And now for Part 2 of How I was Exploited by the Indian Film Industry and Enjoyed Nearly Every Aspect of It -
Suddenly this little adventure seemed to come with a tight leash attached - Every time I even thought about going for water or juice or something one of the assistants would say - Please John Kruthi, your place, your costume - which meant my sunglasses - even when they were busy fiddling with cameras or some such thing - they only had two of course with no lights - shooting had to stop by 6 pm when the sun went down - Just one step above art school...
So now on the way back to my bed bug nightmare hotel room I'm feeling GUILTY! After all I had a good time, a nice lunch, met some very, funny interesting guys and on top of it got paid 6 bucks so what have I got to bitch about? Got some great photos (soon I promise) and a story to tell - Oh now I feel like the ugly, materialistic American! In the meantime Javier, Ganesh's kanjira student from Espana and I head off into the carbon torture tunnel - Absolutley the worst traffic jam yet - sitting stuck inside "the subway" a tunnel which connects West Mambalam where we are staying to the next neighborhood where the famous department store Pothy's is and a whole buzzing illuminated strip of stores, jewelry shops and schmata (Yiddish slang for "rag") merchants - through the motherlode of silk scarves and sarees in every electric hue you can think of -
To make a long story shorter - (I'm hungry now its 10:30 - time for breakfast then off to my lesson) - It seems Javier can't get enough carbon monoxide - he's still young -so he rolls a cigarette and smokes it in the cab while we sit, stuck in the insane snnarl of honking motorbikes and autorickshaws - To amuse myself I take out the camera and start shooting everyone - everybody is very friendly, enjoying posing on their bikes for their portraits - We end up missing both concerts - we are so tied up in traffic - maybe we would've seen the second one if we had gotten out and walked but I think my brain wasn't capable of figuring that out at the time as essentially I was brain dead/poisoned by fumes from these little 2 stroke engines used for chain saws back in the U.S. - We wind up eating at High Class Veg Saravanna Hotel when suddenly I notice Javier lifting his Chinese spring roll to his mouth with HIS LEFT HAND! I lean over and whisper "Dude, do NOT eat with your left hand - You will freak these people out completely!" "Why?" he says, innocently - "Because you wipe your ass with your left hand!" And he says "How do you know that?" "Everybody does, it's the custom," I say, "but these people are gonna freak if they see you do it!" He says "But I'm left-handed!" and I reply "You bette get over it!" So we wander around for a couple hours as the merchants close up and sweep up and cows and dogs feast on the debris -
This morning I woke up around nine - I pack my "costume" in my bag and head off - late - but maybe I'll happen to "drop by" the shoot and see what's happening. No one is there! - Cameron was right - they skipped town - So I sat down at my favorite local greasy spoon - sans the spoon - when a guy sits down at my table and asks me where I'm from - "New York," I tell him - then he catches a glimpse of my mosquito/junky perforated hands, arms and neck - "What do you do?" he asked. "I'm a musician." "That is why they [the mosquitoes and bed bugs] like you. You have music in your veins."