domenica, dicembre 11, 2011

It's like everyone's blogging out loud

Now that work has slowed down and I'm starting to have a little time to myself that isn't fucked by jetlag and not having to spend all my time with overcashedup businessmen, I'm enjoying being here more. People tell me New Delhi has a reputation for capital-city-type coldness and indifference, but I guess that is either starting from a much warmer cultural base than most places, or doesn't apply to foreigners, who even in the rich and business districts are in pretty short supply.

I'd say people gape and stare a lot more than they do in Shanghai. I'm enjoying children running up and giggling and asking me where I'm from (especially when they don't ask me for money) and then telling me all about themselves, and enjoying grown women doing similar things. The men don't do that, not with me, but I expect they would if I was a dude.  I'm also guessing if I was a dude it'd happen a lot more often, since the women who start talking to me are either by themselves or with one other woman, and there aren't actually that many women on the streets by themselves or with one other women. It's still visibly a man's world here. The place offends my feminist sensibilities even more than my pinko sensibilities.

But getting back to not whining. People just sort of start talking to you here, and then tell you all about themselves. It's nice. I guess that's why hippies and people like that like India so much. I don't know - I'll ask some hippies when I get back to L--- - their enjoyment of a place with such jaw-droppingly inquitous social divisions and brtual treatment of women is something I'm finding confusing at the moment. Anyways, handbrake on the whining. Yesterday a woman who runs an NGO that does slum visits and things did that - just started talking and telling me all about herself - and that was super-interesting. I guess those sorts of NGOs are a pretty big employer here. They even have one for the street dogs in most neighborhoods doing a capture-spay-release programme.

What tourists there are - the others staying at this B'n'B, the ones I see out and about doing stuff - seem pretty wrapped up in shopping. Well, things are unbelievably fucking cheap here, especially with the rupee having gone to poo earlier this year. I just wish I needed more stuff, but that's the price of being efficient and already having done most of the Christmas shopping, and not really giving much of a fuck about clothes.

I've gone to town on the bookstores, though. They are awesome, and they are cheap. Among the ten or so books I've picked up so far, for example, one is John Berger's The Success and Failure of Picasso which A) you'd never fucking find in an Australian bookstore and B) cost $8 instead of the $20 that the online retailers'd charge. I've never had a stop button when it comes to books so that is gonna be my contribution to the local economy. That and my tuktuk driver.

I'll admit it. The idea of e-readers makes me feel deeply melancholy. But that's a conflicted whine for another day.

4 commenti:

Baywatch ha detto...

This was a really cute/depressing recent NYer cover. (Can't find the books, old man?)

Chris ha detto...

With you on e-readers. I guess I see them useful for the occasional non-fiction book you'd read in a couple of evenings but if you're invested enough in a book to buy it, you buy it for posterity as well. You buy it for reference. You buy it because just seeing the cover on the shelf reminds you of the content.

Chris ha detto...

I meant fiction .. not non-fiction .. as in a short-literary-fling.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Well yes, that's what freaks me out. Books as physical objects seem much harder to me to supress or erase than books as intangible files. Maybe that's me being naive about how enduring intangible files can be, but it seems to me that it'd be easier to cut off future access to a book that doesn't exist on paper.