Sunday, April 26, 2009

Proverbial Chutney

The Bible Voted "Most Popular Fairy Tale"

An Indian Roller Exclusive...

A recent poll conducted by the International Association of Myths and Folklores (IAMF), an organization of folklore scholars and researchers, concluded that the Bible is the most popular fairy tale ever. "The Bible trumps any other other religious or popular tale by nearly 8 percent in every category," noted Jude Abhramson,"but it scored highest in popularity in the "miracle" categories."

The poll featured several religious books -- the Koran, the Bible, The Torah, the Gita -- and popular fairy tales from several nations. The criteria used in the polls were: miracles, heroes, plots, violence, sex, suspense, and moral content. According to the pollsters, the Bible beat the other fairy tales in popularity in all but one category -- suspense.

"Most respondents noted that they were turned off by Jesus' and Moses' repeated acts of clairvoyance thereby spoiling the suspense in the stories of the Bible,"said Laihm Durkaim, a researcher at IAMF."For example, in Red Riding Hood, a reader has no idea that the big, bad wolf is going to disguise himself as the girl's grandmother and that clearly adds to the gripping suspense." Durkaim added that in the polls, the talking snake in the Bible beat the talking ants in the Koran in popularity.

"This poll is evidence that fairy godmothers fare right up there with God,"noted Steve Broad, author of the best-selling book, Faery Travelogue. "This polls shows that the miracle of turning a pumpkin into a stagecoach in Cinderella is nearly as popular as the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine in the Bible." Broad says that he was not surprised to find that, according to the poll, the authors of the Bible, the Gita, and the Koran were as popular as the famous European author of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen. "It shows, that just like H.C.Andersen, the authors of the so-called, 'holy books', were creative, inventive, and had a fertile imagination."

Later this year, IAMF plans to release a special edition of the Bible featuring the title, "Best Fairy Tale Ever."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ashoka the Great Bedevils BJP Annual Convention

An Indian Roller exclusive...

The ghost of Ashoka the Great, the Indian Emperor who ruled the subcontinents from 273 BCE to 232 BCE, is alleged to have disrupted the annual convention of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Ahmedabad, India. Several members of BJP, India's Hindutva and centre-right party, reported to the media yesterday that the apparition of Ashoka the Great had made numerous overtures unleashing panic and fear among the convention attendees.

Several segments of the Indian media interpreted the news as an appeal by Ashoka the Great towards religious tolerance and multiculturalism. "It appears to be a fulfillment of a prophecy,"said Nikhil Ojha, the editorial columnist of Ranchi Tribune, a news daily with wide circulation in the eastern state of Jharkhand, "Ashoka's visitation was preordained by karma." Ojha was referring to a prediction earlier this year by Jyotish Kumarmangalam, a renowned astrologer, that the "spirit of Ashoka" would make itself "available" to curb Hindu nationalism in India. Kumarmangalam could not be reached for comment.

Joseph Kutty, news reporter for India Now, one of India's premier news-weekly, explained Ashoka's apparition as "long time coming" while pointing out that Ashoka the Great, a Buddhist Emperor, was India's foremost regent. "You can see Ashoka's legacy everywhere," he noted, "in Indian currency, in dharma chakra, in our national flag, and in the great Buddhist stupas throughout the nation." Kutty feels that Ashoka's appearance at the BJP annual convention is not a coincidence. "It's a reminder to all the Hindu, right-wing, nationalists in BJP that India is not a Hindu nation despite what BJP might claim," he added, "The greatest ruler of India, in our rich and diverse history, was a Buddhist and his message was one of non-violence and religious tolerance."

The organizing committee of the annual BJP convention branded Ashoka's ghost as an "unwelcome distraction." "If he appears again, we will be ready for him,"said, Lalu Advani, a BJP functionary, adding that the party had several professional exorcists among its rank and file."We'll make sure that Ashoka thinks twice before disrupting our proceedings again." Advani remarked that, owing to the recent events, involving the ghost of Ashoka, the party is considering moving its headquarters from Ashoka Road, New Delhi to another "suitable" location.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Turning a New Leaf on India Before 1947

An Indian Roller/JIG exclusive...

A tea leaf picked by a tea labourer in plantation in Assam, India reveals a map of united India before the partition of 1947. Lapsong Namchek, a tea labourer in the Daradhili Tea Estate in the north-eastern region of India, said that she chanced upon the "special" tea leaf on a routine tea-plucking session on April 6, 2009. She promptly informed her manager, Sushil Bordoloi, who informed the local media of this "once-in-a-lifetime" discovery.

"In these parts, we believe that each etiolated pattern on a tea leaf is unique and a harbinger of the future," said Bordoloi, "and this leaf predicts that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is going to reunite." The news of the "reunifying" tea leaf has made headlines in the Indian media.

"This is a sign to all denizens of the Indian continent that we must undo the wrong done by the Colonial British in India," remarked Mohsin Kidwai, a renowned political activist based in Ranchi, India, "The British split us up into three nations 62 years ago and now it's time for us to turn back time."

The tea leaf has been moved to National Tea Museum in Guwahiti, India, where patrons have flocked to watch the leaf which is being preserved in a hermetically-sealed glass container. "This proves that political divisions are all man made," said Arati Nag, a local visitor, as she jostled with other onlookers to catch a fleeting glimpse of the leaf, "It took a tea leaf to reunite us all."

The embassies of all three nations, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, have refused to comment to the press on the swirling buzz around the "reunifying" tea leaf. The Guwahiti Sentinel, the largest daily in Assam, reports that an employee of the Daradhili Tea Estate had started a blog,, to report on the community groundswell surrounding the reunification of the Indian subcontinent. The newspaper also noted that the blog had been promptly shut down by the Assam government authorities.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Proverbial Chutney

"Wish I could revitalize as a stimulus package for Easter."

Small Nano Set for Big Fanfare

An Indian Roller Exclusive...

India's Tata Motoring Group (TMG) unveiled the world's cheapest car, Nano, billing it the "people's car." And like the legendary Volkswagen Beetle, from which the Nano draws its "people's car" moniker, it is rear-engined. TMG plans to ship the first orders of Nano in April 2009.

"The Nano is proof-positive that small is beautiful, affordable, and eco-friendly." remarked Rattan Tata, Chairman of TMG,"It's an Italian design created for the Indian people -- very much like the President of Indian National Congress." Tata was referring to Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born head of India's ruling political party. Tata added that while Gandhi had been working on the upliftment of economic conditions for the poor, TMG had been pursuing more transportation solutions for India's poor. "We have a duty to promote this car to the poor," he remarked.

Sunshine Media, the advertising & media company hired by TMG to promote the Nano announced this month that the company has finalized a three-part commercial featuring Robin Williams, the veteran Hollywood comedian and movie star. Williams, who starred as Mork, an anthropomorphic alien, in the 1970's hit-show, Mork and Mindy, made the alien character famous with his trademark alien greeting, "Nanu, Nanu!" In the new commercials for the Nano car, Williams is expected to reprise his alien impersonation but alter his greeting to say "Nano, Nano!"

Tata Motors is going ahead with initial production target of 250,000 Nanos a year despite concerns about its impact on the environment and its design limitations. The launch of Nano has alarmed the Go-Green movement in India which claims that Nano is just another "carbon-emitting, gas-powered vehicle". "It is not a solution,"said Rajivendra Preachauri,"the people of India need mass-transit, not gas-transit." He added that the sight of Nanos clogging up India's gridlocked streets will be akin to a horror movie, like the "Invasion of Tata Nanobots".

The Tall Clubs International (, a worldwide consortium of tall people, has issued a formal protest to Tata Motors claiming that the car's cabin space and lack of headroom discriminates against tall people. Billie Jeanette Maurisen, the 2008 Miss Tallest International remarked that this was another instance that tall people were not consulted at any stage of the design process. "Italy, where the Nano was designed, has a lot of tall people."Maurisen said,"You would think that Tata Motors would care to involve tall people in the design and development process."

Responding to criticism about the size of the car, Ratan Tata explained that the "Nano" means "less" in Gujarati. "The poor in India are short and thin." Tata added, "Making the Nano any bigger would turn the brand into an oxymoron. In fact, we have tried to make the Nano less of a car in every way possible."

According to Tata, staying true to TMG's goal for the Nano as "less of a car" was "paramount". The car has one less wing nut than the statutory four nuts. It has one windscreen wiper instead of the standard two wipers. It has one less sideview mirror and less welded parts than a regular car. Many of the external parts of the Nano are held together with glue.

"The Nano proves to the automobile aficionados that less is more." said Tata.