Tailors, Riots and Midnight Parades

Trip Start Aug 14, 2008
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Trip End Dec 21, 2008


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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just got back from the tailor's house. I needed my Saree blouse made (it comes as just a sheet of fabric) before our farewell party on Friday night. My Saree is bright pink (not surprising, right?)and i know I will defiantly never wear it again, but I am excited to wear it at least once. As the tailor was taking my measurements, the power went out. This is a common occurrence here. Usually the power goes off 5-10 times a day and everyone just moves about their daily activities as if nothing was wrong. The night I went Saree shopping the power went out and I ended up choosing the fabric in the dark so I felt it was appropriate to be measured in the dark as well.

Last night, at 9:30pm, the power went out. I didn't really care because I was exhausted so I used it as a great excuse to go to sleep immediately. At about 11pm I was awoken by loud noises outside my window. At first I thought they were gunshots and tried to block them out with my pillow but they just wouldn't stop. Eventually I took off my eye mask (the only way I can sleep here without being woken by the sun every morning) and put on my glasses. Of course it is a full blown firework show!! This has happened a few times here but never this late at night. It seems that literally every day is a festival. Although I guess with so many gods that makes sense. Anyhow, the fireworks were not special en ought to rouse me out of bed in my tired state so I proceeded to go back to sleep. Just as the fire works ended I heard some sort of drumming and screaming. It appeared to be getting closer and closer (louder and louder). At first I was scared because there are many riots and protests going on in the western part of the city right now. I live in the southern part but am under strict restrictions about going to the western part. Its not hard to avoid that area because it would take me almost 2 hours to get there because Bangalore is like the size of the Bay Area but with more traffic. But back to the drumming: I tried to muffle it out with my pillow but when that became too impossible to gave in and went to the large window in the sitting room outside of our bedroom. My house is on the corner and my room faces one street and this sitting room faces the other one. When I looked out the window I saw nearly two hundred men (zero women) screaming and drumming and dancing. Their dancing was a riot. They looked like they were going dumb Bay Area style. I really wanted to go out on the balcony to get a better look but I was wearing shorts (PJ's) and felt that would be inappropriate so I stayed at the window watching this late night spectacle.
Eventually the men marched on dragging their four decorated camels behind them. Right when I thought the event was over and huge red tractor decorated like a float with thousands of neon lights and flowers and mini trash cans of fire (once again my mind went straight to RIOT) and music rolled up to the intersection and the whole thing started again but with different people. It was so loud that my house was literally vibrating. I went downstairs and my host dad told me that it was a procession of some sort but would not explain anything further (I wanted to be like "duh, I knew that already!" but i restrained my self). After sometime the tract ore drove on and the neighborhood became silent again, with absolutely no trace that anything had ever happened. I sat in the sitting room for some time Turing to comprehend all of what just happened. Only in India
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