Sari Stories.

Being a socially-awkward hermit has its benefits: Instead of shaking her thang to Bollywood beats, Tiff is free to stay home to blog. Thug Life.

Just Horsing Around

Sunday is Melbourne Cup day…And by Melbourne Cup I mean Mumbai Cup. And its in March, not November. And has nothing to do with Melbourne. But there are horses and I wear a hat that is bigger than Charlie Sheen’s ego, so we’re just going to run with Mumbai Cup day.

I arrive at the designer’s studio in the morning for hair and make up, thinking that today is a fashion show. Alas, when there is only one other girl joining me in hair and make up (the lovely Katerina from my agency), I begin to suspect this will not be a two-woman fashion show.

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The designer we are working for today is from a family of horse-breeders, and today is the family sponsor day at the Sunday races. We will be trotting around the field with her and taking photos for publicity and also taking full advantage of the canapés in the VIP area. 

I get an extra kilometer of hair added to my head (possibly to get me into character to resemble a horse) and it digs painfully into my head and I look forward to carrying around the extra kilos of hair for the rest of the day. 

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Once we’re all dolled up, we take photos for the designer in her studio until 1:00pm when we get driven to the racecourse.

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Alas, my bags were left in the driver’s car and I therefore did not manage to capture any snapshots at the job itself, so you will have to bear with me and use your imagination (and the assistant of the dramatized images) to gain a better sense of the day.

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We start in the VIP area and are grumbling on behalf of our grumbling tummies when right on cue, the waiters come around with canapés (and continue to do so for the entire duration of the day). We’re stuffing our faces with smoked curried chicken and leek tartlets when we get summoned to actually do some work. We stand about and allow the media to take photos of us in the beautiful designer’s clothes, and then move around the racecourse meeting guests and showing off the brand. A few more hours of photo opportunities, we return to the VIP area and make deliberate eye contact with the waiters to devour yet another tray of canapés. 

We’re waiting for our next task when we spy the man carrying the tray of…baked blueberry cheesecake! And right on cue, we get whisked away before I can take the tray off him and rub the glorious cheesecake all over my face. 

After a long day of posing, presenting trophies, fighting a losing battle between the wind and my tiny, modest hat, it reaches 7:00pm and the last race is over. The VIP area is beginning to get empty, and thus the kitchen seems to hear my inner-obesity cries and starts sending out ALL the leftover food. Tray after tray of cheesecakes and quiches and tarts start coming out, so Katerina and I do what any self-respecting person would do: Stand by the entrance and grab ALL of the things as they walk past. 

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So after a glorious day of posing, eating cheesecake, posing, standing on podiums presenting things to jockeys, trying not to attract any horses with my fierce pony tail and giving myself indigestion from all the mass food consumption, I’m free to waddle home and roll around on the floor like a satisfied kitty kat. Reow. 

Slackers at Suzette’s

In our Indian world, a day off from castings and jobs equals one thing: House arrest. When we finally get a day free from getting whiplash from rickshaw rides and the painful Indian heat, we make it our goal to sit in the apartment with no make up and un-brushed hair all day until…The internet breaks.

And so we are forced to leave the house, but at least we don’t have to apply layers of make up as we normally would for castings that ends up melting off in sweat before we even get anywhere. Given that we don’t have food either, we decide to get lunch at a personal favourite lunching place that’s a good 300 metres from the apartment: Suzette. 

As soon we step into the French themed café, we forget we’re in India (that is until we glance into the street and see a man nearly run down by a rickshaw travelling at the speed of light).

I order the salad of the day, and request that they add grilled chicken for 60 rupee (ie. Just over a dollar. So basically I’m paying to risk getting food poisoning) and a pineapple and coconut juice.

The others get crepes and we have a gay old time admiring the glamourous picture hanging over our heads that was taken from an ultra flattering angle.

Following the meal, we have to work out the bill since they added tax. How many models does it take to work out how much each one owes?

When we all accept that no one is good at maths but we think we’ve paid everything, we stroll off to re-stock our home food supplies and then stagger back to the apartment due to the ghastly heat and discover the internet has gotten over its anxiety and allows us to resume watching cat videos on YouTube. 

Swell, Elle!

One eventful night (because both “27 Dresses” AND “Friends With Benefits” are on the television), we’re all deeply absorbed in the movie marathon that doesn’t feature “Titanic” when I get a message informing me that tomorrow I’ve been selected to shoot for ELLE MAGAZINE!

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ELLE?! ELLE! ELLE MAGAZINE! After a decent amount of shrieking, I receive another message telling me I also have a casting after the shoot. Good gravy. At least I’ll already have a full face of extremely natural looking make up on for the casting.

After MORE shrieking I receive yet ANOTHER message, informing me that the casting has been post-poned until the day after because…There’s a strike in India and transport will not be running. Cool Beans.

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 I reply and ask how the devil, then, will I get to my job by 8:00am given this lack of transport? I’m told it’s within walking distance, and there will be another girl from our agency on the shoot and that we can travel on foot together (if only I’d remembered to bring my magic carpet).

The next morning, I rise and shine (because I have sheen supreme face from sweating) and whilst being incredibly excited about shooting for Elle Magazine, I am less than excited about having to walk there because of the strike that will mean the rickshaws and taxis won’t be on the roads. YOLO?

Radical Radhika was beautiful enough to say she’ll get up and walk with Samira (the lovely German girl shooting today) and me to the shoot. YOU GODDESS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GEOGRAPHICAL WISDOM! We go downstairs at 7:20am, meet Samira and then begin walking down the street that, for the first time, is making about as much noise as Helen Keller.

However, we are struck with luck when a rogue rickshaw goes past and he hail him and manage to convince him to take us to the shoot since its close.

We arrive at an apartment building, have coffee on the first floor before going up to the sixth floor for hair/make up/where the clothes are all laid out…And to be greeted by a creepy muppet doll on the back of the door with a mullet.

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Just as I sit down to have my hair made straighter than a heterosexual, the Chai tea is served. I am in heaven (except I’m not dead, so heaven on earth).

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We then walk 4 flights of stairs to the roof where we are shooting and the view is incredible (much like the Elle team, who are all fantastic and fun to work with).

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After the first look, we race back down the stairs, change into our own clothes ready for lunching. We were all given a takeaway menu earlier and requested some dishes, and since I’m adventurous, I requested what ended up translating to “roasted cottage cheese”.

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The assistant tells me its “Indian-Chinese”, and so I help myself to everything because I’m starving and everything is so spicy that my taste buds become impaired and everything ends up tasting the same.

After lunching, we return back to the sixth floor, and get more hair and make up for the second look.

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Following the shoot, Samira gets another look to be shot and I loiter about making jokes with the hilarious stylist and singing Taylor Swift before we wrap up and check our phones to find another casting. I message our agent and ask how the devil we are supposed to reach this casting with the strike occurring, and apparently the transport IS running. We thank the folks for being fantastic and then race out to the other side of town for the casting. After eventually arriving, we join the cue of folks trying their luck. One girl gets in front of the camera and claims she would like to dance for her audition. We all exchange glances, and I start trying to recall any of the dance moves from the One Direction video clip of the V Hits music channel this morning.

She makes a random Indian man get up and be her dance partner, and we watched (horrified) as they enthusiastically choreograph a very amusing dance routine that they enjoy performing over and over and over and over until we’re in silent hysterics.

