Friday, October 26, 2012

Snake Goddess

Anyone who has an obsession (good or, let's face it, most of the time bad), would understand the kind of euphoria that one would feel when he or she is indulging in it. I want you to imagine Lindsay's face when she sees a stash of crack (allegedly). That, my dear readers is the look of euphoria. I reserve the kind of look when I'm standing in front of a DVD shop that sells Bollywood movies.

Yes, my obsession is Bollywood. And like every other obsession, it has cost me lots of money, time and effort. It has also affected my social and personal life, to be honest.

It all started when I was nine years old, and this was the earliest memory that I have whenever I talk about the start of my Bollywood obsession. As a routine, at every four o'clock in the afternoon, you would find me lying down beside my late grandmother, watching re-runs of old Bollywood movies on television. My late grandmother was a masseuse and she always smelt of massage oil and lavender baby talcum. I can never forget that smell.

So one fine afternoon, as I was lying down beside my late grandmother, sniffing the faint scent of massage oil and lavender baby talcum at every inhale, suddenly the whole house was filled with a mysterious flute music. On the screen was this old Bollywood movie, and the scene on the screen was this evil priest trying to call out a lady who is also the Snake Goddess.

Yes, go ahead, laugh. At nine years old, this was singlehandedly the definitive moment for me and my obsession. The Snake Goddess was embodied beautifully by the inimitable Sridevi (google that shit up), and at that very point in time, I was completely absorbed in Indian Cinema. For years after that, I would be the kind of teenager that saves every single cent of what I have, and head down to Little India and scour the entire stretch of road finding the latest Bollywood movies that just got released on disc. I knew every nook and cranny of the place and I would brave the sun, the rain and the crowd just to get hold of the desired title.

Once acquired, the disc player, if it had a mouth, would be begging to be switched off. I would replay the movie over and over again. Press pause, rewind, replay. Fast forward to the good scenes, fast forward the bad scenes, replay the songs over and over again. And if you must know, yes I am quite proficient in Hindi. This obsession is initially received with much chagrin from my mother. This was only because the living room would be strewn with a mountain of discs covers and for a neat clean freak like my mother, I am better off taking the dumpster and emptying its contents in the living room.

But when I myself have taken her sick, socially awkward standard of cleanliness, she has nothing left to say. Two shelves, filled to the brim, neatly of course, with all the titles that you can think of.

I knew every gossips, every breakup, every hook ups, who is doing what movie, who fell out with who, the whole shebang. My mum always tell my friends that if I spend as much time studying, I would be a doctor by now. She obviously is saying that because then I can prescribe her slimming pills regularly. Melanie shares the same sentiment too. Like three days ago when she visited my place to send a tray of freshly baked brownies.

"Aren't you too old to be obsessed with all of these?" she said, scanning my DVD collection.

"Coming from a person who has her drug dealer on speed dial, that's judgmental, isn't it Mel?" I answered.

"I only take drugs recreationally. And keep your voice down! Your mum might hear," she hushed.

"You indulge in recreational activities on a daily basis Mel. And what makes you think my mum doesn't know?"

"She knows?!" Mel gasped.

Well, truth is, my mum saw the pictures of us on the dance floor in my Facebook while I was browsing and the first thing she said when she saw Melanie was, "Aren't you afraid that there might be a raid and you all will get arrested?"

I kept quiet and she continued, "You don't have to lie or keep anything. I know a crackhead when I see one. I spent my entire youth working as clinic assistant. I can tell the druggies apart from the rest."

"Is that why you also smuggle slimming pills whenever you're at work then?"

I felt a sharp smack of my head. But thank god it's not any of my DVDs.

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