Do you want to know a reason why I love my Conan man?
I love him because he loves Bollywood.
My father traveled to many countries when I was younger. We missed him and were always excited when he pulled out of his suitcase little bags of airline pretzels or crackers. Now that I think about it he had to forgo those snacks often in order to have enough for seven children to get one. Thanks Dad.
As I got older I became more and more aware of the world. So much to explore. I desired so bad to sneak in his suit case and come along. I grew to love the international magazines he would bring home from India, Thailand, Denmark and many others. I especially grew more in love with the beauty in the Indian culture. The saris and the makeup. The bright colors and the bangles all drew me in like a child in the candy aisle.
I dreamed of going to India. Imagine the sights and smells ans sounds you could enjoy. One day my father brought home a Sari for each one of us girls. One for my Mom, and all of my sisters. Each one was a different color and style. I fell in love with the fabric immediately. I can imagine my Dads joy in being able to bring those home for us. Mine sat in the box for a while until I decided it was the perfect dress for my high school prom. I went to prom with a friend who was older and he wore his real Navy Uniform. We were quite the prom couple. I wearing my Sari, a beautiful silk fabric in Fuchsia and he in his handsome uniform. Most teachers thought it was a rental costume. I think when I got the Sari is when I fell in love with that color.Putting on a Sari is an event in and of itself. Long fabric perfectly pleated and tucked in an underskirt and wrapped around to over your shoulder or head. I loved my Sari and still have it to this day. I just need to make a new blouse to wear it with.
What is the next step to loving the culture of India? The clothing styles, the bangles, the food? The movies of course!
When I got married to Conan Man little did he or I know how much he would fall in love with the Indian culture as well. We had some best friends of ours Rama and Leela. They were our neighbors in one apartment we lived in. I still remember the first time I went to their house for dinner. The house was practically 90 degrees hot and the oil int he air from her amazing fried bread and curry dish made me cry the whole time I was there. We loved every moment of it. Would you believe that I never wore earrings back then? Leela never understood that. She asked me often why I never wore earrings. I am sure she wondered if it was a religious thing. Nope. Just a lazy, I lose them all the time thing. We built a Amway/Quixtar business over the years with them. As we grew to love them as friends my husband grew to love the Indian culture when he traveled all up and down the east coast sharing the business with their various friends who happened to also be Indian. We learned about the local Indian festival to celebrate Diwali and became dedicated yearly fans of it.
When visiting Rama and Leela after having their first baby girl we were surprised to see their little baby had black eye makeup on with a bindi like dot on her forhead. She said it had to do with thwarting off bad spirits or something until the child was one years old. (I may not remember exactly) I remember holding their baby and starting to cry looking into her eyes. She really was a beautiful and special baby. Before we left, the grandmother who was visiting from India, offered to put the same eye makeup on Anakha-Marie. Sure, why not? Imagine the looks we got when we went to our local mall with our white baby adorned like an Indian baby. The local Americans gave looks in surprise, shock, disgust, all of which we loved. Because that's just us. We like to be different. The local Indians, were surprised and in aw and loved it.
Over the years we enjoyed giving our children tastes of other cultures. We think it is very important for them to understand other cultures better. To grow a love for all people and to desire to travel all the days of their life. I have a hard time listening to people tell me that their is so much to see in our own country, why travel abroad?
We soon found a local Indian grocer that sold not only Indian groceries which we love to try but also great jewelery and Bollywood movies too! Leela would be so proud of me now. (we lost touch with them over the years) The earrings, bangles, and unique necklaces have become my staple. I love them! I was sad when our store closed to go back to India for a year long wedding festivities. They have not been back.
Conan Man would go into the store where this old Indian man would be sleeping on a chair and wake up asking in an abrupt voice
"What do you want?"
It took him a few times but soon he became a regular. The store keeper went from abrupt "what do you want" to-
"you take these movies for free, you like, you keep"
Then upon returning he would ask if we liked them. When our answer was Yes- as it usually was he would then say to our surprise
"okay. you pay me four dollars for them"
We always came out of that store with a smile from our fun experiences.
Over those years we came to fall in love with the Songs in the movies as well as the movies themselves. You see. In Bollywood, they love dance and music. When I say song you might think we liked the soundtrack, the background music. In Bollywood the movies usually always include songs where they stop the story and break out in very artistic, elaborate. sometimes cheesy dance and song. Like a musical. Only better. :) They sell dvds that are just a mix of these songs. When people wonder why we don't watch tv and what we do in our spare time , well, here is one of those things. We like to put these songs on as background music. Our girls dance and we all have fun laughing and seeing what the next song brings.
We often do not know the story line behind these songs and most times do not know what they are saying until we watch the movie it came from to see subtitles and the scenes before and after.
Typical dance scenes include guys and girls in groups singing about love. The girls are flirty in their eyes and hand movements. The clothing is usually bright and colorful and sometimes a bit cheesy if it is set in more modern day. We love the movies with the sari's and classic clothes better.
Recently Conan Man found us a new Indian store. We were there last night getting Slumdog Millionaire and a few new ones. I went in to the Indian clothing store next door and I am so excited I found my new jeweler again! yay! watch out - Jenn-lee is gonna be sporting some new bangles and bollywood earrings soon!
I will always be thankful to my dad for introducing me to other cultures around the world and showing me the beauty in it all. It is just so much fun!
So to introduce you to Bollywood I pulled up some of our favorite Dance scenes on You tube to show you. Let me know what you think.
This video is my daughters favorite. Sweetface and Moonbeam have most main parts of the song memorized. It is pretty funny watching them mimic bollyood dances. One time when I took the Sister Missionaries to the Library for their email one Sister caught a glimpse of Sweetface dancing and I had to promise her I really do not let her watch any mTV Spears videos. She just learned to shake those hips from Bollywood. Enjoy.
This video takes place at a wedding scene. It is rather long and most of my favorite is in the first half. You may enjoy the whole video since you probably have never seen it. For Christmas this year my dad gave my husband a full Indian outfit. Daniel can do this dance almost exact and it was pretty fun when he put on the outfit saying Shava Shava. I am sure he would still dance like this when he is older too. It is never dull around our house.
This one comes from a movie that was re done in 2006 called Umrao Jaan. This is a very beautiful dance. The story is a bit sad but the dance is so beauttiful. We wanted our girls to take Classical Indian dance but the only available classes we could find here locally were ont he Holy Sabbath day. :(
There are many more I can picture in my head that I would love to show you but because I don't know how to spell the names or don't know them Its a bit hard to find. Maybe over time I'll post them here and there for fun.
Hope you enjoyed a taste of India Bollywood. If you wnat to see more let me know and mayeb I can arrange a surprise dvd in the mail for you to watch of different song dances. :)