Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Even if pigs could fly… – The answer to the call centers + Sanjaya theory [updated with videos]

TAGS: None

As many of our readers are probably aware, people who care about such things are starting to think that Sanjaya Malakar is still on American Idol because call centers in India are voting for him (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Personally, I did not have a problem with this theory. Opinions are like… , everyone has one. But sometimes, opinions aren’t harmless; sometimes, they are tinged with the bitterness of bias and ignorance, which is not surprising when anything involves a concept or phrase as loaded as “call centers”. Our post on Malakar was picked up by a few other, more widely-read blogs. Well, that’s nothing short of delightful. That’s what’s so special about the blogosphere, that viral velocity. But that very aspect of blogging also transported our little minnow Uberdesi to the relatively vast fishbowl LA, the gossip blog from MediaBistro.com. Dream come true, right? Wrong. The snarky aquarium dwellers went on to call out our post as “suspicious”.

This did not sit well with me or our other resident bloggers.

What follows should inspire you to doubt that this blog and/or Indian call center workers have anything to do with Sanjaya’s continued fortune.

Before we begin, a few things should be made clear.

Yes, everyone who blogs here at UD is South Asian and we left our respective Motherlands a long time ago. Except for Santosh, none of the resident bloggers watch AI or care about Sanjaya’s performance. Santosh, who regularly blogs about this topic, watches AI because he has shite taste in entertainment and more relevantly, it gives him material.

So, bearing all that in mind, there are a few crucial facts that are relevant to this issue.

First off, AI cannot be broadcast LIVE in India. Everything is time-delayed and the fact that in India, AI is being played on another network (Star World) besides the one it actually comes from (Fox) should hint at that. Star World on its website claims that the show is broadcast live, but its online programming guide proves otherwise.

It is highly improbable for a T.V. to be present in a call center environment; do you watch reality programming when you are at your job? Even if there is a T.V. that did broadcast an American Channel, AI would be broadcast at the wee hours of the morning.

The time difference would mean that the show should be available at approximately 6:30 / 7:30 A.M. for it to be live. But from Star World’s online schedule it plays at 10 am on Thursday, which makes it 11:30 P.M. Central Time and at 8 P.M. on Wednesday, which would be 9:30 P.M Central Time Tuesday night. This also happens to be the busiest time for call centers, considering the calls they have to make to the west coast. Think of all those telemarketing calls you receive every night when you sit down at the dinner table; if those cunning Indians were stuffing a virtual ballot box for someone who isn’t even really one of their own, would they have time to annoy you?

As far as I know, the voting lines are only open for a couple of hours, again, the very hours that are considered peak times for most call centers. Why would someone running a business allow his or her resources to be used for something other than making money?

Assuming for a minute that the above things were not true and that call centers in India do get a live feed of American Idol, the fact that thousands of phone calls were being made to the same 1-800 number would not go unnoticed. At approximately 50 rupees to a U.S. Dollar, for a massive, grassroots campaign like the one which is possibly being “suspiciously organized” by this blog to actually occur, it would cost employers the equivalent of a few days pay for every employee to pull off this kind of a stunt.

Call center initiation
You think these people are voting for Sanjaya? They can’t even keep themselves dry.
Image from Caption-this.com

Additionally, call centers are very strict about monitoring calls made by employees. Given that most of these companies are audited by third party firms, no one would want to lose their clients (i.e. the American companies who have hired them) to skew results of a reality show. If this does not convince you, recall the various identity theft cases in India: do you still think American companies are not going to monitor calls being made?

Considering all this, there are only two possible things that could be happening.

1) Viewers here in North America are voting against the Judges or they want to vote for the underdog.

2) Someone has hired a call center or two in India to vote for Sanjaya, which from the above should prove unlikely..

Either way, I barely care, about reality shows, their contestants or the viewers who obsess about such things. What I do care about is the unproven assertion that those devious, foreign call centers are responsible for yet another activity which harms “real Americans”. If a fish tank can weakly call us out for being “suspicious”, Uberdesi can respond in kind. The difference is, the nefariousness we sense– unlike the inconsequential outcome of a television show– has real and painful repercussions, for Sanjaya and everyone who looks like or allegedly votes for him.

