martedì, dicembre 13, 2011

On the way out

Well, shit. It's my last night here and despite all my whining I think I'm going to miss the place a bit. As I predicted my attitude started changing as soon I started meeting people who weren't overentitled rich men. Mind you - a bit. I'm still reasonably happy to be going. It's just so fucking dusty; a scirocco that lasts weeks and weeks. And that's on top of the stink of the traffic, and the way this city feels like it must be suspended over a sea of poo. Every time there's a hole in the ground (be it a construction site or a sinkhole, of which there are many) or even just standing water, the smell of shit is overwhelming. I can't get used to it; I don't want to.

Also - and without changing the subject, since the phenomenon is down to proximity of the city water pipes to the city sewage pipes, I'm told - I'm getting to the point where I'd kill for a fucking salad. I've followed the rules - no tap water, no ice, no uncooked food - and avoided Delhi belly with success so far. And of course, the food being Indian, it's even been pleasant. But shit, what I wouldn't give for a nice rich salad with lots of cucumber and red pepper and baby spinach and olives and sundried tomato and maybe a bit of anchovy all mashed up into a fatty dressing. Well, actually I wouldn't pay any more than $10 for one. So I guess $10.01 and up is what I wouldn't give.

Yesterday was a funny day. I went to the Red Mosque, which left me pretty cold; it was nice, but making a particular effort to dress modestly and then being swathed about anyways by the attendants and realizing on the way out that they'd done so so that they could try to hit me up for a gratuity on the way out ground my gears. Also - same problem as in Europe. I couldn't look at that fantastically beautiful monument to faith without seeing vast fucking shitloads of money that could go to helping poor people being blown on expensive wonders to the glory of God who's already perfectly glorious on his or her own merits. The more jaw-dropping they are, the more they fucking piss me off. And the Red Mosque was jaw-dropping.

Then my tuktuk driver offered to show me the Sikh temple, and I was curious, especially as everywhere else he kept trying on insisting to take me was somewhere to shop, and as much as people may consider it the duty of Westerners to blow the maximum amount of money possible whilst visiting developing countries so as to encourage their economies, I was fucking done with shopping. I don't need any more fucking shit. Jeebus. Anyways. On the way we got stopped behind a Jain procession. Twice. The same procession, twice. I don't think I've had the most streetwise tuktuk driver in the world. Oh well, it was neat. But that left me a bit cold too. I'd met a shitload of rich Jains at the conferences and was feeling cynical. That's not fair, considering that the tenets of the religion are rather lovely, but my brain just wasn't feeling fair.

Being aware of my unfairness, I was sort of prepared to be a bit fucked off by the Sikh temple too, but I wasn't, I suppose because it was around lunchtime and they were doing that Sikh thing they do of giving free vegetarian meals to anybody who wants one. It was lovely.

So all that made me wonder a little bit - the Sikh temple was ornate as any Baroque church but it wasn't fucking me off like everything else does. While I was wandering around the Red Mosque I thought a little sadly that being all fucked off about everything was really getting in the way of appreciating beautiful things like I used to when I was a aesthetically overwhelmed chickie in my 20s, wandering around Europe in disbelief at what lovely things men had made. But then in the Sikh temple, I was touched in the way I had been as that aesthetically overwhelmed chickie in her twenties. I have to spend some time mulling all this shit over, I guess.

3 commenti:

Chris ha detto...

Mull it over and share the conclusions. I too used to be easily engaged by the monuments of civilization whether large or small but now I find myself cynical in the face of practical realities, or at best, apathetic. It leaves me sort of sad at my loss of innocence? sensibility?

My guess is that the more historical context you acquire the easier it is to look at these creations as testaments of our failures as a civilization first an foremost.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That's possible. I thought being absolutely starved of anything vaguely monumental by a year in Australia would change my outlook in that regard, but it hasn't.

Of course Australia does have its "Big Things":

Chris ha detto...