the constant TV
India is the best TV-channel in the world. It beats any box of channels provided by rich western countries. It beats any entertainment, even that of exclusive, refined and luxurious entertainment, such as the ones offered in Las Vegas.
Here, in India, several TV channels are playing out their stuff simultaneously- wherever you look, there is the live equivalent of National Geographic, CNN news, Discovery channel, Cartoon network, or MTV. And the longer you watch it, the more interesting the drama gets. Right there, in front of your very eyes, the soap opera of Life is happening, and it is truly exhilarating.
Indian life is lively. You look to the left- something is going on. You look to the right- another situation is happening. Look up, look down- look inside, look outside. And it is not just us. We notice EVERYONE doing it. Using the world as a TV. Not even just the tourists and the travellers- also the Indians. This is how it goes here- life IS a TV. And the most funny situations occur when there is a small space filled with half western people and half indian people- then you have two major channels watching each other with much engagement, interest and absorption. Following each move with much interest- down to the picking of a toenail.
Surely, it does help that we, Katja & Linda, make up stories to accompany the visual experience that is provided so generously and freely. We add the comments. We add the commentary and the story to each drama. The subtitles. The voiceover.
Like story of the puppies. The place we are staying at now has got a dog mother with about 7 or 8 puppies. They are quite big, about 2 months old, and thereby wild and crazy, running around the place like little mad beasts, fighting each other and their mother, stealing food, discovering the world and being generally naughty. They provide much entertainment for everyone here.
One day, however, they were gone. Just gone, like that. We got worried instantly. And horrific dramas started to play out in our minds. Katja woke up in the middle of the night, worrying about the dogs. When she got her plate of chicken, she started envisioning Puppy Tikka Masala, and was horrified. All kinds of theories were discussed: given away to village homes. shot dead. killed halal and grilled in the tandoori oven. escaped the fireworks at new years, now stuck in a time-warp. abducted by aliens.
Or, like the Only Good-Looking Indian Guy We Saw During The Whole Trip. Poor guy. We spotted him on the beach, looking fine, looking different. maybe grown up in the West? good body, good confidence, good hair. face was so-so, but interesting enough. The Poor guy has now been named "The Prostitute". He was having dinner at the same place as us last night, with some Western women, and the story unfolded rapidly. prostitute for white women. The only one in India.
Or the Russian couple. The guy is white, fat, and rude. And dresses in pink batik-tops and purple spandex trousers. He probably thinks he is a ballet dancer. His girlfriend, Anna Kournikova, looks much better- fresh, tall, slim. tennis-like. OR: Are they maybe sister and brother??? (who hold hands)
speaking of dinner last night.
busy place. great food. close to Gokarna town beach. they even have olive oil and hungry Europeans dress their food in their green golden oil of life, so dearly consumed daily back home, so desperately missed in ghee-ridden India. Three rows of tables, each packed with hungry, strangely dressed, funnily behaving travellers.
Each table is like its own TV channel. The longer we sit there, with our backs leaned on the wall behind us, the more we get into the dramas. The sour Dutchies, the military ashram-types, the loud yoga-practicing Americans, the impatient French wanting a table NOW and staring at us and our empty plates and round bellies. Each story unfolds like a fresh lotus flower and at one point I look over at Katja and I burst out laughing at her facial expression- one that I knew I had been wearing just a second ago- that of complete, total absorption, complete, total immersion, complete, total engagement, in all the dramas, stories, documentaries and movies that she is currently watching. And deeply, deeply enjoying all of it.
Who needs TV anyway? Just go to India.