Friday, January 29

Imagining Someone Else's Life

This is a picture of a worker with Amar Touring Cinema, in India. The card describes that he is respooling the film between showings of whatever movie was in circulation at the time.

This is from a set of Bollywood postcards I picked up at World Market, way back when they still had a brick-and-mortar outlet around my city. There were two, in Roseville and Bloomington and I think we went to one in Spring Lake Park or further out, but they weren't doing well here so all their outlets shut down. This was heartbreaking for me because I used to love to just wander around in there and look at everything, dreaming of where it came from, dreaming of how it would look in my crappy little apartment if only I had a substantially greater income.

But they closed, and one of my parting gestures was to pick up a square, tin box of these Bollywood postcards. I like the trend that suggested nicer postcards should be packaged in little metal boxes, you know? Nicer than shrink-wrap, though they're doing some cool things with cardboard boxes and Velcro/rare earth magnets, lately.

These postcards are themselves square, which means they incur a 13¢ additional handling fee, regardless of domestic or foreign postage. Being that I don't have any 13¢ stamps--indeed, they are not printed in this country--the best that the Postage Stamp Calculator can suggest is one 98¢ stamp and two 10¢ stamps. That's fine, that's only a little over, it's not going to drive me into ruin. (No, two months of joblessness would drive me almost up to the front door of ruin--and still require a tip.)

One of the cards featured a man sitting on the bonnet of his pick-up truck, on which had been mounted large wooden-case speakers and a couple placards. He was also part of a traveling cinema display troupe, like the guy in this picture, driving from village to village and showing movies out of the back of his truck, throwing the image up against a bed sheet or the side of a building, depending upon resources and size of crowd. That sounds like a fun life to me: I could do it for a couple months. In fact, I was so inspired by the other card (not pictured here) that I wrote a short story about it. Not knowing much about India, of course, I was careful not to make any distinct cultural references. I only made vague references to environment and appearances, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks or simply accept the story in its own context.

The Bollywood cards I'm sending this time around (my Postcrossing limit has gone up to 10 cards at one time!) are headed to China and Finland. I made sure to clarify that the scenes depicted did not occur in Minnesota, though there's probably no confusion over the matter.

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