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Then its our turn, and (thank both God and Ganesha) that we don’t have to dance. We have to sit on the floor, pretend we’re watching a very interesting film, then start laughing HYSTERICALLY AND SLAPPING THE FLOOR, and then stop. And then laugh again. And since I’m so tired and this IS somewhat funny, I have no problem rolling around like my lost marbles all over the floor.

By 8:30pm, we’ve finished the casting and the day is done and I get inside to my girls and take great joy in lying down with a mug o’ soup. What an ELLE of a time I had today!

Saris On A Sunday

Sundays are supposed to be the day of rest (or the day I procrastinate doing my washing and wonder how many more days I can wear my “Evolve Mixed Martial Arts” t-shirt to bed before it becomes offensive to my housemates’ noses). However, this Sunday has us all rising before 7:00am to be at our location before 8:30am for my first Indian fashion show. Goody Gumdrops! 

We arrive, I yawn, we sit and wait for the rest of the models, I yawn again, we wait, I keep yawning and finally we can start rehearsals. We are given a sheet with all the models’ names for the run order. As if weren’t obvious enough already, the foreign to local Mumbai model ratio became even more clear when we saw the names on the sheet:

We sit in front of the ramp, where workers are constructing VIP areas with couches and draped material and also get peeved that we’ve taken their chairs for our own usage. The choreographer points from one end of the ramp to the other and informs us that due its length, we’ll be making at least 7 stops on it instead of one, straight walk. Here is a snapshot of some workers crossing it so you can gather how we would look, except we wouldn’t be walking in procession carrying baskets on our heads.

 

Halfway through the rehearsal, minions arrive with snack boxes. Normally I would say its never too early in the morning for a sandwich, two deep-fried Indian doughnuts and a chocolate cake, but then I’m not normally on a stupidly strict diet, so I enjoy a tasty bottle of water instead.

Following a rehearsal that runs for 3.5 hours, we loiter about for hair and make-up/sustenance. Half an hour later somewhere between me contemplating eating my own arm (because there’s no muscle on it for me to worry about chewing through) and resuming fetal position on the floor of the make up room, the lunch boxes arrive.

 

I don’t remember the last time I had rice due to the old model diet, but what’s a girl to do? At least it comes with a Ben 10 juice box…

 

The rice fills my stomach and my heart and I’m emotionally prepared to be made up and have my hair combed over.

 

We wait about the green room whilst everyone gets transformed from Jay Z to Cameron Diaz, and I admire the run sheet on the wall with our mug shots from the fitting:


By the time every girl is done with hair and make up, its 4:30pm, and the show was meant to start at 4:20pm. Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen, right?

 

The show itself is just Bollywood Bliss, and I don’t even trip (at least not noticeably). Following the very long parade, we pose for the media before all trotting back to the change room to wrestle with the fiddly buttons and many layers of beading and fabric to get changed so we can beat the traffic (not physically with sticks or anything, I mean ‘beat’ as in ‘race home all the other 1000 rickshaws on the roads) before peak hour.

And thus concludes my first amazing fashion parade in Mumbai. And they all lived Happily Ever After. The End.

'L' Is For The Way You Look At Me, 'O' Is For Only In India Would You Find 2D Chicken Breast

Valentine’s Day. (I’m aware that was a fortnight ago, however, I’m about as up to date with this blog as an Amish person is with modern technology).  

On Valentine’s Day, I awake to the beautiful bouquet of roses courtesy of Josh that I had been enjoying since Monday, tackle the days castings wishing everyone a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ because for the first time I’m not bitter and resenting it and planning my future that involves a hoard of cats.

In the evening, we plan to go out for a Valentine’s Day dinner (because none of us are equipped with skills or ingredients to cook one). Bridget’s mamma is in town, and has offered to treat us to a real dinner in a real restaurant near her hotel. Unfortunately Radical Radhika (or as we sometimes call her, “The Stick In The Dungeon” because of her ultra-slim physique and our dungeon-type bedroom she frequently retreats to for studying purposes because we are mild distractions to say the least)

So Bridget, Sharni and I head down town to her mamma’s hotel where our nostrils are greeted by the scent of hotel soap and an abundance of rupees. We meet Bridget’s yummy mummy in the lobby, and then make our way out to the street to find a suitable dining facility. However, due to the selfish Valentine’s couples taking up all the restaurant reservations, most of the tables are unavailable for the next half hour. Since even McDonalds is overflowing with both juveniles and classy couples, we decide to go have a pre-dinner drink at the Irish pub upstairs.

The second we walk in, we are each given two complimentary drink tickets for shots and we all feel like we’ve left India (until we see that a bottle of Jacob’s Creek wine is $60 as opposed to the $9 local bottle shop special).  


So we sit feeling classy with a $60 bottle of Jacob’s Creek on bar stools in the Irish Pub in India, nibbling on the perfect food pairing to our wine:

 

Potato Skins.

We ask the waiter what the shots are, and he says, “strawberry shot” and we say, “what’s in that?” and he can’t manage to explain it…So we just tell him we’ll have a round.

 

The pink shot glasses come out, I have a sniff, decide against the miscellaneous spirits and give it to Sharni instead, who accepts it like a trooper.

Following the entrée, we kick onto an Italian restaurant run by Indians.

Despite it being risky, I decide to order chicken.

Me: “I’ll have the chicken breast.”

Waiter: “Ah, you know its just chicken breast?”

Me: “…As opposed to what?”

Waiter: “No, no, its JUST chicken breast. With some leaves sprinkled on top.”

Me: “…”

Waiter: “Its very dry. Would you like me to make you a sauce to go with it?”

Me: “Sure, that sounds…great?”

 

So whilst enjoying an incredible salt and pepper squid entrée, I await my “dry chicken breast with leaves sprinkled on top” to be prepared. Our dishes soon come out one by one, and then my “chicken” reaches the table:

 

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I ordered the chicken breast.”

Waiter: “Yes?”

Me: “So, where’s the chicken breast.”

Waiter: *Puzzled “Its there, ma’am.”

Me: *Looks under pile of leaves

Waiter *Laughing “That IS the chicken breast ma’am.”

Me: “…Okay. Thank you?”

He walks away and I hesitantly taste the “chicken”. IT IS CHICKEN! It just appears to be representing the chicken that tried to cross the road but got run over by a rickshaw. And its awkwardly tasty.

 

When we’ve finished eating, we go to leave and the waiter stops us just to give us all little individual roses. What a babe.

We then return to the hotel to see how much better Bridget’s mum’s 5 star hotel room is than our house (rookie mistake). After being tortured by the luxurious room and having a giggle at the note left by housekeeping with questionable grammar,

 

(“I hope you are NOT feeling well?”), we make the long journey home.

 

Happy (delayed) Valentine’s Day, folks! I was very fortunate to have a Valentine’s dinner with a flat chicken, and whilst that is absolutely NO substitute for the man back home with whom I wished to spend today with, at least the day wasn’t too fowl. Foul. Fowl. Hah. 

