Saturday, March 25, 2006

Junda Mela






Yesterday I went to a huge fair. The place was packed with vendors selling everything from sunglasses to achaar, badminton raquets and juicers. There were hawkers, similar to the "As Seen on TV" folks, dealing specially crafted choppers and "never needs a sharpen" knives. You could get your photo taken next to a cardboard cutout of the famous bollywood actor, Amitabh Bacchan or the herione and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai. Or for ten rupees you could win a two litre bottle of Pepsi or Thums Up, but only, if you could successfully knock down ten metal glasses with three tennis balls.

Everybody under the sun was there, a cross section of India. There were big families and small ones. Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs. There were beggars and thieves, pickpockets and prophets. Police in army green paraded around, leaning on their lathis. One thousand civilans to every police wallah. Transvestites and eunuchs and old men confused, regarded one another with suspecting intrigue.

I spent most of the day hanging out with the huge extended family that runs the rides, the magic shows and motqua quowa (dardevils that ride motorcycles and cars around a huge ring, parallel to the ground).

The photos are a cross section of this family and their friends.

From the ferris wheel that they erect, to the transvestite that is a magnet for all to stare at, to the man who sells snacks of roasted chana, and the announcer and the girl who sits next to him, "Come One Come All Don't Miss The Show!!".

From the ticket checker and the caged ticket seller. Even the young man who was my guide, sitting before the start of the show, his girlfriend in the back, on stage, dancing and teasing the male viewers until the magic show begins...

Love to all.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

young big ben! it's been nice seeing you, and reading your blog.

it's me your Indian friend -Sanjay -the one you met at REI. remember? we had launch together at
mrs. Chuteny's lovely home.

i wish you all the very best for your sponsored program in India.

looking forward to seeing you soon.

with tones of Indian love and admiration

sanjay

REI
Tilak Road,
Dehradun

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