“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival! And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he’s watching us all with the eyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee of the tiger!” ‒ I was howling out these lines, posing in front of the mirror, right as I woke up in the morning, today. What a prized idiot, you all must be thinking!
Erm, I was actually psyching myself for the grueling gym session that was in store. We all know that there isn’t much room for a minger in Bollywood, so, in the name of my dreams, I torture myself, i.e. work out, 5-6 times a week. Whoa, he must be ripped, you all must be wondering… like Hrithik Roshan… Salman Khan… John Abraham!
…but – grrrrrrr ‒ NO… not yet! I bloody want it, though. Through gritted teeth I’m saying this: it’s a gratifying experience, more so when you see the effects of your blood, sweat and tears. Fingers crossed that I get the Greek God-body soon-ish ;-)
To break into Bollywood, also impertinent, I was told, is having the perfect diction. Remember how the English actors spoke ‒ in Hindi ‒ in Lagaan? Well, slightly embarrassed to confess that I sound like that, i.e. like a firang. When I came to aamchi Mumbai, my plan of action was simple: join an acting school to learn the Bollywood style of acting (if such a style exists!), but most importantly, to be in an environment where I would be compelled to speak in Hindi at all times, and along the way, improve on my diction, get taught shudh Hindi and so on. After visiting many schools I realised that a lot of these “institutions” were a *big con* ‒ out there to walk off with unsuspecting people’s money. So, *for the first time in life* I used my brain and forfeited that route.
But the Hindi language still needed to be conquered. All my life I was under the impression that I was good at it, and for some bizarre reason, I spoke it rather well ‒ whenever I got drunk! (Mum and Dad, I swear it was not too often!) A friend of a friend of a friend recommended that I use a personal tutor and passed on the details of a jolly fellow who gave one-on-one Hindi lessons. He got me a Hindi text to read on the first day he came over to my flat. I had a smug look on my face (!) after I finished reading, thinking I aced it… Until he pointed out the good few mistakes I made.
Next, I had to sort out the matter of getting around in Mumbai… :-D Although autorickshaws are amazing (the drivers’ sat nav-like knowledge of every flipping corner of Mumbai never fails to leave me gobsmacked), I’m just too used to driving myself from point A to B. “Son, the more careless the driver you are, the better the driver you will be in India,” were the words of wisdom passed on to me by my dad before I took to the Mumbai roads. And how true was he!
At first I was driving like how I did back home: gave way to fellow drivers, was courteous on the roads and followed the road rules to a T. Then at one point, I said to myself “sod it!” ‒ and squeezed my car into the tightest of spots that I could find in the traffic. Now after seven months, I too honk my car for no apparent reason, overtake from anywhere and everywhere… When in Rome, do as the Romans do, y’see! Yet to roll down the window and spit out paan juice from my mouth, though. (Think I’d do that too, soon, so look out for me, in a red car, around town!) Surprisingly, I’m enjoying driving around Mumbai… Just like the city itself, there’s a method to the madness in the roads, too ‒ which, oddly, I find quite charming.
Until next time, keep well, keep healthy and follow your dreams ‒ as life is too short to have regrets :-) Do follow me on Twitter (@DannySura) for snippets from this mad, mad adventure that I’m on ‒ thank you ever so much.