Arabian Movie Nights

We may not be able to drink water from the tap or eat lettuce without washing it thoroughly with bottled water (which is too precious to waste on washing lettuce because I need it to brush my teeth with), but we are able to watch movies all day, every day on 80% of the movie channels that work. Every day we scroll through the available selections and all choose what we want to watch together. We’ve sung through the ‘Sound of Music’, been bewitched by ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1 AND PART 2)’ and found Nemo in ‘Finding Nemo’. However, the movies here aren’t like movies on TV in Australia. Alas, they aren’t in favour of cursing or nudity (ironically the two categories Australia favours most). Another thing we’ve noticed is that they like to play the exact same movies on repeat day after day, their favourites being: ‘Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’, ‘King Kong’ and ‘2012’ (all of which I’ve never seen and despite being played on repeat, I never will see). Nevertheless, nothing beats their obsession with ‘Titanic’. Why? I’m not entirely sure as they blur out Rose’s boob in her nude sketch and the entire naked drawing scene is cut (and everyone knows that’s the only reason people watch the movie). Not only that, but every swear is censored, which makes the entire sinking of the ship scene very disjointed as that would be my only choice of words if I was about to perish in frozen waters. So this afternoon I have the choice of watching ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘Titanic’ (again). WE GET IT, INDIA, THE SHIP SANK, MOVE ON! And please start putting the ‘Lizzie McGuire Movie’ on at appropriate times, instead of 3:00am.

Juicy, Juicy Mangoes and Rickshaws 101

What has six legs, six arms and lots of hair? (Other than a mutant antelope or a genetically modified super-human)…Three models venturing out on the streets of Bandra West to go grocery shopping before I have to go humiliate myself speaking in Hindi. We go down to the Pali Markets and pass stalls, ignoring constant shouts from vendors “YES MA’AM! YES MA’AM! CARROT? YOU WANT CARROT? HUH? STRAWBERRY? YES MA’AM!” No, we don’t want carrots because the are a queer shade of pink and as much as we’d love strawberries, there’s a 100% they’d been bathing in Indian tap water and just awaiting to attack our bowels. So no, we don’t want your carrot or strawberry.

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We come across the most promising looking fruit stall and each buy oranges and a pomegranate for less than $3. We’re about to leave when he starts offering us mango. Unsure of whether this is an inappropriate metaphor, we say, “no thank you!” He picks a mango off the pile and cuts it into three pieces anyway. He hands it to us, and we aren’t sure of how to say, “BACK BEAST! WE DON’T WANT YOUR JUICY, JUICY MANGOES” in Hindi. Well, you only live once…

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 So we eat it. And it’s the most DELICIOUS MANGO WE’VE EVER EATEN! So we buy two each. The moral: ALWAYS accept food from strangers.

Next stop: Bollywood.

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I reach the audition and have to act like I’m being kidnapped at a petrol station, then drive the getaway car, then comes the dreaded Hindi…

“ANGREZ HOON! BEWAKOOF NAHIN!” I shout, which is supposed to translate to something along the lines of “English woman I am, stupid I am NOT!” (Unless I said it wrong, which I probably did, and therefore probably said something like, “gravy belongs in my socks”).

 

When its over, he says he’ll show it to the director and get back to me (and by “show it to the director” he probably means “burn it”). So I drag what’s left of my dignity back out to the rickshaw and ask to be taken home. It is during this ride that I feel I owe you all a tour and a class in rickshaw 101. 


(1) The Meter

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This piece of ultra-modern technology is used so that foreigners like myself don’t get ripped off by cheeky drivers who assume I’m a dunce and don’t know the difference between a rupee and a radish. Well I’ve got news for you, Mr. Rick Shaw, (just to clarify that isn’t actually his name), I’m well aware of distance and I can assure you that it doesn’t cost 70 rupee to get from the petrol station to my house as you tried to cheat me previously! GIRL POWER!


(2) Ultra Safe Safety Bar On The Right Side

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This ultra safe bar can be found on the right side of the rickshaw. It stops dunce models from falling out the side and stray dogs and/or giant rodents from climbing aboard. Note: You’re knee-deep in hot, hot curry if you’re sitting on the left without the safety bar.


(3) Lack Of Safety Bar On The Left

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The left side of the rickshaw is where passengers embark/disembark onto/from the vehicle. Beware if sitting on this side, as it seems to attract folk selling miscellaneous items from Angry Birds colouring books to tissue boxes to the novel “50 Shades of Grey” and increases the risk of toppling out sideways.


(4) Mr. Rick Shaw (ie. The Driver)

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Say “Allloooooooooooo” to the driver. 98% of the time he won’t speak English and 100% of the time, I won’t speak Hindi. This becomes a hindrance when I ask him if he knows where he is going and he bobbles his head from side to side. I ask him if that means he knows or if he doesn’t. He then bobbles his head again. I have no idea whether this means yes or no, so I get in anyway. Generally halfway through the journey, I discover he is just as lost as I am. This makes for an exciting adventure when we both try to communicate with one another, despite both knowing that the other isn’t going to suddenly have a Pentecostal miracle and suddenly speak the tongue of the other. 

(5) Vital Hand Signals

RIGHT turn

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LEFT turn


STRAIGHT on


STAAAAAHHHPPPP

Due to not knowing the Hindi word for “turn right” or “turn left” (or  even “COW IN THE ROAD”) and due to there being no street signs so I can’t tell him way in advance a street to turn down, the only way of communicating is by using hand gestures to tell him which alley I wish to turn down, whether he should go straight or whether he should stop and let me evacuate the vehicle. These aren’t always handy because most of the time (sorry, let me correct that, ALL of the time) I don’t know when or where I should be turning. My best method: Go with my gut (unless I have Dehli Belly). 




AND ALWAYS REMEMBER THE SASSY PANTS FACE so they know you might not be Jenny (or Indian equivalent name) from the Block (or Slums) but you certainly know when you’re being ripped off about 2836812 rupee!

Because…

AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

Monday Funday: I Don’t Speak Hindi

On Monday, I awaken from my slumber, fight another losing battle with the hot water system, emerge from the cold shower with skin that closely resembles a goose (hot to trot, I know) and see a missed call from the agency. After agreeing to escort Bridget to the agency this morning (not like a paid escort, more like a friendly favour escort), I also receive some news that’s far more exciting than my oats for breakfast. Please for lease enjoy the following transcript of the conversation: 

Agent: “Also, how would you like to audition for Bollywood?”

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Agent: “A director has requested a meeting with you, if he likes you he’ll give you the script to learn and then you can audition once you know the lines.”

Me: “WHEN’S THE MEETING?!”

Agent: “Possibly today…And if not then maybe Wednesday…Or Thursday…I’ll let you know.”

Me: “…Groovy!”

 

So with some vague information about Bollywood, I prepare to take Bridget to the agency.

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I ask her if she wants to walk or take a rickshaw, and since we have time she says we can walk. She asks me if I know the way once we’re on the street, and I inform her that I absolutely do, its just down a straight road and then once we see the four banks at the intersection we turn left…or right…or keep going…Or maybe we turn at the Lemongrass Asian restaurant…So no, I don’t actually know the way.

When we make it to the agency, I sign some tax forms (BORING BUSINESS BORING BORING PAPERWORK BORING PAPERWORK TAX MONEY BORING) and Bridget gets her book and then I’m told I will in fact have the Bollywood meet-and-greet today. Bridget also has to do some catch up castings today and since her phone doesn’t work yet, unfortunately for her she has no choice but to be chained to me and my working phone. So I agree to take her to the casting, and then she will come with me to mine, because THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR (and also because travelling alone is about as enjoyable as a Nickelback album).

