the Sheesh Mahal, the sun had almost set, and there were NO TOURISTS LEFT IN THAT PART OF THE FORT. It was just me and my blood, walking around a fort built in the 11th century,  where the Koh-i-Noor was taken by the Mughals, where Jodha and Akbar lived in inter-religious harmony, and, as Wikipedia describes it, is more of a walled city. I couldn’t believe we were all alone in that place, which I later learned is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. I unthinkingly made the decision not to take any pictures, so that I could be 100% in that once in a lifetime moment, and I don’t regret it. The picture above, which my bro took, is beautiful, but I’m sure it goes without saying that that moment could have never truly been captured, you know? You have to make the decision–do you want understating photographs to look at afterwards, or do you want a fuller memory? Is this offensive? To photo-takers? I hope not. I take a lot of pics too, don’t get me wrong. I guess, for me, it’s just about finding a balance. That being said, I’m so glad my brother took a picture of the roof. 

 

Also we had two dinners that night, it was magical. 

 

Aight, reader, imma wrap this up. Have a great night/day.

And if you’re ever in Agra, make sure to drop by the Sheesh Mahal at sunset : )

 

-M

Tagged , , , , , ,

1984

Guys. I live in North Carolina, right? The most Panjabi thing here is…me. We RARELY get Panjabi movies down here on dvd. We don’t even have Disco Singh yet. BUT TOMORROW. GUESS WHO’S DRIVING (5 hours) TO GO SEE 1984…IN AN ACTUAL THEATER????

 

YA GIRL. YA GIRL AND HER MOM. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

 

That’s right. Diljit’s new movie 1984 is playing a few towns over, and me and my momma, who has become a huge Diljit fan, btw, are going to go see it. I can’t believe we’re actually able to see a Panjabi movie in theaters. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Okay, so real quick, 1984 is a film based on the true events of the Sikh genocide of the 1980s and 90s. Thousands of Sikhs were killed, robbed, and raped during this time, mainly at the hands of the Indian government. For the past 30 years, we’ve been silenced about it. At the time, India banned foreign journalists from entering the country, to prevent the rest of the world from seeing the atrocities India was committing. Even today, Sikhs are denied visas into India for speaking up about the genocide. Only recently has there been some aknowlegement of what happened to us at the time, while we have been reeling from it for decades. The fact that movies like this one are starting to come out is huge. It’s long past time for our story to be told.

So if you live in a random place like me, hope is not lost! If there’s a showing near me, there’s definetly a possiblity there’s one near you too. I encourage EVERYONE to go see it, Sikh or not, Panjabi or not, brown or not.

To see if it’s available near you:

http://www.fandango.com/punjab1984_174015/movieoverview

 

-M

Tagged , , , , , , ,

MALERKOTLA

I told you I’d be back soon :)))

You guys, I have to tell you about this city I found out about, OMG. 

It’s in Panjab, India. 

 

 

File:India Punjab.svg

 

 

It’s called Malerkotla.

 

Katrina Kaif and Saif Ali Khan were there once. 

 

And it’s just your average, Panjabi city. 

 

 

…EXCEPT IT’S  REALLY NOT. 

Malerkotla has a Muslim majority, unlike the Sikh majority in the rest of Panjab (India side), and the Hindu majority of most other Indian states. Before 1947, this would not be unusual. But after the Partition, many India-side Muslims moved to newly-created Pakistan. But Malerkotla Muslims? They were basically like, nahh, we’re good here. While the rest of India and Pakistan was suffering from a crazy amount of rapes and murders, apparently nothing happened in Malerkotla. If this isn’t suprising enough, wait untill you hear why this was. 

 

In 1705, the 7 and 9 year old sons of the 10th Prophet of Sikhism were sentanced to death by being bricked alive (???) by a powerful Mughal, Wazir Khan. Eventually, the sons, Fateh Singh and Zorowar Singh, were actually bricked alive, and to this day, Sikhs everywhere remember their martyrdom yearly. Growing up, I learned about this event. But what I did not learn about was the protest to the sentencing by Sher Mohammad Khan. He was the Nawab of Malerkotla, and argued with Wazir Khan, saying that the act to be committed was against Islam, and was inhumane. When his protests weren’t heard, he walked out of the court. After the 10th Prophet’s sons were killed, the Prophet himself approached Sher Mohammad Khan, and thanked him for his protest. He also gifted him with one of his own swords. So, beautiful story, right? DID I MENTION. MOHAMMAD KHAN WAS WAZIR KHAN’S BROTHER? That’s right. He went against his own bro to try and save people of a different faith. And so Malerkotla has continued to reference this strange, heroic yet tragic, event, when it comes to inter-religion dealings. During the Partition of India, they were basically like, “Should we move to Pakistan? Ehh, remember that time our guy tried to save your guys? That was nice. Let’s just stay here then.” Even during the Sikh genocide of the 1980s, it seems that literally nothing happened in Malerkotla. 

