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08/28/2013

F... me I'm famous!

 Something funny happened in Gwalior… As I was strolling around the fort, on Independence day, some local reporter spotted me and asked to take a picture of me. I was in a good mood so I agreed to the same! I was even so “nice” that he got bolder and gave me his Indian flag, then moved me twenty meters so as to have the fort in the background. All the while dozens of people were clicking dozens of pictures… 

And here is the result:

 

india,looks,photos,gwalior,delirious delhi

india,looks,photos,gwalior,delirious delhi

Dave Prager described in Delirious Delhi this whole tourist picture thing perfectly (in my opinion) so I will just quote him here: 

 

“ There's a middle-class India that thrives far beyond Saket Citywalk Mall, we learned, and many of them are just as interested in their narion's attractions as we are. And as they'd come to Delhi from around the region, these domestic tourists had the same goals that we foreign tourists did: they wanted to take pictures of things they can't see at home.

But while our list includes sidewalk tailors and roadside shrines, their list includes Western tourists like us. So as we'd rest in the shade at the Red Fort or Jama Masjid, it wasn't usual for a mother to place a baby in our lap and a father to take a picture. [...]


At first we were offended by all this unwanted attention. We wondered how people could be so rude as to take pictures of us as if we had been posed there by the Ministry of Tourism. Jenny initially made sport of teasing the men who approached her, agreeing to 'take a picture' and then pulling out her own camera and snapping shot after shot of the baffled men until they left her alone. Sometimes we'd scowl and chastise people who approached us with their cameras at the ready. 

 

But as time went on, and our own photo album swelled with pictures of vegetable vendors, wandering saddhus and streetside omelette makers, we realized how hypocritical we were being. If we found the people around us to be fascinating, beautiful and photo-worthy - subjecting them to the sudden blink of our black lens and then disappearing without so much as a moment of eye contact - it was disingenuous not to accept ourselves as objects of equal interest. We vowed to happily accept photo requests from that moment onward, putting broad grins on our faces while anybody who pleased put their arms around our shoulders and stared into the cameras. [...]

 

After some time, we realized that it was much nicer when people asked permission to take our photo as opposed to when they attempted paparazzi-style photos from far. Which taught us that we owed our own photographic subjects the same consideration. Instead of suddenly stopping, snapping and speeding off, we began requesting permission for pictures and then thanking our subjects and showing them the output on the screen. Not only did that make our interactions with people more satisfying, but our photos got better as well.” 

08/14/2013

We all have days like that...

This morning my rickshaw driver had no change he had to give me back 20 on 50 rupees. He forced me to ask some watchman. Who didn’t have the change.  

Then he wanted to force me to go and ask the cigarettes walla. I told him “No. YOU go.” (firstly I am shy and secondly it is his fault if he doesn’t have the change – which is actually debatable but not when they have attitude like this one!).  

So he refused to go. And with such an air... I would have slapped him... 

 

So I went up to the office and started working. It took him about fifteen minutes to realise that I was not going to back down! Whereupon he sent to watchman up to seek his due! 

 

 

A few hours later, I was discussing the “development” of one of my guys. Here is the conclusion of the session: 

-         Me: So we put that you are going to read a book about a great leader. Do you have any name in mind? 

-         Him: Yes! Hitler. 

-         Me (distracted): Ok, ok.  

-         Me: Give me the title, I'll put it in your sheet.

-         Him: Hitler 

-         Me: Whaaaaaat??  

-         Him: Yeah he was a great leader! 

-         Me: True. But he also got millions of people killed... Okay, Let's put that you're going to read a book about a great business leader ok?

 

08/08/2013

A North Indian wedding in Goa

 After a Chilean wedding, I went to an Indian wedding...  

Two weddings in one month! And completely out-of-season with the Chilean winter and the Indian monsoon! 

 

Two weddings in one month! Me who went to like three weddings in my entire life and is not too fond of them (and here a beautiful understatement ;)).  

 

But you can’t say no to a wedding in Goa can you? J 

india,goa,wedding,marriage,divorce,mehendi,rites

 

It was my friend in Delhi. A girl I met one year after her divorce with a Kerala guy and when I was in the middle of a break-up with mine – this 'anti-mallu' thing brought us together pretty fast ;) Back tindia,goa,wedding,marriage,divorce,mehendi,riteshen she was trying to get back in the game – i.e. she was looking for a husband, had thus registered on shaadi.com (marriage.com), met a guy and deleted her account. Nobody in her entourage believed in this relationship nor wanted to accept it: an Indian guy, divorced, 8 years older than her, living in Hong Kong, and once again from another (inferior) caste. 

 

Except for me who, in my post-break-up madness, was seeing everything impossible becoming possible... She encouraged me in each of my delusions and I reciprocated very well! And now, ten months after they met, they were getting married in Goa! 

 

The wedding started on Friday afternoon with the mehendi ceremony (a temporary henna tattoo) which I missed but of which I got a picture! 

 

My brother and I arrived on Friday night, under a light rain, in a luxury hotel (all on the princess expenses – which is not just an expression since as a matter of fact the family of the bride paid for everything). Just in time to get into a sexy dress (or my disguise as an item girl (the half-haired bimbo of any bollywood film self-respecting)) and join the bollywood-themed party. Nice evening where the friends and family have prepared bollywood dances, texts etc.

 

The next day we india,goa,wedding,marriage,divorce,mehendi,riteshad free time up to 2 PM, time of the actual marriage. And I am not sure I understood anything about it... Basically you spend hours getting dressed (in Indian clothes), putting makeup on you, getting your hair done etc. just to see the crowd of the groom passing by dancing to the (deafening) sound of the drums and this lasts for a very, very longtime. Because after that all the rites of marriage take place and you are free to attend them but the invitation states otherwise: “While we are getting married, you can pop over and get some lunch”!  

india,goa,wedding,marriage,divorce,mehendi,rites

 

india,goa,wedding,marriage,divorce,mehendi,ritesIt was anyway 4 PM and after a snack we badly needed a nap. No way to power through another party night otherwise! The major event of which was, for me, a letter I got from my lover boy. An old uncle from the bride side who wrote to me on a napkin "I love you" followed by a love letter in Hindi he translated to me... 

 

And voilà!