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Just as we’ve gone downstairs to hail down a rickshaw, Sharni rings me and says I need to come back up to the apartment IMMEDIATELY! I ask her why and she won’t say but she says I need to just come straight up right this second!

We race upstairs, assuming someone has died, and run into the living room where the girls are pointing at the television. This is what I see:

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I ask them why I’m looking at Pierce Brosnan and they keep pointing…And then I see they aren’t pointing at Pierce at all…

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JOSHUA MONEY! YOU ABSOLUTELY PERFECT EXAMPLE OF A MAN! I start crying and beaming and I don’t want to go to the casting, I just want to stay home and cuddle my early Valentines roses. YOU ARE ONE IN A TRILLION BILLION, I LOVE YOU AND CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THE GREATEST DELIVERY SINCE LAST NIGHT’S CURRY! I LOVE YOU!

Giddy with affection, I take her to the casting, and then we speed off to mine which is supposed to be in the “V.I.P Plaza”. And hour of traipsing seedy alley ways and being given all sorts of directions (“turn left, walk for 5 minutes straight, then dead end, so turn left, and then right, and now straight, ah I don’t know where that is, turn around, you’re going the wrong way, curry etc.”) we finally make it to the plaza. They hand me the movie script (oh good, I’m glad its in Hindi) and they ask me if I want to audition today or tomorrow. I remind them that Hindi is not my first, or even my eighth, language! They decide that perhaps tomorrow would be more suitable to memorize pages of a Hindi script. I want to tell them that even a century wouldn’t be enough time, but thank them for the challenge and we head back home.

Once inside, I demand Radhika teach me everything she knows and to help me sound out all of the miscellaneous words, and she is very helpful and also very amused at my destruction of the Hindi language.

Whilst I may not be fluent, at least I can go to bed with the knowledge of how to say, “I work for the embassy” in Hindi!

Mai embassy kē li’ē kāma karatē haiṁ”

Sunday: Roomies 4 Life

On Sunday, my ultra-glamorous housemates and ultra-glamorous me are informed that there will be a new girl joining our secret club in this house on this very day.

We hope for our sake that she is (a) As beautiful as us (please refer to attached images above for proof of our model looks) and (b) As feral as us.

We loiter about in our best clothes (pyjamas) and make guesses about who she is, how old she is and whether she’ll find us hilarious or missing vital chromosomes.

Her name is Bridget and she’s from ‘STRAYA YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY and she fits into our club perfectly! We give her a tour of our apartment and welcome her to India by warning her the toilet in one bathroom doesn’t flush, that you can count on the hot water in the other shower about as much as you can count on Paris Hilton’s dignity and that she should always wear a sports bra in rickshaws to survive the ride. 

So here we all are, being (as Radical calls us) “Mad Women”. 

Without these Mad Women, I might have slowly perished from lack of physical human contact and people to sing and make obnoxiously loud noises with all day, every day. Together, we watch ‘The Sound of Music’, try and sing the Indian advertisements (very poorly) and spend our evenings taking advantage of free home delivery of any food because none of us can cook. HoUsEm@teZ RULE!

You girls put the spice in my curries. 

Sisterhood Of The Travelling Sari On Saturday

 On Saturday we have the entire day, so we have the important task of sleeping in and then decide to play the board game we found in the living room: ‘Money Plus: A Global Business Game’.

Unfortunately for us, there are no rules, and also no indication of how the game should be played. We have no idea of how many Rupees each player should start with, what the term ‘global business’ even means or when we can use the “American Passport” cards. When even Google has no idea what ‘Money Plus’ is or how to play, we decide to quit while we’re ahead and go into the money minus by going shopping.

 Radical Radhika says she’ll take us to Hill Road for shopping, so we put on our finest gypsy clothes and gather our shiny rupees to head out for a day on the town.

 

We walk all the way down to the strip with tiny market stalls that barely have enough room inside for one sari, let alone more than four and a half customers. We walk into shops and admire jewellery, get looks from locals, get prodded in the back by a girl wearing a head-to-toe veil with no eye or mouth holes and asked for money and then continue to browse the $9.00 shoes. Its not long before we’re perishing with hunger and decide to go get lunch.

“What about KFC?” asks Radical Radhika, which I decline because I can taste the eleven secret herbs and spices at home (and also because I suspect there will be about one hundred and eleven extra spicy herbs and extra spicy spices in the Indian Colonel’s chicken).

 

 

We get in a rickshaw and take a bumpy ride off to “Eat Around The Corner” (which literally was just around the corner as the name suggests which is already promising news).

 

There’s a huge cabinet with endless salads, soup, pizza, carbs, sugar, more carbs and cake (which is my favourite combination of carb and sugar). I end up with soup because I’m not in the mood for salad (to be fair, nobody ever IS in such a mood. Even if they say they are, they probably aren’t).


We eat outside and Radical gets a glorious looking hotdog and Sharni ends up with a heavenly slab of chocolate heaven that appears to be chocolate Jesus reincarnated on the plate.

 


With soup in ma belly and joy in my heart, we retire back home to take advantage of the movie channels and lounging on the couch (and by couch I mean the mattresses on the living room floor coated in Indian cushions). We then stay up until 3am having girlish giggles, what a swell way to end the day. G!rlFr!enDz LoL :p :p :p But for real, I’m infinitely lucky to have groovy housemates like these girls. Its like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (without the travelling pants…Or the Greek love interest…So basically its nothing like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants).

 

Feral Friday, But At Least I Got To Order Indian Delivery For Dinner


IT’S FRIDAY FRIDAY GOTTA GIT DOWN ON FRIDAY!

Due to having a luscious day of luscious work yesterday, I am forced to complete all the catch up castings I missed the day before.

Another girl lives nearby and also has the same castings, so I text her and see if she’ll carpool with me. Alas, she moved to another part of town last night and so guess who will be forced to tackle the castings all by herself…I’ll give you a hint: It starts with ‘M’ and ends with ‘E’. Give up? Me. Its ME! I HAVE TO TACKLE INDIA ALL BY MYSELF!

 

With a backpack full of high heels and my book and a heart full of arteries and courage, I get in the rickshaw and ask to be taken to the “Fun Plaza” (which obviously the rickshaw driver has never heard of).

We drive to the suburb, and he then asks if I want to go left or right. Unfortunately, I can’t tell him which way I want to go because I don’t know the Hindi words to tell him and also because I DON’T KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO! So I sit, hyperventilating in the back of a rickshaw and keep repeating the same address I was given. We pull over, I ask a local teenager (because she seems like she hangs out at the “Fun Plaza” more than the senior man sleeping on the pavement next to her. She gives us directions and soon we’re literally right outside a giant building plastered with the word: “FUN!” I ASSUME this is it, so I take my chances and by some sheer magic find my way at the casting for a role in a TV series about a haunted island. They immediately give me a script that happens to all be in Hindi.

Casting Director: “Do you speak Hindi?”

Me: “No, but I can try?”

Casting Director: “Good, read this paragraph, you can audition in a minute.”

Me: “What? Now?”

Casting Director: “Yes!”

Me: “You’re well aware I don’t speak Hindi?”

Casting Director: “Yes, come audition now!”


So I go in and proceed to humiliate myself by attempting to repeat Hindi after a minute of reading the script that I don’t understand and can’t pronounce.

