Saturday, February 2, 2008

Backside of India

Q: What's the very best way to direct a rickshaw driver who doesn't speak English to drive all the way around to the very back of a building?
A: Say "backside" emphatically several times!
This is a photo, not of the beautiful Mysore palace, but something more interesting that I saw on its grounds. Look closely -- can you see what caused the sound that I suddenly heard while snapping this shot, suspiciously like a fire hydrant unplugged?

Well, I can't say I'm happy about being back in Berlin, although I admit to having felt a tiny bit nostalgic for it, round about week 4 (and week 2 in Delhi). Must have been longing for indoor heating and bathing with hot water that didn't just come out of a bucket. I landed last night and my sublet was clearly not going to happen given a city-wide transit strike and the sublessor's inexplicable ability to find anyone with whom to leave the key for me. That's sorted out now, fortunately, so I am hoping my current rather extreme feeling of homelessness recedes soon. In the meantime I was able to check out Ed's new place and he was kind enough to let me crash on his comfy "new" sofa last night. Ed's the perfect person to hang with the first night back in Berlin when one is asking, "what the fuck am I doing back HERE again"? I treated him at his American burger joint but had to settle for a chicken club myself. After 5 weeks in India, I didn't see how I could possibly consume a half-pound of beef and probably the same weight of fries. But that chicken sure tasted GOOD, and even though the lettuce/tomato was hothouse bland, to my tongue, deprived of any fresh vegetables for 5 weeks, it was heaven.

To finish off a sadly truncated story, after Bangalore (Jan. 24th-29th), I was hoping to see H., the filmmaker I met, back in Delhi one more time before leaving. We were all set to meet the night of the 30th when he called to say his mother was seriously ill. I could recount another story about bizarre circumstances intervening with romance in India, but it involves R., years ago now, and I'm presently too peeved at him to want to reminisce. So H. set off for the Himalayas post haste and that may very well be the end of it because although he has my Email address, I can imagine that my memory will be lost in the sadness around his mother's illness and possible death. I'm left now with only an SMS he'd sent me in Bangalore, about the beautiful mind he can see behind my green eyes. OK, I admit it, I'm a complete sucker for such things.

My general feeling right now is that a mind is a terrible thing to lose (to loosely quote Dan Quayle attempting to quote the United Negro College Fund), but I'm working on some sort of plan for my future, and I have to say that no matter how hard I find it physically, I just have to spend part of my time somewhere in the 3rd world. It's so fundamental for me, I can't get along without that chaos, that energy, that bursting full-of-life feeling. It makes a whole different K. out of me, and one, frankly, that I like better! But I will say, "Berlinale, here I come!"

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