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Desi Satire

April 2009
Desi Satire



DEAR ANU: I’m tired of the dating scene and have decided that I’d like to have an arranged marriage, but my parents insist that I have a love marriage. They don’t want me to end up like them. “A love marriage may not last, but at least you will be happy for a short time,” my father said. “With an arranged marriage, you may be unhappy forever.”

I cried and pleaded with them to arrange my marriage. Finally, my mother said, “Okay, then. We will arrange a love marriage for you.” They want to arrange it with the son of my father’s dentist. They want me to date him for six months and try my best to fall in love with him. “He is a good boy,” my mother said. “He will not expect you to sleep with him on the first date.”

I just about screamed when I heard that. “I’m saving myself for the right man!” I said. My father, who happens to be a banker, smiled and nodded his head. “Saving is good,” he said. “But boys these days, before making any investments, they like to do some checking.”

Please help me! I don’t know what to do. -- SoConfused in SoCal

DEAR SO CONFUSED: Yours is a common complaint I’ve been getting from the younger generation. Many parents aren’t totally happy with their arranged marriages and want something better for their children. But the children have been through the dating process and want something better for themselves, something that doesn’t involve being dumped.

I think the idea of arranging a love marriage is a good one, but so is falling in love with an arranged marriage. The important thing is to end up with the right person, someone who will love and cherish you, someone who’s interested in a long-term investment, rather than a quick withdrawal.


DEAR ANU: I’ve been searching for a good Punjabi man to settle down with, but my mother is telling me not to limit my options. “Punjabi boy would be nice,” she said, “but you should also look at Tamil boys and Bengali boys. And what about Mexican boys and African-American boys? Someone like Will Smith would be nice. He is so cute.”

I just have one question: When did my mother become so freakin’ open-minded? She is making my life too complicated. This is all Obama’s fault. My mother fell in love with him, voted for him and now wants to have a son-in-law like him, even if she can’t move into the White House with him. I want a husband with whom I can share the same culture -– and I don’t mean yogurt.

Please tell me if I’m being unreasonable. –- Punjabi Princess

DEAR PUNJABI PRINCESS: You are not being unreasonable. It is important to share things with your spouse. Some couples share culture, while others share calling plans. A few even share razors.

If you want to remain a princess, you may want to find a man who’ll share the most important thing with you –- shares in Microsoft.


DEAR ANU: I recently gained admission to medical school, but when I told my parents, they were very disappointed. They want me to become a stand-up comedian.

“Why can’t you be like Paul Varghese?” my father said. “He is a good Malayalee boy. And so funny too. He even makes Americans laugh.”

“Listen to your father,” my mother said. “Anyone can become a doctor, but only if you are like Paul Varghese, you can talk about your mother’s cooking on TV.”

“I like Paul Varghese,” I told them, “but I want to be like Abraham Verghese. Medicine is my calling.”

“I am sure everyone is calling Paul Varghese,” my father said. “They want to find out if they can introduce their daughter to him.”

Please help me, Anu. My parents are obsessed with stand-up comedy. I don’t want to disappoint them. –- Aspiring Doctor.

DEAR ASPIRING DOCTOR: You don’t have to disappoint your parents. Just tell them you’re going to medical school so that you can be the medical correspondent on The Daily Show.

As Paul Varghese would tell you, comedy can be a very rewarding career. You can always do medicine on the side.


WHEREAS, Aishwarya Bachchan (née Rai) won the Miss World contest in 1994, bringing glory to India and paving the way for three lesser beauties to win the same title.

WHEREAS, Freida Pinto was a model who appeared in ads for Hutch, Airtel and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, but was not selected by L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company, to grace billboards in New York, Toronto and other major cities around the world, causing innumerable men to drive their cars into telephone poles.

WHEREAS, Aishwarya Bachchan has long been known as “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” a title bestowed on her by none other than Julia Roberts, which, along with the acronym TMBWIIW, is widely recognized as her trademark, in much the same way as Angelina Jolie is widely considered to possess the trademark of TMBWITWOTA, or “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World Other Than Aishwarya.”

WHEREAS, Aishwarya Bachchan has appeared in 40 movies, has been crowned the “Queen of Bollywood,” and is a favorite of Mani Ratnam, Ashutosh Gowariker and other top directors who have created blockbusters featuring such acclaimed stars as Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Bachchan.

WHEREAS, Freida Pinto has appeared in just one English movie, a role that required her mainly to smile and look pretty, while Aishwarya Bachchan has starred in several English movies such as Bride and Prejudice, Mistress of Spices and The Pink Panther 2, roles that required her to not just smile and look pretty, but also flutter her eyelashes.

WHEREAS, Aishwarya Bachchan has longer hair and greener eyes than Freida Pinto.

NOW, THEREFORE, The parties reach the following agreement:

1. Freida Pinto shall not make any acceptance speeches at award shows or elsewhere without adding the words “I thank Ash for paving the way.”

2. Freida Pinto shall not appear in any movie in which another character refers to her character as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” without a disclaimer appearing in the ending credits that states: “All characters and compliments in this film are entirely fictitious.”

3. Freida Pinto shall not accept any compliment that includes the words “most beautiful” without saying, “Thank you, but you obviously have not seen Ash.”

4. Freida Pinto shall make every effort, at any function attended by both parties, to direct members of the paparazzi toward Aishwarya Bachchan.

5. In return for the aforementioned consideration, Aishwarya Bachchan agrees to bestow the title of “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” along with the acronym TMBWITW, on Freida Pinto no later than 30 days after her 80th birthday.


1. Congress Party acquired the rights to use “Jai Ho,” the award-winning song from Slumdog Millionaire, in its election campaign.

2. An Israeli arms firm produced a Bollywood-style music video to promote itself in India.

3. Hip-hop star M.I.A. named her baby son “Ickett.”

4. Freida Pinto revealed that she has been secretly dating Salman Rushdie.

5. Anil Ambani’s fortune dropped from $42 billion to $10 billion.

(1, 2 and 5 really happened)


(Excerpts from actual matrimonial ads on the Internet)

She’s full of wit: “I’m a very sarcastic person. Some say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit ... so I guess that’d make me VERY witty.”

She’s not into games: “I am not looking for any game. Please, please, please and please ? no playboy or alcoholic. Those things I don’t want in a man. So I strongly encourage those individual to not send me a e-mail.”

He has good jeans: “I enjoy regular holidays, especially ones near a beach, swimming pool. I enjoy shopping. When I find time for shopping I buy jeans and other stuff.”

He’s looking for a sane woman: “She should be presentable, intelligent (does not necessarily mean highly educated), have her head on her shoulders, well balanced, responsible yet lively, energetic, good sense of humor is always a plus, good attitude, moral and ethical (sane).”


Anoop Desai


The University of North Carolina student performs on American Idol

The Way I FOB


A desi parody of Timbaland’s “The Way I Are.”

South Asian Jazz


Music from jazz saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose album Kinsmen blends South Asian music with American jazz.

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com.]

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