 

Not to mention, it has some really beautiful architecture.

 

 

 

 

 I think another reason I love this city so much is that it gives me a glimpse of what Sikh-Muslim relations must have been like before the Partition. When the Partition happened, my family in Pakistan had no intention of moving to India. It was only after they saw the violence that they decided that moving to India might be safer than staying (which ended up not really being true.) But I think it’s pretty cool that even though they knew that they would be living in a Muslim-majority country, they did not want to leave. I guess the way they saw it was, they weren’t Muslims, but they weren’t Hindus either. So why move, only to be in another country where they’d still be a minority? They might as well stay in the home they know, with the people they know. I can’t help but wish they had indeed stayed, especially if the result would have been more cities like Malerkotla.

I mean, not that Sikh-Muslim relations are bad now, I don’t think. I know that there’s a bunch of Sikhs in Kashmir, and they’re tight with the Muslims there too. Also Iran. 

 

ANYWAYS.

If you’re interested, check out these videos on Malerkotla. Also do it if you’re not interested. Like, I put them there, you know? It’s just common courtesy. 

 😉

 

M’kay. See you next time 🙂

-M

 

P.S–You guys, I like this. Instead of weekly posts, I’ll post anytime I have something really cool to talk about. I feel like this is better for everyone? Maybe I’ll actually post more this way? Also, quality of quantity? Question mARKS???

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Gandhi tho :/

Ya girl ain’t got a whole lot of love for “the father of India.”

 

 

I’ve had this post in mind for a long time, literally years, but I know a lot of people look up to Gandhi, and if you’re one of those people, reading this won’t be that fun of a time. But so much about Gandhi that really irks me is never talked about, and I feel like it really should be. So here goes.

For one thing, he was racist.

Which makes it particularly annoying when people compare him to Nelson Mandela.

Gandhi regularly used the term “Kaffirs” when referring to black people, which is essentially as disrespectful as using the n-word. Additionally, on the status of Indians in South Africa, he is quoted as saying,”the Indian is being dragged down to the position of the raw Kaffir(…)whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a number of cattle to buy a wife, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” Also, “We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized — the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”

…..

……..

so….yeah. There’s that.

And I know a lot of people society tends to look up to are nowhere near perfect, but for someone put on SUCH an incredibly high pedestal, we certainly don’t talk about how racist Gandhi was enough. Like, it’s not like he committed arson as a kid, or had a drug addiction, or anything like that. He had a deep-seated, inexpiable hatred of black people. This wasn’t a mistake he made, or anything in the realm of things that could be forgiven, you know? Like Michael Jackson. Did he get plastic surgery? Yeah. Did he get more than he admitted? It’s possible. But does that discredit everything he did? Not at all. But Gandhi is known for his advocacy of nonviolence, which implies an appreciation for life. And so his racism is in complete contradiction of what he stands for in society’s eyes.

 

 

 

And the second reason I don’t look up to Gandhi is because of his view of Sikhs.

 

If you look, you can find positive statements Gandhi made about Sikhs. However, many people of prominence during Gandhi’s time were making positive statements about Sikhs, because, like how Muslims were given Pakistan when the British left India, the Sikhs were very close to being given their own state, Khalistan. Seeing this, and fearing the loss of land, Indian officials spoke favorably of Sikhs, to convince them that they did not need Khalistan. Promises were made to Sikhs, and ultimately, we decided we did not need a Khalistan. However, after we turned down the offer and decided to stay in India, the promises made to us were broken. You can gather Gandhi’s true opinion of Sikhs in statements he made more privately–

 

For one thing, he tried to devalue the Sikh identity–

“I read your Granth Sahib. But I do not do so to please you. Nor shall I seek your permission to do so. But the Guru has not said anywhere that you must grow your beards, carry kirpans (swords) and so on”

