Monthly Archives: August 2012

On the Roads of Rajasthan…

On the roads of India, you sometimes meet all sorts of vehicules carrying unexpected loads… Follow me!

Woven beds!

Mattresses? Blocks of stone?

Pottery…

Cereal…

Is it the last straw on the camel’s back?

Blocks or marble from Makrana…to build a new Taj Mahal?

Parcel delivery!

Steel things in Jaipur

Cushions? No! Bags of cereal!

And also people! (Oups! I think I’m spotted!)

 

 

Categories: India in pictures, Voyages | 1 Comment

Love Goes to the Dogs…

I do!

I warn you, the theme I’m going to deal with is weird; a mixture of Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

Everything started from this strange article found on Dogster.com , – I don’t even remember how I found myself on this site, this is the mystery of the web. This disturbing story I’m going to tell you is finally quite understandable once you have the explanation and anyway, when you are interested in India, you get less and less shocked by that kind of events which sometimes happen in the country.

Here you are: in an Indian tribe situated in eastern state Jharkhand, having a twisted tooth is considered as a bad omen. This means that in the future, your wife or husband may die.

Thus, the best way to avoid such a tragedy is to marry something which is worth less than a husband or a wife, something like an animal!

For example, let’s imagine I’m part of this tribe and I have a tooth longer than the other, a bit like a small tusk or whatever! This means that my future husband is doomed to die. As I can’t fight against my destiny, my parents have no other choice than to organise a real wedding, with food, flowers, guests and of course a religious ceremony. But my fiancé won’t be a man but a dog so that my doggie-hubbie will die instead of my real future husband. Cause fortunately, I’ll be allowed to marry a real man despite my first weddog ceremony. It is the same for boys of course but they marry a she-dog.

In this Indian case, (see the video at the bottom, the doggies are so cute!) it is obvious that that is a question of superstition and a way to get rid of the evil eye or a curse or anything bad.

But in other countries, some people get married to their dogs too but their reasons are only love or frienship. And I finally think it is worse!

For example in 2009, in Ghana, a priest married a 30 year-old-woman and her dog because she was disappointed by men and found more qualities in animals. I know that dogs are often far more faithful and obedient than men, but, well, does one need to go so far?

In Australia, the same kind of insane stories has happened; a young man married his she-dog called Honey. The guests at the ceremony found it very moving. Hopefully, the young man specified it was just friendship and that the marriage wouldn’t be consummated. Phew!

When I write a post for my blog, I always try to look for more information to go further in my little investigation. That’s why I saw that human-animal marriage was widely treated by Wikipedia and I find some stories quite disturbing; so you can read the article but, for my part, I think I will stop here because I’m starting to feel a little sick!

 

Jharkhan

Categories: Religion, Society | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Shahrukh Khan and the Curious Incident of the Flag

(French Version)

I’ve just read an incredible piece of news on masala.com, and this piece of news has been taken up again and again by other blogs.

Shahrukh Khan, the Great Shahrukh, King Khan, the Star with a capital S like Shahrukh, has been booked for insulting the Indian flag.

Is anything wrong?

Look at the photo on the left: Shahrukh is very excited because India has just won the Cricket World Cup 2011. In a sense of euphoria, the actor gets up out of the car, he unfolds an Indian flag and starts to wave it before an enthousiastic crowd!

But look at it carefully! It is like a spot the difference game: in exaltation, SK hasn’t realised he is holding the flag the wrong way. It is upside down; saffron coulour must be at the top and green at the bottom. Damn!

Social worker Ravindra Brahme, -I don’t dare to publish such a joly face on my blog, so, I invite you to go there- saw red when he noticed this exceedingly-really-very shocking video on the Internet! Bingo! On the 14th of August, the day before Independence Day, Mr Brahme rushed to lodge a complaint against SK for disrespect of the Indian flag.

Can you imagine? 60 years ago, Shahrukh Khan’s father was forbidden to go to Pakistan after the Partition because he had supported Gandhi’s ally Badshash Khan during his struggle for Independence, (Dixit Wikipedia). The actor himself has been doing his best for twenty years to promote India and Indian cinema ( and himself, of course, this man is quite career-oriented); he has acted in films such as Swades, The Indian Family or Chak De! India… He is internationally considered as the best son-in-law by every woman and has been elected Indian role model in a national newspaper; he has tacitly been an example of religiously-mixed marriage by marrying a Hindu woman, he raises his children in a kind of ecumenical respect, and now, he is bothered with a stupid story of upside-down flag!

