31 December 2005

(Written on the grounds of the Taj Mahal.)

Realized yesterday that I have been walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk this whole time.

Tried to take Piggy into the Taj Mahal. [Piggy is a puppet. The plan had been to take a photo of him in front of the Taj.] Not foreseeing the pertinence of this information, the guide failed to mention that in addition to food, phones, and knives, toys are not allowed. The security lady looked at it, looked at me, laughed with her friend, looked me in the eye, said "Toys are not allowed" and put him back. I was too afraid of being kicked out of the Taj to risk a picture.

I can't actually believe that I'm here. Stalked a monkey as it picked flowers and ate the green parts off the end, discarding the blossoms.

A man walks by on his way to the bathroom (which must be one of the most heavily used public restrooms in the entire world) "You seem to be enjoying the peace," he says.

Arnab had taken us to tea at 6am. It was dark, there were a few people around, we sat on metal tables in the back surrounded by calendars bearing the likenesses of Hindu deities. A man and a boy sat at the table across from us not saying anything. Arnab went out to smoke and reportedly the growing crowd asked how we could be there. Why weren't we in a hotel? Reportedly Arnab responded that we liked it. We like everything.

Which is true.

(No longer written on the grounds of the Taj Mahal.) 

The movie Fire, Arnab said, groups like Shiv Sena protested. 'This is what happens in the West, it should not come here.' [Brief synopsis: set in India, young woman has arranged marriage with young man, has lesbian affair and runs off with her new mother-in-law.]  But just yesterday a man tried to sell me a Karma Sutra: "Know too much.  Very good book."  And in the paper there was a story about a seven year old girl who was raped.  It stressed the need to recover blood evidence.  He'd cleaned up by tht time police arrived and the fact that his mother had caught him covered in her crying daughter's blood seemed not to be sufficient.

Also, a boy died in police custody after he was arrested for allegedly stealing a dollar's worth of Christmas ornaments.  The police said he was terminally ill.

And there are quite a number of "smart, educated, respectable" men and women in Dehli available for massages 24/7.  At lunch after the Taj, Mark said "Imagine where you were at this time last year, could you imagine where you would be in a year?"

No way when I was standing in downtown Pittsburgh wondering if a boy from Carnegie Mellon would kiss me did I imagine that on the last day of the then new year would I stand in front of the Taj Mahal. 

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