Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Suitor #12

Her exasperated tone was quite a contrast to the smile she had on her face as she said: “I’m with a friend. Is that OK with you?” 

The thing about Shasti is that she attracts rather a lot of male attention. I swear, some dudes are straight falling on their knees with rings if she so much as flings a kind word in their general direction. 

So we’re chilling one weekend and she gets a phone call, seems some model from Kashmir is blowing up her phone on a regular basis. Shortly after finishing her call with him, and peeps I kid you not, dude’s brother calls to try and get a date. Shasti switches off her phone, turns to me with a sigh and รก me dit: I don’t understand, all these men, I turn them down but they keep calling me! 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Just Because

I haven't done this in a while:

Omoide ni Dakarete by Tsubokura Yuiko. Plays during the closing titles of Bubblegum Crisis ep5, "Moonlight Rambler". Has the kind of old-school sound I like. Sway to it with empty arms, or with whomever you let slip through your fingers.

A Few Novelties

  1. Being happy when the power cuts are shorter than an hour. 
  2. The realisation that not catching the fragrance of raw sewage between waking up and going to bed means the day has been an extraordinary one. I've also realised I feel the same way about days spent in Shibuya. 
  3. Carrying over 20kg of drinking water about 150 meters from the market to my apartment every two weeks or so. 
  4. Handwashing again after a more than a decade. It's like riding a bike, you never forget.
  5. Trying to come to terms with the fact that cocktails in Bangalore are roughly the same cost as cocktails in Boston. 
  6. Cravings for the flesh of animals – Right now I want a beef steak with chimichurri, Wagyu, char siu pork, the fragrant beef belly ramen from the Chinese restaurant I frequented when I worked in Shiba, the pork belly ramen from the restaurant I frequented when I worked in Saitama, the amazing kara-age from a great bar in Hannou city, pig knuckles from a restaurant I visited in Hong Kong, my red-cooked pork belly with cabbage, mum’s pepe (pepper) soup...
  7. Getting into Indian politics: Tea Partiers, if you want to see what an actual Socialist looks like, get thee to West Bengal. Or, y’know, there’s always that guy Bernie Sanders.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Bleeding Heart May Result in Exsanguination

It's funny, some of the poverty I've see here has been gut wrenching - I thought I'd seen it all in Lagos, but narhp! However unlike my previous experiences giving what little I can spare to people I've seen in other cities, here in Bangalore I feel like a mark Every. Single. Time I even consider reaching into my wallet.

Perhaps it's the indifference with which I observe my local counterparts treat the poor. Beggars here get ignored worse than the people who hand out flyers and tissues in Tokyo. Slum dwellers it seems are like an annoying distraction; we love their cheap labour, but do they have to bring down the area with their presence?

Perhaps it's because the behaviour of most of the beggars I have encountered here has set off my bullshit detector in some way. People have motioned their hands to their mouths, but given me the side-eye if I actually buy them food. In another instance, a lady attempted to browbeat me into buying her two kilos of rice when I asked the shopkeeper for one.

Still I feel guilty every time I say "sorry, no", feel some kind of way every time a friend or colleague ignores someone, and cringe every time a beggar is shooed away. I think it's because I'm more concerned about the possibility that someone in real need is not being ministered to than the possibility that someone might receive aid they don't deserve. 

(Yet another reason why I'm a Dirty Fucking Hippy).

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Alien Hominid

Have you ever watched a movie called The Thing? Where a group of researchers at an Arctic station find themselves under attack by an organism that invades the body and copies each of the victim’s cells. Philosophical debate on Identity aside, the Thing makes a superb but ultimately flawed approximation of any other creature it comes into contact with. It’s quite fascinating to observe someone beginning to suspect that there’s something a little off – that you or another person might be an alien organism. 

I’m out with Shasti, and we’re at a stand buying some sweets. Shasti is communicating in Tamil, and the vendor is looking at her as though he were working on Chinese algebra. His eureka moment came when he tried to put Shasti’s purchase into a plastic bag and she starts giving him the 3rd degree in Tamil about the ills of plastic (She’s from the Bay Area, California – yeah I said it). He just couldn’t wrap his head around why on earth she gave a shit about what he or anyone else does with their plastic bags. 

Then suddenly, Sokath! His eyes uncovered! It was like magic. The vendor’s eyebrows raised and a grin spread across his face like: Holy moly! The reason for her crazy talk is clear now. This lady isn't an Indian!

I love it.