Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bandhed Together

Luckily this weekend turned out to be uneventful. Saturday was a citywide Bandh (basically the city was on curfew and everything was closed) to prevent the Friday riots from spreading. A lot of expats ended up cancelling travel plans, just like yours truly, and we were all stuck in HiTec city, which is basically an expat alcove. Ismail would only let us go to the Novotel, the business hotel behind the office, so we found our way to a leisurely lunch sipping coffee cocktails and eating thai green chicken curry.

After rolling out of Novotel, I went with Shannon and Neil to Shaparamam, the rural marketplace where villagers come to sell their crafts. Normally on a weekend it would have been packed, but it was a complete ghost town, and we were the only visitors. We walked the empty dirt paths past the sleepy salespeople who only made passing attempts to get our business. Shannon, Neil and I all ended up buying drawings from a woman who offered to paint anything we bring to her - I think I'm going to have some interesting painted objects by the time I get home ;)

Afterwards I headed home where I sat with my flat-mates, Tiffany and Mohit, trying to figure out what to do. Now, 3 expats in India with nothing to watch and nowhere to go, can come up with some very inventive things to keep them busy. First we decided we'd practice putting on saris, which lead to the idea that it would be even funnier if we videotaped our efforts tu put on YouTube (which didn't happen, so don't look...), which lead to the even better idea that we should choreograph a bollywood dance scene and videotape it. Although very entertaining, the videos of the incident will definitely be locked away in the vault for no one to see;)

Exhausted from our awesome dance moves, we sat down to a 3.5 hour hindi movie about divorce, since it was the only dvd in the house we haven't watched yet. Just so you know, no matter how bored you are, a 3.5 hour hindi movie about divorce still isn't entertaining, even if it has a dance scene with gogo dancers dressed as Marilyn Monroe doing Indian dance moves.

On Sunday, still not able to go anywhere, I went to brunch with Neil and Joel at the Sheraton. Afterwards I went to the posh Jayabheri pool with Shannon and Neil, only to discover that apparently that day, they had decided to institute a policy where girls with hair (as opposed to bald girls...) were forced to wear 'swim caps' (non-waterproof shower caps, the only real purpose of which was to make people look stupid). Once again, my pet peeve about India reared its ugly head- i.e. the random and unreasonable enforcement of stupid (sometimes made up) rules 20% of the time with anarchal chaos the other 80% of the time, with no telling which is going to be the case. Interestingly, that 20% happens to occur at a suspiciously higher frequency when you're a) in a hurry b) least expecting it and are really not in the mood for it or c) at an airport.

Undeterred, we went to the pool anyway (sans shower cap), but were forced inside within 20 minutes when a thunderstorm blew in, even though it had been clear, sunny, and hot all day. Once inside we decided we'd entertain ourselves by playing indoor ultimate badminton, but were once again shafted by the activity gods with the shuttlecocks mysteriously missing. Shannon was dealt the final blow when she went into her kitchen to find a plate in the sink entirely engulfed in ants, at a level of thickness only possible in the tropics.

Giving up on any ideas of activity, we escaped the infestation chez Neil with beers at 5pm followed by dominoes pizza and possibly the worst movie ever made- "Click" starring Adam Sandler (definitely worse than the bollywood movie about divorce). We watched this movie because it was the only movie there, and we thought we'd make it more fun by predicting exactly how Adam Sandler would acquire the magical remote control that drives the plot of the movie. Spoiler warning - as if anyone should ever want to watch this film- Neil guessed that he would get the remote control after moving into a new house, Shannon guessed that he would get the remote control as a gift, and I guessed that he would get the remote control from a mysterious person at a name-brand product-placed electronics chain.

I can only wish that I wasn't correct, but in fact, Adam Sandler drives past a Best Buy and another chain and goes into a Bed Bath and Beyond and gets the remote control from the mysterious Christopher Walken from the 'Beyond' section (he even has a business card that says "Beyond.") The entire plot of the movie revolves around Bed Bath and Beyond, and the amount of screentime the logo gets must be worth more than a superbowl commercial! I can only hope that Adam Sandler made a commission for that disgusting commercialistic ploy that was big enough to make up for his loss of self-respect - this movie made Billy Madison seem like an oscar contender. The only saving grace of the movie were the horrible english subtitles, which were phoenetically typed out by someone who clearly didn't speak english (which was even stranger, since the movie was already in English.)

Overall, despite the numerous failed attempts at entertaining ourselves, I'm grateful to say that the city has calmed down and things seem to be going back to normal. Since the worst things I can report from this weekend are watching a bad Adam Sandler movie and fighting of a pile of ants, I think I can count myself pretty damn lucky. In bocca al lupo.

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