Thursday, December 29, 2011

India Web Resources

  •  - Organic soaps, food, and classic Indian clothing made of really beautiful fabric.  I'm totally addicted to these stores.
  • - On trend women's Indian clothing
  • - On trend women's Indian clothing
  • One can also find some good Indian pieces at the American-style department stores that have sprung up throughout India such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle,Westside, and Pantaloon (all seem to be mandated to play bad American top 40 music, funnily enough).  However, the western clothing at these stores isn't that great in terms of fit, quality, and style.
  • - India's lamely monikered equivalent to Starbucks (origins in Bangalore).  These are ubiquitous and good to duck into when you're hard pressed to find a clean restroom (which is basically anytime you are outside of someone's home).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol

Checked out this movie last night; it was neat seeing it in India since a portion of the story takes place in Mumbai and briefly features Anil Kapoor (who is turning out to be the go-to Indian actor for Hollywood).  Even though the film had limited character development and an uber simple storyline, it was anchored by a series of action set pieces which were varied, thrilling, cleanly choreographed (Michael Bay's thumbprints were nowhere to be found), and elaborate.  Also, despite how annoyingly smug he can come across on screen, Tom Cruise remains an appealing and believable action star.  A director need only minimize his emotionality and maximize his physicality and he'll do well for them.

Interestingly, Mumbai was only shown in the best light, with the main locations being inside a posh hotel (looked like a a Taj or Oberoi) and a high-tech parking structure.  The street scenes took place at night, conveniently obscuring any slums or filth, which other Mumbai-based films like "Salaam Bombay" and "Slumdog Millionaire" didn't shy away from showing.

Even though I'm typically a proponent of Truth, part of me is glad the film showed an edited version of it.  Unfortunately, the chaos, crowds, and dirt are the first things to assault your senses upon arrival (at least in the cities) and it's only after having stayed in India for a while that you begin  to pick up on the uniqueness and beauty of the culture and land.  I know how silly this is going to sound, but if India had a more acceptable infrastructure (implicit in this is a reduction in corruption which would be necessary for this to occur) and a lower population (implicit in this is a resulting increase in the value of an individual life), I would move there in a heartbeat.  After all, nowhere else I've been better represents all that is concurrently modern and ancient, eternal, and spiritual. 

India currently represents the polarities - the very good with the very bad, and so conveys the full spectrum of life.  In the US, the middle and higher classes lead sanitized, comfortable lives (hey, about this I'm not complaining), but the spiritual center is missing.

Asides a la Caffeinated Muslim

Not sure if this is the case with all Indian movie theaters, but...
  • the soundtrack was played at a DEAFENING volume
  • there was a 10 minute intermission in the middle of the film
  • you can ask for your theater food to be served to you in your seat
  • my uncle picked up his cell in the middle of the movie and started jabbering loudly to a work colleague (I wonder if this is acceptable in India; it very well could be)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Indian Restaurant Names

"Phobidden Fruit" - Vietnamese restaurant (Bangalore)

"Family Restaurant with Bar" - Your guess is as good as mine (Bangalore)

"Succulent thighs, juicy breasts, and great legs" - The tagline of a restaurant called "Chicken Stop!" (Bangalore).  I also found a photo of the shop online: . be continued.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Indian English

Glares - sunglasses

Goggles - sunglasses (antiquated term)

Windcheater - windbreaker

Cracker - firework

Bus shelter - bus depot

Jumper - an article of clothing which provides warmth, e.g. a jacket or sweater

Speed hump - speed bump

Petrol - gas

Capsicum - bell pepper

Tiffin - snacks

Cinema hall - movie theater

Rumbler - rumble strip

Fresher - newbie

Maestro - Mastercard in India

Geyser - hot water heater (pronounced "geezer")

Gum  - glue be continued.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How To Make It In America - The Music

I've been watching "How To Make It In America" ever since Season 1 Episode 1 aired on HBO.  It's one of the few shows that accurately (for me, anyways) captures the spirit and energy of "youthful" New York City.  Even though the show has recently taken a turn that I'm not down with, I've always admired its ability to be 2 beats ahead of me in terms of  featured music whereas a show like "Glee" is about 2 beats behind.  Here are a couple of electronic tracks which introduced the closing credits of recent episodes:

M83 -
Washed Out -

Even though I've always liked M83's singles, the walls upon walls of sound make listening to entire albums of his exhausting.

The Jetlag

I normally suffer from minimal jetlag after arriving in a foreign country from the States, so I'm not sure why it's been such a chore to shake it off this time.  Yesterday, I woke up at 1am local time.  This morning, I arose at 3am, so at least things are progressing in the right direction.

Yesterday starting at 1am, I spent 4 hours tossing and turning, my thoughts burning up my energy.  Today, I decided to not fight nature and be productive instead.  I went online (compliments of my grandma's neighbor who hasn't yet wisened to the fact that my mom and I have been pirating his wi-fi.  Thanks "rajaji"; I owe you several), responded to a few e-mails, did some work, finalized some plans, and did some other stuff which I can also describe in vague verbs but will not.  I also provided a 5-course meal to the mosquito that was buzzing around unimpeded until I cranked up the ceiling fan to full blast.

The stillness (ravenous mosquitos and howling, roving packs of stray dogs notwithstanding) of early mornings in India is a beautiful thing and I'm glad that I realized it while I had the chance.  I can't WAIT until the neighbors start clanging pots and pans, the fishwalla comes calling in his nasal voice, and the shopping center 4 blocks away starts piping music.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Soundtrack

These two albums are quickly shaping up to comprise the soundtrack for this trip:

It's a strange combo, if you think about it.