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Dollars and Desis

In my first few groggy days of battling jet lag, I let the better and more acquainted half deal with the basics. On one of my ravenous three AM forays into the kitchen, I espied a crumpled receipt. Smoothing it out as I bit into some toast, a quick glance showed we had spent three dollars on bread. The fog instantly lifted from my sleep-deprived mind as quick mental math revealed we had spent Rs. 120 on a loaf of bread.

I let out an involuntary gasp. 120 rupees! On a loaf of bread! (I can hear the collective disapproving clucking of all you U.S. returns listing at least five places he could have got it cheaper.) In India I could have fed ten families on that! That instant marked the beginnings of my many bouts with sticker shock.

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The other striking thing that you notice in the U.S., the first being this , is the silence. Well, maybe not if you stay in the city. In that case you are probably privy to your neighbour’s amorous activities pulsating through cardboard walls, listening to the lament of drunken winos in the lobby and footing the light bill for the neon sign outside your window.

In the suburbs, however, where the average Joshi (or Jaishankar or Jain) lives, the American dream, complete with big house, bigger home entertainment system and gas-guzzling SUVs, it is strangely, eerily quiet. (Ok, so I’m generalising, but show me Shah, Shriram or Sharma you know who doesn’t have one or all of the above. I rest my case.)

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Master of None

Unless you have been living under a rock, or on a digital hiatus, you know that comedian, author and star Aziz Ansari’s show Master of None has attained the haloed status as the future of TV. Or, rather, of Netflix which is pretty much TV for millennials.

With the accolades that keep on coming, with a win of Best Comedy Series at the Critic’s Choice Television Awards, it was the shove I needed to finally watch the show.

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So a comedian and a sociologist walk into a bar to study modern ideas of romance. No seriously, they did. In fact, the walked into multiple bars, focus groups, reddit conversations and even comedy shows where they convinced audience members to give them access to their social media chatter, and voila, comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg co-wrote, co-researched (and possibly co-ramen-ed) a book on Modern Romance.

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The humble lotta

When people find out that I have been in the U.S. for just over a year, they proceed to ask a series of varyingly eager and intrusive questions. One that is sure to come up is what do you miss most about home?

I am expected to look mournful and recall chuchu ka murabbas or the monsoons or my mother’s pallu or some such. But more often than not, I am tempted to tell them the truth. I miss bathroom mugs. There, I said it!

And it’s true.

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bajirao-mastaniSanjay Leela Bhansali has been searching for love all his life, at least on celluloid.

Earlier, in smaller moments with Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, then taking an experimental turn with Saawariya and later in fully embracing star-crossed lovers in Devdas, and the Romeo-Juliet inspired Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram Leela.

His latest offering Bajirao Mastani too tells the epic tale of a doomed love against the backdrop of a warring Marathas and rigid divisions along lines of religion which leave little room for love to flourish.

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MortdecaiThe handlebar moustache clearly should have gotten second billing in the comic caper Mortdecai since it is its’ one and only punchline.

Based on the novel “Don’t Point That Thing At Me” by Kyril Bonfiglioli, writer/director David Koepp (Premium Rush) and writer Eric Aronson translate this 1970s cult comic thriller onto the screen. Only, the movie has fewer thrills and even less comedy; 007 with none of his charm, intellect or gadgetry.

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