India Diary - 17 October 2001

I did a little of everything today. I went to see my first Hindi film which was one of the things that is on my list of Things to do in India. The list also includes things like, see a hockey match, watch Kabadi (which I've done), sit on the beach at Goa and drive a rickshaw (also done!). The film was called Dil Chahta Hai which roughly translates as something like 'He wants it', although I think it could also be 'What he wants'... anyway, it's about three friends from college and their lives and loves over the next few years as they cope with growing up and the responsibilities of finding a wife - that makes it sound really deep and meaningful, hmm okay, scratch all that. It's basically Indian 'Friends'. The film is really well put together, and although it tackles some potentially really potentially kitchy issues that occasionally appear to have come out of a bad Australian soap, it handles them very well (apart from the older woman love dies in hospital bed just as she and the younger man have declared their love for each other scene!). There's lots of music (I've bought the sound track on CD!), dancing, and a huge wardrobe! I would definitely recommend trying to see it if it's on around you, although the vast majority of the film is in Hindi, most of the salient points are in English (which seems to be used to highlight a specific point that that a character wants to make). And even if you don't understand the words, the themes are dealt with in such a clear way that it is really easy to follow the storyline. I enjoyed this film much more than some British / American moveis that I could mention!

After visiting a Krishna temple, we visited some ladies whose job it was to polish marble carving. This is a tough thankless task if ever there was one. It may take six ladies up to 3 days to polish one section of marble. The polishing is done in three progresively finer stages and is perfomed using a stone. You take your polishing stone (obviously it must be harder than the marble) and rub, and rub, and keep rubbing, until you've worn away most of the skin on on your fingers, then you swap hands and keep going... These ladies were in great humor and seemed to really like having their pictures taken (check out the cheesy grin!)

We also went to visit Dipak's sister and her family this afternoon. They've a great family, with a couple of 9 month old twins. I had a gorgeous meal (I'm really getting used to the heat of the food, I felt like asking for it to be served a little hotter!) with them.

Today is the start of the Navratri Mahotsav Dandia festival. It's 9 days long and is in honour of one of the Hindi godesses. To celebrate, a whole gang of children beseiged the house and gave out sweets!

After the ceremony, everybody goes dancing to celebrate. We visisted a commercial event that was sponsored by a computer training company called NIIT. You can take a look at the pictures that I took if you like...

To tomorrow...

Created by Dan Leigh 18/10/01