The (Unexaggerated) Struggles of an Indian Girl Pt III

As you all know, A and I are two Indian girls, born and raised in good ol’ Cleveland, Ohio. Last year I started a series titled “The Unexaggerated Struggles of Being an Indian Girl”, and today I’m ready to share with you, part III of the series.

I know you’ve all been waiting for it, so let’s get this started.

1. Indian people are becoming so trendy

Maybe some other Indian people enjoy watching their people succeed. I, on the other hand, get pretty salty. I have this very distorted perception of myself and can’t help but feel that if any Indian-American deserves to be famous it should be me.

Whoops…

2. When your headphones fall out

So there I am, sitting at my desk, diligently working. To anyone who sees me, I look just like any other employee at an ad agency. I’m jammin’ HARD. Probably head-shaking, definitely foot-shaking and creating killer dance moves in my head. And then…one of my ear buds falls out and I’m struck by the silence of the work place and the horror of the fact that I was pretty much doing the Indian head shake at my desk.

Wait whhhat? So I’m not in a Bollywood movie? And we all really are just working? Oh…okay…cool…

3. Competing on who can cook better

I can’t help but to feel a jealous pang every time one of my friends tells me that they learned how to cook an Indian dish. I still need to call my parents to figure out how to make chai. Take your butter-chicken to your future mother-in-law’s house, I don’t want none of that, showoff.

4. Huge ass Indian weddings

A can attest to this even more than I can. But let me tell you a little something about being Indian. Every person you’ve ever said a word to, actually wait…every person your parents…no…grandparents have ever said a word to, will expect an invitation to your wedding. The number of people that came up to me at A’s wedding and said “Congrats! Where’s the lucky guy?!” Are you serious? You are here and you don’t even know who the bride and groom are…? Just…just leave. No nice words for you.

5. Oh, you left your coat on the chair while your mom was cooking? LOL sucks.

I know if you’re Indian you’ve for sure made this mistake. Your mom was making masala and your coat was hanging on a bar stool in the kitchen. Well kiddo, you’re going to smell like that for at least two weeks. Don’t even try to take a jacket to India House. The place stank up my handbag.

6. What’s up with their vocal chords anyways?

You always want to sing along to the latest songs but wait…Indian female vocalists put to so in soprano. Seriously, I grew up always having to sing the male parts of every popular song because I couldn’t hit Asha’s high notes. Thanks for the gender-confusion early on, Bollywood.

7. You said four words to a guy once

If you’ve said more than four words to a guy, you’re probably dating. If you took a photo with him, you’re probably in the process of planning your wedding and may even have a name or two picked out for your kids.

I’ve had quite a few close guy friends in my life, and you bet there have always been assumptions that we’re dating or are oblivious to the fact that we’re madly in love. This is not an Anjali-Rahul situation guys. Stop trying to make it happen.

Well. That’s it for this time. More to come as we continue to live our crazy Indian lives. Below is probably the best Indian/Bollywood GIF I’ve ever seen. Me every Friday to be totally honest (jk Aunty community).

bollywood animated GIF

Love,

K

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Bollywood vs. Reality

So, as most of you know (or should know by this point), I am a little bit of a Bollywood* junkie. So much so that a few days ago one of my friends informed me that one of India’s largest film production company’s was searching for a fresh new face and my stomach doubled over with excitement. This is my break. Naturally, my dad shot the idea down so fast and went on that whole “have you seen the filth in those movies”. I’m assuming by “filth” he means that on-screen kisses are now common in Hindi films.

Regardless, in effort to make myself feel a tad bit better about my now dead dreams, I have decided to write this post.

The differences between Bollywood and real life.

Time

The concept of time is highly skewed in all Hindi films. You’re probably thinking, yeah K, obviously, it’s a story condensed into a measly three hours (joke because three hours is NOT measly. Honestly, try telling that to the six year old being forced to sit through Jodhaa Akbar). Yeah, I get that but that’s not what I mean. In Hindi movies characters fall in love at first sight. No not like a general intrigue or a damn, that girl is on fire…actual “Hello madam, I love you” love. And this “love” usually ends up lasting a lifetime. HA. Okay. School days last for the duration of one four minute song, and going from post-shower, wet hair, to hair extensions in and perfectly blowing in the “natural wind” takes a solid one and a half minutes. So it’s no wonder why the typical nine to five seems like a total drag and that my bicep hurts after twenty minutes with a blow dryer.

Song and dance

One of the most disappointing things about growing up on Bollywood is realizing that real people don’t sing and dance. Like excuse me, but I was brought up to believe that when I had my first crush we would spend days and days together running through fields in different outfits expressing our inability to sleep (oh because it is common in Bollywood for characters to become insomniacs when they’re in love) to one another. Instead? Instead I had to sit at the dining room table doing my Kumon (by doing I mean opening the answer booklet and copying down the answers…I mean really…why would you ever trust a kid with an answer booklet?) and wondering if my crush would still be on AIM when I was done. Most days he wasn’t.