Immediately after, they pause and ask me to just say a few lines about myself in English (somewhat easier). I then leave my dignity behind with the Hindi script and head to the next casting.

This ends up being quite the pickle, as the driver (again) has no clue where to drop me and I have no clue where to get out. We somehow make it to what the address is meant to be…

Oh good. This seems legitmate. Don’t suppose anyone around here knows where I can find the Body Lotion TVC? No?

Apparently the location is beside Studio 2000, so we continue to drive through the dust until we find it.

HOW COULD I MISS THAT? IT WAS SO OBVIOUSLY HIDDEN IN THE CORNER OF THE DUST VILLAGE! OF COURSE! SILLY ME!

So I cast for the TVC that has me pretending to play with my child (which looks oddly like a camera) and perform “Happy Hands” as I act out what is supposed to be a butterfly or bird or pterodactyl.

Following this casting I discover that without the internet on my phone, I cannot receive messages from the agency which proves to be disastrous when they notify me that I have another casting this afternoon that happens to be close by, but because I didn’t receive it earlier I am unprepared and should probably go home to groom myself because its for Garnier hair, and my hair looks like a bird’s nest constructed by a lizard. Stunning.

So I get into the rickshaw, already exhausted, and muster the energy to get through the next castings by listening to some Indian motivational music:

 

“Jai Ho, You Are My Destiny”.

Halfway home just as I’m feeling somewhat weary, a man with no fingers and mauled stumps for hands puts his stump inside my rickshaw begging for money with a tin can around his wrist. I feel like a proper shrew saying ‘no’, but am also aware that giving money can end up being very dangerous so I have to be a stone-hearted shrew and the entire situation is very confronting.

When I finally make it back to the apartment, my sorority sisters are in the bottom of the lift just as I aim to go up. They say, “COME FOR LUNCH” and I can’t think of anything better (except if lunch was an entire cheesecake).

We go to Candies and have a whale of a time (we don’t eat whale, I have the salad bar again) and shout out to my girls for making me forget about the traumatic events of the morning. We then have to go home so Sharni and I can get ready for the next lot of castings. I’m blessed by the angels, as Sharni will escort me to the Garnier hair casting despite already doing it yesterday, so she’ll actually save me a good half hour of hunting for the building since she’ll recognize it. We go home to get ready and discover…THE INTERNET HAS BROKEN! AND THE MAN WHO WE’RE SUPPOSED TO RING TO FIX IT IS AWAY FOR THE REST OF THE WEEKEND!

 

I look forward to not being able to communicate with literally anyone the entire weekend, inclusive of the agency so if I need to receive any messages I can NAHT. Good. (I am clearly being sarcastic, this is in no way an ideal situation).

Since I can’t watch comical cat videos on YouTube thanks to the perishing internet, we start off on our journey. However, since neither of us has any idea of Indian geography; we don’t know how much time we should allow. Ambitiously thinking one hour will be sufficient, we find ourselves in the middle of peak hour traffic like a traffic-jam sandwich (HAHAHA, GET IT?)

Over and hour in traffic later, we finally reach the Garnier casting and I thank both Baby Jesus and Sharni for knowing exactly where it is when we arrive in the suburbs and there’s a joyful game of cricket being had.

 

So I flip my hair around, shake my head, smile awkwardly at the camera, smile and nod at the casting director who I don’t understand and assume I’m nodding at the right things, not nodding at him asking him if I wish to join a cult where we worship cricket.


 

At 6:34pm, I’m done with the casting and we have to race to the other side of town to meet an important designer for shoots. Unfortunately our casting time is at 7:00pm, and thus I ring the agency and inform them that unless they have jetpacks in the back of the rickshaw we will NAHT be on time. He says as long as we’re there by 8:00pm we should be right as rain, so we take our time taking glamour shots in the back of the rickshaw until he can’t go any further into town and we have to stop at the edge of town and catch a taxi, which is certainly a change from zipping around in an automobile with the REAL DOORS! 

We get dropped on the side of the road and there’s a mansion across the street that we have a very difficult time crossing because we don’t have the Indian Road-Crossing Skills but EVENTUALLY make it and climb three flights of stairs hoping we’re in the right place before we find the casting.

They flip through our books, take our pictures and before we can say, “curry in a hurry”, we end up back on the street stalking down the taxi rank.

One taxi and another rickshaw later, we are BACK HOME! THANK YOU BABY JESUS! AND THE INTERNET IS WORKING! THANK YOU BABY JESUS AND ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE STABLE!

And since its nearly 9:00pm, I don’t feel like boiling the kettle for packet soup, so Radical Radhika and I order Indian delivery (WITH FREE DELIVERY? I look forward to unintentionally undergoing a serious weight-GAIN journey here).

 

No, this isn’t slug food, this is ‘Palak Paneer’. (Defined by Wikipedia: Palak paneer is an Indian and Pakistani dish consisting of spinach and paneer (Indian farmer’s cheese) in a thick curry sauce based on pureed spinach. It is a popular vegetarian dish.)

 

So with a bowl of spinach and Indian farmer’s cheese, I enjoy my dinner and enjoy a much-need phone call from someone who looks MUCH more attractive than my dinner, Mr Money, who rang after my distraught messages about my stressful morning and intrusive man with no fingers and the rest of my dramatic drama. Thank you for being my Dr Phil (without the moustache and balding issues of course).

And with a belly full of spinach, a heart full of arteries and love and a head full of Hindi, I retire to my sleeping quarters. Goodnight (unless you’re not reading this at night, in which case good morning…or afternoon…or evening, depending on the time difference). 

MTV Promo With A Side Of Dairy-Free Whipped Topping

By the end of today I will have looked like a Nicki Minaj-Lady Gaga hybrid, taken a boat ride to an island that is known for the scent of rotting fish, been corned by the police/union for my working visa and eaten an ice cream cone that was not actually ice cream but ‘dairy free whipped topping’.

 

I am informed at midnight the night before that the driver will be here to fetch me at 8:00am. My agent says that sometimes the crew will be an hour early, in which case I don’t have to come down until my call time. So at 7:43am I’m sitting in the living room with a bowl of porridge that is juuuuuuuust right whilst on the phone to my foxy sister, Sam, when I get another incoming call.

Driver: “I’m downstairs…*Says something in Hindi*”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t speak Hindi!”

Driver: *Rapid Hindi Speak*

Me: “SPEAK ENGLISH!”

Driver: “Come down 8:30am”

Me: “My call time is 8am? I’ll come down now?”

Driver: “Yes, 8:30am”

Me: “NO, NOW!”

Driver: “Come down 8:30am”

Me: “But I got up early and I’m ready so I can come down now. Aren’t you waiting downstairs?”

Driver: “Yes, I’m downstairs.”

Me: “So I’ll come down now then?”

Driver: “Yes at 8:30am”

Me: “………..Call me again at 8:30am.”

 

I get back on the phone to Sam and we have another longer chat before the phone rings again and they say they’ll be there at 9:00am. No worries.

At 9:16am I’m beginning to think I’m being Punk’d, and that Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out with cameras there, there and there. However, I get a call from the crew saying one of the interns lives down my road, and thus she will come with the director to come fetch me so I won’t have to wait around unnecessarily. Brilliant!

