Saturday, March 20, 2004


Each time I walk from the Kaveri Lodge to this here Hottest Internet Place in Mysore I pass a group of men in lungis and informal turbans who sit against a wall and sew gunnysacks all day, every day. The stack grows higher as the day wears on. People's forebearance here is unbelievable, whether it's waiting for customers that never come or doing some awful job for an entire lifetime or watching a neverending cricket match or fillum or waiting for parents to arrange a marriage. Or so it seems to an outsider. The sack-sewers sit across from an amazing, ever-growing Wall of Shit (the men sew in the shade, while the poo wall is in the sun). I've not seen anyone actually *work* on the wall but last time 'round there was an older woman who would collect cow-pies in a bucket (there are *a lot* of the cows on the street here -- apparently they all are owned by various families but wander all day eating garbage /getting fed and then return home at know, when it's time for the cows to come home). Anyway she collects the turds in a bucket and then re-forms them into balls with her hands and then plops them against the wall. You can see the imprint of her fingers on the dung cakes -- kind of like peanut butter cookies with the fork marks, only a lot bigger. Also these take a lot longer to bake (many, many days in fact). Once they're dry they fall off the wall and are collected and used as fuel for cooking fires. Cow dung is seen as being antiseptic and sacred here and among other things it's also used to put caste marks on the forehead, make mud walls, and disinfect the home. I've also found that it trips up westerners quite a bit (it's far more slippery than a banana peel, yet you never see it used as a film gag, do you?).

Today Bindi, Jammu (Kasmir is out of town) and I went to another fillum -- a Tamil film called Boys that has been re-released and attracted an audience of about 20 Salwaar Grrls. It focused on five cute ne'er-do-well Chennai college boys and the girl one of them is in love with (occasionally her four friends also join them). After many quintuple dates (only in India) they end up eloping and alienating their families and taking crummy jobs and living in a rat-infested dump and forming a boy band + one girl that wins all the MTV Asia awards -- but only after the poorest of them dies in a really grisly scene in which he's run over by a giant steel bus. The theatre had digital sound and *really* comfortable seats (which cost Rs 40 rather than the usual Rs 33) and we were in the front row of the breezy balcony with our feet up. Such a delight after our last experience..... The girls behind us knew every word to every song and screamed a lot -- a rare thing to see -- and the film itself had amazing effects, sets, dances, costumes, editing, etc. Everything was kick-ass but the music, really (as Bindi likes to point out, they're *really* into the Backstreet Boys here). It was refreshingly original (never saw a fillum before in which a character washed his arse the Indian way) but also had elements of Porky's, Let it Be, Grease, Jailhouse Rock, Pretty in Pink, the Herbie Hancock video "Rock-It" and much, much more....


Me Bindi and Jammu went to the cinema
best one yet
digital sound, *really* comfortable seats
no one was there
Tamil film called Boys
about a boy band plus one girl
sort of
*really* well-done editing, effects,
costumes and choreography
really inventive
it was cool in there
we put our feet up
we were so happy
at half-time Jammu bought us popcorn
Every time they spoke english (which was often),
we drank
that way you don't get dehydrated
I can't find my glasses
Then we went to the Andra place
(food from Andra Pradesh,
next-door state where many people die
every year from heat and drought.
not unlike Chicago
They also have a huge film industry.
They speak Telegu).
I had veggies n rice.
In fact we all did.
*really* fresh, tasty food
and shared;
Then into the
cruel cruel sun.

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