Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jazz, bollywood and the motorcycle diaries

KP- really gets all Indian (photo taken on set at film shoot)

After one of the longest bus rides since bus travel was invented I arrived in Pune (pronounced Poo-na).

Pune is an innovative city that currently stands at the front of India's tech boom, it is famous for two things; firstly it is currently home to Brangelina whilst Miss Jollie films her latest flick on the sub continent and; because it hosts a famous ashram that promotes sex as a way to attain enlightenment.

Trying to find a rickshaw on arrival was a nightmare, the rain was pelting down and the pavement looked like it was steaming, I stood on a darkened high way trying to hail anyone who would load me and my 30 kilos of luggage and take me to the Indian Institute of Film and Television.

Eventually an old man stopped in a rusty old rickshaw, initially I was scarred to get in but with no better options I took the plunge.

After getting sufficiently soaked (to the bone) I arrived 9 hours late to Kush's house, an old friend from Sydney who is currently completing a Master in India.

On arrival at his room, Kush's face lite up and i was so glad to be in an embrace with an old friend.

I explained the bus debacle and curled up on the foot of his bed desperate for sleep but dying to talk with a familiar face and friendly voice.

We were soon joined by Kush's Indian friends, a charismatic group who were keen to show me their hospitality and indulge my questions that centered on relationships, love, sex and caste Indian style.

The conversation brought many revelations for me, it short; it was implied that Indian men and women do have sex before marriage; they do pick their own wives and husbands and only if they are desperate do they resort to parental choosing and; caste does still matter.

The conversation had some awkward moments and one boy said 'you'd be surprised Kathryn, in India we are quicker at some things than you are in the west', I was stunned.

The next day, Kush had class so he entrusted me to an Iranian friend called Jazz. From Tehran, Jazz was a student about to abandon his IT studies in Pune and move to Malasyia. Jazz had lots of time on his hands and a super fast motor bike.

First he took me past the sexshram, where I saw an interesting mix of people wandering round the neighbouring streets dressed in maroon robes. 0

Some of the people looked young and passionate whilst others looked like old and impotent and like they were still hanging onto the 1960's with grey dreads down their backs.

Afterwards we wandered the streets looking for a hairdressing salon, I was desperate to be done with my light brown hair that seemed to be fading blonde. Sceptical at first(and rightfully so), I spent an exorbitant sum (for India) which resulted in my hair turning black.

At the suggestion of one of Kush's friends, we decided to dine at a Bengali restaurant (Bengal is a region in India which surrounds Calcutta famous for excellent cuisine) and ate curry with our fingers, the curry stung as it seeped into the many small wounds India managed to inflict upon me.

Soon my fingers were brown and I delighted in licking the left overs off.

The following day, one of Kush's friends from film school requested I take the starring role in her small production. As a westerner on campus I discovered what a novelty I was and spent the afternoon in make up and trying to act my part.

We can safely say that the Oscar for best Westerner/come Indian is safe for another year. I spent hours trying to master the art of the hand curl and realised that the grace that Indian women posses is pretty much impossible for a girl from Sydney's sprawling burbs to master.


Anonymous said...

Wow Kathy, can you get that picture made into a postcard? I'm sure that dad would love to see it (as well as the rest of the family - but most of them have acces to the internet and can). You might find some service that could do the job. Even better than a photo because people won't be expecting it to be YOU?! Great to see that you are moving through your days without too much trouble. I haven't read 100% of your entries but I've got that impression and what fantastic memories!! It sounds like it won't be long now until you reach London - what a gas. We are all well. Dad is doing pretty good and we are talking about our plans for Christmas. Most probably dad will go to Geoff's and we will gather up in Ballina to spread mum's ashes in January all going well. Also, Jackie has had a good result from her last tests - so all systems go. Love from all of us here and thanks again for your wonderful descriptions! take care and love, Joannie and fam XX

PS: the organiser for the recent conference in Canada has sent around an email inviting speakers to submit around 6,000 words based on their paper to be considered to be published (cambridge Press) another thing to juggle - but what a great opportunity - think I'll at least give it a go.

Behrouz said...

What a story,It made me to remember rememberance of India.