Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Kajuraho & friends
The temples in Kajuraho are absolutely splendid. The sculptures and temples were beautifully displayed. The temples were set upon a path around a loop, in the middle was a vast field of lush green grass. The tantric aspect to the temples was underwhelming. And I say this because there were in reality 3 actual carvings that were of the tantric nature. It reminded me of an "action flick" where the pre views showed many action scenes, then when you watched the movie you already seen every action seen already in the previews for the movie. That's how I felt from the temples I felt duped. In any case it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the walk. The weather was finally turning hotter. In Delhi and Lucknow the weather was bitterly cold especially at night, but in Khajuaraho the weather was warm and very nice with a slight breeze on occasion. There were two sets of temples the west and the east. The west temples were 250 rupees and the east temples were free. Roaming around the east temples I was swarmed by kids. Usually they would ask for money and be on their way, not these kids. They were aggressive and were very rude. Throughout the days sightseeing I would get numerous calls from Kallu wondering where I was. It was incredible how persistent he was! One man while I was in Delhi called me 77 times in 5 hours! Needless to say Indians are very persistent!
Later that day Kallu told me to get on his bike. I had read in Shantaram that Indians often don’t tell you where their going. I had to trust him, he brought me through some mustard fields for about 2 km I seriously thought to myself that he was going to kill me, but I kept my calm and we rode on through the fields. Women were holding large baskets full of vegetables and fruit on their heads as we passed them and kids were playing in their little huts. We soon arrived to a little place in the fields about 4 km in. Men were playing cards sitting on a bright yellow tarp. To the right of them was a little hut created in the same yellow material. I looked over the shoulder of the group of people and saw that people were gambling. A huge man had a stack of 1000 dollar rupee bills in his hands and pocket. I figured he was the banker. I was told that the game was called in or out. Someone picked a card from the deck and set it aside. Then two piles were formed and the men who were betting against the banker had to pick in our out. The odds are 50/50, Kallu had told me he has lost 100 Euros that day. I was perplexed how can you lose that much money if the game is 50/50? The banker looked up at me with a huge grin and told me to sit down. I hesitated and thought I would just put a large sum on one hand. In the end I decided against it and the game ended right then and there.
Everyone around the huge banker had lost money, no one was a winner. The banker was a generous man and he needed his cliental to come back the next day. The banker would give 500 rupees to everyone that lost money, this money was their gas money or whatever they would use it for.
We drove one of Kallu's friends back with us and we had 3 people on the motorcycle. He was a short dark man and his name was Uncle. He was always smiling and even though he couldn’t speak English very well we became good friends. He owned a shop in town that sells school supplies for little profit. Since it’s the only shop in town he makes good money. I respected him for doing that and he was very good with all the kids that came by. He left the shop and put Kallu and I in charge. We had a hard time finding the books and pencils people needed but we managed. One family didn’t have enough money and I paid for the kids’ pencil and sketch book. It was a good feeling to help someone out, and they were very happy indeed.
That night we partied in Uncles hotel room. Drinking and they were smoking. Its crazy the amount of cigarettes they smoke, they spent close to 500 rupees a day just smoking all day and night. That night I met another fine fellow, I couldn’t pronounce his real name so I called him superman. He really enjoyed that, and I had given it to him because he would always wear his superman shirt. The thing I noticed most is that the men I hung out with that week never changed. It was crazy how they would wear the same thing everyday for the whole week.