Tibetan Reggae covers, global village, and beggars India part seven:

June 2, 2006 at 05:07 | Posted in from within the "India"!? | 1 Comment

Last night I heard the sounds of live music blasting out of the opposite side of the valley that I am in. I looked out mf window and determined that it was coming from "Chew and View", a restaurant situated on said cliff. The music was quite loud, and it was the first time that I had heard a trap kit since my arrival in India. the music continued for arond two hours, and at one point shifted from Tibetan intoned rock music, to Bob Marley covers. It was surreal, and humorous to hear the Tibetanly pronounced lyrics of this Jamaican masthead. Bob Marley is quite popular here, perhaps because of his peacable message?

Today is my last day in McLeod Ganj, I will leave for Delhi by overnight tourist bus at 6:30 Pm. THe bus arrives at 6:30 AM, which I am not terribly excited about, and I can check into my hotel room at 12:00 PM. I am hoping that they have running hot water showers–rinsing my soap off without a cteady stream of water, and having to use one hand to pour the water, and one to rinse, is a bit difficult. I made the mistake of bringing a soap that does not rinse easily, and the hard water here does not treat my showers kindly.

Of course, I will have lunch at Lung Ta again.

The other day I bought milk for a shoe-shine boy.  He had a sob-story, that may or may not have been true, about how his father takes all the money that he makes shining shoes and spends it on alcohol. The sob-story didn't even register, as it is impossible to tell if the begging children are valiant liars, or in fact afflicted misfortunates. The boy tried to convince me to buy the largest powdered milk that the store had, which costs eighty-five rupees–eighty five rupees is a few cents short of two dollars. I refused, as this was a rather brazen proposal on his part. For me to buy him the milk that he asked for–aside from being against my personal dietary philosophy–would be the equivalent of a homeless person asking me to take them to the cheesecake factory, and me agreeing. I wound up buying him one quart of milk, despite his pleas that it would only last one day. Over the course of my milk-purchasing a crowd of beggars gathered around me, and as I turned to leave the shop they all assailed me for money, one young girl grabbed my arm. There are three different kinds of beggars: the ones who cannot work, the ones who do work, and the ones who can work but do not. The girl that grabbed my arm was capable of working, and my reaction to her was rather harsh–I yanked my arm away and shouted.

It is a bit of a struggle trying to sort out how to deal with beggars here. You cannot give to everyone, so you have to meter who you give to. I, almost exclusively, give to the lepors, it is clear that they cannot work–most have no fingers, or toes, and if they do they are certainly not functioning digits. The same people are out on the streets everyday touting light skinned people with, "Hello. Namaste. Hello Sir. Hello. Hello…" and when you don't give they usually say something in Hindi afterwards.

I gave to a man on crutches in Manali, and he started complaining to me, in Hindi, and gesturing to give him more money. I told him, "Fuck you, you punks-ass bitch." He definitely didn't understand what I said, and he went on to harass another person in the same manner as hed had me. The abiity to use language like that is a strange thing. 

 On the topic of language: English in India is a strange thing. The notion of grammar and spelling that exists here is some notion of hearsay and conjecture.

 I spent a good deal of time yesterday in a Thanka shop. For thos of you who do not know, Thankas are Tibetan Buddhist paintings that depict either deities, or meditation/prayer mandalas. The symbols used are born of a rich vocabulary that resembles high-art cartoon illustration. I learned yesterday that Buddhism was brought to tibet by a monk, who's name I cannot remember, who overpowered the traditional practice of witchcraft and superstitious vampirism, et cetera. This explains the existence of the dark/ferocious/evil deities depicted in Thankas. The shop owner and I talked about the state of India, and he lamented how most of its rich culture is devalued to such a degree by its inhabitants, that the "cream of the cream" has to leave to other countries in order to survive off of their skills/trade. He feels that the West is getting a lot of the good things that India has to offer: music, yoga, painting, philosophy, et cetera, but India is only getting the bad things: sex, nudity, bad music. I think if you asked a younger generation they would disagree with him. For his generation the West has little to offer that is of any value, because he is justly, and appropriately affirmed in his notion of life within India. However, for the youth life begins with the notion of the West through its presence, and they seek for more of it because it is new and different. On some level I can agree, as I noted in an earlier post, India's classical culture is beautifu, but its modern culutre is likened to a pubescent boy in high school as it tries to fit into a global culture.


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  1. Next time a begger grabs you go for the pinky twist.
    I imagine you to be really tan and taller that usual.

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