Monday, October 26, 2009


Get ready, Meghana is back and in English (sorry, Kannada is hard to understand)!

Watch the preview for her new movie coming to theaters soon (if you are confused as to why I'm blogging about this, then check-it

Good Luck on your new movie Meghana!

BENGALOORED- PROMO from Swaroop Kanchi on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Meet Dharti.

Her mother, Geeta, use to help at my aunt's house (Nishant and Amish's house) and now Geeta's sisters, Dhaksha and Rekha, help at their house. Dharti came over one day with Dhaksha and Rekha (D&R) to play while D&R helped clean the dishes, mop the floor, etc. She was literally bouncing off the walls... singing, dancing, playing, and being silly. My aunt told me how smart Dharti was, and how quick she was to pick up on things... that's when the wheels started turning. I asked my aunt an array of questions, for which she had an answer to every...

Will Dharti go to school?
What will happen to her?
If she is so smart why don't they put her in school?

It turns out that no one in Dharti's family (minus Dhaksha) is even slightly educated. If Dharti goes to school, gov't schooling in Gujarat is so bad, she won't learn anything and will have to go to tutions (after-school tutoring, which is super expensive). If she doesn't go to tutions, she will never pass and move to the next standard (grade level). In addition to tutions, she will also need help/guidance at home, to make sure she does her homework etc., and there is no one around to ensure that. My aunt has spent a lot of time contemplating whether to put her through school (she still has 1 year before she is old enough to enroll), but my aunt spends some of her time in the US. While she is in the US, there will be no one to look after her schooling.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could help Dharti and kids like her. There are NGOs that work to help kids get enrolled in schools, but they only help them until they are 14, then they are on their own. Most kids drop out after this point, because they can't afford to continue schooling. If Dharti drops out at 14, the next reasonable thing for her to do, is join her aunts. As for now, Dharti's fate is sealed, like her mother and her aunts, she will also take up being "house-help" as her profession.

Please don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having your profession be "house-help," if you take pride in what you are doing... but below, I explain why I am concerned. Dharti is lucky, in that her family has been coming to my aunt's house for a long time. If she continued with my family, they would treat her with respect and ensure her general well being, like they do for D&R.

In India, it is common to have "house help." These people usually live below the poverty line (bpl) and live in slums or chawls.

If you are lucky and your family has been working at the same house for generations, you are usually treated with some level of respect and "like" family by your employer (such is the case at my aunt's house), but if you are the type of "house help" that is serving multiple houses a day, you are usually treated as less than a human being. It is quite sad to watch the amount of disrespect that these individuals take on. They are so use to being mistreated and they seem to "brush their shoulders off" so well, you would think they don't realize what's going on (they do).

Sometimes I stop and think how many times I hear people in the US say, I would never "stoop" so low, or get treated in such a way to certain professions in the US (I am guilty myself), but really, these people have no alternative. They need to create a livelihood for themselves, and if that means being mistreated in the process, at least they can put food on the table for their families.

Fun Fact: Dharti (pronounced Duhur thee) in Gujarati/Hindi means Earth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Diwali (Dipavali).

Happy Diwali everyone. For those of you who don't know what Diwali is you can read more about it here: It is a very important holiday for Hindus and Jains, but for two very different reasons. Among Hindus there is a different reason for why it is celebrated in the north and south, it's quite interesting considering it's the same religion (on a sidenote, for some Hindus the new year falls now, and for others its at a completely different time during the year... also interesting).

As for Jains (I am Jain (a Jain?), in case you didn't know), Jains celebrate Diwali because it is the day that Mahavira attained enlightenment.

In any case, Diwali is a blast in India, not only because you get vacation time =), but also because of the traditions that come with it. One particular tradition is partaking in the art of Rangoli. Rangoli is a form of sandpainting decoration that uses finely ground white and colored powders, and is commonly done outside homes in India (thanks wiki). Attached is a sample of the Rangoli that my cousin and I created (before my aunt, that master, laid her hands on it). Not to pat my own back, but I think it's pretty good...

Fun Fact: "Paisley" as the design is known in the US, is known as "Cari (Mango) Design" in Ahmedabad.

And yes, I intend on bringing back lots of bags of colors so that I create new masterpieces (originals) in the US of A.

P.S. we copied someone's Rangoli design, but don't hate.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vodafone ZooZoo.

How does one choose a cell phone carrier in a county in which he/she is unfamiliar with each service provider?

If you were someone who had logic and reasoning you would either:
1. Search the web
2. Ask the locals
3. Do a cost/benefit analysis

If you are Bijal or Meghana, you would base your decision solely on who has the best advertising =).

Check out these awesome ads by Vodafone (aired during Twenty20 IPL Cricket matches). I can never understand the commercials here because they are in Hindi, but these are pretty self-explanatory. My two favorites (out of the ones I've seen) are below:

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I originally wrote this post about two months ago, but was unable to post it with pictures included until now.

Back in July, for my 26th (yes I'm getting old...sigh) bday, my friend Sendil (can be pronounced SEN-dal or SIN-dell) gifted me one of the most
personal/sentimental gifts I've ever received (note I said one of...). I had dragged him into a stationery store back in June, him and Gerard, if I recall correctly, and made them wait around while I checked out cool new things that the store was promoting.

Sendil, if you don't know him, is an eco-fiend. He works at TESLA motors (yes he's given me a lift in a roadster and it was AWESOME), and he will opt to take the bus instead of driving to spare the air even though he has a pretty sweet car (Check-out the post 'Beep Beep' for more info). In any case, instead of just buying me some ordinary stationery, he opted to combine my obsession with stationery, with his obsession with eco-friendliness.

Introducing (to those of you who I haven't already talked about it with) Green|Fingerprint Letterpress Stationery:
The envelopes are even personalized with my home address (which I didn't provide him). How awesome!

Green|Fingerprint uses 100% post consumer recycled and tree-free paper. And the picture doesn't do justice to how nice the stationery actually is. Anyways, check-out their site at

And for all of you ladies out there getting married, check-out their invitation sets... even you South Asian ladies, they'll create a design with paisleys (called mango print in India) or even Ganesha on it...if that is what you desire.

Fun Fact: Stationery is spelled with 'ery' and not 'ary'

Also, please stay tuned for other great gift ideas (also delayed)!

Thursday, October 1, 2009



I saw an advertisement for Slice yesterday, which brought back memories of family parties, Superbowl Sundays, Chuck E. Cheese (Showbiz Pizza) birthdays and every other kind of gathering in between (child appropriate gatherings that is).

I checked out Wikipedia to see whatever happened to the infamous Slice, and apparently it had a makeover in the U.S. (or at least the lemon-lime version did) and became Sierra Mist.

For those of you who have missed Slice, it will be making a comeback in 2010 (yes in the U.S.), but who knows if the formula will be the same so don't get your hopes too high.

In any case, cheers to the days of Slice (and Kool Aid yum=)).