Monday, February 03, 2003

It's About Bloody Time This Better Be Good Update™

Alright kids! Here you go: an overall spiel about my trip, including dates and events. I'll try not to be confusing, and to be as coherent as possible. Photos will follow once my 19 rolls of 36 exposure slide film has been processed. Oh, and I'll be taking out a loan to pay for the afore-mentioned slide film. But seriously: the photos I've taken will be submitted to stock agencies. Here's hoping people....

Jan. 14
Leave for India at God:Awful am in the morning

Jan. 15
Arrive in India at around 11 pm. It's foggy, and freaking cold. We get to our relatives' apartment where the power has gone out (how Indian). We're shown to the flat where we'll be staying. It's directly above our relatives, and on loan from the neighbours who are currently out of town. It's freaking cold. Thank God for jetlagg, because the jackass in the next room snores incredibly loudly (he was exiled to another flat the next morning).

Jan. 16
Wake. Have a breakfast of fresh pirathas. Oh so amazingly good! Meet a ton of people. Wait for our cousin Arjun. Wait. Wait. Get frustrated. Wait. Arjun shows up with his buddy Naipul, who is driving and therefore all is forgiven. Go and do some really basic shopping, mostly to get a feel for things. We end up getting food at Arjun's Dhaba - which are roadside shacks which serve fantastic food at fantastic prices. So much food for 3 Canadian dollars....

Evening: Mehendi ceremony. All the girls get it done at the party, and then the bride-to-be has it done at her house, with just close friends and relatives present. Have photos.

Jan. 17
Toured Delhi and had a wicked time. Lots of photos. Get home at around 9 pm and take a shower.

Sweet Fuck!

Shower = bucket of freakin' cold water poured over oneself while squatting in a freakin' cold ass shit bathroom. Here's the thing: that's how the people whose flat we were occupying live. My relatives downstairs on the other hand had a normal shower. With a water heater. Our water heater? Well, you could turn it on, but it didn't work, something our relatives "thought might happen". Another thing: shower cabinets/stalls are non-existent. As such, the nozzle simply sprays, and the depression in the floor acts as the "stall". This means that frequently, the bathroom floors are wet, and sometimes a little green.

Oh. And toilets. Well, upstairs had Indian toilets: a porcelain hole in the ground (seriously). Pair that with the shower system...

Anyway, one shower later, I'm shivering my ass off in bed. Ha ha!

Jan. 18
Early morning Catholic ceremony followed by a reception at a local hotel. Low key affair really, with a light lunch. The evening however: crazy amazing Hindu wedding ceremony in a huge tent on the army barracks grounds. Food. People. Glam. Food. Alcohol. Fires to keep warm. Skinny brown waiters wearing sweaters underneath their dress shirts shivering. Food. Gifts. Opulence. Glitter. Glam. Tons of photos.

Indian photographers hated me. I had no respect at the wedding from them, and had to fight my way into the scrum (like I'm a press photographer or paparazzi). In fact, while trying to take a slow shutter shot and keep steady, one of them just happens to bump my elbow with his knee. I look up (I hadn't taken the shot yet), and the guy says: "Oh. Sorry Sir. Adcha."

But truth be known, I can understand why they didn't care for me. As soon as I pulled my camera out of my bag, there was resentment. Not because I was taking photographs, but because my gear was so much more expensive than anything they had. As most of you know, I've invested a good amount of money into my Nikon, as it is my professional camera. High-end lenses, top of the line flash, cords, filters. My brother Jon said to me later: "Man, everytime you opened your bag, that guy was looking to see what you had."

It's just not possible in India to get most of the gear I was carrying. What bothers me is that to them, I was probably just a rich little Western kid, not a poor-ass Canadian boy trying to be go professional.

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