Friday- Watched The Namesake. Adapted from a novel by Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake stars Kal Penn as a Gogol Ganguli, an American born to Bengali immigrant parents. The movie begins with the story of Gogol’s parents- after surviving a train wreck, Gogol’s father moves to the New York for graduate school and returns to India to marry Ahsima, who accepts his proposal and accompanies him to the United States. For me, it seems unfathomable that someone would marry and move halfway across the world with a complete stranger, but that is essentially the whole point- The Namesake deals with the differences between American and Indian society and the struggle for Indian parents and their American children to understand each other. I won’t give away too much of the plot but I will say that I really enjoyed the movie. Kal Penn was excellent, as were both the actors playing his parents (Irfan Khan and Tabu)- the family dynamic was both hilarious and heartwrenching, and completely realistic. The weak parts of the film were in Gogol’s love interests- Maxine, the rich, white girlfriend, seemed very one-dimensional. Although they date for years, it seems like she and Gogol spend all their time kissing and snuggling and never actually converse. Gogol later marries the daughter of Bengali friends of his mother, but that segment of the film struck me as rather rushed, likely the consequence of trying to cram an entire novel into two hours of screen time. In contrast, the relationship between Gogol’s parents is subtle, moving, and the most powerful storyline of the film. I haven’t read The Namesake but I did read and like Lahiri’s collection of short stories, many of which are set in Boston, The Interpreter of Maladies, so I was looking forward to seeing The Namesake. One of my Indian coworkers saw it with his wife and LOVED it (they have a teenage son). “It is our story,” he told me. I imagine that this movie will be most popular among people of Indian decent, but everyone can relate to the battles between parents and children, and the process of growing up.
Saturday (aka Maria Day)- Since Ern and I missed the Vegas trip to celebrate Maria’s 30th birthday, we planned a belated Maria Day in Boston. In the morning, we took a lotion making class at the Boston Center of Adult Education. To get myself motivated, I listened to the Silence of the Lambs-inpsired song “Lotion,” which you will find to be either A. hilarious and awesome or B. incredibly disturbing. I choose A. (linked video dedicated to Kelly McMahon, who introduced me to the song). After a long, painful introduction by the very spacy instructor (She wore socks with cats on them, told us she was having hot flashes, and tried to teach us the Latin nomenclature for a bunch of herbs. I almost lost it when she started writing Family, Genus, Species on the board.), we finally got to the fun part. We made lip balm, hand salve and lotion, and got to mix in our own scents. Mine came out nice except I chose citronella for the lotion and added too much of it, so my lotion smells like insect repellent. We went out for sushi after class, and later that night met up with Lisa for drinks. Our original plan to go out dancing was derailed due to lousy weather and unavailable taxicabs, so we stayed local and hung out at the L Street Tavern….how very Good Will Hunting of us.
Sunday- I had a somewhat productive day, catching up on some chores and work, and then had a delicious dinner over at Lisa’s new apartment.