July 21, 2007

Mashimoni and Maneka

Seems to me like I'm going on like a stuck record about this, said it here, said it to one or two people out there possibly reading this ... but today marks four weeks (!) since my wondrous broadband internet service went belly-up. Ever since, given some other preoccupations too, for email/web stuff, I've had to rely on occasional forays to cybercafes, and sometimes catching the broadband signal from my neighbour's home. Actually, it went belly-up four weeks ago too, but inexplicably comes on once in a while for 15-20 minutes at a time.

This is one of those times, and he and I scramble to get our emailing done.

One result of all this is that I have a growing list of things I've want to post here, and maybe I will work my way through them when I get back net access, sometime in the 2040s.

Until then, it will be short quick posts, put up before the signal fades yet again.


It has just been brought to my notice that a substantial number of world-famous people -- singers, athletes, politicians, etc -- have roots in India. For example, no doubt you've heard that one George Orwell -- better known, of course, as Eric Arthur Blair -- was born in Bihar.

But I'm talking about something a little more. Apparently there are plenty of famous figures who were born and raised in India, but changed their names once they achieved fame in their particular fields.

Here's a sample:

Baliram Jal: singer with a string of hits from the '70s through the '90s, such as "Piano Man", "Honesty", "My Life", "Only the Good Die Young", "Just the Way You Are", "Uptown Girl" and "We Didn't Start the Fire".

Babulal Dhillon: another popular folk-rock singer whose career took off in the '60s. "Blowin' in the Wind", "The Times They are A-Changin'", "Like a Rolling Stone", and the 2006 #1 album, "Modern Times".

Mai Ke Lal Jaikishen: Major figure in music, mid-80s albums "Bad" and "Thriller" are icons of those times, giving way to 1991's "Dangerous" and much more since. Arguably the biggest solo rock star since Elvis Presley.

Jaani Phugti: Became lead singer for the celebrated late '60s band "Creedence Clearwater Revival", crooning a succession of classics such as "Proud Mary", "Down on the Corner", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Who'll Stop the Rain". Has had a notable solo career too, particularly his superb mid-80s album "Centerfield".

Mashimoni Bahl: Piano-playing blues and boogie-woogie singer, though known mostly in Texas. Had a 1989 album called "Gatorhythms", with minor hits like "Daddy Said" and "Mobile". Her real name remains unknown; she has always been known by the "Mashimoni" that her Bengali nieces used to call her.

Hari Bala Phanse: Calypso superstar. "Down the Way", "Day-O" and "Matilda" are just three of his world-famous repertoire of joyous Caribbean classics.

Maneka Shailesh: Tennis great who reached the pinnacle of her sport in the early '90s, but a mad spectator knifed her in the back at a tournament. She returned after 3 years, but was never the same.

Andhyarujina Agashe: Arguably the most charismatic tennis star of the last 20 years, Agashe won 8 Slams, including all four majors at least once. Will be remembered for the moving speech he gave when he retired at last year's US Open.

Kanika Date: Japan's #1 women's tennis player in the '90s, reached #4 in the world in 1995. Won Japan Open 4 times.

Babulal Dole: US Republican party politician, Presidential candidate in 1996.

Alvida Gore: US Democratic party politician, Vice-President to Bill Clinton, Presidential candidate in 2000.

Jharna Kumari Rawale: Author of the "Hari Putter" series of books. Her first book was in Hindi, titled "Shri Hari Putter Aur Ek Jadugar. Aur Woh Jadugar Ka Ek Patthar". When she submitted it to her publisher, she was persuaded that it could use a shorter title. The rest is history.


Anonymous said...

being a computer scientist how could you forget Balaji, the creator of the Balaji Software Distribution operating system, co-founder of Soorya microsystems, whom the future does not need etc. By stretching the imagination he also co-wrote lyrics for Piano man, Downeaster Alexa, and the Lullaby among others.

truely, yours truly.

Anonymous said...

Good one. I'd put up a similar post here

Anonymous said...

speaking of operating systems there is the famous Sunil who fought with a prof and reversed his name to write an operating system. the benevolent dictator took revenge on a penguin that bit him by making it the logo. Another Sunil won two nobel prizes.

the more famous name is perhaps "aaru-naal" Shivashankaran, who said "I'll be back" and went to Shivajinagar for six days.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Excellent, you two anons, unless you're the same! Yeah, that Balaji and those Sunils ...

Nazim, a very excellent list. You are to be commended on compiling it.