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No two guys have done this for me. Ever.

Boys and Love

There is just too much to say, I may have to break this down even further.

1. Daydreams

In Hindi movies both guys and girls only have one category of idle thinking…love. In reality, while I am over here daydreaming about   love, the guy I’m thinking about is daydreaming about motorcycles, brewing beer, and awesome facial hair. AREYOUSERIOUS?

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Day dreamin’ like whattt

2. The romantic late night scene

You know that scene that Shakespeare invented? The classic girl on the balcony, guy in the garden scene? Yeah, Bollywood stole that shit and reinvented it at least 200 times. So naturally here I am expecting that…or at least a nice goodnight phone call (talk about low maintenance right?). Instead? On a good day maybe us ladies will receive a “Goin to bed, night”. Oh really? Because Ram snuck into Leela’s bedroom to share forbidden pillow talk and you say “goin to bed”? You don’t even care enough to add the last G? What the…

3. In reality boys are a lot shorter, probably because they can’t get away with wearing man high-heels.

4. Courting

In Bollywood the male lead will pretty much harass and stalk the girl until she’s like “okay, yay, I love you too!”. So imagine the surprise of Indian girls all over when their first crush confesses his love for her, she plays hard to get, and then the next day he’s dating some other sixth grader who’s already had braces. Yo, you’re supposed to court me for at least 2 months. And by court I mean get a group of guys and trail behind me singing songs until I give in.

5. Protectiveness

Raj from DDLJ got his ass handed to him by a bunch of random Punjabi men at a train station when he refused to leave town without the love of his life, Simran. And you are just going to let that random drunk guy hit on me? Not only are you going to let it happen, you’re just going to laugh and walk to the bar and get a drink? YES I can take care of myself but chivalry was never meant to die.

Trains

As you can tell from the above story in #5, trains are sort of a big deal in Bollywood. Raj and Simran. Aditya and Geet. Kabir and Naina. As a Chicagoan, I take the L like…multiple times a day. And I have been doing so for the past four years. And the only remotely romantic thing that has happened to me on the train is when R and I caught a glimpse of each other as the doors were closing. R ended up on a different car than I did, so at the next stop with both ran to one another and met on the car in between and hugged in victory. R is one of my best friends…and a girl. Other than that it’s very much just creepy people saying creepy things to you or to themselves which is even creepier.

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The favorite Bollywood couple, Raj and Simran

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2013’s modern day train scene

In a strange twist of fate, this post has not made me feel any better about my dead Bollywood dreams. In fact, it has somehow made me love Bollywood even more. I guess I am that brainwashed by Indian cinema. Sigh.

Lamely yours,

K

* Bollywood is India’s film industry. It happens to be the largest film industry in the world, bringing in about…well I don’t know because my Internet is being really slow. But it brings in a lot of money and Bollywood actors and actresses are essentially royalty. Each film is roughly between 2.5-4 hours long and almost every movie has a few songs sprinkled into the storyline. It is easily the best past time ever.

Opportunity Cost

Something that I’ve been experiencing on the daily are harsh adult realities. I often tell people that I don’t feel like my charmed, happy childhood prepared me enough for the reality of the real world. But, hey, I guess that’s life – right?

One of the realities I’ve because all too well acquainted with is that of opportunity costs.

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No matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, you are giving something up. No matter how hard you try, you can’t have everything and do everything.

This idea actually comes up in my favorite Bollywood movie (whatever, haters goin’ hate) but I didn’t really realize what a poetically true concept it was until last night when I couldn’t sleep (typical). There’s a scene where the two main characters are spending time together after years- they’re exploring Udaipur and sight-seeing together. The male lead is a travel fanatic and a soon-to-be travel show host, while the female lead is a practicing doctor in India. After a day of traveling they’re sitting on the ledge of some ancient, gorgeous fort, watching the sunset. He tries to convince her to get up otherwise they’ll miss whatever is next on their to-see list (I think it’s a firework show). She responds by throwing the list in the air and stating that no matter what you do in life, you’re going to miss out on something, because no one can do everything.

If you choose to go home during Spring Break to see your family, you will miss out on an epic party or vacation. But, if you go on vacation, you’re missing spending what could be your last break ever with your family. If you choose to skip class to chill, you may miss out on an in-class activity worth five points (yes, I’m still salty about this) But if you go to class…that’s two and a half hours of your life wasted (the truth about some college courses). If you decide to stay in one night and catch up on sleep, you will miss out on making lasting memories with your friends, but if you go, you may be miserably tired and fall asleep anyways.

The truth about life is that we’re always giving up one thing to gain another.

Choose wisely.

Love,

K