05 October, 2009

A Passage to India


(Okay. So no video right now. It's too big, so I'm going to split it in two sections and then post. :)  )

(Okay. So. Probably no video or pics at all. The download time is incredibly slow. I may have to do it when I get home! Or send Andy home with some of it, but he only gets back a couple weeks before I do. *sigh* We'll see!)

So this is Day...uh...3? Of being in India. :) I've been picking up Hindi and Punjabi words and phrases here and there. I'll be an expert in two months! ;) Que paso in Punjabi means “What will you wear?” Of course, they spell it differently. Just don't ask me how. :)

I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Ludhiana, Punjab...but the first few days were in Mumbai at the YWCA. I explain a lot more in my video blog, so I'm going to try not to repeat myself.

Manpreet just called—we're going to sip some tea and go over our scripts. He's playing Fateh, my college chum. :) Toodles for now!

4th October, 2009

Anyway...So here I am. Still at the Ginger Hotel in Ludhiana. We'll be moving to another hotel this evening, I believe. But I'm really clueless as to what's supposed to be going on. We had breakfast this morning, and other than costume measurements, I've had a lot of time to myself. So I was able to get my first video blog edited (kind of) and saved. Yay!

Slept okay last night. There were power outages ALL the time...and in the early morning, they were about 30 minutes apart. Laptop is fine. :) It's just annoying when it happens, because it pops the switches and fuses, so it's loud. Hopefully our next place won't have as many, but I'm not betting on that. :)

I was watching some Indian TV, but as I flipped through the channels, I came across Yentl! And I think you'll all agree that one just doesn't pass up Yentl, no matter where you are. ;)

It was kind of funny, because on the flight over, I'd decided “A Piece of Sky” was my theme song, and I listened to it several times.

Lakhwinder hasn't arrived yet. When he does, the four of us (me, Manpreet, Lakhwinder, and Pami—who plays Lakhwinder's mother) will start rehearsing. Manpreet actually plays an American-born Sikh Indian, so we've been working a bit on phrases and sayings and such. Completely forgot to work on the American accent last night, though. He doesn't have much in English, but it'll be very obvious that he's not American! So we'll work on that, too.

By the way, do any of you Pennsylvanians know of certain words/phrases/slang that are used in the Philly area? Fateh and Carrie are from that area, so I'd like to incorporate some of it into our speech. No one will notice...but I will. Call me method.

I'm not, really. Well, okay...a bit. :)

Yesterday I woke up just before 3 so we could get to the airport. Our flight was to leave at 6.15, but there was some mix-up with the flights, and we ended up taking the 10.25 flight (which got delayed an hour). Since we were there so early, the three of us checked in our luggage—boy, did that take a while! And then we escaped the airport and took an auto to Juhu Beach. I took several pictures of this...tried to capture what it was like.

The thing that amazed me so much were the amount of people sleeping on the streets on Mumbai. So many, and the beach was no exception.

I had my first coconut water—straight from the coconut—and then they chop it up inside so you can eat the coconut. Didn't taste at all like coconut. It was really good, but a completely different flavour than what I was expecting.

There was a huge bull just standing there, too. So naturally I took a picture. They took one of me, but wouldn't let me touch it. :( So that picture is of me trying to pet it.

I have many rules I must obey, given by Ish:

I am forbidden to wander outside alone.

No fried foods.

No water, except bottled. (And all the guides say this, too. They say to brush your teeth with bottled water, and not to swallow any water from the shower, too...or much like Charlotte, you'll Poughkeepsie in your pants. I brush my teeth with tap water, though.)

No fruit unless peeled.

No fruit drinks.

Basically, no liquids of any kind except bottled water. Or tea, since it's been boiled.

No dairy.

(She wants me to take baby steps so I don't get Delhi Belly. So far, so good.)

No food unless cooked very well.

No petting of the animals. At all. No exceptions!

I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. :)

Oh, when we landed in Chandigarh, there was a whole slew of photographers. Alas, they were not waiting for us. I have no clue what bigwig flew in, but it wasn't us. THIS time!