I have to thank Paru for helping me edit, verify and correct this post.

[Update]

country_stats.jpg

If you need more proof, feel free to check out our country based stats for 2007.





And she decides to starve to vote Sanjaya out.

Another person decides to join the hunger strike.

TAGS: None

View Comments to “Even if pigs could fly… – The answer to the call centers + Sanjaya theory [updated with videos]”


  1. tabloid baby
    on Mar 21st, 2007
    @ 1:59 pm

    about suspicions that Sanjaya’s voting bloc was the Desi (South Asian) community here and outsourced call centers in India. In the days after our report was picked up by media around world, Uberdesi writes: “First off, AI cannot be broadcast LIVE in India. Everything is time-delayed… It is highly improbable for a TV to be present in a call center environment; do you watch reality programming when you are at your job? Even if there is a TV that did


  2. TVgasm: The Best Recaps, News, and Gossip in Television
    on Mar 21st, 2007
    @ 7:02 pm

    about suspicions that Sanjaya’s voting bloc was the Desi (South Asian) community here and outsourced call centers in India. In the days after the TVgasm report was picked up by media around world, Uberdesi writes: “First off, AI cannot be broadcast LIVE in India. Everything is time-delayed… It is highly improbable for a TV to be present in a call center environment; do you watch reality programming when you are at your job? Even if there is a TV that did


  3. American Idol: Sanjaya update : uber desi dot com
    on Mar 18th, 2007
    @ 3:20 pm

    [...] [UPDATE] Seriously… We cannot be supporting Sanjaya, see our reasons here. [...]


  4. And it gets better - Starving to vote Sanjaya out. : uber desi dot com
    on Mar 18th, 2007
    @ 7:34 pm

    [...] Posted by Karthik on March 18, 2007Filed Under Entertainment, Humor, Brown Spotting, Opinion, Brown in America, Culture, Blogs, American Idol, media watch | « « Previous Post: Even if pigs could fly… – The answer to the call centers + Sanjaya theory [...]


  5. Audiofile - Salon
    on Mar 26th, 2007
    @ 2:09 pm

    [...] What sparked the call-center allegations? Apparently nothing more than an almost month-old posting on the Uber Desi Indian culture blog that gave the phone number to call and vote for Malakar as well as a disclaimer reminding people they could vote multiple times. Add in the fact that some of the “Idol” votes are processed by call centers in India, and voilà!, you have yourself a conspiracy theory — one that Uber Desi quickly, and perhaps rightly, denounced as logistically ridiculous and tinged with a bit of racism. “What I do care about is the unproven assertion that those devious, foreign call centers are responsible for yet another activity which harms ‘real Americans,’” writes Uber Desi blogger Karthik. “The nefariousness we sense — unlike the inconsequential outcome of a television show — has real and painful repercussions, for Sanjaya and everyone who looks like or allegedly votes for him.” [...]


  6. PaulSpoerry.com » American Idol Sanjaya fever - Call centers keeping him? Video spoofs!
    on Apr 5th, 2007
    @ 9:12 am

    [...] I have a word for Sanjaya… UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE. Maybe that’s three words? I’m to the point where I either need to stop watching (my mother in law did after they booted Chris off last season) or start pulling for this kid to win. There are a bunch of theories as to why he’s winning, my two favorite are Vote for the Worst and the idea that Indian call centers are swinging the vote his way. “Vote for the Worst encourages you to have fun with American Idol and embrace its suckiness by voting for the people who the general public and the producers are rooting against. We rally behind one choice so that we can help make a difference and pool all of our votes toward one common goal.” The Indian call center theory, which I even mentioned to my wife prior to hearing about it on the net, has the most sizzle. Some claim that it’s impossible because of time zone differences, not being aired live, and the voting period being in prime “call center” business hours. But then again Wikipedia says this so maybe it could be possible: [...]


