Category Archives: ENTERTAINMENT

Family Night at the Movies: Disney’s Million Dollar Arm

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Have you ever taken a 4 year old and a 11 month old to a movie?  Either we are really brave or really crazy, because this past week we got the chance to go to a prescreening of the new Disney movie Million Dollar Arm.  We saw a preview for the movie a couple of months ago and right away we knew we wanted to go and see it, so when we got the opportunity to check it out early we were really excited! It is based on a true story about a sports agent who goes to India to find raw talent and the next big major league baseball hopeful.  Cricket, baseball, India, humor, this movie had it all!  However, our babysitters didn’t pan out at the last minute, so we had to make the choice to go anyway and pray the kids made it through or give up our tickets.  We decided to take the risk and go for it – and we were not sorry – the kids did pretty well and we loved the movie!  If you haven’t heard about it, here is a quick synopsis from Disney’s website:52410bf41ee1b020e8fb6b308c9d245212ce5bd7

In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin) he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India – the boys, who have never left their rural villages – are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball – JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell) – learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

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The movie debuts in theaters on May 16, 2014.  Do you plan to go and see it?  I’d totally recommend going – it is a great, clean, family friendly movie!  If you take small children, be sure and take lots of cheerios!

Here’s a link to the trailer of Million Dollar Arm.

My Indian Reading List

Somehow I’ve managed to collect several Indian novels {otherwise known as Ladki-Lit} over the past few months.  I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to actually read these books.  I keep staring at them on my nightstand and think, “Maybe I’ll get to bed early tonight and have time to read a few chapters.”  Of course that never seems to happen!  Anyway, in case you’re interested, here are the books I’ll {hopefully} be reading soon{ish}…
A Golden Age (P.S.) • Tahmima Anam
Corner Shop • Roopa Farooki
No Deadline For Love • Manasi Vaidya
Ever read any of these?  Stay tuned for my take on them and also a giveaway or two!

Outsourced: The Series

Have you guys heard about the new NBC comedy coming out this fall? It is basically a spinoff of the movie with the same name, Outsourced.

Here is the description from the NBC website.

Mid America Novelties sells products like whoopee cushions, foam fingers, and wallets made of bacon. Yes, this is the stuff upon which the American way of life is built, but try explaining that to someone who lives on the other side of the world.

Well, that’s exactly what Todd Donovan must do when he’s sent to run the company’s call center in India. Talk about culture shock, and not just for Todd’s employees. While Todd has to teach them how to make the up-sell to the Deluxe Twin Beer Helmet, he’s going to have to adapt as well. Like in a country where cows are sacred, perhaps you don’t order a double cheeseburger.

Wish him luck. Or as they say in India, Saubhagya.

So, I’ve marked my calendar for September 23rd at 9:30 (8:30 central). Will you be tuning in?

Meryl Davis and Charlie White Bollywood-style Ice Dancing



I thought you might be interested in this Ice Dancing routine, performed by USA Ice Dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They took first place at the 2009 Rostelecom Cup with this routine. The routine is “Original dance: (Indian Folk Dance) “Kajra Re” by Shankar-Ehseen-Loy, ” Slislla Ye Chaahat Ka” and “Dola Re Dola” by Sameer, Nusret Badr.”
It is interesting to see more and more Indian culture making its way into the mainstream. If you’d like to find out more about Meryl Davis and Charlie White, you can check out their official website. Hopefully we’ll see them in our own backyard in February at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Well actually they might be in our backyard, but we’ll probably be watching them from our living room since we won’t be dragging our newborn out to watch olympic ice-dancing (Indian or otherwise!).


India Quiz: Answers

Here are the answers to the India Quiz. If you missed the first post, find it here. Make sure and tell me how you scored!
  1. What is India’s national anthem titled? What language was it written in? Jana-gana-mana by Rabindranath Tagore. It was originally titled Bharat Bidhata, in Bengali. English translation: The Morning Song of India
  2. What are the 2 groups of islands called that are a part of India? Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal
  3. What is the most populated state in India? Uttar Pradesh (according to the 2001 cencus)
  4. Name 4 major religious groups in India. (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Jews.)
  5. Which people group were known as the “head-hunters” of India? The Nagas – once very war-like, now Nagaland is a progressive state in the Union.
  6. How many officially recognized languages are spoken in India? 18 (plus English): Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Nepali, Punjabi, Manipuri, Konkani, Kashmiri, Urdu, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Kanada, Malayalam
  7. What is the name of the Indian language which is the longest palindrome in the Roman script? M-a-l-a-y-a-l-a-m – it’s the same forwards and backwards!
  8. What is the largest state in India? What is the smallest? Rajasthan – largest; Goa – smallest
  9. What is the National Flower of India? The Lotus
  10. What colors appear on India’s flag? Saffron, stands for courage, sacrifice and renunciation. White, symbolizes truth and purity. Green represents life, faith and chivalry. The blue wheel (charkha) is in the center. The current flag was adopted on July 22, 1947.


