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Posts Tagged ‘cultural happenings’

And like that, a week has passed; seemingly removing the notion that our stay here in India is a perpetual experience that will last forever; time wise that is. There is no doubt that the collective experiences and memories that we will make over the course of the trip will withstand the one-month time constraint.

And with each passing day, my eyes are continuously opened to new sights and sounds that have expanded my cultural understanding of India. Yesterday (Sunday), all of us took in a showing of “The Avengers,” quite possibly the most dyed in the wool American film currently in theatres at the moment. Heck, one of the heroes in the aforementioned superhero team is named Captain America!

Even though our movie was supposed to begin at 3:45, we actually did not enter the theatre at that exact appointed time. We actually entered around 3:55 or so. This somewhat minor moment serves a cultural demarcation between American and Indian sensibilities. The notion of “Indian Standard Time,” which is an indication of how relaxed in some ways Indian culture can appear to be. The idea of being rigid in regards to starting things on time is somehow not a necessity like it is America.

Once we all ambled into the immense theater (we saw the film on an IMAX screen), we nestled into our plush, comfortable seats, eagerly anticipating being enthralled to what was about to unfold on the massive screen for the next two and a half hours. However, before the movie began, we received even more of a cultural education.

First, we saw a series of advertisements that captured some of the mores and quirks associated with India. For example, we saw a Pepsi ad pitting two crickets against one another in order to obtain the thirst-quenching beverage.

Second, another cultural experience was having the Indian National Anthem play before the film. The video accompanying the anthem was very well produced and showed how much pride Indians have in their country. It was quite illuminating to see a great display of nationalism in a place as mundane as a movie theatre.

Another cultural aberration that separates the U.S. and Indian movie going experience was having an intermission during the film. Of course, there was a time where having intermissions during American films was not unusual. But, as time has worn on, that has fallen out of favor, eschewing that model in order to show the movie completely without a break. I think having a break during the course of a movie in India is somehow an extension of how laid back the culture can be. An afternoon at the movies should last a prolonged amount of time, rather than just existing as an affair that shuffles people in and people out so quickly.

In sum, it’s quite amazing how our experience at the movie theater yesterday served as a cultural barometer. So many different things were on display, showing a different facet of what constitutes Indian mores. Yesterday was proof positive of how going to the movies can serve as an educational experience.

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