The Mumbai Mirror has reported that Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp as runners-up to the title of Sexiest Man Alive, which in fact was garnered by an India-American. Now I always thought that list was non-hierarchical but then, who reads People Magazine that closely. You always glance through it to see the pretty pictures while waiting for a haircut or an oil change (your car’s, not yours).
Michael Manga, a 37-year-old geology professor of UC Berkeley finds himself in the company of people he is rarely seen with and as he jocularly remarks that probably this news won’t get far on the Berkeley campus since no one reads People there. Sepia Mutiny thinks that such honor was long overdue and I almost thought they were crowing about a desi being included in the list (Sanjay Gupta was featured in 1999 (I think). But nope, they in fact were harping on a brilliant geophysicist being on the list giving hope to millions of academicians who spend their lives in solitude up in the ivory tower secluded from much of the humanity.
However, as I read the column in MM more closely to examine where exactly in India he grew up or was born at, I come upon this paragraph at the very end — “His father, who is of Indian origin, immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Manga was born in Hamilton and raised in Ottawa.” So I guess, even his father is far removed from India and so Manga was hardly an Indian. Sure, his distant roots are Indian but does he consider himself an Indian? Would his children be considered Indian too? Are we too impatient to jump the gun and claim every achiever as our own? Manga might have Indian roots but MM headline — Indian professor is Sexiest Man Alive — is further from the truth on two counts.