Conversations With My Mom: Toronto
Mom: So, tell me about the friends you'll be in Toronto with.
Me: Well, let's see. Doug is a graphic artist who works at Cal Tech and lives in Los Angeles; Darren is finishing up his PhD in English literature, and will be a lit prof soon — he lives in Knoxville, Tennessee; Rob, from San Francisco, is a computer whiz but I think he's going to be a full-time writer of fiction one day; and J. Robert is a film critic from Chicago. And if we're lucky, a friend from Brooklyn may fly in too.
Mom: And what about your friend who sent us the gift of those great Ozu movies that your dad and I have been watching?
Me: Acquarello — he lives in Washington DC, and is a space engineer at NASA. He won't be in Toronto though, he'll be in New York instead.
Mom: So, where will you stay?
Me: We'll all be together at the same hotel.
Mom: What will you eat? Are there Indian restaurants in Toronto?
Me: Yes, Mom, there are. And I like Western food a lot too, you know.
Mom: Try to be good, okay? [she means "no alcohol" — it's a Hindu thing]
Me: Okay, Mom. [shame on you, lying to your own mother]
Mom: How many movies will you watch?
Me: I'll probably see about thirty. Like three or four a day.
Mom: Won't that make your head spin?
Me: No, it's great fun, although it takes a day or two to get into the rhythm of the thing. It's actually such an intense jolt of movie-watching and socializing that the week after the festival is brutally depressive.
Mom: Will you get a chance to go to the jazz nightclubs like you usually do?
Me: No, but I'm excited for a rock concert we have tickets for.
Mom: Tell me, do they show any Indian movies at the festival?
Me: Very few. Perhaps a couple of high-profile Bollywood films but they don't usually interest me.
Mom: What about New Cinema movies?
Me: Alas, almost zero. No Mrinal Sen or Shyam Benegal or Mani Kaul or Aparna Sen. Which is a drag. But on the plus side, they screen something like 300 films, and I'll be lucky if I can squeeze in a tenth of those.
Mom: Well, don't watch too many movies. Your eyes'll go bad.
Me: Mom, we're not discussing that again.
Mom: Okay, but make sure you eat well in Toronto. You're a growing boy.
Me: Mom, I'm not a growing boy.
Mom: But you're skinny, you need to eat.
Me: Mom, I just remembered something. I gotta go.
Mom: Yes, that's what you always say.
Me: Do I?