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09/28/2015

Ganapati and the elephantastic noise

It has been 9 years that Ganesh festival was impressing my eyes (see previous notes); now it mostly impresses my ears!

Below is the typical musical scene I face when going home. And also once I am home, sound-proofing not being a forte of Indian houses.

Every year millions of Ganesh idols, the God with an elephant head, are put into water, taking off with him the sins of the poor mortals. The latter spending fortunes(yes yes, even poor people invest a lot. Especially the poor in fact) to have the best looking (or most impressive) Ganesh of the neighbourhood. And to let everybody know about it - the most effective way being using huge speakers and playing techno music full fledge.

On top of aggressing ears, the festival makes me feel bad, personally. It is so bad for the environment, these tons of Plaster of Paris (which does not dissolve at all even after 48 hours, unlike clay (source)) and heavily toxic paints thrown in the sea every year…

But let us be positive! There are some good initiatives bringing hope. Immersing the idols in tanks instead of rivers. The chocolate statue drown in milk and distributed to poor children. The Ganesh made out of fish food with natural paints made out of spices. So of course it creates metaphysical problems, and the religious experts have been debatting about the future of the immersed Ganapatis. Ending up in a landfill? In the digestive system of fishes? Or in the tummy of poor kids? Is it religiously correct? I have obviously no theological expertise but ending up as trash rejected by the sea is not the sexiest thing either!

Sources:http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-all-fiv...; http://www.sakaaltimes.com/NewsDetails.aspx?NewsId=569081... ; http://www.storypick.com/ganesh-idols/; http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-chocolate-ganesh-creates-a-buzz-on-social-media-2126669

09/14/2015

A story of rugby and alcohol

Any resemblance with existing persons is fictitious. Or not.  

Our small family recently completed its yearly pilgrimage to Kerala.

 

There I had to face a situation: in India, a baby is not a person but a rugby ball. As soon as they see a baby, arms reach out, they grab him and pass him to one another. I must be a not-so-good scrum-half: at the sight of these reaching out women - which were not all pretty sights, even for me (so I could only imagine for a baby), with missing or rotten teeth, mustaches and beards - I did not let go of the ball. Just because the three pairs of arms who welcomed us scared me away, feeling totally aggressed. While it is apparently an act of “politeness” to ask to carry my child, politeness I was supposed to return by handing the child in question away. Well, to be honest with you, I didn’t care one bit about going the impolite stuck-up bitch that would not let her baby go! 

And my baby played along and refused to leave my arms. Of course I don’t want him to be anti-social; I just want people to give him some time to adjust to all these new faces before being thrown into the scrum!

After holding on against almost everybody, people left us alone… I took advantage of the new found peace to let baby stretch and take a few steps. No sooner had he a foot on the ground that he got grabbed by an ‘uncle’ who had identified an opening and seized it! He got eventually passed in the arms of four women, who were not even from my husband's family...  

 

Without transition:

Statistics show that Indians drink less than Europeans (4.3 versus 12.5 litres per year per person) except that we should remove from the equation women (who do not have the right to drink), pious men (who do not drink out of religious conviction), and all those who drink home-made alcohol, which kill mostly in silence, and sometime loudly (when more than a hundred people die, like it happened in June in Mumbai). Malayali drink 10.2 litres per year, quite far behind the guys of Andhra Pradesh (35 litres). For many Indian States, taxes on alcohol represent nearly a quarter of the State income (22% in Kerala); whereas it is less than 1% in France. This makes it difficult for States to tackle alchool consumption, as they regularly try. Only the Gujarat has been holding on tight, but the black market has been exploding. Increasing taxes (already at more than 100%) or making alcohol illegal is fine but it does not help much... 

 

india,wedding,kerala,baby,rugby,alcohol

 

(1) In India:  http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/kerala-increases-tax-on-liquor-beer-and-wine/#sthash.PNIRO4yJ.dpuf ; http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-05-16/news/62239496_1_total-prohibition-vm-sudheeran-kerala-government ;  http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/the-alcohol-economy/article5436924.ECE ; http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/blogs/blog-datadelve/article6344654.ece 

 

(2) In France: http://www.alcool-info-service.fr/alcool/consommation-alcool-france/culture-alcool-consommation-vin#.VfZl8Jf3aJ8  ;  http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/comptes-nationaux/tableau.asp?sous_theme=3.2 & xml = t_3203 ; http://next.Liberation.fr/vous/2011/02/17/Quels-sont-les-pays-qui-consomment-Le-plus-d-alcool-dans-le-monde_715595

08/31/2015

A journey in Maharashtra

6:30 AM, Dadar station, Mumbai

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 Somewhere on the way, in Maharashtra countryside 

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7 hours later, in Aurangabad station 

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Work, work

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10 PM, Aurangabad airport 

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