The Greatest Political Bollywood love affair of all

It’s the day after the American elections and Canada is hot on its heels trying to get a piece of their neighbor’s presidential victory pie. It figures though, the most politically exciting thing to happen to us in the recent past was in September when Parti Québécois  (a small bunch of French crackpots who want Quebec to get the hell out of Canada) won a minority.

But that hoopla lasted all of 36 hours because no one really cares someone from the party got shot, resulting in everyone forgetting about Parti Québécois’s mandate and their existence.

As my friend Amanda pointed out, we don`t get this excited for our own elections. However every four years, throw in a superpower country with a black President and a Mormon governor battling to run it, and America`s northern neighbors all of a sudden become fierce political pundits on their Facebook statuses (stati?).

In fact, 87% of Canadians stayed up till 3:00am last night waiting for  the election results, a turnout rivaled only by hockey games that our home teams never qualify for and the Royal Wedding. (This stat has clearly been pulled out of my ass)

Canada , being a relatively liberal country, welcomed the news of Obama getting re-elected with much jubilation (judging by everyone’s Facebook stati). Obama quite possibly is more loved in Canada right now then our homeboy Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I’m not Canadian (yet), but sometimes I actually get a sense that the average Canadian cherishes empty Tim Hortons coffee cups more than their prime minister.

Stephen Harper, for those of you who are not Canadian or who do not spend all their spare time googling the terms ‘ridiculous things said by obscure politicians’ , has said some things in the past that have blown the politically correct minds of many Canadians.

Here are some Harper gems:

“You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society.”  On Canada’s failing credibility (Report Magazine 2011)

“If Ottawa giveth, then Ottawa can taketh away.” Usually taketh. 

“I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it’s legendary that if you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.” (Speech to a Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, June 1997)

However, my absolute favorite Harper quote came to me today on Yahoo News:

Canada and India need to beat the odds like a Bollywood movie

Being a (future) Indian  immigrant in Canada, I was all over this story like Indian immigrants are over a Boxing day sale at Walmart. Canada’s prime minister basically compared the trade relationship between India and Canada to a Bollywood movie- full of heinous obstacles, but true love prevails in the end.

I’m not sure how many Bollywood movies Harper has watched in his lifetime, but it can’t be that many. Bollywood movies typically last a thousand years, and I’m willing to bet he’s still bravely powering through the one he started watching in 1996.

An important issue that concerned me in Harper’s Bollywood love analogy were the two sexes. I’m of the school of thought that India is clearly the man in this relationship. Harper may have tried to sell it like he was the macho man who had all the answers to India’s deepest questions but let’s face it… we’re bigger and hairier.

Going with that line of thinking, it’s pretty easy to see how Harper’s analogy is nothing short of pure genius. Unlike me, who lost interest in Bollywood movies the moment someone in it spoke, Harper clearly was determined enough to make it through years of costume changes, rain, needless drama and utter bullshit from everyone else outside of the two lovers.

India’s wooing by means of cheap labor and profitable investment opportunities often fall on finicky Canadians who can never decide what the hell they want. It took decades of mindless dancing around trees to music by shitty bands like Bad Economy and Inflation Domination for Canada to finally give in to dating India, even if only for the economic perks.

Here’s lookin’ at you, India!

And like any true Bollywood movie, convincing the drama queen to go out with you is only the beginning of the next one hundred shiteous years of pain. Harper knows this when he talks about obstacles.

Obstacle 1: The no-good villain who tries to steal the girl resulting in one of the parties always being stuck in an economical friend zone. The villain’s debatably better looking, less hairy and does everything for less. *cough*China*cough*.

But the hero stands his ground. He knows he’s a good investment. Other countries should consider themselves lucky if they hold his affections! And if they don’t, he’ll nuke ‘em all muhahahahaha. Guys, I do the Count Dracula laugh, but this is not a joke. India actually has a nuclear program. And unlike some other (alleged) nuclear countries, India is not pussy-footing its existence. Which leads me to the next Bollywood obstacle:

Obstacle 2: The disapproving family members. None of Canada’s family members are pleased with this strange relationship, especially Canada’s dominating big brother.  *cough*America*cough*. The words “our nuclear program” is not something America looks compassionately at, especially not when India follows it up with the words “is none of your fucking business”.

