Sunday, October 17, 2004

Weekend realization

The nature of my weekend endeavors made me realize that at 25 I am getting old. On Friday night, I went for a 80's concert by a band named Tainted Love with an ex-coworker and her friends. I didn't have high expectations from it. It sounded a bit cheesy actually -- a group that plays 80's songs at a club called "Bimbo's". I had refused the last time she asked, but that night my friends were going to watch the cricket game so I went ahead. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a crowd gather for the concert and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

I knew a lot of the songs the band played, mostly from listening to my parents' albums back home. We lived in England in the early 80's so my parents are huge fans of the popular bands of that time. I had taken my mom to see "Mama Mia" and she was the only one there singing along with the performers. People looked back at us and commented that it was remarkable that she remembered the lyrics of all songs. The 80's concert was like listening to a mixed cd; all good songs from different artists. It was more entertaining than a Bon Jovi concert I had gone to a while back, much cheaper too. We sat through the first couple of songs then spent the entire time on the dance floor, that too with almost no alcohol. I only had one drink (I was introduced to a new drink -- a shot of whisky with ginger ale). The music played included songs like "Video killed the radio star", "Take on Me", "Holiday", "Sweet Dreams" and of course "Tainted Love". I was disappointed that they didn't play Cindi Lauper or Bangles - two of my favorite 80's bands.

The people at the concert were a bit older than the usual clubbing crowd. At the last desi party I had gone to about 80% of the people were underage; I felt so old dancing among those youngsters. Although it is refreshing to hang out with new people, there were times during the concert when I wished that my own friends were there. All of us came to the US at about the same time and discovered the ways of the foreign country together. I am used to sharing new experiences with them. My friends are such cricket fanatics that they wouldn't miss the game for anything. My own knowledge of cricket is increasing due to the same.

Earlier at lunch the conversation somehow turned to cricket. Since I am Indian I felt it my duty to defend the sport. My manager said that he found it too complex. I argued that it's much simpler than American football, which I still don't understand. But that could because of my bias against it since I don't like watching contact sports. I was explaining that in a five day game they play continuously for five days and many times there is no outcome. An Indian guy at the table, who had been quiet so far, interrupted me saying that they do take a break after 3 days. I deferred to him just because he was male and I figured he must know more about cricket. I found out later that I was actually right -- I'm learning fast.

The 2 hour lunch conversation spanned other interesting subjects like Bollywood movies, cooking (or the lack thereof), spouses/kids (I had nothing to say there), and other coworkers. I was sitting next to someone who was visiting from our Tokyo office so I was questioning him about life in Tokyo. He was really surprised by the serving size in America. I used to feel the same when I first came here as an adult. Now my diet has increased to compensate for the huge meals and I feel that the portions are too small elsewhere. Later an American coworker asked me if I was happy that my mom was coming to visit me for 2 months. I gave her a surprised look and said that I was really excited about it. It seemed like a strange question to me and my coworker from Tokyo. I usually don't like to generalize, but Asians are closer to their families than North Americans. Some of my friends' parents live in India for half of the year and in the US with their children for the rest of the year. Unfortunately (for me) my parents have a life of their own in India that they cannot get away from for more than a couple of weeks. My father gets restless only after 2 weeks of being here and not working.

I made up for my relatively dry Friday night on Saturday. We went to the Oktoberfest. Earlier in the day I went to Berkeley to pick up my laptop from my sister. There was a Cal game so it was really crowded. The place was charged with energy with all the post teens partying on the streets. My sister asked me if I wanted to go to a tailgate party with her. She said that there won’t be any liquor because it was parents day but we could smoke pot. The parking (with bbq included) was really expensive at $60 (even the opportunity to smoke wasn't worth that much) so I refused to stay and chose to go to the Oktoberfest instead. I chose drinking German beer and eating hot dogs whose names I couldn't pronounce at the festival over smoking pot with college kids. It turned out to be a good decision; I was initially reluctant to drink beer, not being a huge beer fan. Eventually after sipping beers from friends, I found a beer called “Oktoberfest” that I liked and got drunk on soon. A friend pulled me on the dance floor and we danced for hours. We danced all kinds of dances including Swing and Ballroom, however, the most fun was Chicken dance, which was not very adult like; I feel the pain in my quadriceps today. Again being the kind of event it was, most people were in their late twenties/thirties. On our way back a friend remarked that I was the reason he enjoyed so much. Nothing could have made me happier, especially coming from someone I was always at odds with. We had gone to New York together and could never agree on what to see or visit.

Today I went to volunteer at the SF Film Festival. Most of the people there were British Indian; I just love that British accent. An organizer suggested that I should watch “Main hoon na.” I told him that that was the one movie I wasn’t planning on watching. He persisted that I should watch one Bollywood movie at Castro theatre just for the experience. He explained that everyone enjoys these movies at the Castro because they don't watch them seriously, everyone claps and laughs at the most ridiculous scenes. After the meeting, they screened a preview of “Holly-Bolly” which was hilarious. I’m looking forward to watching the whole movie.

Looking back at the weekend, I concluded that I have started gravitating towards activities for older people. Soon I will be going to those bars where you sit, drink and listen to jazz. Who knows, I might even learn to appreciate jazz soon.

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