Tag Archives: India

This break dancing Indian kid has more swag than you do

Watch this 8-year-old break it down in a bhangra-meets-breakdancing-meets-gymnastics dance routine for India’s Got Talent. Not quite sure what I think about the crotch-grabbing, but Akshat Singh is definitely the entertainer. All I can say is, he’s more swaggy than Justin Bieber.

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Happy Holi! (And why you should do the Color Run)

Happy Holi!  This week, thousands of Hindus around the world will celebrate Holi, the festival that welcomes the new season of spring.  According to Hindu legend, Lord Krishna  visited the city of Barsana, where his lover Radha lived, and teased her with colors.  The word “Holi” comes from “Holika,” the name of a Hindu deity known for her special gift of being able to withstand fire.  During the festival, people also celebrate by burning bonfires.

These beautiful photos show how freakin’ awesome and joyful it is to get completely doused in color.  I’ve never had a chance to celebrate Holi, I just did the Color Run and it was AWESOME!  It’s a 5k race, and every kilometer is a different color…by the end, you’re completely covered in brightness.

Celebrate spring the Holi way and sign up for the nearest run near you!

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100% Vegetarian McDonald’s opens in India

If you’ve eaten at McDonald’s outside the US, you’ll know that the American chain can be pretty creative with localizing its menu. This month, McDonald’s announced perhaps its most impressive effort to make sure everyone can eat its burgers.  Starting in India, Mcdee’s will launch 100 percent vegetarian restaurants.

“The issue in India is, a vegetarian is a strict vegetarian,” said Rajesh Kumar Maini, head of communications for McDonald’s in India. “There have been instances that I’ve seen where a person who’s vegetarian would not even sit with a person who’s eating non-vegetarian food.”

And so the restaurant is taking the strictest of vegetarians head on.  Apparently, the prime locations for Mickey D’s veggie venture are religious sites.  For example, the chain plans to open at Vaishno Devi, a famous Hindu cave shrine that attracts millions of pilgrims each year.  Nothing like digging into a juicy McAloo Tikki burger after a day of prayer.

In all seriousness, while I realize it’s all in the fast food chain’s plan to dominate every corner of the world, I gotta give the corporate giant credit for its creativity and market research…even if it means my favorite Aloo Tikki (spicy fried potato) has been transformed into a McDonald’s burger.

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“Hitler” store owner says the name is catchy

Rajesh Shah, owner of the “Hitler” store in India, wanted a “good, catchy” name for his menswear business.  Well, he definitely accomplished that goal given all the controversy his shop has incited.  Interestingly, Shah apparently doesn’t think the name is that bad.  It seems the travesty of the Holocaust, and the concept that Hitler was an evil man, is sometimes lost in translation in India.  His store is one of many in India named after the German dictator — but it’s done more for shock value than admiration.

“None of the other people are complaining, only a few Jewish families,” Shah said.  “I have not hurt any sentiments of the majority Hindu community. If he did something in Germany, is that our concern?”

Shah said he named the shop after his business partner’s grandfather, who got the nickname because he was a strict man.  Apparently, in India, “Hitler” is a nickname given to people who have a tough demeanor.

In fact, Shah said he only found out after he opened his shop that Hitler had killed six million people.  As for changing the name, he said he has spent too much on branding at this point, and would only be open to altering it if the Jewish community is willing to pay for it.

I think it’s ridiculous that Shah didn’t know that Hitler was behind the Holocaust — after all, he knows enough to put the Swastika sign in the logo.  But I wonder if in India, the word “Hitler” is used in a similar way to how Americans use the term “nazi” colloquially to describe people who have a disciplinarian attitude.

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Tighten your va-jay-jay with this gel

Add this to the list of the most awkward-to-watch commercials.  Indian pharmaceutical company Ultratech has launched its new women’s product, “18 Again,” a gel that apparently “rejuvenates and tightens” your va-jay-jay. God bless the advertising company who clearly tried in earnest to find a non-creepy way to promote this.  However, alas, even Bollywood dance moves and a hilarious “I feel like a virgin” song (nope, not ANYTHING like Madonna’s version) can keep you from cringing as you watch this.

Now here’s my question for you — what’s worse, this thing or the Chinese artificial hymen?

(Thanks, Anousheh!)

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Fobby hottie of the month: Ruchi Sanghvi, FB’s 1st female engineer


Ruchi Sanghvi, Facebook’s first female engineer, didn’t use a computer regularly until her freshman year of college.  But she’s clearly got the smarts.  Born in Pune, India, Ruchi got her bachelor’s and master’s in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon.  During her five years at Facebook, she launched News Feed, Platform (which allows third-party developers to build Facebook apps) and Connect (enabling people to link their Facebook identities to almost any other website).

