The boring inevitability of running into Americans who have some story to share about Hindi movies and their stars notwithstanding, I have to share this one I heard yesterday.
After picking up my media credentials for the NATO summit in Chicago, I took a media shuttle to the McCormick Place to check out the media center. (Too much media here, I know). As we waited for a few more journalists to board, John Aranza, the bus driver started chatting with me. For some inexplicable reason he had Steven Spielberg’s 1984 movie ‘Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom’ on his mind, particularly the scene where the great Indian actor Amrish Puri rips the heart out of a man.
John said he once drove a young Indian woman who said she was a niece of Puri’s. Incidentally, this particular media shuttle was actually a Chicago trolley of the kind that tourists can hop on and off of.
He then asked me rather gingerly if ripping the human heart out had any cultural significance or any basis in truth. I could tell that he did not for a second mean to imply that he thought it did but he just wanted to be sure. I responded in obvious jest saying, “India, in reality, is wilder than that. When people cannot find any other food, they do rip hearts out of fellow Indians in emergencies.”
Much uncomfortable mirth followed my humor, enough to make the security detail who was accompanying the bus laugh as well. So, so like that. This is about all the NATO summit reporting I will do here.
Speaking of Indians ripping hearts out when hungry, I have received this coupon offering from McDonald’s as part of their ethnic target marketing. I know this is not a particularly edifying segue, from a blood soaked heart to ‘Cherry Berry Chiller’, but I had to get it in. At least the scene is a chiller and so is the drink.
There are many presumptions in this offer. McDonald’s first presumes that I am human, then that I am from India, followed by that I speak Hinglish (Hindi and English mix), that I rip a coupon out when hungry and right behind it that I go to McDonald’s and order chillers. Unfortunately,most of their presumptions, except going to McDonald’s on my own with a coupon, are accurate.
“Pehle hi sip me Pyaar ka ehsaas’ (Love at first sip), the offer says in striking pink letters whose font I am not able to crack. It also says on the side, “Pesh hai cool, new Juicy drink….natural flavors ke saath. Isme hai blended ice ke saath cheery or raspberry ki natural sweetness.” (Presenting cool, new juicy drink..with natural flavors. It blends ice with the natural sweetness of cherry and raspberry.)
They figured that being a bargain-hunting cheapskate Indian American, which I am most assertively not (I would have no shame in admitting if I were), I would be happy to receive the coupon that saves me a full buck. Also, that I speak fractured English mixed with Hindi because I am from the stratum of society that is not just semi-literate but also hard up. (I am just messing with them. I am merely amused by this). Curiously, the coupon was sent from Church St. Station, New York.
P.S.: Just think about the sheer range of this post, from the NATO (serious) to Indiana Jones (silly) to Cherry Berry Chiller (stupid).