Friday, January 5, 2007

They don't even pronounce privacy the same...

It's not like, "I say tomato, you say tomato." Privacy (it's said in the British way here, so more like PRIH-vih-sey) is totally different here. I had prepped myself for a lot of this but there've been some surprises...

A part of what I love about marriage is that you wouldn't get it if I told you. I mean exactly that -- I could tell you the things that make me and Nitin laugh but I don't know the punch lines or the back story. We just get it. Well, that still happens but not throughout our entire house like before. We tend to have those moments only when we three are in bed (yes, Naya is back in bed with us because there's no central heat and I can't trust her to keep the rizai - thick quilt - on). And I'll admit it -- a lot of family humor (or humour, as it is here) revolves around bodily functions, especially with a baby around. With Felicia always within earshot, let's just say we're a little more reserved. A reserved 2-year-old who usually calls her grandparents to announce she has just done a big (insert word for gas here) seems somewhat off.

On New Year's Day (Nitin will post on the night previous later), we went to a music shop in Green Park and came back with some CD's. I couldn't wait for my CD's from the States to arrive (shipment still not here so just imagine how DJ Disctraction is faring) so I bought an old favorite: the "Umrao Jaan" soundtrack. The old one is the only one so don't ask me if I got the new version of a movie that can never be remade. The music came on and Naya started moving. I usually do the same with her, and eventually Nitin joins in. Like I said, you wouldn't get it.

Anyway, as a child -- a few years older than Naya -- my parents used to watch this movie, a grainy, pirated copy my father bought from somewhere in Queens. I instantly fell in love with the soundtrack in our Long Island den. Copying the moves off the television, I used to get a stainless steel plate and dance in it, dreaming of being a beautiful ... prostitute ... er courtesan. In some ways, the film's songs became a part of the soundtrack to my childhood, a tape my parents always popped in the car during long journeys, one my father played on Sunday mornings as my mother fried lucees and potatoes.

But on Monday, as I heard the very appropriate "Yeh kya jageh hai doston?" (What kind of place is this, my friends?), I suddenly grew self-conscious. I led a dancing Naya into our bedroom and imitated a Rekha move for Nitin...

We closed the door. So nobody would get it but us.

4 comments:

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Ah...Umrao Jaan Ada. Have you read the book? You must. It is marvellous. Great in Urdu but not bad in English (translated by Khushwant Singh)...

Arun said...

What are "fried lucees"?

On a separate note, there's another difference between Indians and Americans: In America, they call it diarrhea. In India, you have "loosies". Which is actually kind of endearing. There's far less shame in discussing your digestive disorders in India than there is in the United States.

S. Mitra Kalita said...

fried lucees, dear, are our assamese answer to punju's puris and bhaturas. jhumpa lahiri calls them loochees, i believe, so i think bengalis have the same.

Krishnakshi said...

A couple months late, but I finally got the url to your wonderful blog! Happy belated new year and I hope you are well. Naya looks adorable, as usual, on the drums.