She offers good advice for working women:  ”My philosophy is that you should go full force ahead until you are ready for the next step. A lot of women decide to take a back seat in their professional careers even before they are pregnant or are ready to have children.”

Sounds like she’s got the same mentality as another well-known female Facebooker, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO who speaks regularly about why we have so few female leaders.

Ruchi was one of the first 10 engineers at Facebook, and knows what it’s like to be a female in the male-dominated engineering field.

“It was difficult to break into the boys’ club,” Ruchi said. “I wish that females had a similar culture or support network.”

She left Facebook in 2010 to start her own company, Cove.  In February, Dropbox acquired Cove and made Ruchi their VP of Operations.

Maybe it’s the Silicon Valley kool-aid getting to us, but we at AbFob love entrepreneurs (especially female ones!) like Ruchi who make a name for themselves with their brains and hard work.  As Ruchi says, the tech industry “is the closest thing to a meritocracy in the working world.”

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Guinness record addict tackles tattoos, ketchup, scooters

Ah, India — the land of Bollywood movies, the Taj Mahal and…Guinness world record addicts.  Apparently, people in India are a bit obsessed with getting their 15 minutes of fame, and 70-year-old Guinness Rishi is the poster child of this trend.

The man’s most notable feats include:

  • Most continuous time riding a motor scooter (1,001 hours)
  • Producer of the world’s smallest Koran (he’s Hindu by the way)
  • Fastest consumption of ketchup (he apparently hates ketchup too)
  • Most flag tattoos on his body (officially 220, but he’s added 146 since then)

Last month, he ran for municipal elections in an attempt to be the world’s most defeated politician.  He made sure not to do any campaigning whatsoever, but still got 30 votes.

Apparently, Rishi isn’t alone in his world record quest.  India’s Guinness applications are up 178% over the past five years, and the organization plans to open a full office in Mumbai next year to keep up with the crowds of quirky record breakers.

I guess when you’re literally India’s one in a billion, you’ve got to find a way to stand out, right?

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Meet Sushil Kumar, the real-life Slumdog Millionaire

Before winning the grand prize, Sushil Kumar earned $120 a month as a government clerk.  But last week, the 27-year-old became the real-life version of Slumdog Millionaire.  He was the first person to correctly answer all the questions on the TV show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  He won 50 million rupees, a little over $1 million.

“The entire place just exploded. The family of the contestant…ran on to the set in uncontrollable joy and screams and tears of happiness, whilst the live audience were whooping it up on their feet with the loudest scream I have ever heard,” said Amitabh Bachchan, the show’s host and a Bollywood legend.

I really hope Kumar is able to change his life with this newfound wealth, despite all the horror stories of lottery winners going broke after winning millions.  But given Kumar’s smarts and grit, I think he’ll spend wisely.  Apparently, the guy was a total bookworm growing up and was obsessed with learning.  He says he’s going to spend some of his prize money on a prep course for India’s tough civil service exam, which could get him a secure and high-status job.  He also wants to build a library in his impoverished hometown so that kids could have access to “books and knowledge.”

I guess being a nerdy kid does pay off in the end!


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“Big Love” has got nothin’ on this guy’s 39 wives

This is like that polygamist TV drama ”Big Love,” only multiplied by 13.  Ziona Chana, a guy in India, has the world’s biggest family: 39 wives, 94 kids and 33 grandchildren.  And they apparently all snuggle up in one big dorm-like building, which has 100 rooms.

Ziona and his family live in the Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram, where he heads up a 4,000-member religious sect.  And yup, you guessed it, the sect allows men to have as many wives as they want.

“We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house. He is the most handsome person in the village,” said Rinkmini, 35, one of his wives.

Err… yeah.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Still, before you make any judgmental snickering about weird religious sects, you should probably know I come from a huge-ass family, too — my grandma had 14 kids!  And people wonder about China’s one-child policy…

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(Thanks, Eric!)

Think your fam is crazy?  Read about how Chinese parents can sue kids for not visiting often enough, how Korean parents are sending their short kids to growth clinics, and our thoughts on Tiger Mom Amy Chua.

Harry Potter phenomenon = fewer wild owls in India

Harry Potter’s influence knows no boundaries — it’s even affecting wildlife in India, or so the country’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, says.

The popular Harry Potter movies have spurred a growing interest in obtaining the night birds illegally as pets, and an increasing number of people are requesting the owls as gifts. The growing trend is quite dangerous because even though the small birds don’t look it, they are actually “as important to [India's] ecosystem as tigers are,” says Ramesh. Real life is never as glamorous as the movies…don’t you know these owls are more likely to peck you than to send your mail to your friends?
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