Friday, August 31, 2007

Welcome to Civilization

Two rites of passage to be considered a real O.G. Indian is obsessively watching cricket and eating from a lari. Recently I have done both and passed with flying colors.

During India's tour of England I've really gotten into watching cricket. My favorite player is Dhoni, this bad-ass Bihari with amazing hair. And of course you can't support the Indian team without having one player that you love to hate because he drives you crazy with his misplays at inopportune moments. For me, hands down, it's Agarkar, this 12-year-old looking bowler who when I first saw him I immediately knew was the worst player on the team. There's no way a batsman can look at that guy and not be convinced that he's going to take
him for 6. He's just a pansy and the face he makes after someone smacks him for a boundary makes me want to slap him. And of course you've got to love Sachin. Although he absolutely ripped my heart out recently by getting called out on 99 runs. I was eagerly anticipating witnessing my first century from the great "master blaster", but he completely choked and got out a run short. He seemed nervous after he hit 90, which surprised me because I'm used to seeing the legendary ones raise their games in the pressure situations. I even made a sign like Wilt Chamberlain's so I could take a picture next to the TV when he got to 100. After he got out I was too depressed to watch the rest of the match.

The second rite is of course eating at laris, the Indian version of fast food, little stands where you can get all kinds of greasy unhealthy delights. It's not recommended for the weak stomach, and typically foreigners are advised to steer clear. But after living here a couple months I felt I was ready to take the plunge. I went with my homey for Pau Bhaji and Bhel Puri and it was absolutely delicious. I was shocked at how much you could get for so cheap. Our entire meal cost Rs.70 between the two of us, and we were completely full. That's just under 2 bucks! I think that's cheap even for Indians... I later learned its because lari food is intended for India's "common man". We finished our fast food experience with a "cold cocoa", a chocolate milkshake with chunks of chocolate inside. It's really popular here and really tasty.

When I talked to Kaushal (a good college friend who's from Bombay) about these two experiences, he said "I'm proud of you ma' boy!" which I took as a huge compliment because Kaushal doesn't patronize about this stuff. I had finally crossed over and gained acceptance. "Welcome to civilization", he said. And you know what? He's right. Cricket and Laris are really all that separate us from cavemen.


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  2. Now you can continue the tradition when you come home! Babu is up till the wee hours of the morning watching cricket games, LIVE! He'll be excited to know he's got a companion!

  3. Can't say I understood much about the cricket, but the lari I understand innately. Yum yum!