Are you Indian?
No? Er, well… never mind.
What’s that you say, you’re Indian?
Oh, alright then… have you ever been to Egypt?
Well, see the point of all of this is… if you’re Indian and you’ve ever been to Egypt… you’ll KNOW what I have to say.
The Egyptians are CRAZY about Indian Cinema. I don’t know why, but they simply are. And it’s a little scary, because their fanaticism has allowed them to pick your Indian face from a crowd or on the street even before you could.
When we (the family) toured Egypt in 2003, we were quite amused by the occasional “Indhya?””Aandya!””Aandhyan?” that the friendly Egyptian folk kept throwing our way. It’s almost as though they wanted to tell us that we share some sort of brotherhood (originating from Rameses and Rama, maybe?). What was funnier was how they had to throw in a prominent Bollywood stars’ name just to prove their point.
“Jackie Chan? No? Waith!! Oh waith… waith… yeah, Amitabh Bashan!”
I personally think they’re time warped because the most recent stars’ name belted out by yet another Egyptian Bollywood Enthusiast was Mithun Chakraborthy. Or maybe somebody said Shah Rukh Khan, but I never noticed it because they seemed to know more… and not only know more, but also love and worship none other than the Big B, Bachchan Sr.
**I’m being haunted by alliterations and their ghosts :|**
An anecdote: A souvenir peddlar (interestingly, tourism accounts for 95% of the country’s economy, can you imagine how many peddlars must’ve been hovering about over there…?) approaches my father outside our tourist bus and says, “My frendh, you Indyan?”
“I like Aandhyans! You buy from me this goods, I give you sbeshal brice for all. Dhisgownth only for you, my friend.”
“Nah, I don’t really think so…”
“Frendh, I also from Aandhya…! I from Bombai, my name is Karan.”
“Really?”, my father smiles sarcastically before climbing back into the bus, “And my name is Amitabh.”
Which is why I was ROTFL when i read this:
“How and why does a city generate such power. I sat on the front seat of the yellow cab that I took yesterday to get back to my Hotel and the cabbie gave me an animated description of the city. Everyone comes here to make money. But they dont keep it here. They take it out to places where there is less money. To be able to show their wealth. Here no one would notice their wealth, so they need to go to a place where they can show it. What is there to see in this city. Nothing. A couple of museums. You look like a decent guy. You speak good english. Must be educated well. What are you doing here. Holiday. Wrong place. This is no place for holiday. Its place to make money. What do you do. Entertainment field. Thats good. You make theatre, movies TV, what. You actor. Are you famous. What kind of movie you make. You work ever in Hollywood. Your picture come here. No. Ok have a good stay. Thank you for the tip. Nobody give tip these days. You a nice guy. Whats your name. Amtab Bashaan. Say again. YOU AMITABH BACHCHAN !! AMITABH BACHCHAN !! BROTHER, I AM FROM EGYPT !! Every body love you in my country. OH ! BROTHER, I TELL EVERYBODY I SEE YOU. THEY DO NOT BELIEVE ME ! OH ! BROTHER, I CANT BELIEVE I SEE YOU ! BROTHER, I CANT TAKE MONEY FROM YOU FOR FARE.. NO.. NO..NO.. I HONOURED YOU BE IN MY CAB ! OH ! BROTHER !! HAVE A GOOD STAY ! WE ALL LOVE YOU.. BYE.. BYE !!.. HEY !! YOU SEE THAT TALL GUY WITH WHITE FRENCH BEARD. HE VERY BIG ACTOR IN INDIA.. OH ! BROTHER I CANT BELIEVE I SEE HIM !!”