Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i love this fucking country

I hope you can can use the same post title more than once because I say the above line at least every two days. Vignettes from my life with apologies for lack of posting, I've had lots of people in town:

I came home slightly drunk from Leopolds, the tourist trap bar in Colaba that has some of the only dancing in the city on a Sunday night. I saw some bright lights down a normally dark alley. I find a bunch of guys playing a board game and listening to music under a beautiful canopy with strings of light while Krishna constantly waved his arm with the help of a little motor. They immediately sat me down at the board to play a game called carrom that resembles pool but used flat heavy discs instead of balls. I loved my partner: an older guy with streaks of gray through his beard who danced at the table whenever a new Bollywood song started. Word of wisdom for best ways to make friends: sing the latest Bollywood hit, currently Om Shanti Om with his greatness, Shah Rukh Kahn. We won quite a few games until I missed an easy shot. Eventually, we gathered in a circle and somebody broke out a drum. About six guys started clapping this hands and singing songs in Marathi (at least I assumed Marathi, it sounds almost exactly like Hindi so I have to judge by the look of the people rather than their words, if they wear a cool narrow pointed hat, Bingo, Marathi). I sat there for about 90 minutes listening to them and thought to myself "well, you found what you were looking for." Luckily, someone took my video camera and started making movies. I'll upload them as soon as possible.

I went the to Manish Market with my friend Dave Sears so he could get some illegal software ($900 of software for $6) and so I could trade in some headphones that didn't work. I went back to the same shop and got the guy to confirm that I had bought them there. Then I told him that I wanted them replaced because they didn't work. He pointed at the sign that said no exchanges or returns. I figured I'd have to act a little heated to get the job done so I did. After a few minutes of loud statements of refusal by me and passive resistance by the owner, he agreed to replace them. I immediately lightened up and thanked him. He gave me new headphones and we tested them together. Then he took the old ones and put them in their package and back on the shelf. I told him that they were broken. He just looked at me and smiled. I started laughing and winked at him. He laughed and grinned mischeivoulsy. I shook his hand and said "that's funny. that's really funny."

Again at Crawford Market. I took my two friends from Austria, Judith and Sonia, so they could find gifts for friends back home. Turns out there's really nothing good in that department unless your friends like severed animal heads, weird chinese electronics, cell phone covers, bolts of cloth or guinea fowls. As we walked, two guys on the side asked to take a picture of them. My answer in this situation depends on my mood (which depends on my hunger level) and my feel for the people. For some reason I didn't like these guys so I said "no" loudly and kept walking. They just stepped forward and took a picture. This pissed me off. I turned to him and started berating him. Our exchange started getting heated and then he said something angry in Hindi. I said "what?". He repeated himself in English. I said "what?". After repeating this little performance a few times, we all started laughing about it. I said, "Oh, you Indians. I love you." We shook hands, still laughing, and went our separate ways.

1 comment:

Goody said...

Dear Lex,
I would like a severed animal head please.

Love,
Goody