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[…This is the second in a series of posts on my experiences in “Little India” (view the first one here)]
It’s the size of a narrow aisle, and there’s room for six or seven at the most.
A curious aroma of incense (mixed with samosas?) fills the air.
And there, in the cramped corner, an Indian man-boy busily stocks the shelves.
It’s an Indian video store, and a pretty common hang-out from my childhood years…
….On our trips to Little India, my dad would drag us kids to the video store, while my mother addressed her all-important textile needs. My teenage brother was experiencing the height of angst, so he and his thick-framed glasses mostly kept to themselves. And my older sister (who was finally free of her “childhood chub”), basically thought she was “the shit”. It was a lot of self-esteem for an eleven-year-old to have, and it only bubbled over in the next few years (the time in which she called me “pig nose”). My younger brother was almost old enough to be annoying (age five), but still young enough to push to the ground when needed.
The only other kid was me; nine years old, and curiously scanning the Bollywood VHS’s. The women on the covers were beautiful, with impossibly long lashes, and waist-length manes of hair. The men on the covers were another story. Looking angry or intense almost all of the time, they seemed to give off an “uncle” vibe. It wasn’t right, so I avoided their chocolate eyes, turning my gaze to a dust-covered candy machine.
The candy dispenser was full of fruit-shaped fun, so I begged my dad for a quarter. The pleading worked, and pretty soon I had a handful of hard little candies shaped like tropical fruit. I was forced to share the “booty” with my siblings, and by the time they took their cut, all I was left with was a couple of hard bananas. Oh well, I’m sure there are worse things than hard bananas, I thought (smart girl).
…By the time I was through with the sugar high, I wanted out. I was suffocating, and the man-boy who was stocking shelves had a missing tooth and a sweaty forehead pretty much all of the time (a recipe for evil). I appealed for an escape through a series of whines, but my dad wasn’t ready. So he tossed a magazine in my direction.
It was “Stardust”, an Indian publication on the Bollywood world of films.
I didn’t care about the world of films, but I loved the title “Stardust”. It sounded like “fairydust”, which I associated with fairytale stories, which I happened to love.
So I cracked open “Stardust” to page 78.
Uhh…it was not a fairytale book. It was an Indian woman in a mini-skirt, with the wind blowing hair and clothing in every possible direction (or mostly up). I noticed some words around her body (creating the semblance of an article), but mostly it was her in a mini-skirt. Then there was a picture of a Bollywood man drenched in water. Had he fallen into a lake? And again he looked so angry, but muscular all the same. And maybe I liked that? No wait: he remsembled an uncle too, just like the men on the movie cover boxes. It was all so wrong.
I put the magazine away, and we finally left the video store. I would return there again and again, but always a little bit removed from the movie cover boxes and the pseudo-porno “movie magazines”. And how could I not be a little unnerved? The women were way too hot for my pig-nose and I to measure against, and the men were imaginary angry uncles. The only comfort I found was in the hard banana candies I enjoyed during every visit.
And that…that is exactly how I fell off the path to Bollywood, landing instead on the rocky road to Hollywood obsessions (like Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise (before he got weird), and that guy from Sixteen Candles who resembled Matt Dillon…)
Those hard bananas were and are still, the best hard fruit candy you can buy. I think the candies were called runts, and the bananas were amazing. Nothing else mattered, just give me those bananas and I could care less about the other fruits. In hindsight, why am I not gay? I seriously love the hard bananas.
Hard banana candies? That sounds awesome. But hopefully they aren’t like banana Runts because them shits is nasty.
That sounds like quite the adventure(s) at the video shop….banana runts were awful I hate them! And I believe your Matt Dillon look alike you are talking about is the dreamy Jake Ryan played by Michael Schoeffling……..dream boat! Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!
Banana runts rock! Hard, crunchy and filled with sugary goodness *sigh* heaven! And strangely, they are the only type of hard candy that can actually hold my attention and my mouth captive. Like most good stories about personal quirks , I blame my love for hard suck worthy bananas on my aunt. She used runts (the pre-sorted variety) as “shut ups” when she’d babysit us – no cheerios for us girls – just cavities and diabetes by the handful.
And Stardust magazines – definitely soft core.
Another \m/ for banana Runts!
Just looking at the cover of that Stardust magazine would make my Baptist grandmother flip her blue-haired wig. Heh. Looks like something your brothers would have hidden under the mattress BEFORE they could get their hands on an actual Playboy.
Banana Runts, I had a lotion that smelled like runts. Yes, I moisturize! Bollywood movies always seemed strange to me anyway. Is it a rule that they all have to be in the form of a musical? The only appeal they have is beautiful women. Who wants to watch a movie on mute though? How was the samosa and incense scent? Can’t imagine that is a great combo on the nostrils!
What a smart girl you are. Nothing beats a hard banana. 🙂
You set yourself up for the pun madness of the hard banana type! Muscular, angry, sweaty uncle dudes… I think I saw that one: oh no, TMI!
No joke, I got suspended from school in 8th grade for throwing those hard bananas at a kid nicknamed Monkey.
What an adventure!
