Tales of a (Struggling?) Toluca Lake Actress


The Indian Way

Vijay Amritraj and his assistant Kapil are laughing their butts off.

We’re sitting together in Vijay’s very air conditioned conference room, sipping sweet chai tea and munching on vanilla wafer cookies as I entertain them with stories of my last trip to India.

I’m here to ask Vijay Armritraj for a grant to open another orphanage in north India. For anyone who doesn’t know tennis, Vijay Amritraj is pretty much the Tiger Woods of the tennis world (minus the serial cheating), and he has a foundation that supports and funds several charities in India.

I tell them about the seven-hour road trip from Delhi to Agra I took with my very calm, Egyptian friend Mustafa. Now, the only way to this part of the country is down a long road with pretty much no turns, just a lot of bopping up and down dodging the roof using our hands as safe guards so as to not injure our heads.

I continue my story trying my best at an Indian accent, but sounding more like a drunken Chinese man.

“So the Indian driver says to me, ‘Madam, the sun is getting a very kind of low. This road is getting dangerous at night.’”

And I say, “Oh yes…is it because there are no street lights here?”

“Street lights? What? No, we have plenty of lights. The cars have lights. Lights are not the problem…Murder! This is the problem. When it gets dark, the bad peoples are hiding and they stop your car, and break it into many pieces and then they kill you with your car! Would you like to stop for dinner? This is a very nice restaurant here…”

Vijay, Kapil and I are in hysterics at this point because if anyone understands the Indian way, it’s these two Indian men cracking up at the absurdity of it all.

Needless to say we arrived in Agra just before the sun set, skipping out on dinner (or we wouldn’t have made it, I’m convinced) and no run-ins with the car killers occurred. Thankfully.

I left Vijay’s office with my tummy aching from laughter. After arriving home and beginning to write the grant proposal letter, I glance at my cell phone and see the red blinking light. I have a text message. I click on it and there’s a message from Kapil telling me Vijay has just bought my plane ticket to India and they are interested in giving me a grant.

My eyes swell up with tears instantly. I’ve never met a couple of men with hearts so big. And when I’m in India it’s the same way, insane always…but more importantly, I seem to meet people with generous hearts.

This, my friends, is to me the Indian way, and why I have fallen in love with India.

And who knows, maybe my guide was just telling a joke. That kind of thing can’t possibly be true could it?

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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