It is very clear to Sikhs that we have been commanded to maintain our identity, which includes unshorn hair and carrying kirpans. Like, we have a whole holiday dedicated to the anniversary of the day that our prophet made this commandment. If Gandhi felt that we do so unnecessarily, fine. That’s not what bothers me so much. It’s his almost hostile tone in the above quote that really gets me, when he feels the need to state he read the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, but not to please Sikhs. Like why you gotta add that last part? C’mon. Gandhi has also been recorded as saying that he does not acknowledge Sikhism as a religion. Which, as a Sikh myself, is pretty insulting. The man who people refer to as the father of India did not acknowledge Sikhs. He would not have acknowledge me.

I think Sikhs in general don’t have a whole lot of love for Gandhi, given the above paragraph. Growing up, I was never taught about Gandhi by adults in my community. The only thing I ever heard about him was that he called Sikhism’s 10th prophet a mountain rat. I haven’t been able to find this quote, but I wouldn’t really be surprised if I did.

 

I did learn about Shaheed Bhagat Singh, though. He was an atheist who was born into a Sikh family. Like Gandhi, he was pro-independence, and he made contributions to the independence movement. He even fasted in protest of the British government, just like Gandhi did. But it seems no one remembers Shaheed Bhagat Singh, at least not to the extent that they remember Gandhi. Shaheed Bhagat Singh was eventually killed in his fight for independence, and yet he is not seen the way Gandhi is seen, not by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe it’s because he was not against the use of violence, the way Gandhi was. Or maybe it’s because of his family line linking him to Sikhism, and what people like Gandhi have done to make sure that people in this category are seen in a different light in India.

 

 

So…I didn’t write this post to offend anyone. I just wanted to offer a fuller picture of Gandhi’s beliefs to those who might not know about all of them. Whether or not this has changed your view of him, if you ever come across someone who does not appreciate Gandhi as much as most people seem to, perhaps you will have a little more understanding as to where he/she is coming from.

Thoughts?

-M

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

PIND APPRECIATION AND JATTS AND BACKWARDS CLASS STATUS

SORRY NO POST LAST WEEK AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

A lot of Panjab, India is rural land made up of tons of small villiages, or “pinds” in Panjabi. Basically, there are cities, and there are pinds. Cities in Panjab are some of the richest in both India and I think Pakistan too–they can  have Pizza Huts and KFCs and the people wear jeans. And they really, truly are beautiful.

But when I was in Panjab, sitting in the car for hours at a time, about every fifteen minutes or so, the air would suddenly become fresher, the roads became clearer, and the view outside the window changed to this. CLICK IT. DO IT. PLEASE. I DIDN’T WANT TO COPY PASTE BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE AN OFFICIALISH PHOTOGRAPHYISH BLOG. BUT JUST CLICK ON IT YOU WON’T REGRET IT.

Panjabi pinds are where it’s at. Just ask Bollywood.

jabwemetpind

Panjabi pinds are famous for their bright yellow fields of mustard, but they also grow wheat and sugarcane, among other crops. So I was definitely expecting those to be there. But I figured seeing that bright yellow sarson di khet would be kind of rare? Like maybe I’d get to glimpse a handful of these fields of mustard.

THEY WERE EVERYWHERE THO. Like I don’t think we ever drove 30 minutes without seeing at least one.

^^some of my pics from the car.

Another thing I didn’t foresee was these amazingly beautiful trees. They were like thin, tall trees with greenish yellowish leaves and, here’s the magic, they were lined up in perfect rows. Driving by them, which happened just as often as driving by the mustard fields, they looked like some kind of an optical illusion.

And CLICK HERE OKAY LOOK AT THIS AMAZING PICTURE OF THE PIND TREES THAT ISN’T MINE BUT IS BEAUTIFUL AND YOU REALLY SHOULD. This picture captures the optical illusionness of it all. It’s the same one I linked you to before. I’m linking you to it twice because for some reason I’m afraid you didn’t click it the first time #trustissues

And yeah. I’m starting to see that pinds are kind of a big part of Panjabi culture. They’re kind of more traditional. I didn’t get to check out any pinds that much while in India, but I like to imagine the ladies wear salwar kameezes, the guys wear kurtas, the kids speak Panjabi, and everyone loves to get down and giddha and bhangra, and on warm nights they sleep on cots on the roofs, under the stars.

*sigh*….pinds, man…<3

Unfortunately, pinds are also where the majority of Panjab’s huge drug problem lies. See, people who live in pinds are usually farmers, and Panjab is facing an enormous agricultural crisis right now, one which the Indian government has not helped very actively. In fact, the government does some things that tend to hurt Panjabi farms more than help them, such as channel more than half of Panjab’s water sources out of Panjab…and because of the agricultural crisis, many Panjabi farmers are without work, and have turned to drugs. There are some pinds in Panjab where you can find syringes littered on the ground. It’s a heartbreaking situation. From what I’ve heard, pretty much every family has been adversely affected by drug addiction.

Panjabi pinds are a wonder. They have a dark aspect to them, what with all the drug use, but they are also so beautiful and have so much culture. Sometimes people call others “pindus” or “pendus,” and it’s taken to mean you are ignorant (when I first typed this I spelled it “ignortant.” like just try saying that out loud.)…it’s usually used lightheartedly, but still, not too cool. I’ve probably done it too, and I’m seeing now how wrong and unfair it is. Now, if anyone ever calls me “pendu,” I always take it as a compliment.To be from a pind is a beautiful thing 🙂

Oh! Also, one more thing! A good amount of people who live in pinds are part of the Jatt caste. A lot of them are Sikhs, and in Sikhi, we are taught not to abide by the caste system. Buuuut sometimes the culture around you trumps religion. Personally, I don’t like to identify people by their caste, or even acknowledge castes. But this topic kind of focuses around a certain caste, so I’m going to this time. 

Anyways, Jatts and Jatt Sikhs  were recently named a “backwards class” by the Indian government as I found from on Diljit’s instagram

 

And at first, I was annoyed, like a lot of other Panjabis and Sikhs. I just thought it was more of the government hating on us, yet again. But this was the Panjabi government, when usually (but not always) it’s the federal government that sips the haterade. So I looked it up, and it’s actually kind of a good thing! Basically, the Indian government has set up this title of “backwards class,” as they call it, and by affording a group this title, the government acknowledges that this group has been underprivileged in the past, and that the government should do it’s best to put the group on equal ground with the rest of the country. It’s kind of like acknowledging their minority status. Here, Wikipedia says it better:

“Other Backward Class (OBC) is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are educationally and socially disadvantaged. It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs). The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country’s population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, a figure which had shrunk to 41% by 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place.[1]

In the Indian Constitution, OBCs are described as “socially and educationally backward classes”, and the Government of India is enjoined to ensure their social and educational development – for example, the OBCs are entitled to 27% reservations in public sector employment and higher education. The list of OBCs maintained by the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is dynamic, with castes and communities being added or removed depending on social, educational and economic factors.”

 

So I think this is actually a good thing! I mean…they probably should’t have “backwards” in the title, because it throws people off a little. Nonetheless, it’s a good thing. 

Apparently, the government didn’t include Jatts in this classification the first time around, and a lot of Panjabis were annoyed at this. But the government actually went back and added Jatts! 

And from what I know about the agricultural crisis and the drug problem, I think the hardships that Jatts and Jatt Sikhs are facing deserve to be acknowledged. Heck, all Panjabis in India probably deserve this status.  But this is a good start 🙂 

All women are afforded this status as well. 

 

Well that was one heck of a tangent. Man I hate when I go on tangents right before the end of the post. Because then it’s like, how do I end this now? Do I tie it back to the original topic? Do I pretend like the tangent never even happened? Do I pretend like I totally forgot about the original topic? Idk…this is too much. Too much stress. I love you. Bye. 

-M

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’M HERE. I’M HERE WITH A POST. SNOW QAWAALIS ETC.

Day 21 of M’s absence. Blog takeover is almost complete. Last step remains: remove whale background. Why is it still–

VOICE OF REASON!! BUDDY!!

M! WHAT…WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

 

What do you mean what am I doing here!? I’m back! We got the laptop fixed!

Oh…well, I meant…why HAVEN’T you been here?? I’ve…missed you!

 

Really?

Yeah…of course…why wouldn’t I. 

I don’t know, V, I’m sensing some sarcasm…

Sarcastic, who me? NO. *slams door*

……

…………

………………

…………

……

 

neeru2

It’s good to be back 🙂

We got a new keyboard for our laptop! 😀 We spilled cha on the old one, lol. Silly brown people. 

And oh! Happy belated Valentines Day!! I was bummed that I didn’t get to post the week before Valentines Day. Ever since the V-Day post last year I’ve been kind of nervous as to how I was going to live up to it this year, since so many people seemed to like it. But now I think not being able to post was actually a good thing HEAR ME OUT. It kind of made me realize that I shouldn’t try to outdo myself like that on the blog. I wrote that post because I had had the idea in my head for a super long time to talk about Panjabi love stories, and I just thought Valentines Day would be a good day to do it. I didn’t know it was going to become my most-loved post. And so I think I should just stick to that mindset, and write posts that I really want to write because I really want to write them. Is that gucci with everyone?

Alright, speaking of posts and whatnot, I don’t have anything planned right now lol. So let’s just talk! Everyone grab some cha. And keep it away from your keyboard.

It snowed so much in North Carolina where I am omg. And when it snows here we don’t know what to do. This was literally us this past week.  AND ALSO. It snowed in Panjab this week! I’ve always been under the impression that snow in Panjab is rare, but I’m starting to suspect it’s just not recorded officially every time that it happens. Like, in 2012 it snowed in Panjab and it got a lot of media coverage, with claims that it was the first snowfall in Panjab, India in decades. But I’ve been checking out some videos on Youtube, and it seems like people have been uploading videos of snow and hail in Panjab every year for a few years back, including this year, 2014:

And of course it snows in Kashmir quite a bit:

As well as Himachal Pradesh, which is part of the Panjab region, and used to be part of Panjab state as well:

*Sigh* Snow in India, man. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful. When it snows here I pretend like I’m in Kashmir. 

Alrighttttttttttt. What else is new. Hmmm. Oh okay omg I stumbled on this AMAZING song on Tumblr:

http://www.tumblr.com/search/heeriye+faqeeriye

IT’S SO GOOD. YES, IT’S IN PANJABI. BUT I FOUND AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION: http://zouve.com/punjabi/heeriye-faqeeriye-satinder-sartaaj-lyrics-english-traslation/

Some parts are lost in translation, of course, but I mean hey. Even if you don’t know Panjabi, you can still enjoy this flippin’ song. Play it. Play it now. And turn it up loud. Annnnd close your eyes. You. Are. Welcome.

It’s by Satinder Sartaaj, who’s a pretty big Panjabi singer right now. I’ve always known he was pretty off the chain, but after hearing this I looked him up a bit more and it turns out he’s studied music in college, and has a Ph. D in Sufi music! That’s so insane to me! Like I didn’t even know you could get a Ph.D in Sufi music!! Sufi music, by the way, is like a type of music that’s popular in South Asia and I think some Muslim countries outside of South Asia as well. I’ve been listening to Sufi music foreveeeer, thanks to my mom. It’s just such a beautiful form of music. When I think of Sufi singers, I think of a bunch of dudes, and these days some awesome ladies, sitting on the ground playing various instruments and singing with all their heart.

A Sartaaj example:

A classic example:

A bollywood-ified example if you fast forward to 3:10:

And a parody rap/hip-hop version 🙂

  So there ya go. Those were all qawaalis, which is the more romantic branch of Sufi music. The other types are mainly religious, and just as beautiful 🙂

So yeah. I guess that’s it, guys. Idk what else to talk about. Actually I kind of do. But it’s late and this post is already long….man, I feel like there are so many things I’ve been wanting to blog about that I *still* haven’t blogged about. I need to get on dis. .Anyways, you should comment things! Down there! Do it. Do it now. Do it please. Also follow me on twitter if you want, idk

https://twitter.com/emkayjay

 

Aight, well see you guys next week 🙂 I promise I will be less all over the place 🙂

-M

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

!!BALLEWOOD!!

Go back up. Read the title. Make sure you don’t think it says “!!Bollywood!!” Now look back down. Your man could smell like Old Spice.

 

If you don’t know those commercials, this has undoubtedly been an awkward intro for you.

 

Guys. It’s been a few months now that I’ve had the TINIEST obsession with Bollywood. But it’s kind of over now. I have moved on. But it’s okay! Let me explain what has happened.

 

Here, let’s set the scene. You’re just outside, I don’t know, Amritsar, Panjab, admiring the mustard fields.

 

wearing your nicest Patiala salwar

 

eating some saag and roti, yum.

 

When, all of a sudden, you get some saag stuck in your throat (wow smooth I didn’t even know that was possible). You cough. Your companion of choice

 

asks you, concerned, if you need some water.

 

“Paani cheye?”

 

kajolface1 kajolface2 kajolface3

EVERYONE. SPEAKS. HINDI. IN INDIA. EVEN IN PANJAB.

Not saying you do, Mickey Singh. You good.

“Thx.”

 

Okay, not everyone spoke Hindi in Panjab.  But A LOT of people did. And I wouldn’t even be that mad, right? If it weren’t for the fact that Panjabi is a dying language. But it is…so…

 

kajolface3

 

And, I mean, I get it. Hindi is to India as English is to America. I definitely speak more English than Panjabi, and I am Panjabi. So how critical can I be to Panjabis in India who speak Hindi? But I guess I was just expecting to hear more Panjabi, at least in Panjab, you know? And after visiting Panjab, I gained such a huge appreciation for Panjabi culture and the language, even more than I had before. And there’s obviously nothing wrong with non-Panjabi cultures, IT’S NOT THAT, OKAY? It’s just that, Panjab, atleast the state in India, is so tiny compared to the rest of the country.

panjab

And while I was there, it just kind of hit me how possible it is for Panjabi culture in India to kind of be washed away and forgotten, because it’s such a small part of the country, geographically. So basically I’ve become that auntie at gurdwara that tells you you must speak Panjabi, beta. That’s the whole point of what I’m trying to say, summarized into one convenient analogy.

 

And so now that I’m back in da states, I’ve kind of been watching Panjabi movies a little more and Bollywood movies a bit less, because of the bigger appreciation I have for all things Panjab.

AND GUESS WHAT.

I ❤ THEM.

THE…PANJABI MOVIES. YEAH OKAY. YOU GOT IT.

No, they’re not usually as high-budget as Bollywood movies, and yes, they can be somewhat corny, on occasion. But like, who doesn’t love corn?

No? k.
So one of the movies I’ve watched is called Chak Jawana.
I actually saw this before I left for India. It’s all about this dude and his friends in Panjab who do drugs and drink a lot and how drugs are ruining their pind (villiage) and Gurdas Maan comes to help. Drugs are a huge problem in Panjab, so I loved the message of this movie. The corn factor in this one can sometimes be a tad high, but it’s totally worth it. You will cry. Wait when did this turn into a movie review.
I also saw Sadda Haq before I left for the homeland.
It’s depicts the Sikh genocide of 1984, and it’s pretty great. Sad, but really really good, and much needed, in my opinion. And while most of the movie is serious, there’s a really cute song in it!
Ooh, no subtitles….well “Naina” means “eyes.” So….that’s that part.
As you can see, it’s not a Bollywood-scale dance number, but it’s still really sweet and enjoyable!
Another movie I saw before the trip was Long Da Lishkara <3333333333333333
I haven’t seen the whole thing, but it’s kind of an older one and it’s soooooooo great so far omg. My mom first saw it when she was a young lass, and she loves it too. And did I mention IT MADE GURDAS MAAN FAMOUS?!? Like he’s not even the main guy in it, in fact he plays a hermit-y guy, but he sings so well throughout the movie and tugs at the heartstrings sooooo incredibly much, that everyone was like WHO DAT.
This is his best-loved song from the movie, and possibly his all time best-loved, “Challa.”
GAHHH IT’S SO BEAUTIFULLY SUNG AND THE MUSIC IS BEAUTIFUL IT’S LIKE A CLASSIC PANJABI TUNE AND THE LYRICS ARE SO SAD AHHHHHHHEOIGJKLD.C
OKAY. Now that I’m back, two of the Panjabi movies I’ve watched are……….Jatt and Juliet and Jatt and Juliet 2

And I guess they really did me in. I am now in love with Panjabi movies. These two were so hilarious and great, and there’s just no going back for me now. Plus, I found out (thanks to the internet) that, just like there’s a name for the Hindi/Mumbai movie industry– Bollywood–there’s a name for the Panjabi movie industry. And it’s Ballewood.

I DIED. IT’S SO PERF.
“Balle Balle” is like a Panjabi phrase you say when you’re like, dancing, or if something good happens lol. BALLEWOOD. I JUST CAN’T.
I was so excited when I found this out that I even edited the “Cinema of Punjab” wiki page to mention “Ballewood” but I guess someone unedited it or something,  idk. Idk how Wikipedia works.
Anyways guys, I don’t know what it is. Maybe I love hearing people speak so much Panjabi. Maybe I love that they show Panjab. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t need subtitles to watch them. But Panjabi movies are my thang right now ❤ I would ABSOLUTELY recommend them to you guys, but I haven’t run across any versions with English subtitles 😦 So if you don’t know Panjabi, this might hinder your ability to enjoy them, just a bit. But hopefully they’ll start making them with subtitles? That’d be cool! Then more people could enjoy them!
Okay, imma peace out. Bye the way, I’m still trying to think of a way to finish telling you guys about the trip. But at the same time, I’m wondering how much you guys want to hear of it? I mean, I could write posts on posts about the trip, and I’d love too, but is that what you guys want? Do you have anything you for sure want me to talk about regarding it? Or any suggestions on the best way to blog about it?  LET ME KNOW! PLS!
Bye ily 🙂
-M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE SWAGGY SARDARS OF PANJAB

Aight. So while I was in Patiala, Panjab, I saw. SO MANY. Fashionable sardars. A sardar is a Sikh who wears a turban. Like, Patiala in general is so stylish. I got two of my suits from there and some shoes and everyone’s dress was soo on point. But at one point I just saw this guy with a plaid shirt and a sweater vest and a red pagh riding a bike and it was like the swaggiest thing I’ve every seen and I was like yo. I have to start documenting this. And so the pictures you see I took over the course of about an hour during which I resolved to take a picture of every swaggy sardar I could capture. It only lasted an hour because I soon realized that there was no way I could get them all. But here are a small fraction of the sardars of Panjab. Some of them had style, others had swag, and each of them had it going on in one way or another. Annnnd some of these pictures have no sardar in them at all, but the internet is being funky and I can’t delete them. Okay, enough of my technical woes. Enjoy the swag!!! 🙂

-M

594 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 631 632 634 635 636 637 640 645 646 648 649 650 651 654 655 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 712 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 728 732 733 734 739 740 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766

Tagged , , , , , , ,

I’M BACK AND THIS TIME WITH AMRITSAR

what

 

 

I was looking for “I’m back” gifs and I stumbled upon this and I was overcome with frustration over not having put this in my last post before I left that I just abandoned the gif hunt.

ANYWAYS. GUYS I’M BACK. I WENT TO INDIA. I WENT THERE. AND NOW I’M BACK. IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I HAVE TO GO CHANGE MY ABOUT. AGHHHHHH.

It was amazing!!! I don’t really know how I’m going to go about blogging about the trip, because there’s soooooooo much I want to talk about. But one of the things that’s been sticking in my mind the most since I came back is Amritsar. So why not start there 🙂

So we were in Amritsar on the 3rd and 4th days of our trip. (AM I REALLY SAYING THIS RIGHT NOW IS THIS FOR REAL WAS I REALLY IN AMRITSAR WHAT IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!??) We landed in Delhi (WHAT??), stayed the night there, drove to Chandigarh (NA-UH!), which is the capital of Panjab the next day, drove to Amritsar the following morning, and drove BACK to Chandigarh the following day. Lorrrrd have mercy. I’m tired just typing it!

We were pretty tired by the time we got to Amritsar, but we were also excited 🙂 We had planned on quickly stopping at our hotel, matha taiking in Darbar Sahib, and driving 30-40 minutes to Wagah border, then driving back to Amritsar and spending the night there. But parking was really hard at the time so we decided to just go straight to Wagah and skip the initial matha taiking. Wait Wagah was amazing btw. How am I supposed to not talk about WAGAH RIGHT NOW OMG

M CALM DOWN STAY ON TOPIC

YOU’RE RIGHT VOICE OF REASON YOU’RE RIGHT.

