Archive for August, 2011

I really hit the jackpot with the title this time didn’t I?

So there I was, with a whole free weekend ahead of me, in a huge city, typing out my options on a Microsoft Word sheet. Where shall I go tomorrow to take some epic pictures?!

After much debate with myself over whether I should venture out to Old Delhi, about two hours away, and dusty loud and totally mad (a photographer’s dream!) – I decided not to, just yet. Because 1. I was going with another Sri Lankan noob like me and Old Delhi is like Pettah except a hundred times bigger and crazier 2. I was fasting and would quite surely die from the dehydration of finding my way through the winding little street channels of Chandni Chowk under daylight’s heat while simultaneously secretly panicking about Delhirapistsofdoom.

So naturally we went to the zoo instead.

Not just any zoo, mind you! The National Zoological Park of Delhi! Home to the Himalayan Black Bear! To the African Lion! Jaguars! And… wait for it… the Bengal White Tiger. Sprawling over 176 acres, the National Zoological Park is home to about 1350 animals representing almost 130 species of animals and birds from around the world. This is some high tech shizz, a far, far cry from the kakki enough-to-make-you-breakdown-and-cry sorry state of ye ol’ Dehiwela zoo.

So R and I set off, me more annoyingly excited than ever over the hopes of my camera capturing bears going ‘GRAWR, MOFO!’ and jaguars prowling around all stealthy-ninja-like and mostly the White Tiger being all awesome and like, ‘I’m a white tiger. Sup?’ And monkeys and snakes and all that fun stuff. Yay.

We walked in. And we were walking for a while… Man, these people really know how to keep the suspense, I tell R.

About twenty feet in, we met this.. creature. It was blue and orange and had peerless eyes that looked questioningly into my very soul.

Who are you? I asked
I am where hopes and dreams go to die. it croaked.

People fed it offerings of empty Pepsi cans and chips packets and such which were sucked into this black hole in front of it and were lost forever. It was just.. I have no words to describe my horror.

Anyway afterwards we finally got to the deer and a few ground-birds like ducks – the boring part of any zoo which I usually skip. And then we ran around trying to find the BEARS and the LIONS and the BENGAL TIGER.

Sigh.

You know when you tell a kid they can have a hundred chocolate bars if they run from one end of the room to the other a hundred times, and their face lights up and they run back and forth excitedly like a happy little retard, and then they finally find out.. IT’S ALL A LIE?!

Yes, I was that heart broken.

Basically Delhi’s National Zoological Park, near the Red Fort in Pragati Maidan, is an awesome place for the conservation of animals. They’re seemingly given ample freedom and are fed really well and the place is constantly adopting orphan animals and birds. It’s clean and green and any sort of teasing the animals or bringing food or drinks into the main area is very strictly prohibited.

But as a place you actually pay to visit, as a zoo… it sucks.

What the website implied I would see:

What I was actually allowed to see:


Oh but a minute later, this guy flopped on its back and fell asleep hidden behind the long grass

What the website implied I would see:

What I was actually allowed to see:


“LOOK! It’s a wild black bear! Oh wait, it’s just a fucking shrub, my bad.”

Loads of times, we would just stand there, looking into these vast pits allotted to these animals, waiting for some sign of life.

Me: Okay, what am I looking at here? *peering into the trees*
R: There’s a warning board that says Dangerous Animal.
Me: Dangerous.. and invisible.. like a.. NINJA?! THIS IS WHERE NINJAS ARE KEPT, R.
R: Um.. I’m going to go stand over there now.

It was a lot of trees and shrubs and nothing much to see at all. Only the deer and the geese liked to come out and see us, the rest were just like, ‘screw you guys! I’ma hide in my bush kbye.’ I heard one visitor mumble in Hindi, ‘I should have stayed at home and watched tv instead.’ At least they had an icecream stand in one section of the zoo, as if to help wash away the bitter taste of disappointment. Sigh.

One sole consolation was the stray monkeys, jumping around trees, sitting in the middle of the pathway all badass-like, giving people the stink eye.
They made me happy. In a yellow smiley face kind of way.

Although most of you already know me, censoredface adds to my mystery and allure

Meet Mister Bobblybop

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

So there I was minding my own business at a neat little understated coffee shop in Connaught Place, a busy hub in Delhi – when all of a sudden, who should come sit quite self righteously before me! A monkey with a tiny biscuit in its hand! I promptly decided to name him Mister Bobblybop.

Me: Awwww hewwo you wittle monkay, did you get that biscuit for meeee?

Mister Bobblybop: Fuck no.

Me: ..

