Around the world, we’re now in India, a place I’ve actually physically visited, and am happy to revisit in my imagination. One of my favourite memories is going to a movie theatre, because in India going to the movies is a special event. The theatre was large and attractive, everyone dressed up, and the snack bar had a wide variety of sweet and savoury food. The audience was engrossed watching their favourite actors. We watched Dosti: Friends Forever with popular actor Akshay Kumar. The tour guide whispered to us what was happening in the plot, which was not entirely necessary because we loved the dancing and music. Some of us bought the soundtrack from a street vendor, and we played it on the tour bus. An Australian traveler Michael made fabulous dance moves up and down the bus aisle to the music. We would also watch out the windows for billboards featuring Akshay, especially the ads of him selling Thumbs Up, a cola pop. It was the theme song to our trip. When I’m feeling a little sad, I pop on the CD for a dance.
Many of the people on the tour had read Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. It’s a Dickensian saga of four characters in the 1970s: a seamstress, 2 Dalit (Untouchable) tailors and a wealthy student. It's moving and sad. There are many fantastic Indian writers. Given that India is so stimulating to the senses, it’s the movies that especially trigger my memories. Here are some classics:
Gandhi- the classic with Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi
A Passage to India- from the E.M. Forster novel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel- Maggie Smith again!
Monsoon Wedding- by the talented director Mira Nair
The Namesake- also by Mira Nair, based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
Water- part of Deepa Mehta’s trilogy
The Life of Pi- 2013 Academy Award winner
No more time to reminisce, as we must press on. Like Nellie Bly, we will catch a steamer from Sri Lanka to Yokohama, Japan.