Thankfully for my self esteem, they come and pick me up and say we’ll be shooting on an island (that’s apparently not actually an island) and we’ll have to catch a ferry across there.

(This is a dramatisation of how the ship was, just to clarify I look nothing like Leonardo Di Caprio). 

We drive all the way to the other side of town, and the director and intern are super nice. We end up cruising through a tiny village, encouraging people to move out of the way with gentle, obnoxious blasts of the horn.

 

We get out and reach the dock (by dock I mean dirt patch where people are crowded) and watch the boat come into shore.

 

People literally start leaping off before it’s even stopped, and then the Captain puts two planks of wood out for boarding. A pirate’s life for me?

 

When we’ve reached the village and people have started throwing themselves over the boat rails again before we’ve stopped, I discover this is where they are famous for drying dead fish on the side of the road, which is an acquired scent I can assure you (and by ‘acquired’ I mean its getting along with my nostrils about as well as Lindsay Lohan gets along with a courtroom).  We get the rickshaw to the studio (ie. small village with lots of huts and no toilet paper in any of the bathrooms) and I meet Serbian male model, Igor, who will be my co-star for the day (Just to clarify, Igor looks NOTHING like this, but it’s the only thing that came up when searching, ‘Igor’.)

I am then ushered to my hut, which is infinitely groovy and ultra neato!

 

As soon as I enter my room, a little man comes in with a tray and offers Chai tea to everybody. It’s the greatest thing since booking the job itself!


Following the third cup of the greatest Chai in the WORLD (mild exaggeration), I am shown my hair for today.

They fit the blue bob to my head before I receive my first Indian hair cut, which match my pink feather eyelashes just perfectly. #nomakeup #naturaleyelashes #myrealhair

I then get a manicure that has me questioning my nail painting abilities as the artist flawlessly paints my nails without painting my fingers as well, as seems to be my technique. 

Next comes the hours of hair and make up so I go from looking from Jay Z to a Nicki Minaj-Lady Gaga hybrid.

 

Once we’re all dolled up, a man asks me what I want for lunch. I ask him what’s available and he says I can have whatever I like (eeeeeeyyyyyyyy).

Despite wanting to ask him if I can have a 80kg chocolate cake that has been deep-fried and coated in fairy floss so I go into immediate cardiac arrest after consumption, I assume he won’t understand the english word for ‘fairy floss’ (or how to operate on me once I hit cardiac arrest) and since I don’t know how to say it in Hindi either, I  ask him for salad, and he says, “From Subway?” Which sounds like the safest option, so I say YES PLEASE! The male model orders 2 pizzas (#cleaneats), so the lunch minion hurries off to catch the boat back to shore to fetch us our requests.

Whilst waiting, they tie aprons around us so we won’t get miscellaneous food substances on our glamour outfits. I am convinced these will make an appearance in next month’s Vogue. How very dashing.

 

Despite the fence being closed, a swarm of peeping toms can’t help but peer over the fence at us whilst we sit outside watching everyone else have the Indian buffet (which I am secretly dying to dive straight into but don’t wish to set my stomach alight before my first job).

After lunch, we head into the larger studio to commence shooting the MTV promo entitled “Heart Attack”. The set is green (not because its supposed to be luscious grass or remnants of the Incredible Hulk, but because we’ll be green-screened so it looks as though we’re floating midair).

The idea of the story is that I am lying sideways eating an ice cream (or in this case a cone filled with ‘dairy-free whipped topping’) and then the boy I love grabs my hand and I am so overwhelmed with love that I throw my ice cream behind me and my heart leaps out of my chest and devours him before sucking itself back into my chest and I am very satisfied because this is a regular occurrence and I seem to thoroughly enjoy it.

 

We have close ups taken of our hands, eyes, our expressions, both of us sitting/lying on the set, me eating the ice cream, me throwing the ice cream numerous times behind my head, our hands connecting and other normal scenes such as my heart leaping from my chest. Halfway through filming however, we are stopped when the Union comes to see if everyone has their working Visas and permits to be working here. Unfortunately for me, I don’t carry my passport around (der) and thus have no proof and therefore I feared I would be spending the next three months in prison (though as long as they served me curry and chai tea I’d be somewhat content). I ring my agency and they’ve already taken care of it and sent a letter saying I am a legitimate employee and am able to safely escape the clutches of the creative-team law. We are then free to continue gluing sprinkles to my lips (and what’s a girl to do when they fall in her mouth and it would be rude to spit them out? This is how I discover that they aren’t really sprinkles but yucky aniseed sweets named, ‘Rat’s Sweets’…)

 

After the final close up of me eating the dairy-free whipped topping, its 8:00pm and that’s a wrap, so the director and intern and I make our way back to the great vessel of a ship that will take us back to shore before a one hour rickshaw ride back to the apartment.

And thus concludes my first job in India, my first real TVC and my first (and probably last) blue bob. Stay classy, San Diego?


Day Two: New House Buddy and I Got Eggs In A Newspaper Bag

 What starts with ‘W’ and ends in ‘Ednesday’? GIVE UP? WEDNESDAY! (In case you’re a bit of a dunce, that’s the day I’m currently narrating).

I wake up early from habit, brew up a bowl of oats (I get ambitious with the microwave and it bubbles over and I spend more time cleaning up than eating) and then take a trip to the agency to have my polaroids taken to be sent to clients and also receive some awkward news: For whatever reason, the Mac Make Up presentation job I was supposed to have tomorrow has been cancelled.

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For a brief moment I’m overcome with grief, and then decide to be my own motivational speaker and remind myself that everything happens for a reason and it will all work out in the end.

When I get home, Radhika suggests we go to lunch and I can’t think of anything better than a giant plate of comfort food (nothing says comfort to a model like a mountain of lettuce with a bit of corn on the side).

We go strolling down the road and she takes me to ‘Candies’, a funky hangout that is infinitely groovy and really neato for the young crowd. It has Indian, Western and all of the cakes a closet fat girl forced to conform to the model body could covet!

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I end up taking full advantage of the free-for-all self-serve salad bar for less than $3.

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We go upstairs to the sky roof and have lovely chats and embrace the outdoors, the culture and the lettuce.

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Following the luncheon, Radhika says she’ll take me to the sea!

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Ah yes! The sea! I ask her where the sea actually is because I thought it should be a little more moist than that, and she explains its all dried up.imageimageimage

After rocking the salad-bar and enjoying what was supposed to be the sea, I embrace my first India grocery shop. Instead of heading down the aisles of Woolworths with signs hovering saying which aisle I can find the eggs and which aisle I can find the facial hair removal wax, we head down alleys and streets with old men or women sitting behind/sleeping on the bench beside fruit and vegetable stalls.

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After accepting the fact that I probably cannot eat many of the vegetables unless they’re able to be peeled and boiled to avoid potential miscellaneous illnesses and also because I’m admittedly too lazy to wash the fruit so thoroughly in bottled water, I end up buying two Vietnamese sweet potatoes (how gourmet). As I’m paying, I’m faced with my first ‘woman with baby on her hip begging me for money’. Despite wanting to give her both my moneys and Vietnamese sweet potatoes, I’m aware that this would be a rookie mistake and we have to walk away until she stops following.

