štvrtok, 27. januára 2011

Varanasi and Sarnath


I feel I need to do justice by saying something good about India, as last time it was perhaps too much (-: So this time it will be a positive one and in English!

Last weekend I went after a long time to a trip. That’s not a joke, you might think I am always going somewhere, but actually I was pretty much settled in Delhi and before that in Dharamsala. After some consideration I decided not to go to see Taj Mahal as I don’t want to see rich Indians taking pictures in front of the white building (and often with me having to participate). Instead, I rather chose Varanasi in spite of the fact that all those who visited it were saying it is horrible, dirty and noisy city, even for Indian standards.

In fact, Varanasi is very important place. It lies on Ganges River and with some 3500 years it is one of the oldest cities in the world. Anyway, for Hindus it is also very important religious place as whose ash will be after death scattered in Ganges at Varanasi, their souls will achieve nirvana immediately. Maybe you could understand that the place where 1.2 billion people want to be burnt can look a bit scary. That’s why I was awaiting something very bad. But in fact, I was pleasantly surprised, as the city was even relaxing at some point! That’s truth that we had some arguments with people who are trying to cheat foreigners really too much there and that I had to use my few Hindi swearing I learnt here, but apart from that it was very good. And in the morning sunrise over Ganges, then nice walk around the bank and watching some ceremonies which were taking place... Also boys playing cricket and casual laundry, in Ganges of course. I really liked the place and cannot understand why people say it is horrible. Either I got used to India already or I visited it off-season.

One more thing was great about the trip – 10 kms from Varanasi is a village called Sarnath and it is here where Buddha gave his first teaching 2500 years ago to 5 people. The place has a very special atmosphere and today there are a number of Buddhist temples built by different countries where Buddhism is present (even if I want to be neutral I have to say that the Tibetan one was the best). And around are beautiful gardens and parks – amazing place for relaxing. I bought the teaching Buddha gave there and read it on the way back. Isn’t it cool that in the original book it says that Buddha gave teaching in a deer park near city of Varanasi and both the city and the park still exist? India, nothing changes here, ever.

Well, so that was it. And I have to say that I am leaving Delhi tonight and I am travelling for two days to the south. The plan is to see some places there and then I set off for Malaysia for nearly two weeks intermezzo before moving to China. If you want to hear that explicitly– yes I am very excited about the travel and I am looking forward a lot (-:

Talk to you later

utorok, 18. januára 2011

Datadisk - something about India

Well, I have said I would write something more about India and maybe even in English, so let’s do it at the same time. Actually, this is already maybe a forth or so article about the same general topic “India” and surprisingly there is still something I have left out in the others. Not possible, yaaar!! (yar means ‘friend’ in Hindi and Indians use it quite often after sentences).

Indians don’t know what is queue (line). Therefore, when you want to buy something or just ask at the counter or whatever, in Europe you normally wait until it’s your turn and then deal all in peace with your stuff. Not here. There is no line, so you have to fight and think a lot how to get strategic position and finally reach the place. It might sound funny, but I assure you that is some situations it is more like a real fight for life. For example, Delhi metro. Very modern, new, nice and clean, in fact. But, Indians follow rules of jungle and don’t know the basic rule that firstly people get out and only then in. Here when the door get opened, people start fighting for moving in and out at the same time. This is not a joke. Anyway, ladies have special places in first cars, they don’t need to participate in the fight (-:

Indians don’t say “thank you”, “please”, etc. I don’t argue they are rude. But when you thank to somebody he makes a weird face. Sometimes, if you know the person a bit, he would tell you that you don’t need to thank, because you are his friend. It looks like friends don’t need to be kind between each other. And indeed, I was told couple of times that between friends there are both rights and duties. There we are. Don’t say ‘thank you’ to your ‘friend’, he has to do it. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if your friend takes your T-shirt if he likes it. He has right to do it. He is your friend.

Though, Indians do use some polite words, first among them being “sir”. But you already know about this. I have to say now, I quite got use to this, so, please, when I come back home, do call me like this, too. Thank you (-:

It stinks here. Yes, it does. In some places it smells very good and they have some very nice perfumes and flowers and so, but in most places in cities or villages, and especially in Delhi where I am right now, it smells very badly. I don’t think I am too spoiled or posh, so you could imagine that if I am saying it, how true it can be.