But by the way, maybe you didn’t know that Ravindra Brahme had already lodged a complaint of the same kind against

Brigitte Bardot (1967)

model Gehna Vashist who had used Tricolour as a pareo. This reminds me of this old photo showing actress Brigitte Bardot wrapped in the French flag.

I can understand that a naked woman in a flag could shock some people – Indian citizens’ sensitivity and patriotism is well-known-, in addition, Gehna Vashist’s photos were rather vulgar and provocative. But, I’m still doubtful about the necessity of beating her up, if I may!

 To return to Shahrukh Khan’s case, does a guy who waves a flag the wrong way during an after-match fiesta really deserve to be prosecuted?

Brave Ravindra’s indisputable argument is this one: SK is a role model and an iconic figure for the youth in the country and he should act with responsiblility.

Oh, please, Ravindra, give me a break! That is exactly in your country where some young people have serious problems, that you, oh wise and friendly social worker, should act instead of going searching through the web to check if actor Thingy ate with his right hand or if model What-her-name took off her shoes before going home! Bad boy! Bad Ravindra! Trying to become famous by using celebrities’ little mistakes is very very very naughty!

As far as Sharukh Khan is concerned, it is not the first time he has been the victim of that sort of trouble! I even should say he has been accumulating the complaints, and some journalists don’t hesitate to overdo it, especially since the news about his cinema projects is currently slowing down. After being accused of smoking in public during a cricket match plus this infamous altercation with the security staff at the Mumbai Stadium because SK wanted to meet his team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, do you really want to know what I would say to our dear King Khan if I met him right now? QUIT CRICKET!

Eh! You moron with you whistle ! Don’t you know who I am?

Categories: Cinema, Media, Sports | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Life Of Pi, the Movie is Coming with Plenty of Indian Actors in It!

09:35 a.m.

I’m very lazy today. I’m still in my pyjamas, I’m hanging around the flat with a cup of coffee in my hand, I surf on Youtube, I check my mails again and again but there are only spams for fashion web sites. I really have to kick in my own behind (it is not too difficult but you are ridiculous when you do that), get dressed and try to do something more useful than counting the number of visitors on my blog since yesterday.

But before that, I want to give you two reasons for being happy, which is not so useless after all. At least, these two things make me happy and I hope they will do the same to you.

Too sexy for my shirt…

The first happy thing is this song called Chikni Chameli from the film Agneepath starring Mary Ingalls’ s twin brother Hrithik Roshan. Go there and listen. In a few seconds, you will feel like dancing. Indian songs are the best to make you dance!

The second happy thing is this trailer I’ve come across on Youtube, of course, Youtube is my second home.(You can see the trailer at the end of the post.) I knew that Ang LeeHulk, Brokeback Mountain – was preparing the film adaptation of incredible novel Life of Pi. I knew this director was the best one to make such a film and to respect the poetry and the story of the book. Night Shyamalan, the American director who is a native of Tamil Nadu, had been offered the adaptation before but he hesitated too much and prefered to shoot Lady in the Water instead, which I think was a mistake as this film is rather disappointing.

Book Life of Pi

The novel Life of Pi was written by Canadian Yann Martel. It is the adventure of Pi Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry who leaves India and takes a cargo ship with his family. On board, there are also all the animals from his parents’ zoo which are supposed to be taken to North America. Of course, like in any story taking place on a ship, there is a storm and a shipwreck. The young boy finds himself all alone, drifting on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. Actually, he is not all alone; he soon realises that he has a companion in misfortune: a huge Bengal tiger!

Some of you who haven’t read the book yet, probably think it is imposssible to hold the reader in suspense with such a simple plot. I can tell you this book will change your life! The Little Prince meets Robinson Crusoe on the same lifeboat. It is a sweet ans salty mixture of philosophy, adventure and poetry. No wonder Life of Pi is a bestseller worldwide!

As far as the movie is concerned, there is little information about it but this little information as well as the trailer herald the best.

First, contrary to what I feared, they didn’t get rid of the Indian culture which is depicted in very small touches in the novel; thus, the first part of the book which takes place in Pondicherry and, in my opinion, which is a little boring, will certainly be an opportunity for Ang Lee to show India in her spiritual and visual magnificence.

