Saturday, September 26, 2009
Babies, Animals, Durga Pooja and Man with Vegetable
My neighbor. I call him "the Clever Mouse" in Hindi as a nickname. He doesn't talk, just cries and looks with big inquiring eyes. He often wears a shirt sans pants. There's something particularly Indian about toddlers wearing oversized shirts and no garments for their nether regions. In this picture, he's all dressed up for a pooja service -- but no pants!
There are two dogs that patrol the colony. Of course we're close associates. The other one (not seen) has a keen street instinct, and is all business when it comes to a brawl. This guy, Moti, is a bit of a lover, not the smartest dog but somehow he gets along. He follows me back to my room, and if I don't let him in he sits at the door with this pathetic look.
In Nepal I collected some masks; this one is my favorite. Whenever the kids are making too much noise in the hallway, I'll rush out of my room wearing only a lungi and my dragon mask, and curse them with future impotence. You should see the look of sheer terror on their little faces.
In another post, I'll show pics of my Hindi tutor and her extended family. For now, this is her father-in-law, at his vegetable stall. Next to him is his "nauker" or servant. The going price for Bihari labor these days: 2,000 rupees ($40) per month, and free food and accommodation. I like the man very much, and we often talk, but I can't help but feel like hiring cheap labor from the Darkness (the state of Bihar) is ethically unsupportable, India's big moral failing, just like Americans hiring Mexican workers under-the-table for $2.00 an hour (only child labor is a big issue in India still).
What a cute cat, my best friend in the colony. You should see her hunt lizards; completely ruthless. Down goes the head first, and then the tail and legs, sticking out like a lollipop, eventually slow and stop.
About once a week outside my apartment there will be a parade. Either Sikh or Hindu. If Hindu, they'll take the image out of its house in the temple, load it onto a 3-wheeler and scoot it around, and women will follow and chant, and men will dance and play the drums. This is Durga. Big Durga festival these days.
With my Korean friends in their ritzy part of Delhi, in their posh apartment, eating Kimchi and playing cards unto our heart's content.