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03/28/2013

Ulce-RAT-ion

The other night I was deep into my new favourite activity – namely checking out rats from window – when we heard a wedding band playing from the slum. And here we were, at midnight, my friend and I, getting down to the slum to check out a wedding! I agreed to go on the one condition that if we saw a rat we would turn back. And I am not talking about mice, but these gigantic rats (called Bandicoot rats) that measure 30-40 cms with an equally long tail and weigh up to 1.5 kilos*! The only thing that equals my fascination for me is the disgust and fright they inspire… 

I even put on my rain boots (just in case) but thought they might feel insulted – a foreigner wandering at night in the slum with big blue plastic boots because she is disgusted (they wouldn't think my disgust would be of the vermine)… 

I grabbed my friends’ arm and could not look at anything but my feet – exindia,mumbai,rats,bandicoot rats,rats killerspecting one of these GMO modified animals to come out from nowhere at any point of time. My friend did not understand and thought I was scared of people! Well, if I was scared of people I would have never agreed to stroll in the narrow alleys in the dark… Coz people slice throats and rats, well, they just behave erratically. Ahem, theoretically at least. Because if you see the Pest Control Site of India, they are “large, aggressive animals that erect their guard hairs on their backs and emit grunts when disturbed. If caged with other bandicoots, it is likely to fight to death within a few hours. […] Like its smaller cousin, it is also a carrier for many diseases [including leptospirosis].” 

So no need to tell me non-senses like “it is not the small animal that will eat the big one” or “they won’t do anything to you”!!

You may have heard of these heroes, the “rat killers”? These 44 guys roam around at night, a spear in hand, to put rats on a spit… 

india,mumbai,rats,bandicoot rats,rats killersBasically each guy will catch their quota of 30 rats per night (hence in total 400 000 rats per year would die like this). And the city will pay them about 8 rupees per rat so 240 rupees (less than 4 euros) per night. The killers put the dead bodies in a bag and get them counted in the morning. Some sampling will be done and checked for diseases by a city laboratory because “Black Death or Bubonic Plague, officially declared as wiped out nearly 30 years ago by the Indian government, still poses a real threat to the country and to Bombay (Mumbai) in particular. 

Voilà! 

 

ratass.jpg

  

Sources: 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/04/in_pictures_the_rat_catchers/html/9.stm 

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/2/20120508201205082132096260cde27f/No-more-rat-killers-please-BMC-told.html 

* PCI: http://www.pestcontrolindia.com/know-your-pest/pest/rodent-bandicoot-rat-or-largergreater-bandicoot-rat-29-0-88.aspx

 

03/26/2013

Just to make you dream...

 It does make you dream doesn't it?  

(PS: rêve means dream in French)

 

india,building,mumbai

Construction on the streets of Mumbai.

 

For some reason, Indians love to give French names to their buildings, may look fancy, even with spelling mistakes (like The Souvenier, Palais Royale etc.)

 

03/24/2013

Tell me how you drive I'll tell you who you are...

Being stuck in traffic in India leaves you a lot of time to think… So the other day I was wondering whether they could be a link with the way people drive and who they are.  

Of course it would involve a lot of clichés but the idea is not entirely stupid, in my opinion.

 

India,driving,driving style,French,UK,Germans,joke

Udaipur

 Nooo! I wouldn’t dare to say that just because Indians drive crazy that they are all crazy don’t get me wrong ;) Though...

 

But no, I was rather thinking that the only driving rule in India “always look in front. Not on the sides. Never backward” also applies to the way they drive their lives. Always looking forward rather than dwelling upon the past. It is probably partly linked to India economic development where everything (almost) is yet to be done. But I think it is also in Indians’ nature, “not thinking too much (at least this is the impression they give), future-oriented, enjoying simple moments (you should see our executives starting dancing the moment you play music in a seminar)” kind of nature. 

 

To go back to the Indian driving style, it is every man for himself. There is no conception of “collective well-being”, of “if I let this person go first then I won’t block the whole street for one hour”. Same thing when it comes to queuing. Indians do not wait in lines. I think it is because they don’t really care about others; they only matters. Are they individualistic? I believe they are (except when it comes to family) – and who can blame them? With a population of 1.2 billion, you have to fend for yourself!

 

Now you will tell me, who are you to criticise? Aren’t you French? Ah the French… Possibly the worst drivers in the world (or at least in Europe, let us be fair). I loved that website that described us as “impatient, intolerant and even aggressive maniacs with an unshakeable conviction in our own immortality [and having] little respect for traffic rules, particularly anything to do with parking (in Paris, a car is a device used to create parking spaces)” – the rest is even better, I let you read… So this is how we drive, and a bit how we are also no? Complaining a lot, impatient, undisciplined…

 

Follow me in Germany with this blog. At a signal. “To dare challenge [the red man’s] authority and step gingerly out into a completely empty road when he is still red, is to take great personal risk. Not of getting run over, the road is completely empty after all. Bar being struck by an invisible car, you’re safe. No, what you really risk is the scorn, the tutting and the shouts of “Halt!” from nearby Germans. Who will now consider you an irresponsible, possibly suicidal, social renegade.” Wouldn’t that vouch for the stereotype that Germans are very disciplined and love to follow the rules?

 

The Britishers drive rather carefully… To the point that they themselves are more frustrated by slow drivers than over speeding ones! An illustration of the British phlegm and legendary politeness?* 

 

Maybe I got it all wrong but I had good fun writing that post!

 

To conclude on a funny note, see this joke on driving styles in the world:

 

“One hand on steering wheel, one hand out of window. Sydney 

One hand on steering wheel, one hand on horn. Japan
One hand on steering wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator. Boston
Both hands on steering wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror. New York 
Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat. Italy      

One hand on horn,             
one hand greeting,             
one ear on cell phone,      
one ear listening to loud music,      
foot on accelerator,            
eyes on female pedestrians,           
conversation with someone in next car.        

Welcome to India!!”

Sources:

Living in France: http://www.justlanded.com/english/France/Articles/Travel-Leisure/French-Drivers 

Living in Germany: http://venturevillage.eu/how-to-be-german-part-1 

* Living in the UK: http://www.thecheers.org/Entertainment/article_2222_English-Politeness-and-Manners.html ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/8649662/Slow-drivers-cause-the-most-frustration.html 

Joke: http://www.asianjoke.com/general/driving_styles_around_the_world.htm