Monday evenings is Dhamaal night at the Prithvi Theatre in Juhu. Dhamaal means turmoil, frolic, and is a kind of song which is sung at the Holi festival. Basically, there were eight or so different performers and groups performing Shakespeare-inspired pieces for 10-15 minutes each. Sort of an open mic evening, except better, because they actually had to do an audition. Entrance was free, and the MC was a French-Indian guy.
The place was pretty much packed with about 200 people, mostly hip looking young people. The first performer was a very cute 10 year old boy doing a funny sketch, in English, about how William Shakespeare is actually an Indian guy. There were a number of pretty intense young men performing. Almost all the performances were in Hindi, but it was pretty interesting to me nevertheless. My Scottish expat friend and her French roommate were doing a scene in French, and even though probably hardly anyone in the audience understood a word, it was well received.
There was a very very good young actor doing a Hamlet scene in Hindi, and a very good older actor doing a scene from The Merchant of Venice twice, in two different ways (both with a fabulous colonial British accent). A smart-looking comedy scene had everyone cracking up, and there was a very weird slapstick scene of a bunch of guys pretending to be from Nagaland. Nagaland, a small province in the Northeast, has a number of indigenous tribes, so people were laughing before the troupe even entered the stage. So then they did this strange primitive dance thing around Romeo and Juliet, which sort of reminded me of how Native Americans used to be represented in very old American Western movies. Pretty dumb, a little scary, but generally harmless. It was a bit embarrassing, but people seemed to think it was very funny, which was sort of remarkable, given that the same audience obviously also had appreciated the very serious acting skills of the Hamlet guy.
Anyways, what do I know, after all, I could only get the acting and movements, and didn’t understand a word for the most part. But I will definitely be back to Dhamaal.
In other news, Ksenia is finally coming back tonight, so I am very excited!! Next week we will have our old trusted driver Deepak back. Apparently, he has a salaried job, but he seemed pretty eager to quit his job and work for us. He seemed really happy back when I picked up the Ambassador with him and was looking forward to driving it. Speaking of the Ambassador, I took it to my regular gas station today. They usually also check the oil and water, but what really cracks me up every time is that the guy there seems to like to burn his fingers. Every single time he checks on the oil, he burns his fingers, then laughs about it, and then reaches for a piece of tissue paper to wipe off the oil from the stick. Then he throws the paper on the floor, reaches for the water coolant container, burns his fingers again, and laughs again. It is very strange.
Speaking of throwing paper on the floor, last Sunday I was in a public park in Dadar to play some frisbee with some expats. As I was walking around a bit, I saw three different people throwing their plastic garbage on the floor. Just like that. The park accordingly looks pretty shitty. Another day some guy was throwing his empty plastic bottle out of his car while driving. Just like that. Ugh!
Today is a holiday, Dassehra, by the way. From what I gather, it is a festival in honor of the goddess Durga. Dassehra means ‘the tenth’ and it is celebrated at the end of the nine-nights Navaratri festival, during which hymns are recited to Durga. Apparently, Dassehra is a special holiday for brides and engaged people. All I can say is that somewhere in my neighborhood last night there was a big disco evening, and they played that incredibly awful song by Queens We Will Rock You. Over and over again.