November 4, 2008 will go down as one of the greatest days in America’s history. Today, the Americans rose up to a new hope, to look forward to the change promised by their President elect Barack Obama. Barriers of prejudice has been shattered and the impossible has been made possible. The entire world, along with the Americans, is looking towards the new leader with the hope that America will once again prove to be the great land of opportunity, a country that lends its helping hand to all in need, and a country that inspires everybody around the globe. The following two pictures illustrate how much hope the World has on this new leader.
An Indian artist (in Ahmedabad) makes a painting of American president elect Barack Obama and Mahatma Gandhi to mark the victory of Obama (photo courtesy AP Photo/Ajit Solanki). It is interesting to see how people are relating Obama to Mahatma Gandhi – through civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.

Congrats ObamaIn Puri (Orrisa, India) a sand sculpture congratulating US president-elect Barack Obama by the Indian sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik on a beach has become a major attraction (Photo courtsey AFP/Sanjib Mukherjee). These photos clearly indicate that the World (and India) is hoping that Obama will be able to bring in lasting peace by keeping his promise of working with the countries of the world.

Let’s all stand behind this charismatic leader and help him build a new future for all of us.

Indian Food and Nutrition

A Thali of Indian FoodAll around us we find tons of books, websites, and other information about food and nutrition. What we should eat and what not, what foods to avoid for diabetes, what foods to eat to lower cholesterol and what foods to avoid for weight loss. Zillions of nutritionists, dietitians, physicians, nurses, body builders and quacks have made millions writing such books. Most of these books, however, cater to the western food habits. Their meal suggestions, recipes and nutritional information cover only the kind of diet that we Indians hardly eat in our daily lives. Some diet books lightly touch upon some of the Indian foods but they are severely limited to the typical north Indian recipes like tandoori chicken or chicken tikka masala. But if you are a Bengali, then CTM (as they call chicken tikka masala in UK) appears rarely on our diet. We would be interested in knowing whether chhaanar dalna is a healthier meal than shorshe ilish.
Healthy Indian FoodFew months ago, a friend of mine forwarded me an e-book (a pdf file) titled “Indian Foods: AAPI’s Guide to Health, Nutrition, and Diabetes”. This book, written by a team of experts appointed by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) provides an invaluable guide to the Indians living in America to make some sense of their diet in terms of healthiness. The best part of this book is that it contains chapters pertaining to the regional foods of India. For example, in its chapter on Bengali and Oriya cuisine, the author provides a table (no pun intended) showing a typical Bengali diet and how it can be modified to make it healthier.
I’d like to welcome you all to download this book by clicking on this link. AAPI is distributing this book for free. I thank AAPI for providing this valuable resource.

Lopamudra Concert in New Jersey

Lopamudra MitraFew weeks ago, Lopamudra Mitra presented a concert at the Marlboro High School Auditorium at the invitation of the Dakshineshwar Ramkrishna Sangha Adyapeath (DRSA) of New Jersey. She was touring USA at the invitation of the Bangamela 2008 (held in Columbus OH) and before leaving the country, she made a brief visit to New Jersey. It was Lopamudra’s special attachment to Dakshineshwar Adyapeath that brought her to this fund raising concert. However, the audience response was only lukewarm at best. The torrential downpour before the concert may have contributed to the low attendance, but I think the major reason is the multiple events that are happening all around us during the summer season. Continue reading

A Living Memory : A New Novel by Pronoy Chatterjee

Living MemoryFrom amongst a small but distinguished crowd of novelists of Indian origin in this country, Pronoy Chatterjee may not be a name that stands out in the public eye. The more famous authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amitav Ghosh and others have enjoyed the limelight more than some of the less famous writers like Pronoy who write for the love of writing, who write to express their deepest feelings for humanity – in the little time they can extract out from the busy daily life of a well renowned professional. But, it is the authors like Pronoy, who can sometimes tell us the tales that we have lived though all our lives, the tales that bring back memories of a past that we long for, bring in hopes for a future that we all dream about.
“A Living Memory” is Pronoy’s second novel (published by Author House) where he tries to “capture the complexities of desire and conflict in a small village in colonial India”.
I have not read the book as yet, but the story line (given below) has attracted me enough to get a copy for myself to read. Continue reading

“The Namesake”: A Personal Experience

Sudipta Bhawmik
[Previously published in Anandasangbad]

On the setOn 7th of March 2007, I had the opportunity of watching Mira Nair’s latest film, The Namesake”. The film had officially premiered the earlier evening which unfortunately, I was not able to attend. However, the producers of the film were kind enough to arrange couple of seats for me for the special screening for the Museum of Moving Images which included a Q&A session with the director Mira Nair (and surprise guests Tabu and Irfan Khan).
Being a participant in the filming process (in a very limited way in the role of Subroto Mesho), I was especially curious to see the final result – the big picture as you may call it. At the end of the screening when Mira asked me how I liked the film, I was sort of speechless. I did answer something like “great” or “wonderful”, but that was only a gut reaction – I was still trying to figure out my feelings towards the film. I was not able to give Mira the right answer. I figured, maybe, if I try to jot down my thoughts, I’ll be able to come up with a better answer. Continue reading