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New Delhi


We arrived in New Delhi at the Hotel Royal. Finally met the Director and the music supervisor. They were very friendly and excited about the film. Roger, the Director, a British man in his 50’s seemed very fond of Troy and was very happy I came along. We only stayed at the hotel for the first few days with them and then again moved into an apartment in “Defence Colony”, a gated community in New Delhi. The apartment came equipped with Bachu, a little man that served us day and night. Bachu was about 5’3” and the skinniest man I had ever met. He spoke no English except for Tosht, (which in English is toast) madam, papaya, coke, coffee and chai. All useful words when that’s pretty much all we ate. Defence colony became our hood. We had running hot water, a shower that was not on top of the toilet, a shower curtain and a phone with tone!!! We were back in business. The film started shooting and Troy started editing the film. He got a couple of assistants to come work with him but he had to train them. Days would go by and surely the assistants would stop coming to work as they were getting paid a whopping $200 dollars and an old samsung cell phone for the whole movie, meaning for 4 months of work. About a week later Troy got tired of training people and asked me to jump in and help him. I had assisted him in another film that spring, so I already knew the system and how he worked. I was also glad he asked as I was growing tired of New Delhi, the city of rape. Rick, the musical director moved into the apartment about week 3, so did Karan, Roger’s assistant. Then a few days later, came another British friend Dave. We were all one big happy family. The problem was, Dave, didn’t really have a room. He slept like Karan in the living room on a cot. Karan on the other hand, slept on the floor. It was strange. Everyone wanted to be part of this film for some odd reason even if they had to sleep on the floor. One day I asked Karan why didn’t he ask the office to bring him another cot. He said, “No, I’m ok on floor. In India it’s different. People don’t care to sleep on bed.” As long as he was allowed to the film set he was ok on the floor. I had little to do those days so I spent a lot of time with Karan teaching me about India and their social scheme and nursing my never going away cough from hell. Karan brought me an ayurvedic cure for cough, it still took about another 3 weeks to get over it. Anyway I found out India has about 1,652 languages, out of which 400 are the most spoken ones. It’s mostly Hindu 80% about 13% Muslim and 2.3 % Christian. Men and women can’t hold hands on the street, but men and men can and so can women vs. Women. But non of them are “gay”, just same sex friendly. It’s better to wear long sleeves. Not sure what arms do. And they use mothballs in all their cleaners to keep the insects at bay. My God that place smells like mothballs! Every week Karan and I took a trip down to the market to get fresh fruits and vegetables for Bachu (which means little one) to cook for all of us. Rick would give me his part of the market money and we would do the shopping. We were told by the production to keep all the receipts as we would be reimbursed for our food expenses. Every week we would try to make an appointment with the office accountant to turn in receipts and get reimbursed but he was never there. We dropped off receipts for weeks. I thought it was weird. But then again what isn’t weird in India as compared to what I’m used to. While I got my Indian culture clash course with Karan and tried to keep our home economy balanced, Troy was editing no stop, transferring tapes and converting media to get the job done on time. He hardly slept. The pressure started building as they wanted to make the Sundance Festival deadline. We had been in New Delhi almost 2 months now and the film was nearing its final stages of post production. My cough was finally gone. The fall had begun, so we got a care package from Troy’s mother full of candy and Canadian things. Paper napkins with a maple leaf on them, little Canadian flags and Canadian candy bars. Canadian bears holding Canadian flags a plethora of Canadian parafernalia came in a little envelope that when opened shot out a cloud of tiny Canadian maple leaves Bachu had to clean.... Sheesh. My parents on the other hand were Mom in Miami shooting a novela and my Dad still shocked from my trip in Mexico City. I can’t imagine my parents sending me a package full of Mexican flags, tejocotes, duvalines, tamales, pelon pelo ricos and what not... I can’t imagine it because they’ve never done it. No matter how far I have been, they just don’t do that kind of thing. See, my parents are divorced, my Father left my Mother when I was one year old. Wait, according to my Mother she left him when I was one....? Those are my parents. Competitive, famous 70s Mexican Movie stars of the biggest kind. Still acting. Still competing. So to keep things cool let's say they just left each other and in the end, it ended up working out that I stayed with my Dad. It was an unusual arrangement for those days but I think it worked out for the best. My Mom was at the top of her game and decided she would try out for the good old Hollywood game, so she left for Los Angeles with film director Sam Peckinpah. My dad was also at the top of his game, but stayed in