Extra gunpowder, please. For a man who’s built a colossal empire on the “holy trinity of south Indian snacks” (dosa, idli and vada, for those who were wondering), P. Rajagopal sure has a murky past — a murder charge, to be exact. But that hasn’t stopped hordes from slurping down sambhar at Saravana Bhavan, a super successful chain of approximately 80 restaurants scattered across India and the diaspora. Rajagopal’s business strategy? “Prey on homesickness by importing skilled chefs to ensure that the food tastes just the way it does in Chennai. Don’t bother trying to pursue non-Indian customers.” Excuse me while I make a lunchtime dash to his New York City outpost — morals be damned. [New York Times]
Bless this belt. According to a 2013 report by Bloomberg Philanthropies, “India is responsible for the highest overall number of road deaths.” So it’s no surprise that one of the latest India-based vids to go viral shines the spotlight on the importance of seat belts. Featuring a cast of sari-clad transgender “safety officers”, the two-minute clip (brought to you by Ogilvy & Mather) is a must-watch. Kudos to the agency for simultaneously tackling two social woes — reckless motorists and the prejudice that surrounds India’s transgender community — in one very creative go. [Channel 4 News]
Griller-in-chief? Indian audiences expecting Times Now anchor Arnab Goswami (think Bill O’Reilly – only shriller) to skewer prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, were left disappointed after what can only be described as a tepid television interview last night. Goswami traded his voracious questioning style — something he certainly didn’t hold back for Modi’s opponent, Rahul Gandhi, back in January for an approach that seemed bizarrely awe-struck. Buzzfeed reporter Tasneem Nashrulla captures the lukewarm conversation perfectly through a pair of gifs here. [Times Now]
DDLJ – The Remix. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge may be sacrosanct for all us 90s Bollyphiles but even a purist like me (confession: I own a replica of The Cowbell) couldn’t help but giggle at Karachi-based blogger Imaan Sheikh’s irreverent spin on the film. Imaan, who describes herself as a “woman with a gender-neutral name reporting live from the bro-zone,” created a highly entertaining pictorial that rips on everyone from Simran’s geeky younger sis to Balraj’s aging mother in this highly entertaining pictorial. Lighten up. After all, bade bade deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai. [H/T Gautam Sadarangani]
Portraying a Patriot. New Yorkers looking for the perfect Monday night activity, check out New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas in conversation with NYU prof Jack Tchen at the Asia Society on May 12th. The two will be discussing Giridharadas’ second book, The True American — an astonishing tale about the victim of a racially-motivated shooting who decides to forgive his attacker, joining a campaign to spare his would-be murderer from death-row. [The Asia Society]
Aarti Virani is an arts and culture writer based in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has written for publications including Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @aartivirani.