Mister Bobblybop: Listen lady, I’m just eatin’ my bizkitz and watching you peoples for moar bizkitz being disposed of, whatchu lookin’ at?

Me: You are a such cute furry little monkey, Mister Bobblybop.

Mister Bobblybop: I try.

Me: Is it true the monkeys here are dangerous and scratch people’s eyes out and stuff?

Mister Bobblybop: Yes. *suddenly jumps wildly onto a chair and then back on the balcony banister*

Me: WHAT THE-

Mister Bobblybop: LOLJK you shoulda seen your face. Now shut up and give me a bizkit.

Mister Bobblybop surveying the crowd for bizkitz

So we sat there and talked for a while about politics and current affairs and how much it sucks when you dip the bizkit in the tea and it gets so soggy that it falls inside and is lost forever. Good times.

Me: Well, this was fun.

Mister Bobblybop: Bring me bizkits next time.

Me: Aw next time, Mister Bobblybop?

Mister Bobblybop: But if anyone asks, this never happened. Or I’ll.. I’ll scratch your eyeballs out and wear them on my head. And stop calling me that, I am Ninja Monkey!

Me: But wouldn’t they roll off if you wore them on your head? You’re so silly, Mister Bobblybop! :’)

And off he went, swinging away on a tree branch in all his cuddly glory. Beautiful.

gutterflower was there the whole time and so can vouch for most of this story, you know. By most I mean the part about the monkey sitting in front of me, and she might deny the rest happened because Mister Bobblybop threatened to wear our eyeballs on his head.

Nevertheless! Delhi has lots of monkeys, crawling the walls, sitting on balconies, watching crowds with beady eyes, and being snuggly in general. It seems, my dream of having a pet monkey just might be possible here in India.

Everyone talks about the freedom to wear what you want to wear. Recently we had the Slut Walk in Delhi where people protested against sexual harassment – and against people who use the woman’s skimpy clothing as an excuse to harass or sexually attack her, as in ‘oh she was dressed like a slut, she deserved it!’ And so no one’s ever really liked the people who put the blame on women’s choice of clothing when they get harassed or the people who oppress women by ordering them to cover up against their will – neither have I.

But do people protest enough against the people who oppress women by saying they should not cover up?

Now this does sound quite odd since it’s not often you hear people whining about it. But honestly, I feel harassed, when someone tells me I shouldn’t cover my head. And in my honest opinion – this type of bullying is equally as bad as traditionalist extremists judging and casting out women who choose to show more skin. They both involve telling a woman what to do.

I was at the Foreign Registration Office yesterday, getting some papers in order since I’m new here in Delhi, and I saw this guy standing in front of me, bohemian-esque tshirt and shorts and long hair tied in a tiny bun on top of his head. He turns around and looks at me and smiles and says in an accent I couldn’t place, You know, I don’t like this whole covering up thing, why do you cover? Beautiful hair is natural, you should show it off!

O RLY?

Now I’m standing there thinking, And I should care about your opinion because…?
I mean, close your eyes and try to imagine it through my point of view – you’re wearing your jeans and your tshirt and minding your own business at, let’s say, the supermarket, buying your groceries and checking them in at the counter. While you’re in the line, the guy in front of you turns around and says, Hey man I disapprove of those clothes you’re wearing, why would you wear something like that? Just thought I’d let you know! kbye!

Yeah.

So I look at him and say, Well, I wear it because I want to wear it, isn’t that enough? You like wearing your tshirt, I like wearing this. 

Yes but your hair is natural, be natural! he says, with this look on his face like what he’s saying is the most obvious thing in the world and a counterargument would be nothing short of ridiculous.

Being naked is natural, doesn’t mean all of us like streaking does it?

He wasn’t convinced. He was quite certain that covering one’s hair was highly uncalled for by any standard or opinion. I’m a muslim too, but I don’t like when people cover… he tells me.

I just end the conversation with a shrug and say, I wear it because I like to, that’s all. That’s my right yeah?

He smiles and turns back to the counter.

I get curiousity, you know? I understand how someone wearing something or looking in a way that is different from the average or ordinary in your environment – can elicit curiousity. And curiousity I can handle and I like explaining to people who want to learn. But I get so sick and tired sometimes of this random disapproval for being openly and visibly religiously inclined. I didn’t think it was necessarily a point of religious freedom – but just plain old human freedom of individuality.

It’s not so much his question that really annoyed me – but his self righteous air, which made it obvious that this silly man thought he was being OH so very ‘open minded’ because he did not approve of people with habits that were religious or traditional! ‘Be natural!’ What is natural? This is natural for me, it comes naturally to dress the way I like. But in his head, he could not possibly comprehend that a woman who covers her head could be happy, open minded and free.

