Try to learn something about everything

How I Became Relegated to Being Man #2

Time for some random musings on India…

Austr(i|ali)a: Let’s face it, nobody knows Austria. It usually goes like this: “Where are you from?” – (Oh no, not again…) Austria." – “Ah, Australia. Good country! Cricket!” – “Uhm, yes. Australia’s a good country, but I’m from Austria.” – “Yes, Australia. Good!” – But then, only a few days ago, it seems as if the word “Austria” suddenly registers with my conversation partner, he concentrates deeply for a moment, smiles and then asks: “Arnold country?” – There is no god.

Buckets: Indian hotels led to my newfound admiration for buckets, the most useful tool mankind ever invented! Why? Because they are incredibly versatile. You can wash your clothes in them, use them as showers, puke into them, sweep floors with the water inside them, turn them around and use them as chairs or to catch cockroaches, the possibilities are almost endless. In bucket we trust!

Cricket: India is cricket country, full stop. The sport is everywhere, and although I fully agree that aliens must have brought it to our planet (who am I to argue with Douglas Adams?), I lately feel a strange attraction to it, watching quite a bit of the new Indian Twenty20 league together with good old Spyro. In our defense, it is a lot more interesting to watch than test cricket, and – as an Australian guy explained to us yesterday – it’s as close to backyard cricket as you can get. Wait, backyard cricket? We’re in! Because playing cricket is even more fun than watching it. Especially when you play barefoot with a bunch of Indians on dirty streets, where you are out after one bounce and a boundary doesn’t get you 4 or 6 points, but evil looks from everybody around ’cause you just lost the ball…

Transport: Auto-rickshaw – done. Bicycle-rickshaw – done. Non-AC bus for 15+ hours on horrible roads – done. Sitting on the floor in an overcrowded train next to an open door – done. Riding on top of a truck to the amusement of the Indians around us – done.

Movies: Indians are crazy about their cinema. And Indian cinema is crazy. In fact, it’s crazy enough to let bums like Spyro and me play business men in a Tamil movie. Yes, business men! We got casted (“You guys wanna be in a movie tomorrow?” – “Hm, why not…” – “Can you maybe shave?” – “No!” – “Ok”) in our lovely Mahabalipuram and went to the movie shot in Chennai the next day (and yes, they paid our ride there, which was quite handy since we needed to catch a bus from there anyway), arrived at the set around 9:30, got great food and then…sat around for a while. After a couple of hours we got more great food and were told “Relax over there in the shade”. Relax? Sure, we are good at that. Anyway, eventually they made us wear suits (it’s good that there are no pics, Spy looked like a 16 year old forced to wear a suit for some relative’s wedding or something), and gave us our great lines. Originally I was supposed to be Man#1, who had an impressive 15 words of text (“Okay, Mr. Krishna. We have decided to start three new companies in association with you.”), but after we told the producers that we couldn’t make it back to Chennai ten days later, the stuttering African guy got promoted and I was relegated to become Man#2 (“You have to make them the best companies!”). Spyro starred as Man#3 (“Not only the best, but also number one!”), but later managed to sneak another sentence in. Overall a very cool experience, the male lead and the other guys were all really nice and funny, we got delicious food and 500 rupees. The movie will start in South Indian cinemas around August 2008, but if things keep going at the current rate, we’ll be living in Hollywood by then. I wonder if the food is as good there…

Travels: After the last big update (sent from Bangalore) we went on to Pondicherry (nice, but a bit boring) including a day-trip to Auroville (according to Wikipedia it’s an “experimental township”, according to us it’s…weird), Mahabalipuram (a relaxed backpacker town), Chennai (from here to fame) and Rameswaram (impressing temple, great food and close to an eerie post-Tsunami ghost-town). Last stop in Tamil Nadu was Kanyakumari, where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, and where the food is terrible. Right now we are in Kerala, a state ruled by the first democratically elected communist government in the world. We spent a couple of hours in the state capital Trivandrum, before coming to Varkala (another very backpackery town) where we are currently hanging around like a bad smell (literally). Our future plans are – as always – tentative at best, so if you have any suggestions or want to meet up somewhere, shoot me a message!

Lots of love and licks to body parts of your choice,