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!