Monday, February 05, 2007

This And That...

Every day in India comes with a surprise and today the surprise was being stuck in traffic with an elephant. I was on my way back from Gurgoan (pronounced Gurgow) and no sooner had we passed a monkey walking along the top of a wall than there was an elephant in street. To date, the animals I have seen in traffic: Horses, camels, boars, pigs, donkeys, cows, water buffalo, dogs, monkeys and the elephant. It was only last week when we were caught behing a traffic jam of camels near Faridabad.

Yesterday I went with Sharad to Vasant Vihar Market, where supposedly fashionable Delhi hangs out. There are a few places that are "it" places and Vasant Vihar is one of them... One of the other ones is Defence Colony, where I will be moving in 2 days. Anyway, Sharad and I were at Vasant Vihar and stopped into a bar at about 16:30 for a beer. The place was absolutely jumping. It was packed to the rafters with some wicked and wild Indian beats keeping everyone moving and grooving. Being the only non-Indian in the place, I was quickly the center of attention and a couple of the girls very obviously made their intentions know. I was standing in front of a chair and she climbed over me, into the chair and then leaned back with her head against my leg. I thought she was a bit drunk, but Sharad told me that she was sending me some very clear and obvious signals. Her friend came over, started dancing next to me, and then the two of them started dancing with each other, arms here and there which I then realized was a sign to both of us. Just when it looked like things might get a bit out of control, the place went pitch black, the music stopped and it ws over. 18:00 and it was done, to be emptied, cleaned and re-opened at 19:00 for the night shift.

One thing that has happened quite quick since I have been here is my giving up my personal space. In the European or Western world, personal space is always respected, you don't come to close, be too touchy feely or help yourself to food on someone's desk or plate. Here, those rules don't really apply. If I have food, it is just a given that it will be shared. If someone else has something, I am free to help myself. Of course, this is once you know someone, and as far as I can tell, it is a sign of being friends or that people like you. A friend of mine Doug and I used to go round and round about the issue of my sharing food. I personally think it is rude for someone to ask if they can taste what I have on my plate. Not that I am against sharing, but my issue is the fact that the question obligates me to say "yes". I, of course have decided to say "no", and it really upsets people, underlining my point. Here it is a different situation and I don't find it rude at all, it is just another one of those things that is the way it is.

I have also adapted to eating with my hands. Normally, I am not one to forego the knife and fork, but when in Rome... I eat with my hands and actually don't do such a bad job of it. And if you make a mess, nobody cares! I was out at Ffad with Agam in GK2 and had Tangri Kebab and Kaphi Chicken. I tried my best to eat the Kaphi Chicken with a knife and fork, and after about 2 minutes just dug in with my hands... Red sauce all over my fingers, hands and face, like a 2 year old with chocolate syrup. And here I was at a restaurant, dressed somewhat fashionable and just eating like a Flintstone, food all over the place, but not on my clothes. And the amazing thing is that nobody gave me a second glance. No geers, no sneers, just life as usual.

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