Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Since then, the couple has basically lived there alone and while I see him coming and going throughout the day, I almost only see her when she pokes her head out every one in a while before disappearing back inside. And in the last 2 months since they moved in, they never once stopped by for a visit. At least, until the other day. Suddenly, and without warning, they were just on my terrace, both of them, sitting in the sun and grooming themselves without a care in the world. They took a bit of a bath, bit their nails, adjusted a few things here and there and then sat there with the attitude of those who know they are beautiful.
And they are beautiful. My neighbors happen to be a pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets. Their home is a hole in the tree just of my terrace which they got when they kicked out a squirrel. She tends to stay inside, on her eggs or with the until now unseen babies while he goes hunting or stands guard on a branch. Lately, they have started hanging out on our terrace. We have a pair of lovebirds that tend to spend the day on the terrace and the nights inside and they will all sing back and forth to each other every morning and afternoon. If I sit still, they will come within a meter or so of me, close, yet just far enough to make a quick getaway if they feel threatened. Our lovebirds love the parrots a lot more than they liked the old but still forbidding looking hawk who spent a few hours on the terrace one evening. They didn’t utter a single peep the entire time. Even though they are domesticated, I think they realize when something higher up the food chain is looking at them and thinking “yummy”.
My new found fascination with birds is a bit of a surprise to me and something I wish I would have had many years ago. My grandparents were bird people. My grandmother had bird feeders all over the place and could tell you all about the various birds that would come to the yard. She could tell them apart by their chirping, and could tell the male from the female by some obscure marking. She knew the regular visitors and noticed the new ones. I found it boring. To me, a bird was a bird was a bird, and unless it could talk to ride a mini tricycle, I wasn’t interested. How many kids are? But now I find this common interest, this connection with them that I wish I would have had when they were living.
Monday, April 27, 2009
When I was younger, I had many dreams. Some were far-fetched, like living on the Starship Enterprise, journeying to the center of the earth or just flying like that kid in “The Boy Who Could Fly”. Not all of my dreams were so extreme, some were actually quite modest, like being king of my own country or becoming a celebrated and statuette winning star of the stage and screen.
While I am convinced that someday, if I can just find the right hat or oversized shirt collar, I will go the way of Sally Field in “The Flying Nun” and be put into flight by a dainty breeze, I have pretty much realized that my other dreams were just the fantasies of a cute and rosy cheeked child who had unreasonable parents who refused to let him move to New York when I was fifteen. Or were they?
Saturday night Manuel and I responded to a personal invitation from the fabulous Anjali herself for dinner at her place. No sooner had we arrived than the cocktail shaker was put into full abuse mode, being shaken into a frenzy while we invented new and exciting combinations. Don’t you just love the fact that vodka, like cashmere, goes with just about everything? But I am digressing. Where was I? Oh yes. It was during this cocktail infused dinner that my phone rang. I saw the name on the display and answered it immediately.
“There is a shoot tomorrow for new television series. Are you available?” were the first words that floated into my ear.
“Can you be at Le Meridien hotel at eight?”
“In the morning?”
“Yes, eight in the morning”
It was already after ten in the evening and I switched immediately to water. Then I realized that there was no time to get a haircut. My Bangkok version of the ryan Seacrest had grown out. The only work I had done recently was a bit or writing and some voice-over work, none of which require grooming at any level. The last time the casting director has seen me, I was rocking my Ryan Seacrest. Now I had a beard. I had unkempt hair. I was beyond the help of product. My only saving grace would be the make-up team.
Then I realized I had no idea what I role I would be playing. What should I wear? How should I look? And then panic hit. Would they be so cruel as to cast me in the role of someone’s father? Me, who barely looks out of high-school? My head was reeling with the possibilities.
I went home and immediately to bed for my three hours of sleep. Not even shooting yet and already the life of a star. I was awake at four and officially up at five. There was trimming and exfoliating to be done. Moisture masks and teeth whitening. And then there was the issue of what to wear. I had no idea what the show was about or what I would play. I didn’t think to ask. All I heard were the words “series” and “shoot” and suddenly it was time to decide what to wear and I didn’t have a clue. I took one of everything. Dress shirt, jacket, polo shirt, t-shirt, dress shoes and sneakers and threw them all in a bag, got into the taxi and forty minutes later I was in the make-up chair getting ready for my numerous close-ups. I still had no idea what the heck I was doing, but I didn’t care. I was too busy enjoying the make-up chair.
Then came time for the scripts. I can’t say much about it as it has not launched, but it is a dramatic series which plays out in the world of luxury. I played one of the top people of a major luxury empire. Not quite a king, but perhaps a prince or a duke. It was so difficult for me to relate to the character, to understand his motivation, but I feel I made it work and brought a certain Golden Globe quality to the role.
So now, the question is, will the pilot get picked up and when do I shoot my cover of Vanity Fair?
Don’t worry Annie, I won’t pull a Miley on you. Or maybe I will…
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We were staying in a village called Naddi, which is at the dead end of a winding, steep and poorly paved mountain road. The village itself had no other foreigners and just a few dozen or so buildings around which ran scores of children and goats. As soon as the clouds cleared and the sun hit the ground, the air filled with tens of thousands of white butterflies. I have never seen anything like it. It looked like a snow flurry, white specks flying and floating in every direction. It was hypnotic.
“What is going on here?” she asked, using her best interrogation voice that suggested I might be waterboarded if I didn’t supply an acceptable answer.
“I think the Dalai Lama is on his way.”
“That’s not possible. He can’t just come here!”
I wasn’t really sure what to say and didn’t feel the residence of His Holiness was the best place to get into a heated argument.
“But he can’t just come here! He’s the Dalai Lama. It is not possible. How can he just come here?” she not so much asked, as accused.
“He does live here” I said, stretching out the word “live” for impact and effect.
“But it just isn’t possible! Where is the security? And what about all these people? And where is the security?” she demanded to know.
“There are two security guys over there.”
“This is ridiculous. Only in India is this possible. He can’t just come here!” And with that she walked off quite indignant.