It's amazing how quickly humans can adapt. Without trying, I have already made the necessary changes in my mindset to try and mold myself into this culture. The veggies are still not my favorite, but I already like them a lot more. The spices don't seem so unpleasant. And I am trying to learn Gujarati in earnest. With every passing hour I feel more and more comfortable here.
One of my biggest educations has been in Bollywood films and film stars. Every time we watch a Bollywood movie Pratik quizzes me on if I can recognize the star. There seem to be only a handful of elite actors. These include Amir Khan (he is apparently the absolute best - he's in Lagaan) , Sharu Khan, Salman Khan (the most muscular non-Stallone/Schwarzenegger actor I have seen), Akshey Kumar, and Abhishek Bacchan, son of the legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bacchan, who is mentioned in Slumdog Millionaire.
The leading ladies include Aishwarya Rai, Karina Kapoor, Katrina Kaief, Priyan Kachopra, and my personal favorite, the lovely Lara Dutta. I've also had to get up on all the gossip - Amir Khan is notable for being married to someone who isn't a Bollywood actress, Aishwarya Rai is married to Abhishek Bacchan, and Salman Khan is almost 40 but is scandalously unmarried. He loves Katrina Kaief but she has been rejecting his amorous advances for years.
Bollywood films are almost exclusively romantic comedies/musicals, which, in the United States, would be like putting my two least favorite genres together. Somehow - and maybe it's the way that Bollywood so triumphantly celebrates the worst genre cliches - they are inexorably entertaining.
I feel it might be entertaining to tell you about this one movie that I saw. It had Akshay Kumar and Karina Kapoor, but it also had an apparently desperate-for-work Denise Richards, the star of Superman Returns, Mr. Brandon Routh and an outrageous cameo from none other than Sylvester Stallone. In the Sylvester Stallone scene, our heroes, rushing to stop a wedding that would not involve Akshey Kumar and Karina Kapoor being together, are stopped in the street by a bunch of thugs. They are menacing our heroes when Sylvester Stallone, who just happens to be walking on the street, kicks the shit out of the thugs. It was a moment of incredible hilarity.
I am excited for the first time I see a Bollywood film in a theater, although I won't have Akshay and Pratik explaining what all is going on.