Sometimes you just have to stop moving and talking and singing and dancing and just absorb life and what is going on in that specific moment. We had the incredible opportunity to, not only participate, but dance and star in a Bollywood item number choreographed by a professional choreographer and shot by a professional director of photography and current Whistling Woods students. I’ve never been on a shoot that ran so smoothly, professionally, and efficiently—maybe it was because they had a track and crane—but really, I kept realizing that this moment was not one that comes every day.
I felt a tad like a drag queen with all of my makeup and I have bruises from shoving millions of bangles onto my man hands. I also don’t want to speak for everyone, but I think we could all agree that the first take of the dance on the first location was rougghhhhhh. I forgot a solid majority of the moves in front of a crew of around 20 people committing their time and energy and resources to Americans flailing to Lungi Dance. But then the moves started returning to my brain and we got to dance in water and I pet a puppy, so life was good.
Huge shout out to life and just how cool it can be.
On this chill off day, we walked to a local market about 20 minutes away from the hotel and consumed freshly cut coconuts, mangos, and the sweet, sweet sighting of a prancing goat. And if you don’t know me, these are three of my absolute favorite things in the world, so I was a content little human.
Later that night, we journeyed to Town (downtown Bombay) and hung out at Blue Frog, a hip restaurant/comedy/music venue. I forgot we were in India until the stand-up comedians started speaking in Hindi and commenting on Indian parents. Blue Frog then transformed into a DJ and dance venue after the comedy routine and I felt like I was at a less uncomfortable and more inviting high school homecoming dance or middle school LFD (Arlingtonians, you know what I’m saying). We later realized that the night’s music theme was Old School Hip Hop and Trap Music so the throwback, nostalgic feels all made sense. I’m still a bit confused why everyone knew every Kanye song in its entirety, though, but we’ll just let that be an unsolved mystery.
The adventure continued on to Juhu Beach where we were immediately met by small children asking for food and money with huge eyes and small little hands and feet. Don’t be surprised if I come home with an Indian child.
After eating delicious local ice cream and taking pictures with so many people, we went to lunch at Candies in Bandra and it was like a ‘choose your own adventure’ kind of meal. Highlights included large samosas for only 6 rupees ($0.10) and a double shot cappuccino that shut up the coffee addict inside me.
Later we went for a casual stroll around Victoria Street and it was a calm, quaint oasis away from the chaos and constant movement in the streets of Mumbai that I had become accustomed to. Suddenly, we heard music in the distance and stumbled upon a local Marati wedding procession in the street. So, impromptu dancing in the streets ensued! Beautiful. Everybody was so incredibly inviting and so happy. It was the kind of happiness that was pure, simple, and unbiased. No one had to speak the same language or have the same upbringing to enjoy the simple joy of sharing music and dance with other people.
It was getting dark and we had been out and about for 6/7ish hours at this point so, of course, we decided to go to a market to shop shop shop! It felt like we were in a show on Discovery Channel given 30 minutes to shop in the city streets of India and end up with the greatest, cheapest items. I ended up buying two pairs of pants for 200 rupees each ($3.33) that I really do not understand, but I figured you don’t really need to understand pants to wear them, and a light yellow cotton shirt for 200 rupees too.
Update—I paid for the pants later today when I had to sew up a gaping hole in the crotch area. Thanks Mom for teaching me how to sew when I was younger.