Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Macaca crime blotter

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The macaca crime blotter is on overdrive this month.

Long time readers may remember the story of Karishma Dhanak, 20, a UC Irvine student who was found murdered alongside her father about 3 years back. The crime was allegedly committed by her sister’s former boyfriend who wanted revenge on the parents for being responsible for the relationship ending, apparently religion was a factor.

NDTV reports that the accused, 25-year-old Indian national Iftekhar Murtaza, is currently on trial in Orange county, California.

Prosecutors in California’s Orange County had last week said they will seek death penalty for Murtaza, who is charged with conspiring and murdering his Indian-American ex-girlfriend Shayona Dhanak’s father Jaypraykash Dhanak (56) and sister Karishma (20) as well as attempting to murder her mother Leela (54) and setting the victims’ bodies on fire.

Also on trial with Murtaza are two of his acquintances whom he is alleged to have conspired with online to commit the above crimes. One can only imagine the sort of conversation that took place online leading to this ghastly deed.
Ifthekar Murtaza: Hey guys
Crony 1: Hey
Crony 2: Wassup?
IM: My gf’s parents forced us to break up FML
Crony 1: Let’s kill the parents LOL
Crony 2: Let’s burn down the house ROFL

Al Gore did not have this mind when he created the Internet.

The second story is a tragic tale of a missing Chicago area Indian woman whose body was found in the river. [Sify]

Apparently there were no signs of foul play and the victim’s body was recovered with jewelery intact leading authorities to believe it was a suicide.

An Indian-American who was reported to have disappeared from her Maine Township home near here in January was found dead in the Des Plaines River and authorities suspected suicide in her drowning death.
The body of Sangitagen Patel, 32, was recovered Sunday afternoon in Allison Woods Forest Preserve in unincorporated Wheeling Township, according to a Cook County Sheriff’s office release.
Pael (sic) was last seen on Jan 2 as she left for her job at a Subway restaurant in Wheeling.

Truly tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

The third story is a lighter one, one of a desi cat burglar in San Francisco, one with a taste for high fashion. [ABCLocal] (maisnon via email)

Police say Pooja Gandhi was a prolific burglar who was good at her trade. Investigators finally identified her through fingerprints found at two recent burglaries, but for the past six to eight months police say she was very busy.
Police say she broke into apartments, homes for sale and stores across the city, burglarizing them at ease. Pooja Gandhi, 30, they say was a skillful equal opportunity cat burglar.

A desi equal opportunity cat burglar. Now you can truly say you’ve seen it all. Her modus operandi was as simple as it was effective.

She didn’t raise a whole lot of suspicion, so she was allowed to come and go behind people. She may have piggy backed on doorways where she would follow someone in who was going into a building,” said San Francisco Sgt. Marty Lalor who is heading the investigation.
The girl looked like anybody. She could be at the restaurant having dinner with us,” said Sanchez.

A. Looking at the above mugshot it is hard to imagine how a fairer skinned version of Sanjaya did not raise any suspicion.
B. We’ve truly come a long way in this county if desis are not being looked at with suspicion. While we wholeheartedly welcome this change in attitude, we would also like to encourage our fellow desis to not misuse this new found acceptance.

Back to the topic, it appears that Pooja Gandhi was truly a high end cat burglar.

Police showed ABC7 News some of the stolen goods, which even included dog collars. Gandhi apparently had an eye for expensive apparel as well.
“Some of the items range from $4,000 raincoats to $1,400 dresses,” said Lalor.
She said the two stole about $8,000 of clothing from her boutique in the Marina. She identified some of them from police photos.

The loot recovered from her apartment was so vast that the local police are attributing most burglaries in the last six to eight months to the high-fashion desi cat burglar. MEOW!

White House Diwali – why so touchy?

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Rediff reports:

Obama’s Diwali celebration upsets Indian-American community.

Here’s the back story – ex-president Bush started the practice of hosting a Diwali event since 2003, courtesy request of the Indian-American community and it’s been a practice ever since. Some of the events have been full fledged and upto two hours long, while some, like last year’s,  have been less flashy.

While the article about the first Obama-era Diwali, quoted above, points out reasons why Indian Americans are upset (mostly elderly immigrant Indians), the rest of the article quotes two second generation desis – both staffers at the White House (including Kal Penn – supposedly the organizer for the upcoming event), deny that this would be a ‘diluted’ event. Couple of changes include, the venue  is now moved INTO the Whitehouse as compared to previous occasions when it was hostedn in an adjacent building, and also George Bush never made it to any of the Diwali events since 2003, always sending a   representative instead. Obama however, will attend the event this year. And this time, the event is open to all Asian-Americans and not exclusive to desis only.

The glitch however, seems to be that none of the community activists have been invited (yet), and since Kal Penn – a first timer is in charge of the event, it may well be  be a miss for those waiting to get an invitation to the Whitehouse for Diwali.

Scouting for news articles – I did not, however, find any statements from any acclaimed Hindu statesmen (yet).

So what do readers think? Is Fasicst Obama trying to dilute ‘our’ Diwali event, so that Kenyan festivals are more popular in Whitehouse (this is where, you add a smiley in your head)?

Or is it a case of some senior (and quite possibly invitation -deserving) activists feeling left out and blaming clueless Obama for trying to ‘dilute’ a celebration?

