9 comments on “I Walked Into a Deli on 65th Place and Queens Boulevard at 1 AM, and This is What the Night Shift Guy Was Playing on the TV

  1. I can’t wait to read all about your next ‘cinema treat’! Barsaat mein humse mile isn’t one of my very favourite songs, but it’s infinitely better than about 95% of the songs most music stores in India (or at least in Delhi) play as piped music… I can’t bear the boom-boom-yaah-yaah ‘music’ I hear in so many places.

    That said, I draw some weird glances when I go looking for old Hindi films in Delhi. Boyfriend (1961, Shammi Kapoor and Madhubala) isn’t too well known, so the last time I asked for it, I got greeted with saucer eyes and a mute shake of the head.

  2. He, he dustedoff!

    Richard, thats a treat- a late-night deli With Old Hindi films!

    You know that i live in a part of the world that had like 1 indian = me: now there seem to be a few Bangladeshis and Pakistanis and my daughter sat next to a guy from Patiala last week: major changes.

    So i went with my husband to this kebab place thats opened up in our little tow: thought it was run by Morrocans as is more usual here, when I hear what I think is punjabi. between the 3 guys. So I asked the nearest one (in Punjabi): Are you speaking in Punjabi? He was so surprised that it took him time to answer…then he is hissing around to the other two: these Basques are speaking Punjabi!!

    Anyway, it was all cleared up, they were from Pakistani Punjab and we chatted some in Urdu and Punjabi.

    When it came to pay, gave them 20 for a bill of a 14 and they gave back 10…and refused to take it back. Sometimes you have such warm, human moments:)

  3. dustedoff, you should have seen the looks I got at Palika Bazaar asking for old Dara Singh films. And then Shaitani Dracula!

    Most Indians feel they have to explain everything to me too, but it is kind of sweet. I try to just nod and smile and say “really?”—it makes them so happy to talk about films and sarees and other stuff. Hey, makes me happy too.

  4. Well, I guess it’s a consolation to know that other people get strange looks asking for these films, in India or the U.S., whether they’re Indian or not, for a variety of reasons…

    Memsaab, I think you have a better attitude than I do and I suspect you’re much more diplomatic. :)

  5. Memsaab, I can vouch for the fact that you have surprised a lot of people. I remember at Dilli Haat, you asking for thanda paani, and the guy at the counter staring! I wish I’d had my camera then: his expression was priceless.

  6. Richard, I wouldn’t be too sure about that :)

    dustedoff, if one doesn’t learn to ask for thanda paani in the Delhi summer heat, one will just expire!

  7. memsaab,
    thanda pani is one word away from thanda nimbu paani, which is what I survive the heat on!

  8. To Sunil (a couple of comments back): Thanks for the sympathy… But I’m afraid things are still quite bleak for me in that area. I keep hoping that the Unemployment extensions will continue to be extended for me while I take very occasional temp assignments. I am plagued by dreams and fantasies somewhat like my recent clip of the Gold Diggers of 1933.

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