Wednesday, February 25, 2004

MYSORE MEDITATIONS (with apologies to Kafka)

--From the Star of Mysore ( last week, on the eve of Shivaratri (in which the devoted stay up all night, chanting Shiva's name):
"Eve-teasing, trespassing into private property, stealing coconuts from trees, uprooting flower-plants, damaging flower pots, replacing the signboards, breaking bottles on roads, harassing the motorists, two-wheeler riders and pedestrians and other kinds of mischief are likely to occur."

--One day the clerical staff at Apollo Hospital wore oxblood saris; the next day teal. Almost wanted to go back one more time, just to see the color.

Of the 2,000 suicides in Bangalore last year, 70 percent were committed by I-T workers.....and the majority of those were under 35. How many US jobs have gone to India?

--The woman pharmacist kept looking at me and finally asked, "How did you get your skin to stay so fair." Sunblock, I said. I use the highest number. "But how do you stay so fair in this sun." Using a parasol. What? Umbrella! Umbrella! Oh. "But WHY are you so fair?" Because my parents were fair. Smile. South Indian head-nod.

--RETURN TO IYENGARS (restaurant I walked out of the previous week):
One man at the counter is happy to see me, the other is not. Rava dosa, I say. Parcel. He yells it out. Frooty also, I say. While I sit down he tells the waiter to get it. No one is smiling. There is a big search in the cooler, then the waiter slips the juicebox in the bag while I am paying (Rs 25). After crossing the fecal stream and being chased by the rabid dog -- they skulk away as soon as you pick up a rock -- and getting stared at by at least 25 people of all ages and sizes, I get the parcel "home" ... only to find that the Frooty is warm and the straw flattened and dirty. I wonder how much spit is in the dosa, which is wrapped in a bright green banana leaf, before I devour it.

--The cock that hangs out in front of the Browsing Center is stunning -- many colors including blue and a fanned-out, healthy tail. And a hen of course.

--Are all the shave-headed people mouring the loss of a loved one? Or is it just summer?:
-Jain guy at yarn shop
-Mohan (Browsing center owner)
-Security man at Kaveri Lodge

--If families all sleep together in the same room, when do they have sex?

I use my rudimentary Kannada whenever I can and at least once a day someone says to me (in English), "It makes me so happy to hear you speak Kannada."

--There are three or four anorexics at the shala, all protruding cheek- and hipbones, stringy necks and giant heads topped by expensive haircuts, doing intermediate series. (Between them and the westerners who hang out at the pool perfecting their tans all day, the rail-thin and fairness-obsessed locals must think we're out of our minds). Guruji simply tells the walking skeletons to eat.

-Bryan Adams is huge here.

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