Obstacle 3: The man’s buddies that nobody likes. Big Brother America is forever plotting to round up a gang of goons to take all of Canada’s hockey sticks and  beat the crap out of India’s commie bff *cough*Russia*cough*

It’s a never ending cycle of drama, cheap slaps and unnecessary rain dances.

At the end of it all, I couldn’t agree with Harper more. Then again I will agree with anyone who will give me a prime opportunity to write about my two most favorite things: Canada and good-naturedly bashing Bollywood movies.

This truly is a love story with many obstacles. But obstacles good communication can overcome. And if it is anything like an actual Bollywood movie, then this story will have a happy ending. Even if it takes a thousand years.

In keeping with the Bollywood tradition of having a thousand soundtracks, here’s one:

Just use your imagination and replaced all the annoying Twilight characters with multiracial women in white saris dancing around maple trees. 

Roots to roots: How hair trouble enkindled short-lived patriotic feelings

Today all of you are in for a treat. Not only have I decided to make one of my now exceedingly rare appearances to WordPress (cocky much to believe that this is a treat for anyone?), but I’m also going to give you a little glimpse into my Indian culture that I never bother bragging about to anyone.

If you are avid readers of Ms. Breezyk’s humourous blog, The Camel Life (if not, please stop reading this and click on that link first), then you would have known from one of her fairly recent posts that this hot chick seems to be having some hair trouble. Here, this is a photo of her woe:

Perfectly normal hair.

Do you agree that something needs to be done about those 4 ounces of dark mane on this loveable brunette head? No? Really? Good. Me neither. And I’m not just saying this because I have a not-so-secret girl crush on her. But regardless, I decided to step in and help her out with her hairy conundrum.

I suggested an old Indian hair remedy of dousing one’s hair with coconut oil. I’m not completely sure if this even works since I haven’t ever tried it. I hate the smell of coconut oil in my hair. Not to mention, the sight of your head looking greasier than a Middle Eastern oil well automatically renders you a social outcast. Between my unsucessful attempts at online dating and Breezy’s numerous cat photos, it is clear that times are tough.

Now is not the time for young, single gals like us to be walking man repellents. Our womanly inclination to over-analyze and obsess does that enough.

But back to coconut oil. Other Indians (and some “trusted” sites from Google) swear by it. And there is no reason to question my fellow (wo)men on this. We Indians are a hairy race. Someone must be doing something right (or wrong). So I told Breezy that if she gave me the time of day next week for another one of our wannabe hipster brunch dates, I would have a nice blue bottle of Parachute Coconut Oil (India’s finest) waiting for her. She agreed.

And so, off I set in my mission to help my friend. The task was quite simple. Buy Parachute Coconut Oil so we could turn this:

Smiley Breezy

to this:

Don’t joo get all up in ma weave!- Some hairy baby

Destination Little India, located in a small section of Gerrard Street in Toronto was a place I had only been to once before.

Now let me get something out of the way before I proceed. I am Indian, yes. However, my ties to my Indian roots go only so far as throughly enjoying Indian food. I don’t care for anyone’s useless unfavorable opinions about curry, I will down that shit like it has power to give life. Not only is curry the Indian word for deliciously delicious, it is also richly packed with antioxidants. True fact, all you avid inhalers of genetically modified blueberries!

Unfortunately, that’s as far as my emotional bond to my homeland goes. I think saris are horrible creations for midgets like me who need to be able to run from their stalkers without constantly tripping over 5 million meters of cloth. And let’s not speak of Bollywood movies. That’s a bitch fest that could go on for at least a week. Coincidently, that’s also how long a Bollywood movie lasts.  

