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Ever have a time in your life where so much is happening, it seems almost unreal? As I wrote my immigration form a few hours ago to re-enter India from Singapore, I declared my travels in the last 6 days – Singapore obviously, but also India for a day, before that the UK and Canada.
And why so much travel? The real reason combines the personal and the professional.
On the personal front…
Lots of different things however the real big news is… drum roll here… my partner and I finally took the plunge to sign a piece of paper in Winnipeg with a wee wedding at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We knew from the moment we met over five years ago that we wanted to spend our lives together, however took our time to get to this stage of bringing our respective families together in celebration.
It still feels strange when folks teasingly call me “Mrs Smith” – a last name I am not adopting but respect completely. I apparently even accidentally hung up on a consulting associate who merrily greeted me that way! (in fairness, the call didn’t connect properly)
Within a week of being wedded in Winnipeg, I was on more planes and found myself in Singapore for some work related meetings. Which is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak as on the professional front as much has happened over the last few months:
- I was delighted to be back in Jakarta working on a project from September 2016 to December then back briefly in March and April 2017. Naturally this meant a few stops in Singapore in my crisscrossing back and forth between India and Indonesia…
- January and May were pre-occupied with India projects that enabled trips to Kolkata and Kochi – it had been years since I was in Kerela so that was a particular treat!
- February brought me to Delhi to co-facilitate a remarkable conference
- More is unfolding in the technology space with the India company association… plus some new developments brewing that seem particularly exciting!
Beyond the personal and professional, everyday life in India inspired a few amused cribs about:
- Ready or not, July 1st introduces India’s Goods & Services Tax with some absurd moments and migration migraines from Service Tax to GST
- After a couple of years of effort, I finally successfully withdrew my last Indian Provident Fund. If ever anyone has tried to do this – foreigner or Indian – you will understand this is NOT necessarily a simple process!
- After even more effort, a weird system error was finally corrected so that the Indian government was finally convinced I actually had paid my taxes in 2009. Really… honestly… I did… it only took 8 years for them to admit it!!
- We also learned to survive the aftermath of November 2016’s demonetization in which cash was temporarily dethroned
So from newly wedded bliss, professional developments, to the everyday follies in India, life continues to be an amazing adventure!
There you have… a bit of insight into what’s really going on…
I will admit that our social calendar is often full.
Some are the normal live music shows, festivals, friends and family celebrations but peppered amongst these are ‘EVENTS’ (yes in caps) where they roll out the red carpet. Film and theatre premiers, _____ (insert brand, book, whatever) launches, etc. Where the point is to see and be seen – to have the shutter bugs snap and flash as guests enter.
For the first 40+ years of my life, such ‘EVENTS’ (yes those caps again!) were rarities rather than regular affairs. However the hazard of having a partner in ‘The Biz’ means these are a normal part of life in Bombay.
Gee… it seems like only yesterday I wrote the 5th Quarter Summary… However now that I’m ‘grounded’ in Mumbai, am back in the ‘posting grove’ with “Every Day Adventures in Asia (Mostly)” after a longish hiatus. And proud for being ON TIME (as opposed to Indian stretchable time) with this update. (more…)
A dear director friend asked if I could meet with a young Canadian woman contemplating moving to Mumbai to get into acting here. Mostly from the perspective of how I’ve adjusted, my experience with visas, etc.
Now it isn’t completely unheard of.. after all… in a country of a billion plus people there is a ONE new TV serial that actually stars a blonde haired blue eyed new bride “Firangi Bahu.” I’ve been a bahu or daughter-in-law and survived to tell the tale! It isn’t a completely preposterous idea…
But breaking into ‘The Bollywood Biz” ain’t easy… and while I’m no expert, I have watched on the sidelines off and on since 1990 with friends and family (partner) who have struggled and sometimes succeeded in film, TV and stage. Along the way have picked up a few insights and stories behind the stereotypes….
Yet I still felt like such a nasty horrible person dishing out the following reality check dashing starry eyes and hopeful smiles: (more…)
Word of warning – before saying ‘yes,’ find out what’s involved!
