Rushdie & Lakshmi, New Magazines, Gala Dinner, Shazia Mirza
A note wrapping up the SAJA conference: Friday night we had a reception with Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi. Beforehand I met a reporter who looks like he could be Rushdie's younger twin. I managed to park myself directly in front of the celebrity couple, so I could glance over to my right and compare the two. Lakshmi was wearing iridescent strappy stiletto sandals, and I finally understood why designers make shoes like that. She has a ballet dancer's legs and feet, even though she's probably too tall to be one, and the stiletto heel essentially put her en pointe, creating a straight line down from her knees to her toes. She rather amusingly shoved her shorter husband aside from the mike whenever she wanted to interject a point. They did not disappoint, though I find these free-for-all question and answer sessions less than profound. Ultracasual was there
, and Seshu Badrinath of Tiffinbox took a photograph
Saturday morning revealed that the South Asian community is simply churning with start ups and projects. Shruti Reddy was representing the Arizona based EW: East West Woman
, a glossy magazine aimed at women with Asian roots. I also met Pamela Arora, the editor of AnokhiVibe
, Radhika Singh from the upcoming Ego Magazine
, and Navdeep Kathuria, the editor of ABCDLady
(opens up a PDF of the cover). It will be interesting to see if the market can sustain four glossy women's magazines. I particularly liked EW's concept of trying to appeal to a broader range of cultures. There was a representative from an incipient digital tv company who spun his company's vision as aimed at South Asians--and anyone else interested in South Asia. That appeals to me much more. I prefer to focus less on simply writing for and about South Asians in America, and more on getting all kinds of Americans talking and learning about South Asia and South Asian culture--both there and here.
At the reception for the Gala dinner I was wandering around when one gentleman's nametag caught my eye--or rather the affiliation. "Springer-Verlag!" I gasped, "What are you
doing here?" He was as mystified about my enthusiastic recognition as the man standing next to me, who had never heard of Springer-Verlag. Springer-Verlag
is one of the premier publishers of math and physics books, though of course a Springer-Verlag author probably didn't expect to find one of their fans at a journalism conference. Sharing a room with my sister
as a child, I was often surrounded by piles of yellow books with the Springer seal on the spine, and in college I actually used to look forward to the annual "Yellow Sale
." Lior once relayed a tale to me (I don't know if it's an urban legend) of the Springer-Verlag truck being hijacked in Cambridge, MA--probably one of the few cities where a book truck might be considered more lucrative a target than a gasoline truck. Well, besides math and physics, they publish books on things like business and economics, and the gentleman I met,Mark Kobayashi-Hillary,
has written a book on Outsourcing to India
. The Gala featured a wonderful slideshow of SAJA members' photography set to music by Seshu Badrinath's Pipal Productions
--keep an eye on his site for it to be posted. It made me hungry to travel.
Yesterday we got a performance by Shazia Mirza
, Britain's premier Muslim Comedienne. Probably only Muslim Comedienne. I was amused, though her schtick about asking any man who spoke up if he was single, and then saying (if he answered yes) "I can see why," got old fast, and I had already heard many of the jokes on radio shows about her.