Mexico City as it was easier to have my Grandma take care of me when he was working. And so it was. That letter I told you about at the beginning, it was asking my Mother why she left. And most importantly, why she left me behind!? All my crazy abandonment issues were spilled all over that 10 page letter I never sent. I was really frustrated at my mother because it seemed like I could never make her proud of me no matter what I did or how much I accomplished. I simply wasn't her. My acting career was in shambles, I was a broke struggling actress-waitress in every sense of the word. I was a hostess, dancer, power ranger, assistant for 120 a day kind of actress and I was exhausted! All I got from my Mother was negative feedback on how my life was going. And to top it off one fine day at her place she had the balls to say to me; Don't ever have kids, they ruin your life. Just like that. That is where that letter came from. But then again I never sent the damned letter… So, back to India, when we got the gift from Troy's Mom, we were so excited, it gave us that Christmas feeling. And it helped me remember I should have sent that damned letter! Sorry....outburst. So, days went by and Troy started feeling ill. So did I. At first I thought it was all that Canadian candy we ate in a very short time but I came to learn on the news there was a Dengue outbreak in all of Delhi due to the recent rain season called Monsoon. Apparently drains are so poorly kept, the water gets stuck and stagnant thus creating zest pools for mosquitoes and diverse diseases to be born. Alas, something got us. We had stopped taking our malaria pills because they tasted so nasty. So our first thought was that, Malaria. Karan kept feeding us his ayurvedic tea good for –everything, everything- as he put it. Troy kept at editing. I kept at helping Troy meet his deadline. But wait, let me rewind the book a little bit. Before all this happened one strange night Rick, the musical Director came into the editing office in a rage. He was mumbling about how the Producers owed him 60,000 pounds and had not paid him a penny yet. We had just gotten a $4,000 dollar payment as an advance so we thought everything was ok with us. He also informed us the whole movie was going to be shot, edited and finished in New Delhi, so we actually had 8 more weeks of being in this city. Apparently the London segment of Post had been cancelled. What!? I was shocked and disappointed and frustrated instantly. I waited until Rick left the room which he did, after he ranted for about 45 minutes about how these fucksticks weren't going to get away with it. It sounded bad. As he left the room Troy came close to me and started whispering, I said, I don't know Troy. He's been here longer and knows them better. What if we don't get paid, we will lose everything back home. Cant pay rent next month as it is, we have to get paid. Troy looked worried but he was trying to be positive about the situation. Our payments were on schedule so far. A week was left before the next payment was due. We waited. So another 2 weeks went by after that odd discussion about payment. And law and behold, the payment was late. They were having transfer problems due to 9/11. The money which came from a British account was being held by the FBI as protocol. What? What does that mean? The food ran out at the apartment again. Of course we were feeding a crew of 6 people 3 meals a day 7 days a week. So Karan and I went to the office yet again to turn in receipts and see if we could get any money reimbursed as my checking account was extremely low and I wasn't getting any reimbursements 6 weeks in. So we got to the office and again the accountant had no money to reimburse us with. So we headed back to the apartment to talk to Troy. Troy was in a daze editing non stop as he wanted to meet his deadline but I on the other hand was frustrated he was not noticing all the discrepancies going on with the production. I went into the office and sat beside him, he looked tired. As I walked in he looked at me and knew. He picked up the phone.... He called. I waited. T: Aha...Hi just calling about that deposit, sorry to be such a pain man I just really need the money. I see. Ok, so Monday then....ok thank you please. He hung up. Has the deposit gone in yet? I asked. Nope...Monday they said. Just be patient. It will go in. That night we went out for dinner at a fancy place (fancy for New Delhi Defence Colony) We decided to try their wine. Nice red wine, just what my body was asking for to cure all the money troubles, to get it all out. So we drank a bottle of red wine. The wine was Indian. I did learn one thing about Indian wine, you should not drink it unless you want to die. Our bedroom was a puke fest! It was awesome, it definitely worked as far as getting it all out… both ways. The next morning it was back to the grind, except as I woke up I got this strange feeling. I turned to Troy and said, point blank. Quit, You Should Quit. we should leave. They’re not gonna pay you. I have a really bad feeling about this, Rick hasn’t gotten paid, they’ve lost our receipts. Quit. He stared at the ceiling and took a deep breath. He said in a low thoughtful voice: I was thinking the same thing Bear. I was relieved to hear those words come out of his mouth. I hopped out of bed and jumped in the shower with a renewed sense of energy. We are finally going home...