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Shyamalan with a Twist

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI. Email Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI.
June 2009
Shyamalan with a Twist


Matthew Perry, the former Friends star, met filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan at an awards show in 1999. Then a few years later, he ran into him again at a Hollywood restaurant – or so he thought.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, come sit down, please join us,’” Perry recently told entertainment news service WENN. “We sat there for a few minutes and everybody sort of filtered out and it was just me and M. Night Shyamalan. Pretty great, great guy, very talented. We talked for a little while, and then I started to realize, you know, he likes me. Laughing at everything I say, really enjoying me. We're not really talking about show business, just sort of bonding.”

They decided to go to another place, driving across town. “On the way there, I started to think, ‘Ok, this guy really likes me.’ Like in the Hollywood way where I’m going to be the lead in his next movie. I'm like, he's going to make a movie about aliens who come down and there's a trick ending, and it's gonna be me! We go to the next place, we're hanging out. ... Another hour passes, he goes to the bathroom, he comes back, and then ... I realize it's not M. Night Shyamalan. It's just an Indian guy who looks a lot like M. Night Shyamalan! I hightailed it out of there. I felt dirty."


Some emails are downright scary, such as the one that’s been arriving in some inboxes and even appeared as a news item on an Indian-American newspaper’s website.

“The Government of India has announced the imposition of a flat 5% tax on all NRIs over their world-wide income,” the email states. “Income that is already taxed in India has been kept out of the purview to avoid double taxation. No double taxation benefits would be available for this 5% tax, meaning even if you are paying tax on your income in a country with which India has double taxation agreement, the benefit would not be allowed against this 5% tax.”

The email goes on to say that “all those Indians who are holding Indian Passports and have been out of the country for more than 180 days during the year are under this requirement. Income proof would have to be submitted in form of employer certificates, foreign tax filings etc.”

Thankfully, the email is a hoax, but one can’t help agreeing with an anonymous blog commenter who implores the creator of the email "not to give such ideas to our Indian politicians."


On his blog, NeoIndian.org, an Indian-American named Neo, who moved back to India last year, offers a list called “13 ways to look like a stupid American in India.” Here are three of the ways:

1. Ordering bottled water at a cheap restaurant – Two things. First: Even bottled water is just “packaged drinking water” (i.e. filtered tap water), not mineral-infused H20 from fresh, white Himalayan ice that melted just minutes before being bottled. Second: The cheap restaurant that is likely to have bad water is almost certainly going to have fake bottled water.

2. Making jokes about “Indian standard time” – Only Indians who are “fresh from the US” make jokes about Indian standard time, or Indian stretched time. Your plumber certainly won’t get the joke (and will come late anyway), and almost any other person will be offended. Threatening to ruin someone’s life if he’s late is a much more polite, effective (and common) strategy to make sure things get done on time in India.

3. Not having a mobile – Not having a cell phone in India is like not having a social security number in the US—the customer service people just aren’t paid enough to want to deal with you. So do yourself a favor and get yourself a mobile phone as soon as you land—or at least save your dignity and say someone stole your mobile phone.


1. Freida Pinto and Dev Patel, stars of Slumdog Millionaire, were spotted kissing at a romantic dinner in Israel.

2. McDonald’s sent out mailers to Indian-American households touting their iced coffee and espresso drinks and carrying the words “Taste ki baat hai!”

3. About 160,000 people in Hyderabad gathered to sing hymns and set a world record for largest choir.

4. The Indian Premier League announced plans to play the 2010 season in Mexico.

5. Amitabh Bachchan challenged Ashton Kutcher to a Twitter contest: first person to get a billion followers.

(1,2 and 3 really happened)


King Khan and The Shrines


The Canadian desi performs one of his wake-you-up rock n’ soul songs

Chand Nawab Reporting From Karachi


If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again

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

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