Meet a Brit Indian for the first time and you can bet your last pence that they will ask you, with wide eyes, “You must have seen a lot of Bollywood actors!” It doesn’t matter whether the person asking is Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi. The fervour which the Bollywood film industry generates here is something quite unpalatable. Maybe it’s a case of grass being greener and all that. I can’t for the world see what’s so fascinating about a bunch of starlets singing and dancing and spouting well worn dialogues in snow clad mountains. I can relate to the devotion that perhaps AB or any of the Khans get. But here, it goes to absurd lengths. I couldn’t really claim any personal knowledge of any ‘stars’, or any ‘sightings’ for that matter. Perhaps mentioning that Govinda was my local MP back home might have redeemed me.
Last weekend, Mr.R and I went to the local HSBC to open an account for me. That was an uphill task because they needed a proof of address for me, preferably a utility bill in my name and at our current address. Considering that all payments are currently made from Mr.R’s account (seeing that I don’t have one and they won’t let me have one without bloodshed), how does one get one’s name on the bill? Well, BT (British Telecom) does it on a phonecall, apparently. This banking regulations must have driven several people to insanity, I tell you. We were attended to by a (very) young Pakistani girl at the bank. Early 20’s , smartly dressed in her crisp trouser suit with lovely long hair, she was definetly more interested in my experiences with Bollywood, than in opening an account for me. These girls have such stars in their eyes, dreaming of marrying (yes!) an actor and living a great life, yet knowing deep down that their father would hitch them up with a boy that’s (95% of the time) brought up ‘back home’. The culture clash is inevitable, one would think. But these girls are well trained for marriage. It’s a pity when you see all that intelligence and polish being wasted on a couple of hoodlums who still sing Hindi movie songs when they pass women in streets. A real pity.