I pondered over the love I don’t have for Indian things like saris and Bollywood movies and that one batshit crazy bitch who sings EVERY single Indian song in her high-pitched banshee voice that shatters the auditory senses of everyone around and their surrounding five postal codes.

Such is the nature of my love/hate (clearly, mostly hate) relationship with my country. And with this feeling, I slowly got off the streetcar to the instant olfactory explosion of fried everything, incense and curry dreams. It smelled like India, it looked like India and it sounded like India. Minus the pollution and stray animals.

Normally, this is the kind of scene that drives the point further home of how I had become too much of a spoilt North America city child. But at that moment in time, for reasons that elude me completely, I found myself wanting to stay.

Maybe it was the smell of curry that was at the level of amber alert for ambushing my clothes. Or maybe it was the guilt of being completely indifferent. Whatever it was, it drew me in and made me want to be here.

Perhaps the worst (or best?) part was when I found my legs uncontrollably walking into a sari shop. I audibly gasped at everything in there. Yards and yards of beautiful fabrics with beads and sequins and mirrors and handcrafted embroidery.

The Indian saleswoman obviously noticed my dumb tourist look and told me in Hindi that the sari I was looking at was on sale. Out of nowhere I started to bargain with her in Hindi. I didn’t even know I knew enough Hindi to string along a sentence without 97% of it being swear words.

I stood there in that store listening to music featuring the banshee voice and was surrounded by every colour in the rainbow.  I had a stupid grin on my face and an unexplainable feeling of pride.

This was my country. We have annoying music, we’re cheap enough to miraculously learn a language if it means we will get something half price, we have the best curry in the world and if our clothes are any indication of who we are then we have one of the most colourful, vibrant and happy cultures in the world. And for once, I was pretty freaking proud of that.

I would have taken some photos of all the sari stores I went to (yes, all of them. The patriotic feelings were too strong to resist). But I didn’t mostly due to signs like these posted everywhere.

I had easily spent an hour perusing every store and reminiscing  little things from my childhood. I finally made my way to the variety store and picked up one these suckers for Breezy:

Get ready for some hairy goodness!

Alas! All good things must come to an end and soon I was on the streetcar headed back into the city. I spent the entirety of the ride thinking about Little India like how one would think of a first date that they absolutely dreaded at first and yet went frighteningly well in the end.

And so Breezy, here is India’s beauty gift to you: A full head of luscious Kim Kardashian hair at the expense of being an occassional social leper.

As for the rest of you, don’t think I’ve forgotten you guys! I have an Indian beauty gift for everyone today (apart from the gift of myself) (HAHA.)

I hereby give you the recipe for the Gram Tumeric facial mask. Or as I would like to call it The Radiant Indian Bride Face Mask. (You fellas can do this too. No shame in being an Indian bride)

This mask is great for exfoliation, acne and dry skin. Pretty much covers everything annoying that could happen to your face before your big Indian wedding day…or a crappy Monday at the office.

The Radiant Indian Bride Face Mask:

3 tablespoons of gram flour. Gram flour is just the Indian way of saying Chickpea flour. You can find chickpea flour at most bulk food stores.

1.5 teaspoons of tumeric. Tumeric is an antiseptic and the key ingredient in making your face all glowly and radiant. Many believe tumeric is the next super drug that will cure cancer…which may be true. But it also stains like a bitch so don’t go apeshit with the tumeric.

You want to be a radiant Indian bride. Not a jaundiced troll.

2 tablespoons of almond oil. You can substitute with olive oil.

Milk. Pour in just enough to make this all into a thick paste.

Your freshly prepared homemade mask should look something like this:

100% organic!…says my Indian salesman smile.

Once you have that shitty yellowy looking concoction, you may proceed to cover your face with it.

Like so:

A face only a house cat could love.

Yes, my face matches my Captain Morgan shirt. And I look pretty darn happy about it.

Keep that crap on for about 10 minutes and then wash off with cold water.

And voila! Radiant Indian bride face for everyone!

You’re welcome, world.

Reality check: Why I’m going to be the next Bachelorette.

