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Desi Satire

September 2007
Desi Satire


It was bound to happen. A couple in Atlanta, Georgia, have outsourced their parenting duties to India, allowing them to spend more time watching TV.

"Our children are at an age where they require a lot of supervision and, quite frankly, it was cutting into our TV time," said Susan, 36, who requested that their last name not be used. "I like to watch reality shows and my husband likes to watch sports, so we don't really have time to watch the kids."

Susan, a nurse, and her husband, Bob, 37, a building contractor, have three children, Robert Jr., 10, Candace, 8, and Anthony, 7. "We work hard at work, battle traffic on the highway, and by the time we get home, we're exhausted and ready for the Asians to take over," Bob said. "We order Chinese and leave the rest to the Indians."

They're among the first clients of a new online company called PayRents, based in Chennai. Company president Rajah Chelladurai said he decided to start PayRents after hearing that many Americans were having trouble controlling their children. "I heard about Lionel Ritchie and his daughter Nicole," he said. "Also Kathy Hilton and her daughter, Paris. I was surprised how badly those girls were behaving. Then a friend showed me a video that really shocked me. It was called Girls Gone Wild."

He concluded that many Americans are too busy to do any parenting. "They have money, but they don't have time," he said. "So why not let us do the parenting for them? Through the Internet, we can supervise their children and tell them how to act, how to behave. We can also teach the older children some facts of life, such as PMS does not stand for pre-marital sex, and VD does not stand for Valentine's Day."

The ‘PayRents' don't just speak to a child through the Internet, they also monitor the child's activities with help from a video camera. "We watch them and we talk to them," Chelladurai said. "And when they get sleepy, we sing to them. Some children ask us to read a bedtime story and we try to accommodate them, usually with something from the Panchatantra."

Susan and Bob are so pleased with PayRents, they've recommended the company to several of their friends. "One of my friends, Barbara, has a 30-year-old son who still lives at home and does not date much," she said. "But with some constant nagging from PayRents, he's now spending all his time reading matrimonial ads. We really hope he ends up with a good Indian girl."


If Shashi Tharoor has his sights on the Indian presidency, as some believe, he will have to wait. Not five years, but a couple of decades. The articulate author and former UN officer is only 51, far too young to be president (though he could perhaps apply to be a presidential intern).

The rules allow anyone who's at least 35 to seek the presidency, but India likes its presidents to be twice that age. The older, the wiser. Pratibha Patil, the first woman to be president, is 72. The previous four presidents, Abdul Kalam, K. R. Narayanan, S. D. Sharma and R. Venkataraman, were 70, 76, 73 and 76 respectively when sworn in. Dr. Kalam was the youngster of the bunch, barely making the cut. Had he been 69, we would have known him as just another eccentric scientist.


It shouldn't surprise anyone that the hottest chili pepper in the world, as verified by scientists and recognized by the Guinness World Records, is from India. Grown in Assam, it's called the "bhut jolokia" or "ghost chili."

Scientists measure a chili's spiciness in Scoville units, based on the amount of capsaicin it contains. As reported by the Associated Press, the bhut jolokia tested at 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units, considerably higher than Classic Tabasco sauce (2,500 to 5,000 SHU), the common jalape�o pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) and the previous record holder, the Red Savina habanero (580,000 SHU).

Perhaps India should abandon its nuclear program and start loading its missiles with bhut jolokia. And perhaps it should also market itself as a country of hotness: hot peppers, hot weather and, of course, hot women.


A district in Maharashtra has a new strategy to control the population: it's paying for second honeymoons. Couples who postpone having their first child for two years will receive 5,000 rupees or a second honeymoon. If they wait three years, they'll receive 7,500 rupees. (BBC.co.uk)

Police in Kolkata fed a thief 40 bananas to get him to "return" a woman's gold chain he had swallowed just before he was captured. The bananas didn't produce immediate results, but a meal of rice, chicken and bread did. (Reuters)

Delhi Police created a booklet called Security Tips for North East Students that included such advice as "bamboo shoot, Akhuni and other smelly dishes should be prepared without creating ruckus in neighbourhood." Among the dress code tips: "When in rooms do as Roman does." (The Telegraph, Calcutta)

An auto-rickshaw rally from Chennai to Mumbai drew 72 participants from around the world, but none from India. It's been described as the world's weirdest motoring event. (BBC.co.uk)

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