Later that evening:

New rule! I must speak very, very slowly when speaking with Lakhwinder. And we have to stay several feet away from each other! He's sick and Ish is worried about my immune system. :) I gave him some Emergen-C, and I'm drinking it, as well.

He seems very nice. He has “people.” We happened upon him in the lobby, so we made introductions. After that, a group of guys asked for pictures and autographs...too funny. :) His first movie was just released a day or two ago...very cool!

Manpreet is getting known, as well! He's getting a Punjabi Film Award for Best Debut. He and I walked to the Big Bazaar (which is like the GB for those who know, or a mini-CostCo) and several people stopped to talk to him. One guy kept coming back...for his cell number, which Manpreet declined to give, but then offered his email address! And then the guy left, and came back for an autograph. It was pretty cool to me, but you could tell he was a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

Must be surreal. I'll let you know how it feels when it starts happening to me!

After the Big Bazaar, we walked to a small town nearby to visit a gurudwara, which is the Sikh church/temple. That was neat to go to...I even went barefoot and didn't feel that my feet got dirty! I was worried because I didn't have a scarf to cover my head, but Manpreet told me they have some there. And they did.

Tomorrow we move to the other hotel room. I'm really hoping for wifi. Or a cyber cafe near by. Something! I think I;m going to give in and pay for wifi here. It's 1.6 rupees a minute, so...good thing I'm pre-writing this blog! 1 rupee is actually incredibly cheap ($1 = 46 rupees), but I know me. I can spend some time on the internet! So I'll do what I need to do and get off. It's 8.30 AM back home...I'll try calling Andy through Skype, but I can guarantee he's still in bed!

I read through what I wrote above...it's all over the place, haan? (See? I'm trying to incorporate Punjabi into my everyday speech!)

Okay...signing off for now. :)

Love to all!

5 Oct 09

Okay, I'm back. :) No internet yet. But I'm almost positive I will tomorrow. Just need rupees—I still haven't changed my moolah! Someone was going to do it for me (one of the crew), but I need to be there, apparently.

Tell you what: I can get used to this lifestyle. I like being taken care of. I have a driver...my meals are taken care of...there's a gym down the hall which I even used! Not too shabby. :)

We're still at the Ginger hotel. We moved today to the Chevron closer to town, but turned right back around. I guess Ginger gave them a good deal. It's a nicer hotel...I don't care either way—I was just glad to unpack!

Lakhwinder and I were able to spend some time alone together. He thinks his English is bad...but I told him he knows more English than I do Punjabi! (Everyone's very helpful, by the way. I learn a little bit more each day. But I cannot speak in complete sentences! Just a few. Ki daang, kuker! Don't know if that's the right spelling, but it basically means “What's up, amigo?”)

Anyway...Lakhwinder's very nice—quite a cutie, too. :) Right after we wrap, he's heading to the States for the first time. He has a concert tour in 7-8 cities. I'll let you know more in case you're interested in attending! I'd love to go...we'll see. I'll be here till the 22nd, and I don't think he's coming anywhere near Denver. But we'll see!

He's from Amritsar, where the Golden Temple is. I asked him if he was there in 1984, when there was a big riot and terrorists, etc. He was, but was little...he remembers some, but not much.

People have stopped him, too, for pictures and to chat. He's very humble and takes it in stride. I find it very cool! I told Manpreet, “I want fans, too!” He assured me I would, and that he was my fan. He's a lot of fun. I'm glad to have these few days to spend with him, because our characters have known each other for years, and have an almost brother/sister teasing relationship...so we've been developing that—quite easily. He's fun. :) (And single, gals!)

So...I'm going to have to get used to the times Indians eat. Crazy late! Dinner is more 9-11ish. Dude, that's bedtime! You can't go to sleep on a full stomach! So it's 9.30 now and I am determined to have dinner with everyone tonight. I haven't been hungry much—I eat mainly because I think I should. :) But it's all so good, it's not like it's hard to force down!

