Monday, August 9, 2010

Pirated DVDs and Yoga

Pratik has a friend who has the most amazing home theater system I've ever seen. Projector, incredible surround sound systen, Blu-Ray player. And his projecting screen is massive. It seems like Pratik and his crew of friends go over there to watch movies a lot. It's kind of the Ted's Basement of this particular friend group. Anyways, the movies that I've watched there were 1) a legitimately purchased Blu-Ray DVD of Gladiator in English (which was awesome because Gladiator is one of my all-time favorite movies. The Indians didn't like it because the old-fashioned dialogue was tricky and it was quite long) 2) Angels and Demons in Hindi (I have no idea what on earth was going on) and 3) The A-Team in English.
Now The A-Team came out about two months ago. It should not be on DVD. I had been informed by Max that there is a ton of pirated movies over there for ridiculously cheap, but I didn't realize they could get them so quickly.

Today I went to a DVD street vendor with Akshay. They sell pirated DVDs in 5 or 6 packs there, all on one computer disc. I was even more surprised to discover that about 20 of the DVD packs included Salt. Which is three weeks old. How do they do this? And it's not as though these are like, cell phone videos sneakily taken from inside of a theater. It's the actual movie.
Pirating movies is something that I'm very, very morally opposed to but when in Rome...
So I purchased 11 total movies for 60 rupees, about $1.33. I bought them on the promise from the street vendor (who turned out to be just as shifty as he looked) that they would all be English rather than dubbed in Hindi. Or rather he told Akshay this in Gujarati, and since Akshay believed him, so did I. It was literally the exact opposite. The one that he said would be in Hindi is the only one in English and the others are in either Hindi or, inexplicably, French. That's what I get for compromising my morals.

My yoga class has started. I was under the impression that yoga consisted of strange positionings of your body and like, balance and flexibility stretches. I'm sure that there are multiple interpretations of yoga, but in my experience it's quite different. There are three main components of it.
1) The seven stages. I can't remember what all of these are but they are basically many different variations on breathing in and out. I won't bore you with extensive descriptions of each of them but suffice it to say that especially in the case of Kopal-Bati, the second stage, it's not quite as easy as it sounds.
2) Body stretches and exercises. These aren't what I thought they would be. I thought it would be putting my body into some obscene position and holding it for as long as you can. That's really not true. It's mostly just aerobic stuff - leg swings, these weird kind of situps, and other pieces that bear unusual similarities to the core that we do in Nordic. And actually some of them are fairly difficult. Sometimes I hear Kust shouting in my head for me to "suck up the pain! Be a man!".
3) The religious aspect. Yoga is not just good physically, it's also a tenet of the Hindu religion. A lot of Hindus do it every day. We always open with chanting the Gayatri Mantra. It's a bunch of words in Hindu. I've almost got it. I haven't the slightest idea what it means, but I have confidence that it's important. They also say the word "om" a lot. It means peace, I think. They have a lot of different variations on the ways that they say it - eyes closed, eyes open, say it fast twenty times, say it for as long as you can while covering up your ears. Also in the middle of the sessions we always have an eyes-closed two minute meditation session. I am told to focus my mind and think about my own god. I always spend the two minutes thinking about what I think about Catholicism in my head and before I reach any conclusion they are up.
I will admit, it seem to be good for all parts of the body. And I can do lots of it on my own. In fact I am recommended by my family to do 10 or 15 minutes of yoga 2 hours after every meal.
It's become one of my favorite hours of the day because I like exercise, because it's good to be doing something outside of school or reading on their porch, and because it's at least one hour out of the day where my mind feels at peace. I will admit that's something I could use at the moment.


  1. Ted, reading your blog is quickly becoming a highlight of my day.
    "Pirating movies is something that I'm very, very morally opposed to but when in Rome..." Hahahahahahaha, I love you man.

  2. Ted, I am so proud of you! Yoga is absolutely a highlight for me and you just wrote so eloquently about it.