Later in the day we made a short flight to Lucknow, Bina's hometown, where Tushar's cousin Anshu and wife Alankrita were extremely generous, letting us all stay in their 10th floor condo in the city. On Tuesday in Lucknow, Tushar consulted an astrologer who, after complex computer and handwritten analysis, was able to give us a soft date for his wedding: JUNE 2016! (Bride TBA)
By late afternoon we were in a van for the 4-hour drive to Pyagpur, Vikram's home village. By American standards, the traffic in India is a legitimate clusterfuck, or what Tushar refers to as "a casual game of chicken." The zero-sum game always tends to work out though, as everyone acts as a team player to avoid collisions between any number of bicycles, vans, cars, pedestrians, trucks, rickshaws, wagons, scooters, and motorcycles all vying for just enough room to keep traffic moving at all times. In Pyagpur, we were graciously taken in by Tushar's great uncle and other relatives and family friends of his father. We were treated to a full spread of home-cooked dishes, and all the chai (and more) than we could ask for. Temps got down to the high 40's (Fahrenheit...still holding on to some American ways), so we all gathered around a late fire, where Jamey serenaded the group with his ukelele. The next morning we made more tours of the village, and of course, we couldn't leave without consulting another priest about Tushar's future. The verdict? Marriage even sooner than the astrologer predicted! At this point, just be on call for a wedding on any given Saturday night.
One more flight later, and we reached Mumbai, where we're spending a week. On our first night, we caught a show at India's premier and currently only dedicated comedy club, Canvas Laugh Club, where Tushar will perform on Feb 12th and 15th, when we return to Mumbai later in the American Hasi Tour. The host did his set almost entirely in Hindi (about 30 minutes of me nodding off), and the headliner was a seasoned female comic who, to the surprise of our cultural expectations, made open remarks about being gay.
On Friday, Tushar performed his first show for a packed bar in the Colaba district as part of the Weirdass Pajama Festival, India's largest comedy festival. I wish I could report that things went better, but I'll give Tushar credit for sweating it out on stage and bombing like a champ. Following the show, and back at the hotel (where many comedians are also staying), Tushar got a lot of input from other comedians about how to adapt his jokes and style to please the local crowds. On Saturday, he got an unexpected short spot and already showed signs of making improvements.
Today we're off to see Tushar perform two more shows for the Pajama Festival!