If only I were a film star…

……I’d have had a vegetable named after me.

Seriously. Gina Lollobrigida has a humble lettuce named after her. The lollo lettuce—green and red varieties—supposedly looks like the gorgeous Italian’s hair style, all curly and wavy and yummy. See the resemblance?

Gina Lollobrigida and lollo lettuce

The lettuce reminds me of kitchens, and kitchens remind me of my stint in a hotel kitchen. I studied hotel management, you see, and part of the course was a six-month internship at a hotel. One day, labouring away in the continental kitchen, I heard the chef call out to me: “Pass the Mala Sinha!” Huh?
I was later enlightened: a conical steel colander, of the sort used to strain soup, is colloquially called a Mala Sinha. The shape, you see. Big on top, very narrow below. Ah, well.

Mala Sinha and a Soup Colander

But frankly, the `big on top’ prize goes to Mae West. So much so that Allied soldiers during World War II dubbed their life preservers `Mae Wests’, because when inflated, they swelled up in front. I can’t pass judgement here on how accurate this supposed similarity is, because in the only Mae West film I’ve seen (I’m No Angel), her assets had definitely drifted south. Methinks if you were a sailor floating around in the freezing waters of the North Sea, drifting south to the warm Mediterranean would be very welcome…sorry, sorry. Just faffing.

Mae West and life preserverLast offering, and this one’s as absurd as the others.
In the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, rickshaw-pullers will pedal you through the park for a fee. They’ll point out birds to you, but they have their own (not always the approved) name for each bird. A purple moorhen, for instance, they call a lipstick bird; and a brahminy myna is called a Sunil Dutt myna. The `hair’ again, though shorter and neater than La Lollo’s.

Sunil Dutt and brahminy myna

And I wonder what would be named after me, if I were ever so lucky. A pumpkin of some sort? A hippopotamus?

Hmm. I think I’ll stick with being obscure.


7 thoughts on “If only I were a film star…

  1. What an interesting post! Poor Mala Sinha and Sunil Dutt dont seem to have come out too well, have they? And Mae West seemed to have “assets” all over her – very unusual for a Hollywood leading lady. Still, I wouldnt mind having a pumpkin (or a hippo) named after me, if I could only be in such famous company!


  2. bollyviewer: Yes, Sunil Dutt and Mala Sinha seem to have got the short end of the stick ;-). And, frankly, I don’t quite understand the craze Mae West generated. Yes, she was witty and came up with some great one-liners, but as far as looks go, she was definitely going downhill at the time of some of her greatest hits.

    memsaab: Or a dessert? I know the Aussies – or is it the New Zealanders? – have a spectacular dessert of cake, cream, fruit etc called a Pavlova, after the ballerina. And then there’s peach Melba, for Dame Nellie Melba. A memsaab cookie or candy would have to be a very interesting one, maybe with a definite spiciness to it. :-)


  3. On a tangential note, I once heard a radio ad for a brand of basmati rice where they described the rice as (and I am quoting from memory here) “Aishwarya ki tarah patla aur Kareena ki tarah gora”.


  4. I just saw this post of yours – wonder how I missed it all these days! Poor Mala Sinha – to be compared to a colander! You had me laughing all the way! But – there is Khushboo idli in the South, named after the actress Khushboo, who was apparently very popular in the 90s, and was very fair and plump, hence the name given to the idli! I don’t think I would be flattered, though.
    Great post!


    • I can understand why you hadn’t seen this earlier, Lalitha – it’s ancient. ;-) This was posted way back in early 2009, shortly after I began my blog.

      The Khushboo idli sounds hilarious (not glamorous, yes!).


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