Tuesday, February 03, 2004

CITY OF JOY - the book

as an indian, was ashamed reading the depictions o' a slum in calcutta, that too by a foreigner. what forces ppl like teresa & lapierre 2 come & live in such filthy conditions, where as we middle class indians just c escapist cinema caring a damn abo' those poor souls. its hard realising the fact that the environment in slums can be that bad. the closest i've observed is from passing train windows the slums of chennai by the cooum and by the central station.

it was very depressing & disheartening reading those accounts of lapierre which were full of "windowless hovels", "bodies chained to their machines", "blown up bellies of children due to malnutrition" and a whole lot of other such phrases. the way those ppl live - their early morning ablutions, their eating styles, the jobs they do, the bhang & the bhangla, their dieseases et al and not to forget the miserable lepers & their stench filled colonies - nuthing less than hell, as lapierre repeatedly says.

it came as a bolt reading abo' the the most cruel scum that have ever inhabited this earth - those who sell human foetuses. gaawd, how far can humans go?? and the next in line, the bone sellers. as expected there were accounts on prostitutes, hijrahs & other such living classes along with those of the various ordinary people leading their own occupations in a typical slum.

max making luv 2 that wealthy widow manubhai and the assamese female, whats-her-name (bandona?) were unneeded tho'. may b lapierre was overwhelmed cing some indian masala cinema and wanted such things in the middle. annoyed me quite a bit. what happened to dr talwar, one who is described as "the future nobel prize in medicine" for inventing the sterilization vaccine? is there such a man in real life, we need 2 check that out.

the most important and sometimes the sole purpose of a christian missionary is to evangelize and nothing is said abo' kovalski converting ppl. may be he didn't want to, may b lapierre felt its bad mentioning it. anyway, liked the way kovalski starts meditating bfo' the shroud with 'Om's, a completely indianised christian!!

though lapierre has done xtensive research on indian ppl and the indian literature, was surprised 2 find he made a silly error abo' ramayana - got confused between dasaratha & janaka.

hmm, it was sad reading hasari getting red fever & coughing up blood towards the end, dunno what that disease is tho'. atleast they left this and all other gruesome things like ur fav one - dog carrying the sawn leper's (Anaur) hand - out in the film.

may b, 'salaam bombay' came close in conveying something similar abo' bombay. hope u've cn the film. that brings a thought - when & who's gonna portray chennai's slum life?

July 9, 2003