A man from India migrates to South Africa.
From there he migrates to Canada.
He marries a Polish woman.
A child is born.
This child grows up in Canada.
He migrates to America.
At the age of 37, he is featured by People magazine in their issue on the 'Sexiest men alive'.
Journalism students: how many permutations and combinations of headlines can you make with this news? And which of these combinations is technically correct??
Indian scientist among Sexiest Men Alive says DNA. It goes on to call him an 37-year-old Indo-Canadian geophysicist
NRIs can't ask for more, Manga Sexiest Man Alive, says HT. A geophysicist of Indian origin has been selected the 'Sexiest Man Alive' ... goes their story.
PIO prof among world's sexiest men, says TOI (print). It goes on to observe - quite rightly - that the list came out a month ago but is making headlines in India only after the delirium-stricken desi media (their words, not mine!) discovered that he has a remote Indian connection.
However the TOI web version is equally delirious:
SILICON VALLEY: An Indian geophysicist of Indian origin has been selected the 'Sexiest Man Alive' by People magazine along with Hollywood superstars Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.
Menawhile a Canadian TV station reports: A Canadian shares a page with Bono in People magazine's sexiest men issue but Michael Manga is a reluctant and unlikely heartthrob...
Further down it briefly observes: "Manga is 5-foot-11, has long, dark hair and his family background makes for an interesting DNA mix with ties to South Africa, India, Germany and Poland".
My question is: who or what is 'Indian'.
Had Michael taken more after his Polish mother and looked Caucasian with blonde hair, would we have rushed to claim him as one of our own?
Is being 'Indian' a racial characteristic ie defined by colour of skin? In which case no matter how many generations we may move away from the Motherland, its culture and customs - we will never be fully 'American' or 'Canadian'?
Science can be sexy?!
I know every newspaper needs a peg to hang it news on - so that's where the 'Indian' bit comes in. But to me, the fact that a scientist makes it to 'world's sexiest men alive' was a far more interesting point.
As every write up mentions: Manga was one of only two men in academia admitted to the ranks of America's dreamiest dudes. "That's why I agreed to do this..." he explains."I wanted to get information out to people who wouldn't normally hear or see anything about science."
Of course, I may be more excited about a 'scientist' being called sexy as I grew up in a colony of scientists who were anything but.
What 'People' wrote about the 'hesitant hottie' is not known (they don't put up their entire mag online u see!) But a scan on the 'UC Berkeley News' site shows he was featured on the same page as U2's Bono.
The category was 'Smart Guys'.
As this blog notes:
To celebrate the 20-year milestone, editors highlighted some "smart guys" (CNN's man of the hour, Anderson Cooper), a few "bad boys" (actor Russell Crowe) and a bunch of "funny guys" (Steve Carrell).
Glad to see that the definitions of sexiness are expanding! Point to be noted is that Manga is not smart in the regular "muggu" sort of way.
In September this year, Manga was named a Mac Arthur fellow. The fellowship is described as 'an exclusive club of creative and original thinkers given $500,000 with no strings attached over the next five years'.
Manga, who combines theoretical geophysics with innovative laboratory experiments, intends to use some of the money to travel more and visit the subjects of his research: volcanoes.
Thought for the day
Albert Einstein, Abdul Kalam, and now Michael Manga, being quizzed about his long dark mane. Is being a celebrity scientist all in the hair?!