Next we commence the egg hunt. We ask stall after stall if they stock eggs, and nobody does. Some say they will arrive tomorrow, and others give the bobble headed movement that Radhika explains means neither yes nor no, so I genuinely have no idea if and when they will have eggs in stock. We eventually track down a place selling them, and I walk in and request them. He asks how many and say “12”, assuming they will come in the carton as normal. Again, what a rookie mistake to assume such a thing. Instead, they are wrapped in a homemade newspaper sack which is then stapled shut.

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I then manage to track down normal, American style oats (Radhika says the Indian oats are all spiced, and not in a nice way) before we gallop home to meet our NEW HOUSEMATE!

AND THUS THE SISTERHOOD BECOMES A TRIO! Foxy lady, Sharni, has arrived from New Zealand and she’s an absolute babe. We sit in the living room getting on like a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie until I get a call from the agency announcing the greatest news of all time since they invented a toaster for sliced bread: Since the Mac job got cancelled, I was now available to be cast for the MTV promo to be filmed tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU JESUS AND ALL OF HIS DISCIPLES! I have a fitting at 5:30pm at MTV again, so after another good chat with the girls, Sharni leaves for her first casting and I get myself into a rickshaw for a joyride to the casting.

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I tell the driver where to go, and he starts heading that way (I assume?). 45 minutes later it reaches the point where he’s begun sticking his head out of the rickshaw for directions, alas, no one knows where the MTV building is. Just as he’s literally pulled over, gotten out of the rickshaw and walked over to people to ask for directions, I get a call saying the fitting has been cancelled until tomorrow. I then have the pleasure (and by pleasure I mean awkward moment) of telling the driver to literally turn around and drive me back to exactly where he got me from. His appalled facial expression is worth 163394739427 rupees.

At home, the girls and I have a good chit-chat and girly bonding times before my bed gets lonely and begs me for company (and what’s a girl to do when her bed is simply suffering without her?) So I selflessly go and keep the mattress company. Sweet dreams (unless you’re diabetic, in which case I wish you insulin-level controlled dreams).

Day One: Curry, Castings and Cows

Oh hey, I didn’t see you there again! Creepy, creepy sneaking up on me in my Indian room!

The previous night I received the following message on my phone:

 

I’m informed that a lovely Spanish model, Yolanda, will fetch me in a rickshaw (not that she’ll personally be driving it, she’ll just be sitting in the backseat) and escort me to the agency to meet the agents, put my pictures in my new portfolio and get an influx of Indian Fun Facts that will no doubt give me a Dehli-Belly in Mumbai.

 

#sari #indianthreads #thriftshop #smilehehe


After losing a battle with the numerous taps in the shower that means instead of showering under the shower head like most people generally do, I’m forced to hover beneath the foot-tap and splash myself like I’m having some kind of Indian bird-bath. Once freshly splashed with water, I make myself naturally beautiful (Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe Its 32 Layers Of Foundation) before taking approximately 7 pills for my inner health, 1 for potential malaria and 2 for what is either nerves or oncoming diarrhoea.

Before I’ve even had a chance to sing a verse of ‘Jai Ho’, Yolanda has arrived for my first rickshaw joy ride.

 

Rickshaw: Tiny automobile with no doors used for swift transportation around Mumbai. Standout features include the horn, which is used to warn pedestrians that they will be run down promptly unless they move. Also used to warn oncoming traffic (because there are literally no lanes) that they are possibly/probably going to have a head-on collision unless one of them chooses to make an extremely dangerous and potentially illegal manoeuvre. Passengers should wear neck-braces to avoid the inevitable whiplash.   

At the agency, I meet the agents:

 

 Just to clarify, this is the agency’s cat, Sharni. My agents are not cats.

Following the introductions and information about how imported cornflakes cost more and jobs can often be cancelled or post poned and that castings can be sent at midnight the same night of the actual audition, Agent #1 ushers us downstairs to his automobile where he will chauffeur me around for the day.

Spolier alert: Today I will be faced with 5 castings, 1 fitting and many cows in the street.

Please enjoy the following snapshots of my mobile travels:

 

 

 

After the first fashion show casting that appeared relatively easy to locate, we head off again for another casting for a catalogue shoot. We end up driving around to the very back of a run-down village before my agent rolls up beside what is supposed to be the casting location and says, “Oh, this building looks different to last time.”

 

Building? I don’t want to hurt his feelings and correct him by saying this is not a building, this is the house the Second Little Piggy built of sticks.

Eventually we find the casting, and I’m to pose and look “strong” whist the photographer takes about 1735323434985928 shots saying, “very nice” and “strong” and I wish to tell him that my idea of strong is lifting 3kg weights.

As we leave, I spy a worker who looks as though he is practicing for a catalogue casting of his own. NOW ROAR FOR ME, BABY! ROAR! YOU’RE AN ANIMAL!

 

By this time its close to 2:30pm and none of us has eaten since breakfast and apparently the next castings are awfully far apart. Agent #1 suggests we get some bananas on the road. Since I despise bananas more than Lindsay Lohan despises dignity, I just laugh to myself and assume there’s no way we can get bananas whilst driving because there is no where to pull over and buy bananas. I didn’t realise he literally meant get bananas literally on the road…

As we drive, we pass a little lady on the roadside with her bananas. For a brief moment when we’re stuck in traffic, he summons her to the car. She then literally hops up, weaves through the manic traffic and hands three bananas through the window and he pays her before she risks her life to dodge traffic to get back to her banana bay. Good gravy!

 

But since I’m being cultural and trying new things and will not get to eat until dinner time at home, I’m forced to bite the bullet (and by bullet I mean banana, although prior to this desperate time I might have rather eaten a bullet than the yellow demon fruit).

 

Slimy, yet satisfying.

After the banana incident, we stopover at a fitting for a Mac job booked for Thursday. I wait around with a bunch of girls, look awkward, try on two dresses and then we leave for the next casting. My agent also has to take Yolanda to a meeting with a director, so he says he’ll drop me off at a Honda TVC casting and then pick me up after.

Again, we drive through a village and have to stop every ten metres to ask locals where this location is. Some don’t speak English, others merely point with no actual clue of where the location is, and others are extremely helpful and correct the mistakes that other supposedly helpful folk made. 

HOLY COW! (Get it, Holy COW?!) “I ain’t MOOOOOOOOO-ving for nobody!”

I stroll past the Holy Cow and into the casting where I’m to pretend to “groom” my husband (a 40 year old Indian casting director in this instance). I’m to smile, fix his hair, alter his tie, smile, groom his hair again, fix his shirt, smile…Although what’s not to smile about touching an old man’s lusciously thinning Indian locks?

I finish the casting and ring my agent who informs me that they have only just reached the meeting and will another 40 minutes. He says I can wait there for them to come get me, or if I’m confident, go find the next casting myself…

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh, in the words of Justin Bieber:

 

So I go outside, hail down a rickshaw and ask to be taken to the approximate area of the Oshiwara Police Station (which is meant to be a great landmark beside the casting location, how reassuring).

Once we reach, I crane my head out and ask a local for the building and they bobble their heads and point in a vague direction. So I pay, get out, and continue to ask for the vague directions and bobbling heads until I somehow find the place with an extremely low ceiling that was not built for people over 5 foot (ie. every single person coming to this casting). 