  7. Sepia Mutiny
    on Apr 11th, 2007
    @ 10:35 pm

    “Sanjaya is my Papaya.”…

    Last week (or the week before it, perhaps?) when American Idol’s cameras panned across the audience, I saw a “fanjaya” holding a sign which proclaimed: “Sanjaya is my Papaya”. Love it. It’s delightfully absurd, inni…


  8. This week in American Idol: The UberDesi tapes : uber desi dot com
    on Apr 18th, 2007
    @ 10:54 pm

    [...] Setting: Small 1 bedroom apartment in suburban New Jersey. Bollywood song playing on TV as the smell of chicken tikka masala cooking in the background wafts to your nostrils. Four men huddle around a phone speaking in foreign tongues in hushed tones. Sound of dial tone on the speakerphone as a number is punched in 1-800-DSI-STUD. Person picks up on the other end (in heavily accented voice): “Hello! This is Scott at Acme Computer Support in Wyoming. How can I help you today?”. Santosh: “Hey Apu! It’s me Santosh from UberDesi. I also have Karthik, Anantha and Sambol here.”. Apu: “Hey guys! What are you doing?” The guys: “Hey Apu! What are you doing?” Apu: “Nothing much kuttas. Just chomping on some chivda, waiting for American Idol to start.” Santosh: “Cool. But I thought American Idol was not aired live in India.” Apu: “Ever heard of the Internet, Einstein?” Anantha: “The one that Mumbai police is using to crack down on Salman haters?” Apu: “Yea same one, machchan.” Karthik: “Al Gore invented the Internet …….” Sambol: “I use the dating websites on the Internet to search for the meaning of love …..” Apu: “Anyway …………… we were hoping you guys at UberDesi could post the number to call in for this Sanjaya guy on American Idol.” Santosh: “Howard Stern and VFTW already do that.” Apu: “But I want information from Indian website only. I dont read American websites.” Karthik: “Then why are you following an American show – American Idol, hello?” Sambol: “His sister is hot.” Santosh: “Yes this blogger, Patrix, has promised to send me photoshopped pictures of Shyamali …….. he he he he …….. nude. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone …. he he he.” Apu: “He is half-Indian.” Anantha: “His father is Marathi?” Apu: “No. Bengali. Sanjaya means victory. We must support all Indians since India invented music.” Karthik: “You mean like Al Gore invented the Internet?” Apu: “Yes da. I will ask everyone at my call center to stop everything else and call in to vote for Sanjaya. So what if India didn’t win the Cricket World Cup? We will make sure an Indian wins American Idol.” Sambol: “Speaking of the cricket world cup, I was in Jamaica maan. Love is blossoming there……..” Santosh: “Yea dawg. I heard the beaches are awesome. Got any pics?” Anantha: “Here’s a trivia: The first ODI was played on 5 January 1971 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground….” Apu: (getting impatient) “Sanjaya is Indian. We have to make sure he wins American Idol.” Karthik: “Stop BSing us man, Apu. Even if pigs could fly there is no way you could muster all those resources to vote for American Idol. There are no TVs where you work. Your Internet access is limited. You are chargeable by the second if not the minute. There is no way a kid fresh out of the college like you can organize such a massive grassroots campaign in the Indian call centers. Even if you get a hundred people to dial in, they will be outnumbered by the teenage girls and their pink cellphones in Hoboken, NJ. Consequently, as a transposition to the conjecture, Indian call centers cannot vote for Sanjaya.” Santosh: “You make too much sense man. Someone fix him a glass of Old Monk.” Apu: “But American tabloids have been speculating this for ages. So it must be possible.” Karthik: “Hold on. We’re getting another call. (switches line). Hello?” (Godfather intro music plays in background) Don: “Mamma mia! This is Vito Corleone. I heard you guys are getting call centers in India to vote for Sanjaya.” Santosh: “Huh? Who told you that?” Don: “Luca Brasi said he read some tabloids.” Karthik: “Just because Al Gore invented the Internet, doesn’t mean everything printed on the Internet is true.” Don: “I’ll make you an offer you cant refuse. A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Santosh: “What does that have to do with anything?” Don: “I just thought it sounded molto cool. Anyway I want you to know that you guys have my support. Sonny is “talking” to this guy Howard Stern and Clemenza is working on this “website” VFTW. Sanjaya is half-Italian which means he is family and ….” Sambol: “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Don: “Now you’re talking. I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should be listening.” Anantha (annoyed): “Can you stop quoting from the movie please? You’re spoiling my trivia questions.” Don: “It makes no difference to me what a man does for a living, understand. (click)” Santosh: “That went well. Now I guess we better convince these call center guys to do it or we’ll be sleeping with the fish.” Karthik: “Apu, you still there?” Apu: “But I don’t eat fish. I’m vegetarian. Most Indians are vegetarians. Is Sanjaya vegetarian?” Santosh: “Hold on I’m getting a text message.” Text Message from Pimply13yearOldTeen: “OMFG! Snjya iz da bomb! Snjya wil win Amrcn Idol!! So cute!!!!!!! I wil die if Snjya dont win!!!!” Karthik: “Did you hear about the girl who went on a hunger strike to vote him off?” Sambol: “Poor girl! She must be heartbroke from last week’s results.” Anantha: “She’s probably suffering from heartburn because of hunger.” Santosh: “Even she stopped starving herself. I guess its the tabloids that are starving right now,” Apu: “So are we doing this or not, my fellow Indians?” Sambol: “I’m Sri Lankan…..” Apu: “What? Is this a NRI website?” Santosh: “Well, since Sambol is Sri Lankan, that makes him a NRL……” Apu: “You guys are not true Indians!” Text Message from Pimply13yearOldTeen: “WTF! If u don’t vot 4 Snjya I will kill u all mf!!!!” Anantha: “Apu, did you know Sanjaya was half-Italian?” Apu: “He is half-Indian. We must vote for Indians. India invented music……” Karthik: “Like Al Gore invented the Intenet…..” Santosh: “Hate to cut this short guys. My wife just called. She wanted me to pick up a gallon of milk and paper towels from CVS a.s.a.p!!! Bye!” Disclaimer: Some names in here are real and some are fictional just to make fun of the tabloids that repeatedy keep pointing to our posts as suspicious. Apu, of course, is the name for an Indian stereotype based on the Simpson’s. Hey, if people can stereotype us and allege that we are tied to call centers, we are allow to stereotype ourselves. american idol, blogs, humoramerican idol, blogs, humorOther posts in HumorGood fashion sense, not so good governance. – December 6th, 2006Funny anecdote – January 2nd, 2007Village of the (Sad)damned – January 9th, 2007The test of Chopstick – January 11th, 2007$22 per child – January 12th, 2007Popularity: 5% [?]Share This [...]


  9. Who you calling a Bigot? Bigot. : uber desi dot com
    on Apr 19th, 2007
    @ 11:16 am

    [...] When Uber Desi was implicated by a few tabloids as the shady organizer of a coordinated campaign to get call centers to support Sanjaya Malakar, we were unhappy, but we understood that these were tabloids and twisting words was a part of the game they play. Later when those tabloids were quoted by other credible blogs, we had to react. If MSNBC were a tabloid, no one should or would care. But they are not. And that is why this is so disturbing. [...]


  10. » ÃœberDesi is a year old and we need you to delurk. - Ãœber Desi
    on Oct 4th, 2007
    @ 5:26 pm

    [...] The last year has been amazing, when we started, we had no expectations. In fact if you go back to the start, it was Santosh and I commenting on each other’s posts. Then Sanjaya happened. [...]


  11. kpo companies
    on Apr 5th, 2010
    @ 2:54 am

    We can't prevent any opinions of the people. As long as they are not offensive to others, then why not?


  12. BPO Manila
    on Apr 28th, 2010
    @ 7:21 am

    That falls on the borderline between ridiculous and hilarious. People do have a lot to say against others. Let them be.

© 2009 Über Desi. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.