Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Peaceful streets and some new viddy's

The mela has ended and the peace has returned. Yesterday we spent some time on the desert grounds in Rampal and Sita's tent. They had invited us after the ravanattha lesson to walk along from Pushkar to meet their children and to see their temporary makeshift housen in which they had lived during the mela. Dotted around them on the sand, there were similar tents of fellow musicians, gypsies, merchants and other assorted people. A mixed brew of people so to speak, those that are regarded by many Indians as a lower caste and get the not so plush social treatment that comes with it.
If you're overly used to comfort, you probably would have thought their living conditions were appalling and perhaps have gotten shocked by it. I guess we both are easy at switching off this western mindset, as we were just happy to be invited by them in the first place and spend some time outside of the tourist boundaries. Sitting on blankets covering the dusty ground and sipping chai with some spicy fingerfood aside as prepared by their daughters, it surely felt nice to relax with them. Kids were playing everywhere around with anything they could entertain themselves with, most of them barefooted or half naked either way and stained from nature's dirt sweeps. Neighbours and other passing folks came for a quick glance at the 2 white *gora's*, laughing at us out of curiousity. Ofcourse they must have wondered why we were sitting there with a sheepish smile. We took some nice pictures of the family and onlookers, surely these follow in a few days.

At 6ish here would be an open air premiere screening of the documentary Bhopa: The Art of Survival. The makers Jessica Leung and Paco Beltran, we did not know, were still around and had organised this. So we heard from Rampal and Sita, who also sold us the dvd earlier last week and we walked back with them to Pushkar to be on time.

When we came at the Sunset cafe where the screening would be, it was a bizarre open air circus of sounds as Maarten put it. Many street performers were playing and vying for the attention of the tourists at the same time in the shape of rope walkers, drum players and ofcourse the ravanattha players who were part of the documentary. We met the usual street kids and little Puka came up at us again asking for cookies.

Some weird Indian woman -let's call her the witch- came sitting next to me and Puka. For some reason I had agrieved this witch a bit before, when she tried selling me weed on the holy bridge, or, wanted me to sit down to talk. For whatever reason.
And for whatever reason she started ranting at me for being a tourist and showing pity for the street children and so on, a yawning tirade. Puka was sitting next to me as I was someone she knew, not someone she was trying to sell bracelets too or begging at. I just looked at the witch without saying anything. The witch then turned her attention to Puka and declared the little girl daughter of a whore and whatnot. I motioned Puka not to listen and just said to the witch something sarcastic along the lines that her 'positive' spirit would surely make India a better place. At least it made the witch leave.

The screening started and tourists huddled together with the street musicians. Pidgeons from the wires above occasionaly dropped unexpected fluids, which made some tourists unlucky on the spot, splat. When the film started and the musicians saw each other on the big screen, they started laughing a lot. Either in self-wit or about the others and commenting on each other acting skills. It was funny to see how they experienced it. How many times in their life would they ever see their work and art celebrated on a big screen? Not many times, I'm sure. It's good that it did happen, hoping that they now will earn more respect, within Pushkar and beyond.
Afterwards we had dinner with Jessica and Paco and talked about our current and upcoming projects, sharing views and creative idea's. Our paths might cross more, whether soon or in the more distant future. It's always nice to meet people who are doing same-but-different creative projects while travelling.

some more cuts from the 1st session with the Saregama family Dewara, daughter Sharwa singing in these ones:

Delhi streetside shave


iris said...

tjonge, wat een mooie beelden allemaal! en wat veel lange en nieuwe teksten, die moet ik allemaal nog wel even doorlezen hoor! Daar zal ik maar meteen aan beginnen...succes daar in India en geniet van het lekkere weer! ;)


SebCatLitter said...

hey iris,
leuk je te horen via hier! hmmm, de lappen tekst ja, een woordenstorm hier een daar voorzover er nog wind genoeg is. een storm voor de stilte zeg maar.
altijd lekker weer is best wel saai eigenlijk ;)

groetjes van s 'n m