While my Mumbai theatrical ‘debut‘ was a success… I had two challenges:
- Costume Crisis – 1890s western women’s costumes are not easily available and – ahem – fuller figured females limited in what they can borrow!
- Short hair – Not exactly ‘fashionable’ in the 1890s…
So what? With our theatre connections – surely someone has something that will work! (more…)
Part of my recent blogging ‘disappearing act’ is because I made my Mumbai acting ‘debut’!
Most would know that stage and film is my partner’s profession.
Few would know that there was a time when I flirted with this too. Waaaay back 30 years ago, along with regular school, I also attended Prairie Theatre Exchange‘s theatre school. Acted in a couple plays, did a TV commercial, taught drama education as a summer job and even landed a Drama Award.
No I wasn’t a drama queen – just enjoyed stage work. You could say I came by it naturally as I grew up hanging out backstage as my mother donned costumes and make-up to go under the bright lights to sing her operatic heart out at the concert hall.
However I left that all behind decades ago until a friend persuaded me to help out a local Bengali community theatre group with a play on Swami Vivekananda. An amateur production with a director who has spent 20+ years writing & putting on plays raising charitable funds for both a cancer patients and girls education – worthy causes indeed! (more…)
My mother went into labour as ‘trick or treaters’ knocked on their door the Hallowe’en of 1969. She would say how, as her contractions came, she wished I might hold off just a wee bit til after midnight… By 5am the next day she was cursing but got her way as I welcomed the world on 1st November.
Over the years, I’ve met others born on 1st November and occasionally we even celebrate our birthdays together.
For my 40th birthday, enjoyed a ‘triple treat’ birthday with:
A “young” friend (left in pic) who has such a zest for life, we bonded instantly when we met a couple of years ago. We share a love of good music, laughter and more!
- Yup – that’s me in the middle!
- An “old” friend (right in pic) – we met in France in 1988. I’ll never forget one party in Mumbai where a guy I just met ever so kindly took it upon himself to ‘introduce’ me to others (thinking I’m a newbie firangi to India)… to discover practically everyone else there and I knew each other from weeks… to months… to years… By the time he came to my “old” friend: “We’ve known each other for over twenty years – I think maybe 23?” He went “I give up! Who the hell are you???” (more…)
Can you believe it? “Every Day Adventures in Asia (Mostly)” is half a year old!?!
It would have been impossible without all the comments and encouragement from fellow WordPress bloggers, folks following through various social media and real life friends who keep surprising me by actually reading and chatting about topics in posts of interest to them.
This quarter, I’ve been thinking about living and working in more than one country. (more…)
My 1st introduction to what I’ll call the “1st birthday phenomenon” was years ago at the Spastic Society (now known as ADAPT – Able Disabled All People Together) in Bandra Reclamation.
The father was the director of the film Leela and it was his pride and joy’s birthday! Was the little guy to be seen? Well… he did make a sleepy appearance for a short while but then retired. Which was perfectly fine because this was very much an adult bash – brilliant fun full of all sorts of interesting characters.
Fast forward more than a decade later and I popped into another 1st birthday celebration in Bandra during my ‘bonus time.‘ Bereft of my partner who was busy with a film shoot in Goa, I landed up by my lonesome wondering what to expect.
The princess of the evening did an admirable job of smiling, chortling, being oohed and aahed at, tossed giggling into the air. In the earlier part of the evening there were puppets, games and other activities for the little ones. However after the cake, the mood clearly shifted from being a “general” admission party to time “parental guidance” at a minimum… it was clearly time for the adults to pick up the pace and strut their stuff.
Shots made the rounds along with the snacks, casting agents rubbed shoulders with actors, much merry industry networking took place. Now… lest I sound cynical, the parents of the enchanting birthday belle are truly lovely people and fully appreciated the irony that their gal wouldn’t remember her 1st birthday at all.
The adults clearly enjoyed the babes bash! And I’ll admit, I was no exception…
No these weren’t wild nights of debauchery however both were parties as much (or more) for the full-grown celebrants rather than the tiny tots.
Have you been to any “adult” baby birthday’s lately – Bollywood linked or otherwise? Or is this phenomenon unique to Bombay?