I love Hindi pop!
Neena, Preiti, Kushi and I took a rickshaw to the megaplex for a typical afternoon of movies and shopping.
The popular film right now is a movie called “3 idiots” featuring Bollywood superstars Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. It’s a story about 3 engineering students, their friendship, relationships with their professor, his daughter (the love interest) and about following your dreams. I have to say, after 3 hours of physical comedy, singing, dancing (especially the dance numbers, those were absolutely AWESOME) and lots of male-bonding crying scenes, I was thoroughly entertained. The film actually gave me a lot of insight into Indian culture; like how everyone in the neighborhood pitches in to help when you need help, and how people work really hard and party harder (there were two weddings in this movie!) I noticed that their movie set apartments were absolutely breathtaking, and the India countryside scenery was amazing. Neena told me most of mountainside scenery was likely filmed in the north, near the Kashmir border. She also recognied some Delhi landmarks. I also learned, the Bollywood is the movie industry in India that takes place from Mumbai (formerly Bombay, hence the “B” in Bollywood) and to the north. South of Mumbai, the movie industry in India is called “Tollywood,” because the movies tend to be centered around the southern city of Tamil. anyway, we went to the movies in the middle of the weekday, and there were lots of people there in the theater with us! I would’ve filmed them pushing into the movie theater, but security was holding my camera battery during the movie, apparently, in an attempt to try and curb bootlegging. The theater was beautiful! Comfortable, roomy seats that lean back, in a shopping complex that was absolutely pristine. Apparently, we have not been shopping in the right places so far!
What was funny to me was that even in the movie theater, in a shopping complex with lots and lots of stores, there were still vendors that popped up everywhere, bringing their stuff with them, and laying it out on a blanket on the floor.
Gurmeet, Preiti’s husband, joined us in the shopping mall after the movie. On our way to dinner, we stopped by an out of the way store to buy a “Kurti” or traditional Indian shirt for Neena. Neena and I would never have found this store on our own. It was sort of hidden in a nice neighborhood. It was clean, colorful, and best of all — the shopkeepers left us to shop without being pushy or following us around the store! I would’ve thought I was in the states, except for all the colorful ethnic clothing, the prices of the clothing (inexpensive, compared to what it would cost in America) and the mosquitos visibly buzzing around. (Don’t worry, I’m taking malarone, you know, anti-malaria pills during my trip!)
Gurmeet and Preiti took us to a 5-star hotel, where we ate a delicious indian dinner of rice, two chicken dishes, fish, onion salad with chili peppers, lots and lots of fresh naan (Roti bread is made with whole wheat, naan is made with the white stuff). It was delicious.
Neena and I finished eating. It was nearly 11pm, and they suggested we check out the club, while they check out this nearby coffee shop they’ve been wanting to try. We were off to dance!
There was lots and lots of American hip hop being played. (Mostly it was old songs, they had one or two recent songs but that was it.)
As we were waiting for people to come and dance, Neena and I amused ourselves by making up our own dance on the dance floor… dancing to Snoop Dog.
When a big group of American students encouraged us to join their dancing circle, we very dorkishly whipped out our dance, very “Save the Last Dance” style, in which we bust out our spontaneous choreographed moves.
Then, the DJ actually PLAYED songs from Save the Last Dance, which came out ten years ago!
We finally heard some Hindi music, but only because we begged the DJ. He said he really would rather play his old school American hip-hop. (C’mon, man! Where’s the love for your own youth dance culture, huh?)
We met up again with Neena’s family, and on the way home at 1am, Gurmeet took us sightseeing. It was pretty amazing, actually. He said it was the best time to go to these pupular places, because there was no traffic!
We saw Mother Teresa’s home, Queen Victoria’s Palace, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, and the Birla Mandir Temple. The pictures didn’t really come out all that well at all in the dark, but take my work for it, those were some amazing looking buildings.
We finally got home and collapested into bed a little after 2 in the morning.