Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I was held up ...

The year was 1994. The locale was inner city Detroit. The specific address, Deroy Apartments at the Wayne State University Campus.

My friend Subbu and I came back late from the sports building called MATTHAEI to have dinner with my wife and a couple of friends. I had been taking swimming lessons and Subbu was my teacher. The friends were already at my home and were deep in some conversation with Jannavi but obviously waiting for us to come back.

Subbu and I apologized for being late saying, "we were held up".

They said they understood.

And we again said, "we were held up"

And they wisely nodded their head and assured us it was OK.

"You do not understand, we were really held up"

My friends assured us that they did no mind waiting for a nice dinner; my wife was known as a good cook.

We were clearly not communicating - so we acted it out. I made a gun with my hand and put it next to our head and pulled the trigger and said - we were held up! Get it?

Yawn. No one believed us. We were just making a excuse. So we pull out the business card of the police office. Then we told them the complete story

After the completion of the lessons and the showers, we walked out of the sports complete. And as we reached the parking lot, someone wearing a hoodie walked up to us, pointed something at me and asked us for our money. After nearly 20 years, I am unable to recollect the actual words he spoke or gestures he made. I distinctly remember a small, shining, probably golden color, gun. The gunman pointed it at me first and asked me for my money. I did not have a penny on me. Frustrated, he turned to Subbu and asked him for his money. He also did not have any. He asked us empty our pockets. I had only my student ID, but Subbu unfortunately had a copy of ATM receipt. The guy put the gun next to Subbu chest and ordered us to take him to an ATM, but with difficulty we assured him that we did not have the ATM card on us. Much frustrated, the gunman was a little unsure. It was a dangerous moment; he decided to walk away.

We were lucky. It could have ended tragically. From that day onwards, I always carry at least $20 always in my pocket.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Going Mainstream in USA

I came to this country in the late 80s. Except in the major metros, being Indian implied that one stuck out like a sore thumb. It meant answering the same question again and again; Are you a Hindi? Do you speak Hindu? Are there really 300 dialects? How come you eat meat? Is it not a taboo? What part of your name refers to your village?

Then came Y2K and with that a sudden influx of varieties of Indians. The tide slowly turned. The number of questions dwindled and the few inquiries you received were intelligent. Around the middle of last decade, I felt that being Indian was no longer unusual when I saw the Inside Man, starring some main stream Hollywood stars. As the opening credits rolled, I was surprised to hear this super hit song Chaiyya Chaiyya by the peerless AR Rahman.

Fast forward to today and I was completely shocked. I had some time to kill and I was watching Eternal Sunshine of the spotless Mind starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Fast forward to around 11 minute mark.

Here is the challenge. Identify the three Hindi songs you hear in the back ground and tell me the name of the songs and singers.

Do not look in the Wikipedia.

I still have not yet seen the movie. I was just so thrilled to hear those songs that I dropped everything to write this post.