They say everybody has a story.
The second meeting of the "writer's hang-out" took place at Panera Bread. It seems that Lisa has dropped out, but we have picked up a new member who has a lot to offer. The sustenance of the group is no longer in question, the members scheduled a third meeting before we adjourned.
The shy girl who barely speaks was frantically writing down snippets of information. Suddenly, completely out of character, she broke in during a conversation between Chandreyee and the new member and said "I've been to Varanasi, India". I sat up. "It was during the time I was spending an year in Japan teaching English" she added. My jaw dropped, ever so slightly. "I used to go for Yoga classes in the morning by the river, and I saw a Bollywood movie in a theater". Game, set and match.
As a young boy/man, I remember distinguished movie theaters such as Alea, Menoka, and New Empire. It was the early eighties, when legend has it that the rowdier elements once even threw a cat down from the upper balcony to liven up a boring movie. The women of the family would go to such theaters only in groups, at a distinguished hour and preferably with some male "support". The scene was worse in Kharagpur, I don't recall female students attending shows at the town theater. The creme de la creme was an Amitabh Bachchan movie that a group of preppy Bosco Boys saw in Puri. We had a good time, but definitely stood out in that environment- molestation was not entirely improbable. In this context, a blond woman in the late 1990's at a Sunny Deol/Amrita Singh blockbuster in the Holy City is a story. More to follow....