22 May 2006

A slice of India...

Over the weekend, SS-san from the International Forum arranged with NM-san, who runs an Elder Day-care center, that I would give a demonstration on 'wearing Indian clothes'. So Aditi and I, dressed in our traditional best went to the center to show them what Indian clothes were all about. Yunohama, where the center is located, has to be the smallest town that I've ever seen. Before I even realised we had entered the town, I was told that this was the other end!

I really had a lovely afternoon there. There was a birthday party for three of the ladies there. They turned 75, 91 and 98! This was a birthday treat for them. I think they had a better time with Aditi running around than the actual sari thingie. Aditi, I know for a fact had a whale of a time running around and wrapping all and sundry around her little finger. She was at her charming best. Everyone was greeted with a konichiwa... O genki desu ka? And I certainly didn't need NM-san to interpret the 'awwwwwwwws'. That is a kind of universal language, what?

For the first part of the demo the ladies were slightly bashful, and it was decided that the old dears who were a year older today would play dress-up first. And did they enjoy it!!!! Especially the 99 year young at heart! After the rest of the old dears saw that their friends were having a whale of a time, everyone wanted to play dress up and have their pics taken. Some 20 odd of them wore saris and had their pics taken.

And then was the birthday party. Aditi insisted on singing 'Happy Birthday' at the top of her voice! Awwwwwwww again.

Then one grandmother bashfully asked me if I would visit her niece who ran a nursery nearby. So off we went to the nursery. The kids were so curious about Aditi and me in our desi outfits. One precocious little one stopped and asked me 'Anata wa gaijin desu ka?' (are you a foreigner?)... I couldn't help but burst out laughing and explain to the little tyke that I was from India. That was a good icebreaker as any. So here I was surrounded by kids who had such a repertoire of questions. Where was I from? Why was I dressed like that? Did I know English? Have I seen an elephant? (God knows where that one came from) Why am I in Japan? Wow... they really were curious. Finally it was time for us to leave and we got a really enthusiastic goodbye from the entire bunch!

So we headed back to the elder care place to collect our stuff. There the admin staff asked if they could wear saris and have their pics taken too. So there we were for another 45 mins while the younger generation played at dressing-up.

Even as I type, Aditi asks if we can go there again. I ask her why... "because they will call me kawai desu (how cute)"

She does have her priorities.

We certainly have been invited back again for any other 'Indian' activity. I am thinking of a movie session. How does Sholay sound? Perfect cross-cultural bridge?

6 comments:

antrix said...

How does Sholay sound? Perfect cross-cultural bridge?
Yeah, will be cool to see if anyone picks up the Seven Samurai connection :-)

Axe said...

Sholay was a Seven Samurai copy? I never picked up that connection.

Vidya said...

Good one Deepak... that was my idea... and it's also the kind of movie that doesnt really need subtitles...

Axe, when have you last seen a desi movie?

Axe said...

It's the word SEVEN woman!

Seven Samurai had one copy - The Magnificent Seven. Note the recurrence of the number SEVEN motif.

Nikhil said...

Copy and connection are two different things.

Sholay was definitely partly inspired by Seven Samurai (or mag7). Axe if you do not believe that you have not seen at least one of them.

About Vidya's query: Axe and I had a discussion on Hindi movies the other day. I will try to quote him as accurately as I can.

-----------------------
Note: I am NOT making this up. I could have but I did not.
-----------------------

Axe: Bollywood sucks [complain about plots, action and very few eye candy actresses.]

Me: What were the last five movies that you watched?

Axe: I can recall four. I do not watch that much.

Me: [rolls eyes] Ok list four.

Axe: Bluffmaster, Dus, Sarkar and Rang De Basanti.

Me: You should also watch movies like Page 3.

Axe: I liked "Hazaron Khwaishain Aisi"

Me: I have not seen that one.

Axe: Mainly because it was in English. I did not have to translate everything in my mind to English. Otherwise I have to read the subtitles and that is how I increase my hindi vocabulary.

Trust me, Axe can understand each and every word of Hindi, he just hates to admit it.

Angrez chale gaye, Axeko chhod gaye. :)

Other bollywood movies that can cater to Japanese taste would be Bhoot, Kaun, Satya etc.

Vidya said...

HAHAHA ... something about him makes it so easy for the rest of the world believe the worst about Axe... poor guy!

knowing Axe, I can acutally hear in my mind the exact tone he'd have used.

maybe it's time to take Axe's trip again.