I can see why you didn’t fall head over heels for Bollywood, especially when it used to be a family outing for you. I think kids like to break away from the “norm” of their families and into things that are new and exciting for them. Plus, there was that whole creepy uncle vibe thing going on. LOL. I wonder how you feel about Bollywood now and if you have more respect for it.
Hard fruit candies are the best!! I always wanted the cherries.
In other news: that magazine totally looks like porn. 🙂
Kerplar: the name “Runts” rings a bell, but the way they were crammed into that dusty candy dispenser, they sure didn’t seem branded!!
PS: it’s totally normal to love hard bananas and not be gay, haha 😉
bronson: well apparently they are the very same banana runts, but between you and me I liked the lime thingys better 😉
sammy25: oh yes, Jake Ryan was a real treat…more like a dream-yacht!!! lol…(that was my sad little joke, please appreciate 😉 )
PS: I hope you had a great V-day too! I don’t really know what “V-Day” is supposed to mean to me at the current stage of life, but hey if it brings me some chocolate (that I buy for myself, haha), I won’t complain 😉
j: hahahaha….my aunt used candy to shut us up as well when we were kids…except it was this big lime candies with a chewy centre…mmm…early-onset diabetes…lol…no that is not funny in real life, but in this comment thread I will say it, haha 😉
PS: seriously soft-core, those Indian ‘Ho’s! (lol)
Taoist Biker: yes, “Stardust” was definitely the “pre Playboy” for young and developing Indian “wangs”…lol 😉
jcow81: hahahaha…I’m so proud of you that you moisturize! I wouldn’t wanna be around any dry-ass guys, so good for you! 😉
PS: the samosa/incense scent almost put me off samosas altogether…shit, I might have been all skinny by now if that had happened, but I still pop back those samosas like banana runts, haha 😉
Anja: ahem…right you are, hahaha 😉
duffboy: hahaha…yes TMI, but can I see your magazine collection though? 😉
douglas: HAHAHAHAHA…..you did not throw hard bananas at a kicked named monkey…and why that nickname? Was he really hairy and he wore a diaper? Or maybe big ears? (but I want you to say it was the first one, haha 😉 )
goodbadandugly2: it was an adventure in my own weird world, and there are so many more…why is my memory full of all this crap?!?!? Haha… 😉
teeni: hahahaha…I would love to have more respect for Bollywood now, if they’d just stop ripping off “Hollywood” movies! LOL…slowly they are breaking away from that (I think), but there are so many shameful rip-offs (and I was forced to watch a lot of them, haha) it’s hard to forget, lol 😉
Bird on the Wire: there were CHERRY hard candies?!?!? No effin’ way….
PS: oh ya, so porn-ish, it’s hard to imagine how the culture that breeds these magazines is so conservative…lol 😉
Of course I appreciate the joke! 😉 Also, this summer I am going on a “Find Jake Ryan Roadtrip” he lives somewhere in PA and I’m going to find him…and makeout with him!
Dude! I know what candies you are talking about, we have them at all the grocery stores and little shops here, in those quarter dispensers. Word up. The bananas were my favorite flavor actually. And I totally know what you mean about Bollywood. The chicks are smokin hot, but the dudes are pretty much just flaming gay or retarded, and then there’s the music, which I never really got. In fact, it sounds a little like torture to my southern ears. No offense.
What is it with you and man boys? Did this obsession ever go away or are you still all kinds of wet for man boys?
As normal as a taste for hard bananas may be, I think I’ll stick with soft tacos 😀
I’ll gladly share my porn with you Romi, but I must warn you: the magazines are few, the DVD’s and video discs are plenty (just the one gay title, which does include some awesome lesbian action, though).
sammy25: wow, you are dedicated to Jake Ryan!!! I wonder how old he would look now, ’cause he was probably already in his late twenties in that movie…do you think he’s still make-out-able??? 😉 Hmm…I’ll let you find out for me, and then I can have your sloppy seconds if he’s still worthy…lol 😉
Josh: awesome!!!! Yes the red candy dispensers, I’m so glad you know what I’m talking about..they pop up everywhere, and I always wonder how and when they get replenished…like just some hired dude with a plastic bag of candy dumps in the refill amount???…is he a professional-looking sort? I’d love to meet that candy-filler guy (or girl) someday… 😉
PS: don’t worry I’m not offended, I don’t care for it much either, and I too have entire music genres that make my ears bleed (Country music is the main one for me, but luckily it doesn’t fall upon my ears too often so the bleeding is under control, haha 🙂 )
B Smith: oh wow…these food references have to stop, hahaha…
Duff Boy: I’m impressed by the collection you’ve amassed, but maybe I’ll just let you keep it on second thought, haha 😉
By my estimages he would be 48ish….I’d still totally tap it! I would still make out with him of too!!!! You are more than welcome to my sloppy seconds or we could just share him…but I don’t know what his wife would think of that 😉 LOL
I love the references to hard bananas/banana candies–those are hilarious!
There’s a book I recommend to any adult, “Sex in History”, by Reay Tannahill. At one point, she writes that young women in the Victorian Era were were discouraged (even prohibited) from eating bananas! Of course their mothers never told them why!