The Best of the Web 2013

Posted on December 27, 2013


Blogs, websites, and YouTube channels that make us proud to be Indians. – Reena Karim

The Shooting Star
Of hundreds of travel bloggers, Shivya Nath has been able to keep The Shooting Star interesting (see her post “7 Travel Destinations for Solo Women”) and funny (see “On Losing My Turkish Hammam Virginity”). Although she claims not to “fit the bill of a regular backpacker”, she prefers staying at the homes of locals and ends up in places that don’t make the news (see “Four small towns in Europe you probably never heard about). Nath, a former corporate employee, took a two-month sabbatical to travel around Europe and the Himalayas. Those two months changed her life and got her hooked to travelling. It is then that she decided to become a full-time travel blogger. After setting up The Shooting Star, this intrepid voyager also created a website called India Untravelled which gives urban explorers tips on authentic experiences in rural India. Her work has appeared in The Times of India, CNNGo, and The Huffington Post, among others.

Why we love it: Nath’s blog is notable for her firsthand experience (see “Of Hitchhiking in Bahrain”) which she vividly shares through good writing. And you don’t have to be as hardcore as her to find useful her advice posts, such as “Reasons for Travelling Solo in India” and “Tips to Break into Freelance Travel Writing”.

Scoop Whoop
Scoop Whoop is buzzing not just because of its ability to make us Desis laugh-out-loud at our own faux pas (see “13 Lies Indian Parents Buy”) but also by giving us inspiring, thought-provoking stories that are unapologetic about driving the point home (see “Bruised Pictures of Indian Goddesses” which deals with the issue of domestic violence). Divided into News, Entertainment, Sports, and Other News, Scoop Whoop’s videos and .gif collections deliver short and funny commentary on news and popular culture currently resonating on the web, much like BuzzFeed. The content, even though aimed at Indians, also caters to a global audience (see “Nine Really Cool Things You Didn’t Know about India and Indians”). Scoop Whoop allows users to submit or contribute ideas to the site. Its Desi mocking content is what keeps us at Masala awake right after lunch and especially on a Friday.

Why we love it: As serious as they try to get, make no mistake Scoop Whoop is still Scoop Whoop. We regularly LOL at our desks looking at videos of drunken baraatis dancing like no one’s watching. We are also in awe of the incredible video they posted of India’s first openly gay royal.

She is audacious, highly opinionated, and unafraid to poke fun at the Sikh community. Meet Canada based Indian Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman, a viral star born out of YouTube. The 23-year-old’s claim to fame are her unique videos in which she spoofs everyday issues, such as being single, shopping, living with Indian parents, and what it is like being a South Asian girl in Canada. Her wit and straightforward, tell-it-like-it-is demeanour (see “The Difference Between Brown and White Girls” and “Annoying People on Airplanes”) have earned her a huge fan following. Inspired by her Indian heritage, the entertainer talks, sings, dances, and enacts reallife situations and characters that most South Asians can relate to. Through her videos, her bold attitude changes the way most audiences see a female South Asian. In an interview with Yahoo India News, she says, “I want to show people I am Indian, but that doesn’t mean I have to be any different of a person. I’m outspoken, bold, and driven. How’s that for an Indian woman?”

Why we love it: We regularly cry laughing over frequent viewings of the video that made her famous, “Shit Punjabi Mothers Say”, which so far has over 2,893,540 hits. Singh impersonates, in an uncannily authentic mix of colourful English and perfect Punjabi, a stereotypical Punjabi mother. Her impressions are lovable and spot on.

The Delhi Walla
The Delhi Walla is the brainchild of photojournalist Mayank Austen Soofi. He also has published four books on the capital and works with Hindustan Times. Praised as “a one-man encyclopedia of the city” (Time Out Delhi), the website, formerly a blog, documents an alternative Delhi through Soofi’s eyes. With numerous sections, spanning historical biographies, culture, food, and faith, Soofi takes readers on the highs and through the underbelly of the city, covering everything from homemade mango ice-cream to the eunuchs from Nizamuddin Dargah (see his post “Meeting the Other Sex”). In his photo essays, Soofi captures moments in Delhi’s most obscure streets (see “The Resting Labourers” and “Epitaph on Chandni Chowk”). Some of his most compelling reads comes from the esoterically titled section, Delhi Proustians. Here, Soofi delves into the lives of locals (beggar Muhammed Dawood is
one example) using the Proust Questionnaire, a list of questions said to reveal one’s personality, made popular by French novelist Marcel Proust.

Why We Love It: You may visit Delhi frequently, but armed with this tool, it’ll feel like a whole new city. Soofi
chronicles the best of the city, but he doesn’t mince words when it comes to shedding light on the capital’s many inequalities (see “Rules for Ayahs, The Delhi Golf Club”).

Featured in Masala Lite November as part of the cover story ” Masala Picks the Best of the Web 2013″, November 2013.

Posted in: People