Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adventures Abound - Expedition into the Unknown

I think it may be a bit obvious from my previous posts that I am a hopeless xenophile. Perhaps it is my way of crawling out of my head - a reoccurring urge that I have had for a very long time; which is why when my Bengali friend offered the chance to attend and help out at the annual Bangamela conference (remember what I studied in Gov School?) I excitedly agreed. After seeing some of my performance pictures from Governor's School, she decided to dub me an honorary Bengali staff member.

Image my absolute delight when I tell my Bengali teacher the news and it turns out his mom organizes the whole thing! Not only that, he will be driving from Memphis to see me there!

As an honorary Bengali staff member, I had to arrive at the convention bright and early at 9 am in my plain, white-people clothing. Everyone was so gorgeous in all their saris and their brightly colored shalwar kameez that I just felt ethnically plain. Thankfully my friend arrived and changed me into proper ethnic attire :
The Bengali have a rich artistic and cultural background - the area has not only produced many artists and intellectuals, but political and spiritual leaders as well. In that vein, the whole day, 10 am - 1am was filled with performances - plays, singing, dancing, story-telling - every cultural and artistic endeavor imaginable was represented on that stage!

After completing some mandatory management tasks as well as sneaking off to the Starbucks in the Marriott for some much needed caffeine jolts,  I finally got around to doing what I seem to do best - distracting people from their jobs by means of conversation. This is how my teacher and I managed to not really work at the registration desk and how, after he left me to man the desk alone to go drinking with his buddies, my friends came by and I continued to not work at the registration desk.

The reason for our distraction? We wanted to have a photo shoot:
Janani, myself and Raktima as the Bollywood version of Charlie's Angels

I think this qualifies as an outfit post, although I was afraid to breathe in this shalwar kameez lest I damage it in some way.

Execution of our brilliant idea to take a jumping picture...a string of beautifully entertaining failures. Notice the very-weirded out lady in the corner.
When my teacher made his way downstairs, I tried to act busy but it was far too late and we were far too giggly. As a reward for our 'good' behavior, he brought us back cookies:
And now for some Bengali phrases to complete this cultural post. Mind you this is the transliteration, not their actual script.
Dhonno-bad = Thank you
Nomushkar  = Hello (can also be used as good-bye, just like Aloha)
Amaar naam [insert name] = My name is...
Tomaar naam ki? = What is your name? (informal)
Toomi kamon acho? = How are you? (informal)
Aami thik ache. (Ah-mee teek ach-eh) = I am okay/well/alright.