India Quiz

A couple of weeks ago – around my birthday my husband and I were in the car together and we started testing each other on facts from both America and India. We both did pretty well – and he was especially impressed that I knew bits and pieces of the Indian national anthem. I was also impressed that he knew most of the US national anthem – I did have to supplement a few words here and there when he got overly creative.

So I thought a fun post would be to let you all test your India knowledge: I’d love to see your answers in the comments section (answer them all or pick and choose!). I’ll post the correct answers in a couple of days. If you have another brilliant question that you think will stump us all, feel free to add to my list!
  1. What is India’s national anthem titled? What language was it written in?
  2. What are the 2 groups of islands called that are a part of India?
  3. What is the most populated state in India?
  4. Name 4 major religious groups in India.
  5. Which people group were known as the “head-hunters” of India?
  6. How many officially recognized languages are spoken in India?
  7. What is the name of the Indian language which is the longest palindrome in the Roman script?
  8. What is the largest state in India? What is the smallest?
  9. What is the National Flower of India?
  10. What colors appear on India’s flag?


The Other End of the Line Movie

So my friend and I were scouring Blockbuster the other night – looking for a decent movie to watch while our husbands were out. I spotted the movie: “The Other End of the Line.” I was naturally drawn to it since it was a “East Marries West” type of movie - in true IndianTies fashion!

My first thought was that this might be the movie version of the book, Once Upon A Timezone. I reviewed the book a few months ago. I looked through the credits pretty closely and didn’t see any indication that it was based on the novel. So it must just be a coincidence that the plots are very similar! (Although in the movie the Indian character was the girl – in the book the Indian character was the guy).
The basic story line of the movie is the main character, Priya (Shriya Saran) works in an Indian call center. She helps an American man (Jesse Metcalfe) sort out his credit card troubles and in the process begins to fall in love with the voice on the other end of the line. When he offers a chance to meet her – she jumps at it – although he doesn’t know he’s been talking to a girl in India this whole time. She hops on a plane to see if this is her one true love but things don’t quite turn out how she expected.
My friend and I enjoyed the light-hearted story. It was slightly unrealistic – and the main thing that annoyed me was that the Indian characters just jumped on a plane to America…. Um…do they not have to get visas??? But otherwise it was a nice movie about dreams and destiny and intercultural love.
Anyone else seen the movie? What did you think?


And the Winners are…


I know everyone is excited to see who won copies of the new DVD from Hemalayaa, Yoga for Everyone. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I’ll be short and sweet…
Here are the winners and their comments:
(winners chosen by a random number generator!)
Emily B. (San Diego, CA) said…
I wanna win! :) Looks fun!
Pam R. (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) said…
Sounds like fun – of course, my doing yoga could be funny!
Jessica B. (Topeka, KS) said…
I would love to try it!
So there are your winners! If you won – please contact me by email and get me your mailing address so we can get your prize to you!
If you didn’t win this time, keep checking back – we’ll have more giveaways in the future – so don’t miss out!


An Interview with Hemalayaa

In case you missed out on the last post – we’re giving away 3 brand new DVDs from Hemalayaa: Yoga for Everyone. Click here to find out how to enter the giveaway!
So you’ve seen her on TV shows like The Elen DeGeneres Show and The Today Show, you’ve danced along to her workout videos, and now you’re hoping to get your hands on a copy of her new release….but wouldn’t you like to get to know Hemalayaa? What if you could sit down and have a conversation with her…what would you ask?
Well, I got a chance to do just that, and I tried to anticipate what questions the IndianTies readers would love to ask… so keep reading to find out what makes Hemalayaa tick!

Hemalayaa, where are you from?

Toronto, Canada

I understand that your parents are Indian… can you tell us a little about your childhood (and the influence of Indian culture while you were growing up)?

Yes, both my parents are from Punjab India. They were brought up very traditional Sikh’s. It was a challenging transition to move to North America, from the values they were brought up with to us here in the west. They tried to keep us strict in our traditions, but we were exposed to how much more freedom our friends were given. We would rebel and try to pioneer our way to a new way of thinking and being. That made our parents even more fearful of losing us to the western world.

The weekend parties when we danced, is when all our cares and worries went away. Indians dance like no one is watching, and let all their problems go away and celebrate with movement and great music. This was the best part of growing up in this culture.