Okay we will talk about Wagah soon. But Amritsar was amazing too 🙂 Sooooo we got to our hotel after coming back from the border, and we quickly changed our clothes and walked to Darbar Sahib. Our hotel was literally less than a minute’s walk from Harmandar Sahib. It was awesome. And the two guys who were working there at the time were very nice and really respectful towards my grandparents and one of them gave me the wifi password and idk you just always share a bond with a person after something like that. Okay, so after enjoying a couple minutes of wifi, we walked to Harmandar Sahib. Yup, we walked. Our hotel, Hotel Darbar View, was true to it’s name. It was maybe a 100 feet walk to Harmandar Sahib, like how perfect is that?! PLUS OMG, mine and my brother’s room had a balcony–

looking out from the balcony

looking to the right from the balcony

looking down 

Do you see why I loved this city? Or am I being irrationally obsessive as I usually am in all aspects of life?? Idk! It was so…magical! 

Okay sorry. So we walk to Harmandar Sahib, and my bro and I see the most significant gurdwara in the world for the first time ever.

It was sooooooo beautiful. Everything is worked out really well, it’s super clean and everything. You go in and matha taik and then you can just kind of chill. You can sit and listen to kirtan or do paht or just take it all in. Yes, we got to go upstairs, and it was amazing. There are spiral staircases and original walls and you can even go on the roof, which is amazing. 

The next day, my grandparents, my Massi Ji and I all walked to Harmandar Sahib at dawn. It was the most beautiful thing. I know I keep saying that over and over but I have no idea how to describe how it felt. I mean, first of all, it’s a holy city. And when you get to Harmandar Sahib, it’s just so big and there’s such a sense of unity. Everyone sits and takes their shoes off together and everyone is super chill and, in the morning, they had cha for whoever wanted it in different colored cups–free of charge, obviously, because that’s how Sikhs roll– and when you look up there are pigeons flying and kites and the moon setting and the sun rising and you can hear the kirtan and your bare feet are freezing and yet somehow it feels good…

I think it’s time to let the pics do the talking.

Night visit:

 

A memorial dedicated to shaheedis (martyrs) from the 1984 Sikh genocide…the entire place was actually a huge complex consisting of so many beautiful buildings…this was the first we saw. 

Close-up of the memorial. That’s all stone-work.

Another close-up…I loved the carved khandas.

Inside the memorial, notice how cool the ceiling looks.

Entrance to the main building!

Nishaans, which are our flags.

People doing seva (selfless service, which is part of Sikhism) polishing the metal.

Up close!

Getting prashad.

On the walkway.

Almost in!

Dawn visit:

Walking there from our hotel.

Cha!

fam-fam

religious pigeons

the moon!

I love me some minarets. 

Leaving Harmandar Sahib…the sun was up!

Hotel Sapphire, which was right next to our hotel.

We were walking away from Harmandar Sahib and I just couldn’t stop taking pictures…the entire city is so beautiful. 

I missed the shot, but this man came out of his house or shop and gave this stray dog some food…only time I saw that in India.

Y’all know I’m a sucker for religious diversity <333 Amritsar is full of it!

A nihang!

Our gali (street/alley)

At some point I just started taking pictures of everything…

…this is all over the span of maybe 15 seconds

From our balcony again 🙂

And yeah 🙂 That was Amritsar, guys. We weren’t even there for 24 hours, but it somehow managed to be my favorite city. I loved how you could see things written in  Gurmukhi and Urdu and other languages all over the place, I loved the nice people, the atmosphere, andddd it was pretty cool knowing Lahore was maybe an hour’s drive from us. They say Lahore and Amritsar are twin cities…one day I’ll be able to judge for myself 🙂 

Well you guys, that’s it for this week. I MISSED THIS! IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK! How did the automatic postings go, by the way? Did they work? At first I thought they didn’t, then I thought they might have, then I was like wait what I thought that was a post I published myself, and now I’m just confused. But hopefully it was okay? I can’t wait for next week’s post, I have sooooooo much to tell you guys. Like I don’t even know how I’m going to do it. I even have stuff I’ve wanted to post since before I left, AND next week is a gurpurab, AND Valentines day is coming up and lawd knows I have to do something special for that bc it was such a hit last year…we are in for a crazy few weeks 😛

I can’t wait 🙂

M

P.S–I thought about it for a couple days, and I agree with the coalition…#pAnjab

P.S.S–It’s okay if that didn’t make any sense to you…MAYBE I’LL POST ABOUT IT UGH SO MUCH TO POST ABOUT AHHH

Tagged , , , , , , ,