Moreover, when you read the Canadian writer’s novel, you may consider that the story could have happened anywhere; India doesn’t seem to be such an important element in the plot so, it would have been easy for the American producers to ask for a common caucasian-typed actor in order to stick to a sad artistic globalisation and to enable the highest amount of spectators to identify with Pi. But we are lucky this time: no Robert Pattinson, no famous dandy from Gossip Girls series. Phew! Ang Lee has chosen a young Indian student called Suraj Sharma. Suraj had never acted before, he is 18 years old, he is from Delhi and his moving eyes and innocent smile seduced Ang Lee and his team.(More information about Suraj Sharma in The Times of India )

As far as I’m concerned, I’m very happy to discover a new actor; especially an Indian actor. I like directors who show me new faces, I don’t like when an actor is chosen for his previous success and not because he is the character.

     

The rest of the cast is really satisfying too! Talented Indian actors have been chosen: Irrfan Khan, is a man who has always been clever enough to make a career in Bollywood ( Mumbai Meri Jaan, Billu Barber ) but also in other cinema families (Salaam Bombay, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog millionnaire). Adil Hussain seems to be the same versatile kind of artist, acting in bollybuster Agent Vinod one day, and being an acting teacher in Delhi the day after. Even a great French actor has taken part in this movie (Allons enfants de la patriiii-i-ie…), Gérard Depardieu, who is a demigod as an actor, but a real swine as a human being, if you really want my opinion…

However, a slight point scares me: it is a 3D film. I am a bit prejudiced against 3D movies. I am afraid too many special effects will spoil the film and make me feel sick. In addition,I have bad memory from my first and only experience in watching a 3D film. Do you remember Creature from the Black Lagoon, a 50s classic and one of the first 3D films ever shot? This film was going to be shown on TV in 1982 and my mum had made blue and red spectacles for me and I couldn’t see anything at all, I was very frustrated!

Well, after reading my post, or after watching this trailer, I hope you will feel like seeing Life of Pi which is going out in December 2012. But above all, I’ll ask you to read the book first because after seeing the film, it will be too late, Ang Lee’s pictures may haunt your mind while you read the novel. Always read the novel first! It is my rule! To let your imagination be your only camera!

Categories: Bookshelves, Cinema | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Do You Wanna Dance with Salman Khan? Mashallah from Ek Tha Tiger…

Isn’t he sweet?

(Click here for French version)

You have probably noticed that I have had salmaniac tendencies, these days. This guy has got a lorry-driver haircut, he isn’t really good-looking, he isn’t really clever, – or at least, he doesn’t always show he is -, he has been accused of the worst things on earth by gossip papers, he spends three hours a day lifting weights to look like a kind of Rocky Balboa in his fifties but strangely enough, I can’t help finding him funny, fascinating and even attractive.

Although he makes art-house cinema goers puzzled, Salman Khan is a superstar in India and in the Middle-East. He has got many fans despite all the fishy stories he has been involved in and his scandalous love failures with different Misses or actresses. That’s certainly the reason why so many people admire him. He is different from those typical Bollywood actors who are always concerned about showing they are perfect and finally end up top of the polls as the role model of the year, like Shahrukh Khan in The Hindustan Times. When I read Amitabh Bachchan‘s blog, I sometimes wonder: but how can he be so tolerant, so sensitive, so generous, so serious, so well-balanced, in a word, so perfect? This is not human!

Salman Khan is different! His hopeless attempts to look perfect have sounded fake, he has no wife, no children, he doesn’t try to hide his riotous way of living, he has the life that many people dream of. And it feels so good! It is a sweet breath of cathartic air in the stainless Bollywood world.

Even if you don’t like Salman Khan, you will like this song and its arabic style and I know you won’t help following the heroine’s sensual hip movements by rolling your shoulders. Indeed, Katrina Kaif is breathtakingly beautiful in this video and Salmanji has a new pink scarf he can wear with indisputable virility.

So, let’s dance, now!

PS Paris dwellers, this film is shown in le Gaumont Saint Denis. Further information HERE.

Categories: Cinema, Fun! | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

One Day, Two Mothers: Independent India and Virgin Mary

Indian Madonna

Today  is an important day because it is the day when Salman Khan’s new film Ek Tha Tiger is out. No, I’m joking! Today is an important day because the world celebrates two mothers: Mother India and Jesus’s Mother, Mary.

My Name is Marie:

 On the 15th of August, Catholics celebrate Mary’s Assumption; she was taken to Heaven after resurrection.   It is a really important day for the Catholics, especially in Corsica, my childhood area where I go on summer holiday and where religion used to be very important. By the way, many women have their names starting with Marie there: Marie-Pierre, Marie-Françoise, Marie-Jeanne and so on.  Myself, my first name is Marie-Laetitia. But for my blog, it’s Marilay.

