Made in India

Re: blog post about my terrible, awful, no good, very bad day? Well, the good finally came and I cashed it in, literally. I begrudgingly went shopping with M yesterday to a store in Santa Cruz West called Raas. My physical therapist at Nanavati suggested I check it out after telling her about fatal ending of my old churidars (fire in a fabric store…read ‘Burn Bollywood Burn’). We walked in and I immediately picked up a yellow number. I perused all the racks, handing M each outfit I liked to model. It must have been one of those ‘lucky’ shopping days because everything we found, we loved. The workers were so friendly, the place was clean and best yet, they FED US. The manager ordered us Swastik sandwiches (famous pressed toast sandwiches–say a lightly pressed panini–with tons of spices inside). I needed small repairs done on my necklaces from NY and Raas led us in the right direction. Magic I tell you! It was one of two extremely successful shopping days here in Bombay.

I went to the changing room to throw on an outfit I thought my sister might like. As I was changing, my eye caught the inside label of my *American Eagle* shirt, ‘Made in India.’ I couldn’t help but cringe because I spent 40 USD on that sucker, which I could have easily gotten ‘Made in India‘ for 5 USD. Note to American Eagle: stick by your brand name! Make your damn clothes in America.

After all the saris-suits-salwar talk, my head was spinning. A day of total materialism. I needed some food for thought. I decided to strike up a conversation with Balu the driver about Guru’s in India. Friday morning, M and I will be going to meet a Guru; there are signs plastered all over Chembur’s roadways, probably the whole of Bombay, promoting this event. I asked Balu if he had a Guru. He adamantly denied this and went on to say that he believed it was all BS. M, Balu and I all put our two cents in about the Guru topics; I shared my all-too-familiar story (amongst my friends in NY, at least) about the Naga Baba in Rishikesh. When I went to meet Naga Baba, (a naked guru-type-healer-of-sorts) he was immediately offended I didn’t touch his feet upon arrival (this is seen as a sign of respect in India). He then argued that because I was female, I was not allowed to touch him. I told him about my medical condition. He sensed an accent and asked where I was born.

His response: ‘American? Hahahahahah. No help for you. You come from land of the monsters. You are monster’ –loosely but accurately translated

I shared this and other details about my naked scary man-guru experience in Rishikesh with Balu. We all enjoyed a good laugh, Balu at my young attempts to tell the story in Hindi, M that I agreed to see an old naked man, and me of my ridiculous life.

It was smooth sailing home, the streets were empty for kilometers. I forgot to mention Bombay was on strike yesterday. Yes, that’s right, on strike. I asked Sapna, our housemaid, how she came to work since she travels only by autorikshaw or footpath. She said the autos were running, no problem at all. Huh? But Bombay is on strike! Apparently Bombay-ites are as lackadaisical about going on strike as they are about being punctual. It was kind of amazing. Still, despite the attempted strike we got to experience the rare pleasure of driving sans traffic. I loved the open road. Inside, I wished Bombay was always ‘on strike’.