The casting is for a body lotion TVC, so I sit and watch the Indian woman direct the male model on how he should look playful as he chases his wife who has just sprayed him with her water when she watered her plants…

When my turn approaches, I have to put on the sari and pretend to water the plants, then spray my husband. And then he has to chase me and I have to spin around giggling in the sari so they can capture my waist and back. Following this, I have to pretend I’m making lime juice when he arrives home and I pretend to throw an ice cube at him, we share a moment and then laugh.  Not that I’ve ever made lime juice or spun around giggling in a sari, but when in Rome…(And by Rome I mean India).

By this point, Yolanda has arrived and our agent leaves because its 7:30pm and after this casting we’ll just grab a rickshaw home, YEHAW COWBOY! After Yolanda casts, I throw on my backpack (quickly becoming a hunchback in the process) when she receives a text saying we have one more casting for an MTV promo. ANOTHER CASTING? ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF TOWN? AFTER 7:30PM?

 

So Yolanda and I start the travels to the MTV casting way and unfortunately, neither us nor the rickshaw man has genuinely no idea where it is. We drive for quite some time, pull over, ask locals, drive, pull over, ask more locals. Eventually we come across the Three Wise Men sitting on a bench who seem to know where we need to be.

Three years later (gross exaggeration, its more like 3km) we make it to MTV and are ushered over to the loitering area, where I utilize their entertainment facilities whilst awaiting the casting director.

 

For this casting, I have to sit on a bench and pretend to be eating ice cream very sweetly  whilst coyly looking at the boy beside me who I am in love with. Then, he reaches for my hand and I’m so overjoyed I have to act as though my heart has burst from my chest and is now attacking and swallowing him before my heart returns to my chest and I look extremely satisfied. Easy, I can obviously relate from previous real-life heart-exploding experience…

And thus concludes the final casting for the day and Yolanda and I are free to finally get in the rickshaw and return home, stopping on the way to spend a good ten minutes trying to ask for bottled water from a small stall where we don’t know the Hindi word for ‘water’ and they are literally laughing at us because they think we’re funny tourist girls. Its not until we find a local man who can tell us to ask for ‘pani’ that we can get giant bottles of water for less than one Australian dollar and get on our bikes (and by bikes I mean get a rickshaw, I won’t be taking the Tour de India any time soon) and get home. 

Once home, I email Mamma Bear and Daddy Pig to alert them of my livelihood, brew up gourmet meal packet soup before having a much-needed and lovely Skype with my main fella, Josh, (who is still the most handsome beast even on a temperamental, pixelated camera).

Following this, I get ready for bed by boiling the for third degree burns on my teeth since I can’t use the tap water to brush my snappers with. Nothing quite like boiling hot toothpaste to scald one’s teeth to end the day!

 

Again, this is a dramatisation of me doing a Jai Ho jig before bed! JAI HO!

Arabian Nights…And By ‘Nights’ I Mean ‘Flights’. Arabian Flights.

Oh hey, I didn’t see you there! Remember that time I went to Singapore? No? Well good because that’s irrelevant because I’m in INDIA! (Yes, that certainly escalated quickly, I’ve gone from snags on the baaaaarbie to curry in quite the hurry).

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So instead of a small, five hour jaunt to Singapore like last time which meant taking a Jet Star flight (so that when people wished me a ‘safe flight’, they genuinely meant it for fear of the aircraft falling out of the sky), I end up on a total of 14 hours travel time on SINGAPORE AIRLINES! Just between you, me and the rest of the internet: After flying on Jet Star, even economy class feels like first class.

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MY REAL AIRCRAFT! THAT AIN’T MADE OF PLASTIC!

Upon boarding, I am greeted by an entire row for me, myself and I (one seat for me, one for myself, and one seat for I?) Instead of catching up on much needed sleep, I go right ahead and take advantage of the inflight entertainment whilst devouring the scrambled eggs with a hint of chives (which is just a wonderful culinary touch), mushrooms, potatoes, chipolata sausage, greek yoghurt with honey, fruit, cuppa tea, and avoiding the muffin and bread roll because for the next three months they are the demon spawn of the carbohydrate devil.

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This is quite possibly the SECOND most delicious meal I’ve had on an aeroplane, number one meal being the “Mock Braised Chicken” on the flight to Singapore last year:

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Following the brilliant breakfast and an episode of Modern Family, I find a fool-proof way of putting myself to sleep:

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Ahhhhh, the soothing unmistakable bore of the Pride and Prejudice Audiobook.

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Upon waking from my brief nap, I dabble in the movies section of the entertainment. After promising my absolute babe of a boyfriend, Josh, that I would watch something I hadn’t seen before, I decide to watch ‘The Sessions”. Rookie mistake: Its about a man with an iron lung and polio who hires Helen Hunt as his sex surrogate to make sweet love to him. I am forced to turn it off after he tells the priest his ‘man-parts are speaking to [him]’.  I end up listening to the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” on audio, and then enjoy a hint of Susan Boyle on the music channel (because I’m sure Susie B and I can totally relate?

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After the stopover in Singapore that involves the mental purchasing of all of the things I will be taking duty free advantage of when I get home, I get on the second flight to begin the journey to the promised land (Mumbai).

On this flight, I’m stuck in the window beside people (I look forward to being trapped like the mouse that has been fooled and caught in a mouse trap for the rest of the trip) and there’s a small human sitting behind my seat that is enjoying the gentle rhythm of continuously kicking the back of it. After tucking the blanket up to my chin and resisting the air-hostess offering me liquid courage (“Would you care for a wine? Spirits? Cocktail?”), they offer us menus for dinner. We have the choice of International food (lamb, potato, seasonal vegetables, cheese, crackers, beverages, chocolate layered fudge cake) or Indian (curry, curry, curry, Indian dessert). Whilst tempted by all of the curry, I realise I’ll have three months to have curry and not tin foil wrapped roast lamb, so I have my last roast supper on a plane (how simply divine) and then curl up watching Family Guy and then listening to “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” on audiobook to get me in the spirit.

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When we finally land and I dismount, it’s a combination feeling of nausea, excitement and downright fear. I decide to blame the plane food for the nausea, and the other emotions to the sheer fact that I’m strolling through the Mumbai airport for the first time and everyone is quite aware that I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.

After surviving customs and a lot of shouting officers, I’m faced with a man speaking to me in Hindi and pulling his best crazy eyes. I immediately feel my tear ducts combusting, but an older man passing by says, “Just say no.” So I say “NO!” and continue to power walk, dropping my teddy-bear neck pillow and Billabong hooded jumper on the way. Real smooth. Once I’ve collected my luggage, I meet the agency’s assistant who delivers me to the apartment (I’m like a human pizza. “Delivery for this apartment! One socially-awkward 19 year old Australian model, extra shocking plane hair, no anchovies”.)

I meet my only housemate (for now) an Indian girl named Radhika (who we nicknamed Radical) and she’s an absolute angel and I immediately choose to share her room! ROOMIES!

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I also receive a message from the agency about tomorrow’s casting:

…………….Oh good. I’m glad it makes zero sense. I’ll enjoy deciphering that tomorrow. NAHT!

By this point its 10:00pm, so I unpack the essentials from my case (toothbrush, pyjamas, my stuffed wombat) and have a good chat with Radical Radhika before crashing like Crash Bandicoot to bed.

This is Curry in a Hurry wishing you a good night and a pleasant tomorrow! (Please note: The following image is a dramatisation of how I look).image

Sayonara! (I’m aware that mean goodbye in Japanese, not Indian…)