So, yesterday, I went to the church because we celebrated Mary. Strangely enough, I wasn’t christened when I was a baby, so now I am considered as an atheist. When your parents are Hindu, you become Hindu naturally as soon as you are alive. In Catholicism, it’s different. Of course, I can join the Catholic Religion but I have to study for two years before being allowed to be christened. So, you must be very motivated! I can also choose another religion like Islam or Buddhism. But my culture is Christian and my parents are catholic, so I sometimes follow them when they go to the church.

I have no religion but I love religions. That’s why I love India because there are plenty of religions and believers. Spirituality still exists in India and it is part of people’s lives. In France, it’s different;  I sometimes feel that religion can be practiced only in churches, mosques, temples… But once you are outside, religion is nowhere to be seen.

 Some people say that religions are bad but I think they’re wrong. People are bad, but religions, never. Religion is a tool; human beings have to use it the proper way. That’s all. I wish I were religious. But it is difficult to believe in God when you have never been educated in religion. I remember this quotation by Mohandas Gandhi: Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into. I totally agree with it!

So during the mass, yesterday, I read a text from the Bible: I was really nervous because I was alone before the village people and the priest and I had to read a complicated text about resurrection and it was the first time I had done that. I also sang in the chore with the ladies from the village. It wasn’t very good but what is important is to do something for the village. It is not X Factor!

So today, it is Mary’s day. It is my day. My relatives are supposed to kiss me and give me presents. So if you are called Marie, Mary or Maria…, I wish you a good day!

Independent India:

I also wish a good Independence Day to Indian people, of course. This day in 1947 when India became free from the British is celebrated everywhere in India and in the media.  I didn’t know how to celebrate this event apart from publishing a Youtube thing or flags or anything else. There are so many things about Independence Day everywhere! So, I have found this picture of a sculpture by Philippe Ramette: The Installation (Inner Public Square), 2011. I took this picture at the famous exhibition at Beaubourg ( Paris-Delhi-Bombay). It is an Indian young woman who is climbing up to a pedestal. I found it was a great symbol of independent India but also the symbol of the status of women in India which is changing; the woman is climbing slowly to a place where only men used to be; the woman is climbing to independence and to freedom from the patriarchal rule.

Categories: Religion | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

The End of the London Games: Six Indian Medals, Six Indian Heroes

From the left: Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sashil Kumar

To summarize India’s Olympic results in London, the country has won 6 medals. Two silver medals and four bronze medals. No gold medal this time. The fact that India, – over 1.2 billion people as everybody knows – has never been really successful at the Olympics is still a mystery to everyone but I won’t try to solve it here; the last time I dared to ask myself why many Indian people couldn’t swim, I was bombarded with furious comments on a forum dedicated to India.  So, I’ll leave this issue to sociologists or Indian journalists.

Despite this, India has improved a lot this year: first of all, the number of athletes taking part in the Olympics is the highest ever seen in the history of India: 83 athletes in London whereas they were 57  in Beijing. Secondly, the amount of medals has increased significantly! (Yes, it has!) One can even say it has doubled! It is a real turning point in the history of Sporty India who seems to be ready to invest more and more.

 In addition, these modest results are an advantage when you write a blog about India, because I am one of the only bloggers on earth – besides people blogging about Montenegro or Tajikistan, of course…- who can introduce each winner from the same team in just one post! Can you imagine the difficulties if I were a China fan – 88 medals – or an American lover -104 medals! And think about the athletes themselves! How difficult it must be to become a star when you are a Chinese rower or an American archery champion among dozens and dozens of other medalists!

So, the Indian Olympic Heroes are:

Gagan Narang is an air rifle shooter and he has won the Bronze Medal in the 10 m event. He was born in Chennai but brought up in Hyderabad. Well, I don’t really know what to say about him except the fact that he is good at shooting but you already know that… He can sometimes be grumpy as he refused to take part in the Commonwealth Games 2010 because he hadn’t been given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, a prize that he finally got one year later!

Vijay Kumar: Few people knew soldier Vijay Kumar before he won his Silver Medal in the 25 metre rapid fire pistol.  His name was written red on Wikipedia pages, which is an obvious sign of very little popularity. But now, things have changed. Vijay is talented and good-looking! The world is his oyster! But what about his career as a soldier? According to firstpost.com, he would stay in the army if he was promoted and received a position that matched the offer made by the Sport Ministry (a job in the Sport Authority of India).

