My play Piya Behrupiya is going places. After many tours to places like U.K, China, Singapore, Dubai – we headed on a 15 day tour to France. On reaching the French Riviera (whilst in a place called Nice) we decided to explore the small towns nearby, like Cannes, Monaco and others.
This country does not cease to give me one surprise after the other. I was on a high when I reached the world’s capital of perfume – Grasse they call it. And the high was not what you think it was but it was because of the sheer beauty of the Provence region. Grasse is known for its world famous Perfume factories, the best being Fragonard. I pocketed (I did pay, I mean) some perfumes from Fragonard Parfumer for my mom. Oh how these French women are always so charming. She reminded me of my mother.
The theatre festival was extremely enlightening and educative – especially language-wise. Although the audience was majorly French speaking, our play in Hindi didn’t stop them from giving us a standing ovation as I learnt from my idol and my director Atul Kumar. Theatre does not have any language; or rather, it has its own. But, that didn’t stop me from improvising. I learnt a line in French, which I say to the leading lady of the play. My French line: Je suis fou de vous which means ‘i am crazy about you’ received the loudest applause. Believe me, my French accent sounded much better than I described.
When I found out that the snowy mountain alps were just a couple of hours away, I couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the European cousins of my dear Himalayas. The pristine white and blue skies mesmerized me. I felt possessed by nature. All I wanted was to freeze that moment. But on a serious note, it hit me that fluttering a chiffon sari in this weather, would not be fun! Thank god for being a man (just for this!).
Off I went. In my attempt to reach the blue skies above, I leapt northwards from thoughts of Bollywood into the arms of Parisian Hollywood. While stumbling through the streets of Paris one night (with a few local friends) I reached the staircase where Midnight in Paris was shot. And then in front of the beautiful River St. Etienne Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, my friends and I recreated the scene. C’est la vie c’est la paris!
After all the chilling and roaming I had to try my hands (or rather my mouth) at some authentic french food. And no I’m not talking about French fries because they are not French! Just FYI. Frogs legs are the real stuff, and some snails. They arrive at your table at snail speed but totally worth the wait!
I had this weird realisation in Paris – it is a place where I do not understand what people speak but I understand what the silent art speaks – La Gare d’Orsay and Musée d’Orsay. With 25 paintings by Van Gogh as well as many other famous Impressionist and Post Impressionist works the Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888, Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1889, Self-Portrait, 1889 and The Church at Auvers, 1890 are a few of the highlights from the museum’s Van Gogh collection. I bought a scarf for my sister from there as she is a painter and a big fan of the Van Gogh.
Coming back from the 19th century to present times, I witnessed dozens of couples of all ages exchanging sweet words and locking looks all around! I was in Paris after all, there was no age barrier and no restrictions – you know what I mean.
And just while I started feeling alien in this land, I landed up in Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It is enchanting. I felt so close to Jesus like almost feeling his presence made me very emotional.
Sorry, too heavy for you? Let me shed some emotions then. Actually I meant some clothes. In Paris how could I miss the famous Moulin Rouge. Before going in I had to try out a ‘Marilyn Monroe’ right outside. Two minutes into the show and I was awestruck. Such grace, such beauty, such precision in the act! A high point in the trip.
Of course I cannot leave out the literally ‘high point’ of Paris. Presenting the – Eiffel. I was there on Mahashivratri, and although there was no bhaang in Paris, I still saw a Shivlingum in the Eiffel tower celebrating Mahashivratri in Paris.
Of course you know who, me, yet again. I met Andy there. Andy the “selfie” guy. He will soon set a new trend with his new venture ‘Smilebooth’. Wait and watch the change become the next big IT thing.
From people to churches to museums everything about Paris is fascinating. I have to admit the “invader’ art all around the city were impressive. Legend has it that no one knows who really does it,people just wake up in the morning to see their wall being ‘invaded’ and there is an invader art on their wall. It is said there are more than 20,000 invader arts all over Paris,and whats more astonishing, its not a group, its 1 man… but no one knows who he is.
No Paris without Louvre, so here it is. Errr I hoped to bump into Monalisa but who I saw was Kailash Kher. Yeah I saw his portrait. But there were these people around me who thought it was Jesus. Oh dear! But Louvre has some awesome stuff and the museum is so big that one can spend days here.
I thought I was lost. Well actually I did not get quite get lost though I thought I would and when I actually got lost, I thought I was in control. After effects of too much fluid in your system. That was a fun and wasted night. Not wasted actually, you see I was in the company of pretty ladies. And being the gentleman that I am, I dropped them all safely before getting a little confused in the streets of Paris! Just took about five hours before I found my way to my bed.
Fresh and charged I was back to capture the streets of Paris and guess what I saw! Made my face blush and my money flush as I was there standing in front of Lush. My favorite brand which has shut shop in India and i have to wait to buy it every time, until I go abroad. I blame my girlfriend for introducing me to her beauty products. I ended up buying enough to start a store myself.
After some classy stuff it was time for some fun stuff. I could not find anything better than Disney Land. Amazing lively place, I was in a fairy tale. I make it a point to visit every big city’s theme park. I had heard so much about Paris Disneyland but frankly, I still prefer Singapore.
This is what happened – Once upon a time in Italy