Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Become a background artist

Just for fun or to make a little extra cash...

Walk or stand in the background to give the impression that the movie is shot in a foreign location. Besides having fun, you will receive free food and a daily allowance (Approx. Rs1000/day for Telugu movies).


I spent five days in Hyderabad and made an appearance in two Telugu movies: Annavaram and Khatarnak. To see my moment of fame, watch the song Vestaavaa on YouTube.

Honestly, the process is quite slow as each scene is shot dozens of times until all participants (i.e. hero/heroine, villain, dancers and background artists) perform in sync. The fun part is actually behind the scene. We were only two foreigners on the set of Khatarnak and the shooting was taking place in a totally rural area. When we ventured in the small village, we were followed by a group of 40-50 kids trying to shake hands and asking for autographs. A young teenager even proposed to be our bodyguard!

On Sunday night, as my boy had to go back to Bangalore, I went out with three of his friends. After a night of dancing, I was elected "couple of the week" with one of them. The result: our picture in the newspapers!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Belgian delegation in Bangalore

"Dear Elise,

From 1 to 7 November, the Secretary of State Vincent Van Quickenborne will make a trip to India (a.o. with the Prime Minister)… Cities visited are Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai… Maybe a meeting could be set up?"

Sure! The program and instructions were rapidly given and I was to meet the secretary of State for an informal talk at the Taj West End Hotel.

Most questions were related to my personal experience but quickly economics and societal issues were addressed. The next day, I also joined the Belgian delegation for the visit of Infosys during which a symbolic tree was planted.

Loved commuting in a traffic-free Bangalore as the roads had been blocked for us!

A few facts

-In 2004, Belgium was India’s second largest trade partner within the European Union with bilateral trade amounting to EUR 6.49 billion (75% coming from the diamond industry).

-Belgium is the 9th ranking investor nation in India. Belgium’s total investment approvals into India for the period 1991- 2004 touched a record figure of USD 1.2 billion.

-In 2001, there were about 7,000 Indians* residing in Belgium which represent 0.069% of the local population (2,109% in the UK, 0.042% in Germany and 0.002% in Poland). In addition, there were about 25,000 Indian children adopted by Belgian parents.

*Non resident Indian + Person of Indian Origin

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Pondicherry

We kept postponing but, at last, we traveled to Pondicherry! Just the two of us…

We went there by bus and as we arrived we found out what a gargantuan challenge it would be to get an accommodation. Most small hotels or guest houses accept couples of foreigners or married couples of Indians. However, a hybrid couple like ours was repetitively rejected by fear of the police!

Pondicherry is a great place to relax, walk on the beach and have tasty not-too-spicy food! In addition, bikes can easily be rented to visit the surroundings of the city. 

NB: Water sports are not allowed during the rainy season.