Friday, May 25, 2012

The most feral animals ever created

100th post… wow that's a lot of verbal diarrhoea.

I tend to read the Sydney Morning Herald on Ipad a couple of times a week. It keeps me up with the news back home as well as current themes in the media and special interest stories.
When I got to the World section yesterday there was an article on the problem of monkeys in urban Delhi. The article caught my eye as it is about my current home town and it was also about an animal I loathe.
I have never liked monkeys… something about their humanoid features creeps me out. It's not just their looks I don't like; they can be aggressive, they carry rabies and they spend their days picking who knows what out of each others fur… seriously, what's to like?

I knew the monkeys of Delhi were a problem but I did not realise how out of hand things were becoming.
I have lived in my particular neighbourhood of South Delhi for nearly two years now. It was months after I moved here that I saw my first monkey in this part of town. But now I see them regularly, almost daily. I hate them. I hate seeing a gang of them roaming down my street looking for ways into houses to pilfer food; especially when I am carrying bags of fruit and veg and I have to walk between rows of parked cars to avoid them. I hate that we have to have a monkey grate to close in our outdoor hallway so they can't get into our kitchen.

The article in the SMH said the reason the monkey population is getting so out of hand is because people feed them. Monkeys represent the Hindu god Hanuman and Hindu tradition calls for feeding of monkeys on Tuesdays and Saturdays… random.

Apparently there is a trapping program in Delhi. The city pays $12 for every monkey trapped. This is not bad money, yet in a city where there are millions of people looking for a job there are very few people applying.
The trapped monkeys are apparently taken to a large 'monkey prison' on the outskirts of Delhi. There has been no decision on what to do with them from there. Authorities want to send them to forests in neighbouring states but those states refuse to take them. There is also the problem that these monkeys are urbanised and would not survive in a forest where there are no kids to steal candy from.

Yesterday a friend was telling me that they went up onto their rooftop and found a monkey pulling the lid off their water tank and then hopping it to drink water. This is the water that they wash their clothes, dishes and shower with…ewww.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Channeling my inner Bruce Banner

I am not much of a movie buff but on the occasions that I have been to the cinema here in India it has always been enjoyable. In fact more enjoyable than home. And this is why…
  • It's way cheaper… We saw Slumdog Millionaire for $1 when it came out. On average a ticket is about $5. which is a lot cheaper than the $17 tickets back home
  • The seats are better… They all recline quite substantially
  • They have intermission… I don't mind a mid movie break
  • If you go to an English moving on a weekday morning you may have the whole cinema to yourself, or at the most 5 other people in there with you
  • Sometimes the ushers come around and offer to make purchases from the candy bar for you
But today I saw the bad side of Indian cinemas...

I had a free ticket to see The Avengers. Not something I was particularly interested in seeing but hey, it's free and it's air-conditioned.
So I rock up to the ticket booth with my voucher and it is packed! What is going on? It's 10:40am on a Wednesday morning, why aren't these people at work. So I line up and as per usual there are people feeling that it is their right to march up to the front of the line and get served first… blood is starting to fizz ever so slightly but I am up for a relaxing morning so I let it go.

I get my ticket and get thoroughly searched for cameras and weapons… Is there any point trying to pirate a 3D movie?

The cinema is 70% full… a little unusual for a weekday morning. I get to my seat, all is good in the world.
A few advertisements.
A few previews.
Pre-movie 'switch off your phone and don't talk during the show' announcement is made.
Movie starts, talking does not stop.
Phones start ringing, people start answering… in their loud talking on a mobile phone voice.
What the!
The two guys in front of me are having a discussion. One of them makes a call… Who makes a call in a cinema! He has his conversation, hangs up and then turns back to the guy next to him with the details of his call. I begin to wonder if I am in a cinema with 200 people playing hooky from work? My blood starts to boil… I am identifying with Bruce Banner trying to contain my rage. 
My switch was about to flip, I was so so close to grabbing the guys phone and chucking it down the isle while screaming obscenities at him.
Intermission came and went with many cranky texts to Ray about why my morning sucked.
It was no better during the second half of the movie. I concluded I could not single out the annoying people in front of me with my rage as half the cinema was on their phone or chatting with people around them. I was not happy, lucky I wasn't paying for the experience.

So this whole thing got me thinking… Do people here think the rules apply to everyone else but them? Or, do they disregard the rules because there is so little recourse for breaking them? Or, perhaps it's a case of 'if you can't beat them, join them'

Sometimes I don't think this place is good for me… it just makes me mad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The crazy man in the window

Our place is on the top floor. That's my bedroom window on the left.

I am not sure how to write this one… As I perceived it when it happened, or what actually happened once it was all over. I guess I will start and see where it goes...

It was about 11pm last night, I was tucked up in bed watching Private Practice on my MacBook with my earphones in. Every now and then I could here some yelling permeating through the sound from my earphones. I take one out and have a listen. Sounds like it's coming from down the street somewhere. I think nothing of it; people are very protective of their car spaces here; parking in someone else's spot can lead to a near death experience. So I plug my earphone back in and finish the last 10 minutes of my show.
When it's done I switch out the light and flop into bed. The yelling starts up again. Might as well have a sticky beak and see what it's all about. So I pull back the curtain and outside my window, standing on our second floor balcony, is a man in his underwear. I am officially freaked out. So I wake Ray up and tell him there is a man on our balcony and he starts yelling like the crazy person on our balcony. Ray bashes on the window to get the guys attention, then he goes outside and tells the guy to 'get the hell off our balcony. So, the crazy guy freaks out and throws himself over the balcony. I look out the window and all I can see are the two sets of fingers belonging to a guy who is now hanging off the side of our building, two stories off the ground.

I am throwing on clothes, while Ray comes back in and is looking for a weapon. The best I can offer is the hammer I have been using on stubborn coconuts that refuse to yield their water. So he goes back out weaponless.

By the time we get outside, the guy has managed to somehow fling himself onto the balcony below, where he is now encountering the wrath of our landlord and his family. Rather than let him out their gate they force him off their balcony onto the ground below. By this stage Ray has made it downstairs and is forcing this crazy incoherent guy out of the gate and down the street.

Meanwhile I have found the guys jeans and a few rocks outside our door. Still can't work out why he took his jeans off.
It turns out that this guy was being chased by someone. So rather than keep on running he heads for higher ground with a few rocks to throw down on his pursuers. Our landlord has a metal grill to keep both monkeys and crazy humans out and it turns out it's a pretty good climbing frame up onto our balcony.

So back to bed… but not for long. Half an hour later the doorbell rings. It's the police. They have the guy in handcuffs and on a leash. There are a whole bunch of other people as well… not sure how they are all involved. The cuffed guy is awkwardly pulling on his jeans, which we through off the balcony. He wants his shoes back… we don't have them. We are told the guy was running from someone who was trying to kill him… okay then. The police head off and our landlord and his son go with them to give a statement. Fortunately the police station is only 50 metres from our house.

I forgot to mention. We have a security guard that we share with our neighbours. It wasn't our usual guy on duty last night so I will go lightly… great lot of good he did waving his stick about and blowing his whistle.