Hey, many more can be said. But listen, if some of you are interested about the face of the real and everyday India I have two advices. The book ‘White Tiger’ (author with a difficult Indian name) is amazing and very truly and as I have heard it is becoming a bestseller all around the world. So go on and get it (there is also a Slovak and Czech addition). If you belong to a group of my friends who have read three books in their lives, watch the movie called ‘Outsourced’. I saw it few days ago and it is amazing. It describes very much what life a foreigner has here. I hope you will find it funny as well, if not then it is only funny for those who have been to India and consider coming.

Well, so that’s it. I hope it doesn’t sound too negatively. It was just some things I found interesting and I discussed it with some foreigners and they agree that this is the way it is. On the other hand, I have to say my time in India is approaching its end and I might change the heading of this blog in a while, depending on which country I will move to (-: And from some point of view I am looking forward to a place where things would work a little bit better and people would have again different attitude. But it is clear to me even now I will miss many things from here. For example food and tea. Cause it is aaawesome, yaaaar!!!

pondelok, 3. januára 2011

Vianoce v Indii a presun do Dillí

Tak sviatky sú už dávno za nami, minimálne za nami v Indii, a ja som sa dokonca už aj presunul z Dharamsaly do Dillí, kde som nastúpil na dlho očakávanú stáž na veľvyslanectve. Ale k tomu sa dostanem až nabudúce, najskôr som chcel ešte niečo o mojich posledných dňoch v horách.

Vianoce dopadli nakoniec veľmi dobre. Napriek dosť veľkým (ľahko pochopiteľným) problémom so zostavovaním vhodného jedálnička sa nám podarilo poskladať sviatočné menu v zložení kapustnica, zemiakový šalát a ryba. A bolo to naozaj výborné, a to povedali aj rozliční zahraniční návštevníci. Najväčšie prekvapenie bola asi kapustnica, ktorú sme spravili z normálnej kapusty a pre kyslosť sme do nej vyliali ocot. Geniálny trik!

Okrem vianočnej večere, ktorú sme si naozaj užili (a dokonca som dostal aj pár darčekov!) sa však už veľa vianočných udalostí nepritrafilo. Totiž, pre Indov sú Vianoce iba jedným z ďalších sviatkov rozličných miestnych komunít, takže ľudia ich registrujú, ale iba jeden - dva dni, a potom je koniec. Takže niečo ako vianočné stromčeky a koledy od októbra do februára naozaj nehrozia.

Avšak, jedna vec prišla s Vianocami a to hŕby Punjabskych sviatočných turistov. Totiž, ako som sa už raz vyjadroval, Dharamsala (a hlavne časť Mcleod Ganj) je jedno z miest v Indii s najväčšou koncentráciou zahraničných ľudí. Pre miestnych je to teda veľké lákadlo, prísť trochu poočumovať. Takže naše tri ulici v dedine sa zmenili na pouličnú diskotéku na spôsob Punjabi MCs. Priznám sa, že to som naozaj nemusel, a preto som sa uchýlil do odľahlejších častí. Podobná story sa potom opakovala aj na Silvestra, dokonca možno ešte s väčšou intenzitou a to som si už naozaj dal pozor, aby som nenavštívil centrum. Nie že by mi Indovia vadili, ale presne táto konkrétna skupina Indov pod vplyvom alkoholu a iných omamných látok (a pohľadu na Európanov) sa mení na dosť neznesiteľných ľudí.

No, a hladina väčšiny ľudí sa ešte ani poriadne neustálila po Novom roku a ja som sa už vybral na diaľkovú cestu z Dharamsaly do Dillí, krásnych 12 hodín nočného cestovania po indických cestách. Užil som si to znamenite, rovnako ako prvotné presuny po Dillí s dvoma dosť ťažkými batohmi. No, ale zase som nemal žiadne problémy a v pohode som sa dostal na veľvyslanectvo.

Inak, aby som vyjadril aj pár prvých pocitov z Dillí, tak je to katastrofálne mesto (-: Ako typické hlavné mesto, všetko je tu dovedené do dokonalosti. V tomto prípade hlavne chaos, hrozne veľa ľudí a výborné obchodné taktiky pouličných predavačov. Len pre predstavu, včera som mal napr. veľké problémy vysvetliť dvom týpkom, že naozaj nechcem, aby mi na ulici čistili uši. Ale predstavte si, keď som povedal, že som zo Slovenska bez okolkov nalistoval stránku po česky, kde bola napísaná krátka oslavná báseň o tom aký je skvelý čistič uší. Ale predsa len som odolal.

ps: ešte mám pár tibetských príbehov, tak možno sa k nim niekedy ešte vrátim. ak nie, tak sa stačí pri vhodnej príležitosti opýtať (-: