I wonder about our Wonders..
Sigh. We interrupt the scheduled Hong Kong-pictures post with the following news bulletin. This Voice has tried hard to present the counter-view of India. It has always fought to show that the future is not so bleak, that things are improving, that life is getting better. This Voice still stands by all of that.
Unfortunately, however, all is not well in Agra. This will be this Blog’s first (and hopefully last) negative post about India. We have a host of other blogs up and running explaining how much life sucks in India, not to mention enough media. I grudgingly add this post to that list.
So I begin by explaining, that this Voice accompanied some of his American friends from college to Agra, to show them India’s Wonder of the World. So we left Delhi at 6 am, and hit National Highway 2. For the most part, this highway is in VERY good condition, despite the occasional nasty villages along the way, and trucks/buses driving on the wrong side of the road instead of taking U-turns at the appropriate junctions. Anyway, we made it to Agra in 3 hours flat. Nice. Sort of.
Agra is filthy. No, not only is it filthy, but it’s also disgusting. You would think, that for the amount of foreign currency gushing into the place, it would be in much better condition? No such luck. The (Eastern) Entrance to the Taj is also the pits. You don’t think you are about to enter a 400-year old Monument to Love. You think you might be entering a zoo, or a jail. For God’s sake, this is a WONDER OF THE WORLD. Clean out the shit and shops from around it, and keep it clean and nice-smelling. And make a clean and decent ticket counter, which does not have 3 babus sitting discussing the weather!
My next complaint is the with the entry fee. I know that many countries do this – but I still think that we shouldn’t. It works as follows:
Indian Citizens: Rs 20/-
Others: Rs. 750/-
Ummm, ok…How about 500 bucks for everybody. This is a Wonder of The World, people, not the front stall ticket at the (porno) morning theatre show. If poor people are prevented from seeing the Taj, then so be it – I think they have other priorities anyway…
I’ve known that the fee structure was always two different rates for foreigners and Indians, but I didn’t know the order of magnitude.
Ok, so we entered the Taj, took off our shoes, and walked up to the entrance of the tomb. It must have been especially bad day, because there was a lot of jostling and pushing and it was very crowded. This was my 4th visit to the Taj. The last 3 times, the experience was not so bad (even thought the entrance still sucked, as did Agra). There weren’t cheap louts hanging about the place, and people would enter and exit the main Tomb in an orderly fashion, with a decent guide narrating the whole story. But this time it was different. It was bad.
And now I come to the title of my post. My American friends were wearing dresses, which came just above their knees. They weren’t particularly revealing (in my opinion), but I guess you could call them borderline by Shiv Sena standards.
So a bunch of cheapo-creepos were sitting on the Taj lawns, and as we walked by, one of them had the nerve to say:
“Yeh Bhi Utaar Do” (TRANSLATION: “Why don’t you just take it all off?”
Now, Yours Truly, doesn’t usually play The Hero. I usually try to keep out of trouble – in school I was considered too wimpy to be beaten up, so nobody bothered. But there are limits, and this time they were crossed, so I decided, regardless of the consequences, it’s time to have a word.
(Warning: Bollywood-style dialogue ahead)
(Dialogue is in Hindi, and has been translated for the reader’s convenience)
ME: WHO are you taking to?
FUCKFACE (Grimaces as though I’VE ruined HIS day): It’s OK sir, I wasn’t talking to you
ME: NO, Sisterfucker, WHO do you think you’re talking to? If you weren’t a eunuch, I’d get your ass-kicked. And don’t think I’d do it alone. Would you like me to call my other friends? (There were no other friends, but that’s not the point)
FUCKFACE(Still looking exasperated and hassled!): I wasn’t talking to you sir. I was talking to my friend
At this point, one of women my friends (who is Indian) walks up to me and says loudly: “Don’t waste your time on these losers. Let’s go”
ME (Walking away): Looks like you didn’t get a chance to fuck your mom last night – that must be why you’re sitting here passing comments.
At this point, I spy through the corner of my eye, that the guy actually get’s up with his friends, and they actually walk away, and out the exit – instead of coming after me and murdering me.
Although it ruined our mood for the rest of the day, I can’t help but feel a little satisfied. I mentioned this incident to another friend of mine, and she said that it’s always best to ignore these things, and let it go, because “who knows what might happen”, and she went on to mention how another friend of hers got stabbed because of a similar incident like this. She tried to tell me that “you can’t always fight society, and that is what our country is like”
I have just this to say. This is MY country too. And that means I get to have a say in what it should and should not be like as much as the bastard who attempts to harass my female friends.
Thoughts? Comments? Curses?