Let me tell you about driving here. I know I mentioned it in the video, but I can't properly get across how INSANE it is here. Everything and everybody uses the roads...cars, rickshaws, buggies drawn by horses/mules/people, trucks, buses, cows, bikes, mopeds, whatever. And everyone has the right of way. There are no rules, except maybe “Might Makes Right.”

There are lines painted on the road—I saw them! But no one uses them. It could be a two-lane road, but it's turned into 5 or 6. Horns are used all the time. From what I've noticed, sounding the horn can mean: move, go faster, here I am, I'm turning whether you're coming or not, I'm annoyed, there's traffic and I can't do anything but I'm frustrated, you're too slow, make a new lane and get outta my way. Basically, it means just about anything. And some people have musical horns and they just constantly lay on them. It's like a very loud ice cream truck heading down the road. On the backs of trucks, “Blow Horn” is painted.

Those who have driven with me know that I tend to freak out. (I have no depth perception, among other things!) So I'm worse here! The drivers laugh while I'm in the back not-so-quietly freaking out. :) Imagine the absolute worst driver you know. Worse than me. Now picture everyone driving like that, only ten times worse. And faster. And louder. With cows and bikes! Ay-yi-yi.

Ah! Thursday's photo shoot! It went well—they straightened my hair...we took some photos and then they decided they didn't like it straight. (My hair is very fine, so when straightened, it lacks volume.) So we wet it down and got it curly again...and my hair will be curly for the film. :)

The photo shoot was for the cover of Carrie's novel. I explain that in my video... I've seen the finished picture, all airbrushed and everything. I was so jetlagged, but damn, I look good! Airbrushing is fabulous. Wish all my pics could have it! My make-up was a little orange to me, but not to anyone else. I'm picky, though.

I'm not sure if it's also the movie poster...we'll see. That would be so weird—having my big face on a movie poster!

Having a lot of fun, even though I can't go anywhere alone. ;) I'm looking forward to shopping!

Okay, I'm sleepy. Jetlag has me falling asleep pretty early. Which is good, because we'll have a lot of early morning shoots. But...dinner is so late! I think I'm going to give in and eat right now. I don't want to sleep on a full tummy.

Right-i-o. It's 10.00. I'm eating!

6th Oct, 2009

I have internet access!!! I'm going to go ahead and load all this up—yay!

Lakhwinder, Manpreet, and I—maybe a few others—will be going to a bigger gurudwara tonight. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to ask if I can do the ritual stuff, too. I did a little bit last time—they put some sort of food in your right hand and you eat it. I can't remember what it's called, though.

Can't wait to start filming tomorrow! Even though it's an early call. But that's what film's like. Theatre's the opposite—you stay up all night with everyone and you sleep all day. :)

Ohhhhhhh!!!!!! I have a bone to pick with you, Sarah Ohh! The second night I was here, I had a funny dream. A bunch of us were back in high school, but at the ages we are now. Cillian Murphy went to this school, too, and I had a huuuuge crush on him. (Probably made up cheers a la Bill, too). Anyway, I was always too shy to talk to him. At some point we had lockers near each other, and I'd only manage to smile at him. So...okay, I'm walking through the halls with some friends when I see him with a girl. But I can't see who it is, so I ask my friends. They try and distract me and say, “You don't want to know. Trust me, it's better you don't know.” Turns out, Sarah Ohh has taken my crush for herself! How dare you! I kept thinking she was doing it to help me, by getting to know him and talk about me or something. (High school, right? ;) ) But no. She stole him. It made me cry. I don't think I can forgive you for this, Sarah. :) Cilly is mine.

All righty, then. It's probably a good thing for Andy that I can't even get him in my dreams. ;) I love you, sweetie. (Andy—not Cillian!)


Food = Delicious.

People = Wonderful

Clothing/Linens = GORGEOUS!!! Can't wait to shop. :)

Sat Sri Akal!


  1. Awesome Christa...have a wonderful time!

  2. One Philly word I know is "Iggles," for the Philadelphia Eagles. You can get more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_slang

    Have fun!