Saina Nehwal is a lovely 22-year-old Badminton player from Haryana. She won her bronze medal thanks to Chinese opponent Xin Wang who had a knee injury. It doesn’t really matter because the young Indian girl is already a superstar in the world of badminton and she has an impressive amount of victories in her bag.  Among all the championships she has won, she got the Gold Medal during the Commonwealth Olympic Games in 2010. She is the 4th best badminton player in the world. And, above all, she has won the first Indian medal for badminton at the Olympics.

Mary Kom looks sweet but be careful! She’s a boxer! She is from Manipur, in East India. She has won the Bronze Medal in the Flyweight category and she has become a world champion 5 times. She was the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremony. Despite his great boxing career; she is married and has twins. They better not throw too many tantrums if you know what I mean!

Yogeshwar Dutt: He has won the bronze medal in the Men’s 60 kilo Freestyle Wrestling. He is from a village in Haryana. His parents are teachers. Despite his successful career as a wrestler, his great ambition was to win a medal at the Olympics. But now his dream has come true, it’s time for marriage, his mother said! A new difficult match for Yogeshwar!

Sushil Kumar: he is a World champion wrestler. He won the Bronze Medal in Beijing but this year, he has won the Silver one (66 kilos Freestyle) He was the flag bearer during the Opening Ceremony, (yes, he was the guy next to the lady in red ah ah!). Some people say he likes biting his opponents’ ears but that’s certainly just a sign of affection.

What about France?

As far as France is concerned, I am quite proud of my country. I’m not always proud of France, we don’t always show a good image of ourselves, especially because people of quality are often put aside and only big mouths are listened to. But today, I am proud, especially because these Olympic Games have proved that the French are not just a bunch of people who can only complain and show off. The French athletes have shown the beauty of sports which are not always the most popular, such as handball, swimming or pole jumping. The French are not just good at arguing and fighting about a football and I am quite happy with it*. The French can be good-tempered, hard-working and deserving. We are the 7th country, which is not so good if you compare to the UK or to Germany who have been really impressive but we have improved since Beijing where we ranked 10th. (*15 august: The French handballers have broken a table on TV to protest against a bad article written by a French newspaper… So stupid…)

Categories: Sports | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Olympic Red Lady: a Storm in a Cup of Chai

Amul (Dairy Products) was inspired by the event…

Dozens of people have landed on my blog by typing « lady in red », « mysterious woman Olympics ceremony » on search engines. I didn’t know this little event would have such an impact on the net. This piece of news about the red-sweater girl marching with the Indian contingent during the Opening Ceremony seems to have been more discussed than the winning of medals by the Indian team.

On NY Daily News.com the whole mystery has been solved, at last!

This young ceremony intruder is actually called Madhura Nagendra and she is a student from Bangalore. She pursues MBA studies in London and had been hired to dance in Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony when she made the unrecoverable error!

When she gatecrashed into the parade, Indian press attaché Harpal Singh Bedi became really angry and talked about a breach in the London Olympics security but Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Organizing Committee tried to take the drama out of the situation by saying Madhura was just “slightly over-excited” and that she hadn’t walked in off the street since she was part of the show.

If you want my opinion, maybe I am a little too fashion-oriented, but I can’t help thinking that if our dear Madhura had changed her ugly red sweater for black or yellow clothes, she wouldn’t have broken the visual harmony of the India parade and she wouldn’t have stood out so much. However, I don’t think she deserved so much aggressiveness from people!

Indeed, even if this young girl has become one of the most famous Indian women recently, her fame seems to be turning into a nightmare. Moderate and lenient people didn’t hesitate to write “Shame on you” to their Indian sister. On Facebook, some of her own country fellows hope she will be expelled from her college for not being trust worthy. Others talk about “disgrace” for India and I’ll spare you all the gory details and the insults towards those who dare to defend her!

Actually, what is funny in that so-called disgraceful incident, is the fact that nobody from other countries has been shocked by the presence of this young girl. In any case, as far as the French media are concerned, the journalists’ attention has not been drawn by Madhura but by the slightly excessive reaction of the Indian authorities.

Well, hopefully, I watched the closing Ceremony carefully yesterday night; she wasn’t there! She didn’t sing with the Spice Girls; she didn’t steal Sushil Kumar’s silver medal…

…Indian medals…another burning subject I’ll talk about tomorrow…

Categories: Media, Sports | Tags: | 2 Comments

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