Sunday, December 30, 2007
Ideas of Disorder in Hyderabad
I left campus yesterday afternoon with Caitlin and took a ride in the Auto Rickshaw. I prefer to call them travel by Tuk but it's a personal reason, and no one seems interested in joining me in that designation. Who cares. No one else has been riding yet. Cate was a fearless companion to be sure, buying fabric to put in her room on the wall (the walls are a bit stark and dirty), taking side trips without the slightest protest. It was funny to see the worry on her face, but she didn't acknowledge it openly and just forged ahead. Very cool.
The edge of the city was daunting. The scene was also very, well, foreign. Mostly I have to let the photographs speak for themselves, as I cannot begin to categorize how I felt about most everything here. In the simplest sense, I fall back upon the visual, and say that the color scheme here is so fascinating; it bears up under intensely saturated scenes, with color popping out of some of the most unlikely places. Joyous bursting reds and greens with gold accents and mirrors and embroidery. All the while there's the barefooted amongst the broken glass, men and women hunched over by roadside fires, or sweeping the streets and patios with twig brooms. It may be too romantic, but it's like a heaven opened up and puked all over hell, and no one knows which direction to go in.
There is the usual obvious effect of economic boom descending upon a poorer country; the tent cities, the children hustling or simply asking for money. It's the same as anywhere. The signs by the roadside tell you most often who's got the money that's being sought.
All in all, it is a fascinating trip so far, and the perturbations of ideas I have for work is actually too much. I think i began this post talking about how I would stick to what I care about the mos, the visual, instead of the social and economic. Of course, the two things cannot be separated. In terms of color and light though, this place glows. The air is thick and colors everything and this permeates the environment. The light is from a different kind of sun. The pigments are of a different kind of earth. My things carry a decidedly different palette of colors than everything born in this land, and they look different under this sun.
I don't quite have any culture shock yet, since I am only a tourist and haven't been put in any lany position where I have to do things that I wouldn't try to do at home. I am certain that will change very very shortly though. Then school will start, and I will disappear into that world.