Ever since I’ve gotten access to Zee TV via my cable company’s South Asian package, I’ve been hooked to the reality show Lil Champs (it’s like American Idol for 8-14 year-olds. One contestant, 12-year-old Yatharth Ratnam Rastogi caught my attention because of his striking resemblance to one Adam Lambert.
Check out his hair and clothes and gesturing in the above video. He looks like a mini-Adam!
He even has crazy fans (who calls a 12 year old a Romeo?!) and detractors.
The last quote on this fan forum thread is my favorite. Apparently Yatharth has a tendency to be a bit over the top:
He is good in songs which don’t require grace… or modulation… and all he has to do is yell …. liked the way he messed the impromptu on Saturday… Go Yellarth….LOL
See! A mini-Adam!
The Lil Champs finale was yesterday, and Yatharth lost to little Hemant Brijwasi. Inevitably the Yatharthians came out saying the results don’t really matter:
I am sorry that you came second.Sometimes the person who takes second place becomes the real star!Your talent will take you places!Best of luck for the future!
I shared my Adam-Yatharth theory with Top Idol and she totally agreed. Check it out.
American Idol Season 8 finalist Anoop Desai is now on the country fair circuit while he waits to get signed. Here he performs the Number 1 song in America, Jay Sean’s Down.
He also debuted an original song that he co-wrote entitled Give In To Her Love.
Anoop seems much more relaxed and his vocals sound much stronger than they did on Idol. Much of the criticism the judges heaped on Desai centered on the fact that Simon and Co. were not convinced that he could be a successful R&B artist. Now that there is a precedent for successful South Asian R&B singers in Jay Sean, hopefully Anoop can create the kind of music that he’s said he’s always wanted to do.
For the record, Anoop’s studio version of Caught Up by Usher is fantastic.
Sunday’s New York Times had a lovely profile of Nasim Akhtar, the school nurse at P.S. 70 in Long Island City, Queens.
Nurse Akhtar, who speaks four languages — Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English — is the ambassador to parents, reminding them to fill out their emergency contact forms, refill prescriptions or update immunization records. She encounters about as many medical philosophies as countries of origin.
The piece also describes Akhtar’s early years in New York after she moved from Lahore in the early 1990s. It’s a familiar immigrant story:
The initial years in their East Elmhurst home were lonely, and she coped by studying for nursing exams, sometimes taking breaks only to sleep, hoping that a medical credential would help her earn citizenship (she has a green card). She took her books everywhere — the fifth edition of the Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice became her bible — and memorized concepts like arterial blood gases by writing the words out in a neat blue cursive.
School nurses have been in the spotlight recently due to the emergence of the H1N1 virus. Queens was hit particularly hard by the virus last spring.
There’s also a slideshow of P.S. 70 here.
Matt Damon spoke to Parade magazine recently about his advocacy and charitable work. Damon has been working on behalf of Water.org and Bono’s ONE campaign.
He begins his essay with a reference to Mahatma Gandhi:
When I was a boy, my mom had a magnet on the refrigerator with a little picture of Gandhi along with a quote from him. It said: “No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.” As a child, I was raised to believe that, and to this day I do my best to live it.
Nowadays, sentimental magnetized credos have gone the way of nostalgia, and technology has forever changed the way younger generations communicate. But those are still really good words to live by.
Damon also writes about visiting malaria patients in Tanzania while on a trip with President Bush’s Malaria Initiative. You can read the entire essay here.
Water.org’s site features several videos on the importance of having access to clean drinking water. According to this piece, nearly 850 million Indians do not have access to safe water.
Via Celebrity Baby Blog.
It’s no secret that South Asians love gold. With gold prices hovering at around $1000 an ounce it looks like thieves in Northern Virginia might be catching on:
Burglars with a keen appreciation for gold have targeted Indian and South Asian homes in a months-long series of daytime break-ins in Northern Virginia.
The burglars are discerning. They have taken 22-karat pieces but left behind sterling silver and well-crafted costume jewelry. They have sifted through floor-length gowns lovingly stored in closets and plucked every custom-made sari threaded with gold and worth thousands, disdaining saris worth only hundreds.
Yikes! Though over 20 South Asian homes targeted police officials say the robberies are not about race. “There is targeting due to gold prices. That’s how we are talking about it, rather than ethnicity,” said Fairfax police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings.
The President’s very professorial Diwali message is complete with a mini-explanation of what the festival means to most of the major faiths of South Asia.
(Via Anup Kaphle)
Update: Kalpen Modi, aka Kal Penn, blogged about the White House’s Diwali celebrations on whitehouse.gov’s Briefing Room blog.
President Obama assists his niece Savita as she walks across the Oval Office. Savita is the daughter of the President’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.
September 17, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.