And just another snippet of info, an article dated from 2004 (by the same author as in Obama’s article, Aziz Haniffa from Washington D.C.)  -

Bush’s snub of White House Diwali celebration irks Indian American supporters and guests alike

Me thinks, we are way too touchy about having Diwali, in WhiteHouse, in the way we want it. (It’s Whitehouse – not our own house).

Shout out your thoughts in the comments section below.

“A Custom Lungi” – a literary review

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Over the years, we’ve watched with great interest the evolution, or rather the lack of it, of desi literature based in the U.S. The following is based on some common trends/threads in desi lit novels – bright covers with saris and bindis and the choice of “serious” South Asian specific topics like dowry, arranged marriages, bride burning – that we’ve noticed. This post should be viewed as nothing more than a gentle attempt at sarcasm from some jaded readers.

An excerpt from the new desi lit novel “A Custom Lungi” by Blogger Santosh.

“Smells like vendakkai curry”, thought Apu to himself as he walked in at 8pm after a long day’s work in front of the computer. Apu’s love for vendakkais, okras as Americans know it, was legendary. Samir, his Project Manager, had been lately been considerate enough to let him off by 7pm and had also raised his salary to nearly half of what his American colleagues made.
“She’s getting really good at this cooking business”, he reflected, as he changed into his trademark lungi and banian. She had been sick lately, throwing up in the mornings. “Must be that outside food we had 3 weeks back”, he said reasoning to himself and then let his thoughts wander to Sharon.
His phone rang snapping him out of his reverie. It was his lawyer. “What now?”, thought Apu. His lawsuit against corporate giants No-gain, who falsely proclaimed themselves as the ultimate solution to premature balding, had not been going well lately.

A Custom LungiReview
“Blogger turned novelist Santosh has captured the spirit of an immigrant Indian man like no one else. The sweeping saga of a hirsute, slightly overweight, promiscuous, Indian man in an arranged marriage and his struggles with premature balding and against corporate America – “A Custom Lungi” is a cry for help from the South Asian male.”
Desi Tribune

“A snapshot of life in America through the eyes of a Hindi, and vice versa. From H1B exploitation to racial stereotyping to arranged marriages to dowry to extramarital affairs to the plight of a girl child, “A Custom Lungi” provides an in-depth and controversial look at the South Asian community”
South Asian Herald

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Desi teenagers in California face jailtime for hacking

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Two desi teenagers in California are facing jailtime for charges of breaking into a school and hacking into the computer systems with stolen IDs and passwords to change grades. [FOX News] (tip Jennie via email)

The two accused
img: via Fox

According to the story, 18 year olds Omar Khan and Tanvir Singh, are being accused of the above crimes with Omar facing upto 38 years in prison and Tanvir upto 3 years.

County prosecutors allege Omar Khan, 18, of Coto de Caza, and Tanvir Singh, 18, of Ladera Ranch, broke into Tesoro High School in Las Flores to steal tests and change their own and others’ grades on the school computer network.

While Singh allegedly only tried doing it once, Khan apparently did it several times.

Khan’s been charged with 69 felony counts and could get more than 38 years in prison. Singh faces four counts and could wind up with three years.

Omar is being charged with “altering and stealing public records, computer fraud, burglary, identify theft and receiving stolen property and conspiracy” and Tanvir with “conspiracy, burglary, computer access and fraud and attempted altering of a public record”. Their actions are being viewed “very seriously” by the prosecutors.

“These students are not accused of just committing simple ‘Ferris Bueller’-type offenses,” Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn told the Register. “These are very serious crimes.”

The crimes seem very detailed, especially the ones alleged to be committed by Omar including stealing a master key to the school, and stealing teacher’s IDs and passwords to change his grades and other and stealing test. Tanvir allegedly got involved when he took Omar’s help for stealing a test.

Check out a series of text messages between the two (paraphrasing from the Fox article):

Tanvir: “Hey wana go to the school tonight”
Tanvir: “Come haha I need someone with balls there with me … I have a huge test on a book tomorrow I haven’t read.”
Omar: “Some pussies did a senior prank last night so its gonna b really risky.”
Tanvir: “We will go at like 7 so its not shady. Such a gay prank. Haha wow.”
Omar: “Ya wow, Call me when you want to go.”

As for Omar, he’d gotten involved in the first place because he was frustrated by his Cs and Ds and wanted to get into one of California’s prestigious colleges?

Granted this kind of criminal behavior is more of an anomaly than the norm, but after the post on the success of South Asian kids in the Spelling Bee, this one comes as a bucket of cold water on a wet dream. Just a guess, but both will most likely cite parental and peer pressure as a catalyst for their actions, which as we all know a lot of desi parents are notorious for. But breaking in and hacking their grades and that of others is going too far, they are affecting not only their careers but also that of innocent fellow students’. Still, given the nature of these crimes and the age of the perpetrators, 38 years seems a tad much.

What do our readers think? If there are any lawyers or people involved with the legal system, among our readers, I’ll be interested in hearing their thoughts also. Comments? Opinions? Fire away in the space below and keep it clean.

Indian from Indiana wins Spelling Bee

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Actually Indian-American kid from Indiana but Indian rhymed better with Indiana. Sameer Mishra, a 8th grader won the spelling bee by spelling “guerdon”. I now know “guerdon” means “reward”. Congratulations to Sameer. Second place went to another desi kid, Sidharth Chand of Michigan, who was tripped up by “prosopopoeia”, a word that confounds my Firefox spell checker also. [USA Today]

Previous Spelling Bee post on Uber Desi.

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