Monday, 7 December 2009

belur, karnataka


A road so bad it looks like a freeze-frame of a landslide…

A man so swarthy you can actually see his beard growing…

A statue of a cow, so effeminate it looks like a bull in drag…

The road so terrible, and yet the road the route from Mangalore to Bangalore, two very flourishing cities… and one, Bangalore, probably making its mark on history…

And yet the roads so truly awful you think… well this country must have tens of thousands of bus mechanics… who are so good at their jobs they can keep their old and battered machines going over these horribly degenerated roads… so, if they’ve all these amazing engineers, these mechanics, can’t they build decent roads?… why don’t they?… is it some bunch of Brahmins giving each other money all skimming off the top till they can’t build a decent road?… while the mechanics, well…the guys who build the space shuttle could learn something from these miracle workers

And …

And we’re not even sure what language it is that we’re not understanding

And written on the back of map of Mangalore…

And the temple complex at Belur, and another at Halebid, and a nice temple at Belevada… the remains of yet another lost Indian kingdom… the Hoysala, which flowered here for centuries having defeated the Cholas… similar remnants of lost wealth and pride and glory and artisanry seen in Khajuraho,… Hyderabad… Orchha… Gwalior [?]… and maybe Mumbai [the British, with CST, etc]… and maybe Hampi, Badami, and Bijapur to come... and temples strangely like distant Angkhor Wat… and fairly like not-so-far Khajuraho

And drums and sax within the dark temple space

And lines of little white shoes against wall over the trail from the temple filled with uniformed schoolkids

And super-intricate three dimensional stone-friezes

And seven headed serpents

And more sinister beehives high in the temple, their surfaces rippling and bulging

And thousands of figurines carved on the outer walls of each temple

And, while Priscilla is Princesczilla, a queen to the schoolkids who crowd around here smiling, I neatly become inconspicuous and laugh unnoticed at her from a peaceful thirty metres

And the statues evidence the longstandingness of the male fascination with large breasts

And swastikas and stars of david… the swastikas rounded… and the stars with a point at the centre

And sweaty men beside heaps of [sweet potatoes?] in newly emptied field

And a thousand bugs in our otherwise nice hotel room… all wiped out by electric coil within two hours

And frequent powercuts

And the friendly faces smiling and helloing from the powercut dusk of this tourist-free small town

And bloody cold showers…why?… because getting water that cold in southern India must involve a bloody fridge

And as the Indians get wealthier, and move about more, ancient treasures like these are going to get overwhelmed

And its slightly annoying to have battled five bumbumping crashbangy hours from Mangalore and yet be no nearer Mysore, next stop, five hours, than we were before

And bloody docx files bloody hell… am I alone in this?... Is there an anti-Docx league?… a large subgroup of the anti-Microsoft league?

And is it right the word car comes from India? … and means the wheeled cart they parade the figures of the Gods on… if so we just saw the SUV of all cars

And a green land, here dry, here pondside lush

And the fields… sunflowers and haystacks and infant cowherds

And 50 crops… potatoes… corn… chilli… melons…cabbage… hothouse tomatoes… cardamom … peanuts drying on roadside tarpaulins… coffee… rubber… bananas… palms … most unidentified

And the bus-driver pulling peanut branches for us to eat from the adjacent overstacked lorry

And three different kinds of heron on one small muddy islet

And ribcage cows rub sides against trees

And women kneeling in field in temple grounds thump clods of earth apart

And a huge black bird like an elongated vulture

And the canny tuktuk driver freewheels gasfree down long windy hill

And the agonised kid bird, its cry like a tortured boy

Before the dark god, garlanded in white, in dark alcove at dark end of dark passage


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