Do you recall how your interest in dance & yoga originated?

Dad did yoga when I was young, and taught me some meditation and to chant Aum before an exam, to calm my mind..

Dance, I was doing my whole life. Every weekend we’d get together with other family’s and when the dinner & socializing portion of the evenings was over, we’d dance our buns off.

I started studying yoga in my early 20’s. It was a way to heal the stress of leaving my family a the age of 19 (a very un-traditional thing to do). I moved across the country to Vancouver to explore life and i didn’t know it at the time, but was drawn to find my spiritual connection. Rather than drink and party every night, which is the way I explored for the first part of my trip, I found yoga was a better way to deal with learning about myself.

Through your experience, how do you think Indian culture & yoga has influenced & been received by Western societies?

Although yoga is not all about a physical practice, I think it is an open-minded change from the type of exercise we have been doing for the past few decades (aerobics and weight lifting). With yoga, we are finding health in all areas – mind, body & spirit.

The Indian culture has become more popular and intriguing to many westerners. If you’ve seen Indian movies, you know there is a real sense of fantasy, mellow drama and play. It’s fun to see how life could be if we let ourselves get over our selves. We could let our stress and worry go by dancing in the middle of the street. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?!

India’s culture is so rich and has so much to offer in terms of spirituality & health that it’s about time the Western world add spice to their life. It appears that it is being received and honored well.

Do you think that India is still perceived as “exotic” by the West?

I think it is perceived as exotic still, but it’s different than it was. There is more of an acceptance of it being a part of the norm here, because of the multiculturalism.

What inspired you to do your first video? How did you get started making your videos?

My first yoga DVD was made in Vancouver, BC. It was a community project that was intended for bringing yoga to homes, to women that wouldn’t normally get out to a class. I was teaching classes and wanted to create something for my existing students as well as for others that I knew wanted to practice in their own home, as I did for the first few years of my practice.

My First dance DVD was inspired by dancing in my living room as I did often. I was free, playful and silly. I wanted others to experience the joy and freedom I was feeling in those moments. I pitched the idea to Acacia, and they took a risk and we made “Bollywood Dance Workout” and “The Dance of the KamaSutra” in April 2006. Now I have 8 DVD’s on the market, and 3 more coming out in the next couple of years.

Do you travel frequently to India? What is your favorite Indian destination?

I haven’t gone back in a couple of years. When I was there last, I went to the South. Kerala and Bombay were my favorites for that trip. I, of course love Punjab, where most of my family is. I plan on going again in 2010.

I’ve gotta ask: what’s your favorite Bollywood movie? Who is your favorite Bollywood actor/actress?

Umarao Jaan. Rekha.

What’s your favorite food? Favorite Indian dish?

My favorite food is kale. I sauté or steam the kale, add more veggies, avocado, etc and dress it with olive oil, lemon, salt and love. Totally bland compared to Indian food…But I love my veggies with lot’s of oil and lemon!

My favorite Indian dish is Bindhi Masala (okra) and homemade Keer (rice pudding)

What’s the latest song/album you added to your iPod?

Narfat Ali Khan & Gauiri.

Do you have a favorite style of Indian dance?

Odissi.

Is there a message in your videos/classes that you want your audience to grasp?

Love yourself enough to spend time playing and having fun whether through dance, yoga and doing things that make you smile. On top of dance, yoga and hikes, I love going to the Garden shop and seeing all the happy plants and playing with the wind chimes.

When you allow yourself to have fun, even for a moment every week, you’ll have an abundance to share with others.

What are your current projects? Tell us your latest news…

  • I’m writing a couple of books. Really fun process.
  • I’m working on a teacher training to teach others to teach dance and yoga together. Co-leading it with Jennyoga.com
  • I’m collaborating with some very cool women teachers on a couple of workshops. SF & LA. Jenni Saur-Klien in SF and Maya Fiennes in LA
  • Every month I write a blog called “Yoga and the City” on my e-newsletter (Hemalayaa e-diary). You can sign up on my website hemalayaa.com

These two last are personal projects:

  • I am striving to accept myself fully and completely with all my perfect imperfections. On-going process.
  • I am working on accepting my mother and our differences and having a peaceful relationship with her.

Do you have any advice for beginners who are trying to get fit?

Take baby steps and stay consistent even when you feel like skipping out on your practice. Do DVD’s at home at first until you gain confidence in yoga and/or dance. Go for it and have fun!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

Thanks for the opportunity to answer such in-depth questions.

Something I have realized recently is that we all wear these masks of “who we are”. It’s what we show others constantly so that we are loved, or enough, or wanted. That’s not who we truly are.

We are love, and joy.

Spend more time playing and get to know the true you!