Last night I dreamed that the monsoons came again. They don’t call them that here, usually using the words “flash flood” or “torrential downpour”. Last week what showed up here to our high-up house could be called nothing but monsoon, exotic and dangerous.
In the dream my friend was dating an Indian actor. Not a Bollywood actor, but an old grand days of MGM Hollywood actor. He showed us reels of him dancing, wearing a turban, while Marilyn Monroe sang to him from a balcony. Her famous curves were draped in a red silk sari, her usually fluffy blonde hair was smoothed back into a bun. In between her dreamy, half-opened eyes (lined thick with black kohl) was a little blood-red ruby. An orchestra of drums and sitars and horns whirled into a frenzy, and she moved her hips and arms and looked like she was lost forever in the music. Like she never wanted to come out from underneath it. The dailies were in technicolor and our television glowed in the dim light of our small house.
We didn’t find it boggling and odd that we were living in 2011 (the monsoon was pounding our house, I kept thinking this sensual and fascinating man had brought his home country’s weather with him, tucked in his carry-on bag) and yet this man had filmed movies with Marilyn in the fifties. Why had we not seen this movie before? Why was there no AFI retrospective on this man? He still appeared to be in his forties. My friend was draped, small and pale, on his arm. She didn’t speak, just listened to him and looked out the window at the rising brown water. I kept trying to leave the house and go buy naan. All we had was strawberries. But the muddy water kept rising and the sky was charcoal cloudy and our wind chimes were flying and clanking and clinging and I didn’t think we were going to be able to leave anytime soon. Rain kept pounding on the roof and my husband was lighting candles and laying out the strawberries for all of us to eat.