We are officially in the month of February and the fact that this is Valentine’s Day month is not lost on me this year. In previous years, Valentine’s Day was just like the Good Friday before Easter. It was a day when I avoided wearing red and waited with bated breath for the resurrection of half price chocolate so as to indulge my fat face in all its forbidden sugary goodness. February 15th was Diabetic Coma day, a far better excuse for “a holiday” in my opinion.

This year though is different. My mother has already informed me that she’s praying for me to find a ‘good man’. This year her good man prayer surpassed my immigration prayer on her prayer list. I wondered at why this phenomenon had come about all of a sudden. And then I knew why: This year, I’m 25.

You see, 25 in regular girl years equals 35 in Indian girl years. For all my older Indian aunties, to be 35 and still single can only mean that you’re  either not “fair and b’ful” enough to find an eligible suitor or your family struck some kind of shady deal with Satan when you were born. 

There’s no pressure from my mother at all though. Just worry and anxious curiosity.

I did not have the heart to tell her that from the way my life is going right now, her good man prayer might not be answered till I’m 35 (which in Indian girl years means I’m dead). So I put on my best fairy god mother face and Meryl Streep voice and said: “Don’t worry, it will happen when the time is right.”

To which she answered, “You know, your father and I will be more than happy to help if you need. There’s no shame in it.”

She meant arranged marriage and a little piece of me died. Now, I don’t mean to be a killjoy about arranged marriage but the first images my ignorant brain conjures up when I hear those words are nasty shocks and surprises on the wedding night and having to spend the rest of your life with a balding 45-year-old teetotaler (who is some sort of engineer no less) with a penchant for dramatic Bollywood music and curry-stained wife beaters. (key word here being beater)

But long gone are those archaic days of 17 chicken and buffalo dowries and your mother-in-law picking out your wedding night trousseau. These days arranged marriages work differently. There’s Facebook stalking prior to the meet and city bylaws against hoarding chickens and buffaloes in your backyard. And if I thought I had very little true knowledge of arranged marriage in my parents’ generation, then I knew absolutely nothing about arranged marriages in this day and age.

In a nutshell, how arranged marriages work now (from what I hear) is that your parents, relatives, cousins, nosy neighbours and their dogs bring it to the attention of your parents that they may know an eligible man suitable for their daughter. The suitor is then introduced to the daughter and they are allowed to date LIKE REGULAR PEOPLE. If it doesn’t work out, no worries. It’s just a case of an unsuitable match. You subsequently move on to the next eligible suitor that Aunt Bossy throws your way.

You can expect the usual awkwardness that comes with dating someone the rest of your village knows more about than you do. But let’s be honest, when is it not awkward?

Does this sound familiar at all? No? Okay, well then let’s pretend your Aunt Bossy is Chris Harrison. And instead of the whole world being up in your business about your second one-on-one with Bachelor number 3, just your whole village is minding your business. Yes, girls. This maybe what they now call arranged marriage in India. But really, you’re on The Bachelorette.

(You'll have to click on the image to read their highlarious voice bubbles). Let's face it: the only reason this is not working out is because between her Aunt Bossy's pink dress and his polio legs, no one's climbing that bridge.

The best part about all of this is that the work is done for you. These guys (I would assume) (hopefully) are devoid of contagious diseases, pedophile tendencies and/or previous incarcerations. How terrible can it be….right?

Let’s face it. I’m 25 …err 35. In five years, I’ll be 40 …err barren, and in another five years after that I’ll be 45 …dead. There’s no escaping this. Being a single Indian girl has never looked bleaker. The novenas are honing in and pretty soon, I will have to take matters in my own hands. And by “in my own hands” I mean in my parents’, aunts, uncles, neighbours, and village stray dogs’ own hands.

So if it absolutely has to be and fate deals me a cruel hand by not opening up the heavens and throwing down the perfect man at my doorstep, then I will (very reluctantly) let you guys watch my season of The Bachelorette. I might even let the audience vote on who should stay and who should go. After all, this might be the only dating instance where I would know the assholes in the running.