Friday, June 12, 2009

Sunglasses At Night

The other day, I got a new pair of sunglasses. I had been looking at them for weeks and weeks and quite unexpectedly I ended up getting them. They are by far the most fantastic pair I have ever owned and I am not sure if the best part is how they look or the “Tom Ford” etched into the top of the glass. They are just so yummy, I could lick them. Of course, as luck would have it, no sooner did the salesman put the bag in my hand than the sky clouded over and the rain started. Try as I might, I just can’t carry of the ‘sunglasses in the rain’ look. Nor can I look hip and cool wearing them in movie theaters, restaurants, or anytime I find myself in a situation when the sun isn’t in my eyes.

And that was my dilemma later that same day. I returned to Khan Market where I got them, and was also having dinner that evening. I took them with me as they needed a tiny bit of adjusting. They were a millimeter or so off center and that is just not on. That done I went to the restaurant and there I sat, cocktail in one hand, while the other was busy petting the case that held the sunglasses. It was then I realized my problem; I am not Italian.

I have tried to be Italian. I have adopted ‘ciao’ as my greeting of choice, taken to drinking espresso and spending far too much on unneeded footwear that would stay unworn in their box in the closet. I have spent hours roaming Milan, pretending not to speak English to foreigners coming up to me and all my bags asking for directions and for an extremely brief period of time, I would use the expression ‘mamma mia!’ whenever something shocked or surprised me, which tended to bring looks of shock and surprise from those around me. But alas, even after all that, I never became Italian.

And that is what got in my way as I sat in the dimly lit lounge bar petting my sunglasses instead of pulling them out and putting them on. I pulled them out a few times so people nearby could get a good look and be jealous, but I just could not get myself to put them on. If I were Italian, putting them on and wearing them for the rest of the night would have been the most natural thing. In fact, it would be expected. No self respecting Italian would ever leave home without them and a backup collection, just in case. And then I devised a plan. If I pretended to clean them, then I could at least put them on for a few seconds to see if they were indeed clean. It would be during those seconds that I would look around the place slowly, acting as thought I were looking for renegade dust flecks, thereby modeling them briefly but still keeping my dignity intact.

So I pulled them out along with the matching and appropriately branded cleaning cloth and got to work. And once I felt I had given a convincing performance, I put them on and started to scan the room looking for admirers. And then I saw him. The guy just a few meters ahead of me wearing a polo shirt with the collar turned up and a pair of lesser sunglasses. I wondered if we should throw down and let our eyewear battle it out in a sort of 8-mile meets Tom Ford confrontation, but decided against it. I decided that mine were so fabulous that there would be no competition. Then I realized, not only were his glasses not incredible, I would go so far as to say they were the anti-fabulous. There are some things that are just so bad that they are actually cool, but those did not qualify. I immediately took mine off and put them away. I was scared that if the two pairs of eyewear should occupy the same time and space, that they would cancel each other out and I would be left holding nothing but the remains of the sunglasses that once were.

It was with great sadness I decided to retire them for the night. But like the song says ‘the sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun’. And there was. And I was happy.

And fabulously shaded.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

This And That

It happened about 10 minutes into the movie. It was during the scene in which there is an evacuation of the doomed ship and of course, there is the obligatory pregnant woman in final stages of labor during a crisis that ends up giving birth on an escape pod. It happens. Just when the baby was crowning Lata leaned into me and said “I guess this is when Luke is born”, and then I had to tell her she was talking about Star Wars and we were watching Star Trek.

It was shortly after Star Trek that I really got a surprise. I was on my way to someplace in a rickshaw when we stopped at a traffic light. As usual, the vendors circle around the car shoving all sorts of towels, tissues, phone chargers, books and magazines inside the vehicle, all trying to make a sale. It was then that the unthinkable happened. I found myself face to face with a Russian version of Playboy in clear plastic wrapping. And this in a country where the mere mention of the word porn or sexual excitement is enough to cause a riot. I almost bought one of them, but I was on my way to a mall and had no place to stash it. Not that I am interested in Playboy, there was just something about buying porn on the streets of Delhi. It was a chance to be the bad guy, the rebel. Something for the tabloids to write about when I am famous.

And speaking of famous, the TV show seems to be getting closer to being bought by a network, which means I am closer to fulfilling my dream of being a star, a great big star. But as I plan for my impending stardom, I am realizing it is not as easy as I thought. For example, I had always assumed that my first cover in India would be on the local version of Vanity Fair, but that is not to be. They have decided not to launch until at least next year and I just can’t wait that long to be on the news stands. My public just wouldn’t stand for it. So I guess GQ will just have to do.

I also am short-listing products I feel would be worthy of my endorsement. While I would like to be the face for Botox, I might just have to settle for something a bit more common and ordinary, like L’Oreal, simply because I’m worth it.

But seriously, the show is moving forward and I hope to be moving forward with it. I have no idea what it will all mean, but I am having the best time with it already. I have been practicing my Sue Ellen pose, you know the one with the tear-filled eyes and one shaky hand holding the drink, while the other hand is being inked for fingerprinting. And I am dying to say a line like “And now I own controlling interest of this company and you’re all fired!” And then there are so many adventures to look forward to… The blackmail. The Amnesia. Attempted murder. Comas. Kidnappings. Secrets, Lies. Industrial espionage. What fun! I am so looking forward to being a role model!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It's Getting Hot In Here

Current temperature: 42C/108F

It is sometimes hard for me to believe that I am spending my third summer in Delhi. And if anything has changed for me, it is that I have almost no patience for people in the US or Europe who complain about their local weather – y’all know who y’all are. I can honestly say that unless you have spent a summer in a place like India, with the same conditions faced here, you really have nothing at all to complain about.

First off, there is the temperature that climbs to over a hundred in April and stays there pretty much through September. The weather forecast for this week is steady at 41C/105F. This is actually a bit cooler than it was just a week or so ago. And those temperatures won’t change much until September or so, although they might occasionally and for a very limited time dip down after a small rainstorm that raises the humidity to very high levels.

Buildings, including homes, are not built with nice insulation keeping desired temperatures in while keeping the undesired out. Buildings here are made of concrete. And if you happen to be as smart as a fifth grader, you will know that concrete absorbs and holds the heat. So it is a constant battle between the ceiling fan and/or air conditioner and the hot walls, which is usually fine until the ceiling fans or air conditioner turn off.

Why would anyone turn off the fans or the AC? Well, we don’t. We don’t have to. The regular power outages take care of that. Often, like yesterday evening, the power goes out for a few hours and within minutes, the indoor temperature climbs. It can quickly be hotter in the house than it is outside. Ok, maybe it is still over a hundred outside, but at those temperatures, very single degree is felt and suddenly one has to choose between sitting on the “cooler” terrace or in the oven of a house.

And don’t even get me started on the dust storms, having to get around Delhi in those mobile microwave ovens known as rickshaws with hot exhaust fumes coming in at every direction and the almost complete lack of cold water. Try taking a semi-cold shower to cool off and you will find the sweat is dripping before the toweling off has even finished.

But one bit of good news is, I actually like the heat. It doesn’t bother me so much. I am just tired of everyone else complaining about how bad they have it. I can honestly say that for the bulk of those complaining, you don’t even know what heat is.

And then there was the that one evening last week when I stepped out of the house in temperatures that could not have been higher than 102 and seriously felt a bit of a chill and wondered if I should have worn my jeans instead of shorts.