It’s a War Zone Out There!

Right now, It’s Diwali / Kali Puja. That means tons of fireworks, অনেক বাজি! Also means tons of pollution that I’m sure could challenge much of the worst cities in China. But hey, that’s another story.

The joy of today was taking a mini adventure to the village of Barasat, a couple hours north of where I live in Calcutta with Jess, Jayanthi and Aakash.

The last couple days have been a whirlwhind of craziness. Lights, sounds, smells, though not to the extent of Durga Puja, when the city does in fact shut down to party, and I mean shut down. Newspapers are not printed for four days during Durga here, and that means a lot!

Last night, seeing that I was unable to find a reasonable means of transport home after going Kali Pandal hopping, I decided to stay at Jayanthi&Aakash’s place in Ballygunge. In the morning, Jess came over and proposed that we all go to Barasat for some pandal hopping. After some convincing, I said sure yes—promises of Jayanthi’s famed granola bars also were convincing—and off we went on the train ride!

I hope the photos on facebook do the dusty town of Barasat justice. But there’s nothing evidently remarkable about it other than one pandal site which was the oddest fusion of romantic-classical cardboard architecture with images of the virgin mary and Jesus Christ next to that of Kali (pre-chopping her own head off and having her acquaintances drink her blood—as we saw in one pandal.)

I had a crap experience as I was going home today from the train station in Ballygunge. Two teenagers came up to me and asked where I was from. I gave them my “I’m from South Africa” response, and they started to say how much they liked my culture, my people and my music.
I’m like that’s total bullshit. You don’t know anything about South Africa, kid. It wouldn’t matter what country I said I was from, they’d say the same things. They started to walk on both sides of me and I smelled something fishy, so I grabbed one of the kids by the shoulders and threw him out of the way, and got into an auto. Going to the gym pays off!
Yesterday was intriguing as well, as we went, among other places, to a pandal at a crematorium. There’s nothing quite like anthropomorphizing goats an hour before they’re sent for ritual sacrifice—at all places—a human crematorium!
Tata for new. Oh, check out this band: I think they’re my new favorite—via Jess.