I’m going to digress a little now, because BohemianBoy was just being silly and close minded about his definition of ‘natural’ and ‘beautiful’ and has little to do with the following tirade, though I must say I felt insulted by his little slight and perhaps this tirade was inspired by that.

I get it, the whole media hype about the Middle East and women being oppressed because people are forcing them to wear burqas and cover themselves and the whole Princess book series that depict sad Muslim women being oppressed by an extremist culture and male dominated regime – but that was ten years ago, people, please get over it. Believe it or not, there are women today who choose to cover their head or whatever else as a choice to practice their religious beliefs as they see fit, just like someone chooses to wear a short skirt or chooses to wear a hair-band or chooses to wrap a silk scarf around their head Jackie-Onassis style.

Nowhere in Islam does it say to force religion on anybody, in fact it says not to, and it constantly reminds us that peace and understanding are the foundation of everything a Muslim practices. So, ya know, that kinda rules out the whole ‘oppress woman into wearing clothes she doesn’t wanna wear’ thing. People will by nature twist things and use them to do bad things for power and greed, as with religions, so, shocking as it may seem to some- the Al Qaeda and the Taliban and some of the laws in Saudi are run by complete nutjobs, and are not the poster-kids for Islam.

Anyway back to my point… as someone who has always had women’s rights as one of her greatest interests, I would love to clarify to BohemianBoy and others like him, that it is a woman’s right (in fact, a man’s right too) to wear whatever the hell she wants. Whether it is a teeny weeny polka dot bikini or a burqa or a scarf or a freaking Mickey Mouse costume – if I want to wear it, I’m going to, and you can kindly take your disapproval of it and.. ahem, violently relocate it somewhere unsavory. Thank you.

I’m not being a very social butterfly here, man. I guess it’s because it’s new territory and I take time to get close to new people. But I don’t think it’s helping my image!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a loner at college, far from it. In fact it’s quite impossible as an option what with my Foreigner Status. One moment I’m telling someone I can’t understand them speaking Hindi, and the next there’s a flock of teenagers enthusiastically asking me about Sri Lanka and the clothes I wear and the languages I know and all that; they truly are utterly clueless and fascinated. Like the reaction if you met an Italian kid in a Sri Lankan government school. I especially cherish the total strangers who pass me in the corridor and exclaim “are you the sri lankan?” or say “hi!” and wave furiously or just sit and grin next to me while I’m in the computer lab. Of course I told half of them that in Colombo it’s common that you see monkeys wearing orange loincloths and elephants in our garages. Come on, how could I resist?

Anyway I digress. I like being by myself a lot, I guess because I still haven’t gotten super close to anyone. I’ve got friendly enough roomies and the friends in college are so good to me, even the teachers. But I don’t know, sometimes I really zone the hell out. Literally.. I would find myself listening to the first few sentences of someone talking about her brother coming home to visit her and then I’d zone out completely – a total blackout – examining the stain on the wall behind the girl’s head and thinking about how something in the room smells like pee – and I’d come back at the end of her long harangue, and nod. And then maybe put my hands in my pockets and shift around uncomfortably a bit before leaving to read a book outside by the lawn with my headphones on.

And then there’s the times when the landlady comes up to talk to us in the apartment. The other roomies flock in the living room and sit obediently next to her and chatter away. Sometimes I join them and they talk and chuckle about the price of detergent or the landlady’s daughter or John Abraham’s abs, and I catch little bits and pieces of it in Hindi and find I’m so glad at the time that I have “I don’t understand Hindi” as an excuse not to join in. Most of the time now I use that as an excuse to kind of slip away and get on my laptop, or feign a phone call from my mother.

So just in general, people who talk a lot are beginning to bore me. I like quiet people. And I truly prefer wandering around by myself with my headphones plugged in, like on the rooftop watching the eagles, or to the market to buy ice cream – as opposed to hanging out and listening to pop music and reading SMS chain letters with the roomies in our pajamas or something. Such a snob no? But I had a riveting conversation today with two classmates about music by Switchfoot at the end of which, to everyone’s horror, we broke out into song – so I don’t think I’ve completely crossed over to the dark side yet.

In other news, I miss my cats so much. I saw my friend’s pretty cat the other day on skype and then my mum let me skype with Caesar and Ginger back home and I was like OHAI KITTIES and they were like ‘sup?’ It was beautiful. Too bad I can’t have one in an apartment three storeys high – it would be impossible to keep it from getting lost and I don’t have the heart to keep it out in the cold at night, and keeping it inside will be a nightmare if and when it poops.

Then this picture I found really killed me:


Sigh.