Thursday, 18 February 2010



Lively bustle




One of the liveliest noisiest and filthiest

A dead body in the river

She must have been old

And she was within fifty yards of where two of the holiest rivers meet

The Ganges and the Yamuna

So maybe it’s a good place to be dead

But she looked like she’d been forced to kneel and drowned with her arms behind her back

And left there

Maybe for days

Because she’d been there a while

And no-one has taken her out

Her puffy arms

Her bony elbows

Her blackened torso

So, Allahabad

This is where they have the Kumb Mela

30,000,000 people

A hundred times the size of Glastonbury

There was that famous documentary on Channel 4

A daily broadcast from here

And later on I got to know the guy who made it

The late Jack Shea

We even ran a show together in Edinburgh, a birthday party for a dead poet, Jack Kerouac is 81,

A raging success if I recall

But the big question for me is

If there’s 30M people

How big are the toilets?

Think of the utterly unbelievably terrible Glastonbury toilets

Then multiply by a100

And put them in India

…Now there’s a thought…

We take a boat out on the water

To Sangam

Where the two rivers join

The Ganges glimmering across the flats

The pilgrims in their yellowed underwear washing themselves next the boats

The boatman strong-armed against the current

And we think, well we take boats

But we won’t take a bicycle rickshaw?

Cos there’s something awful about being pulled by another man’s effort

It feels like slavery

The rickshaw guys have a good way of touting you

They offer absurdly low prices and then

When you’ve got off and been behind them

Their legs straining

Feeling the effort

You always pay them five or ten times what they said

Cos you feel so awful

And it wasn’t necessary

And you want it all done with

…Yet on a boat it doesn’t feel so terrible

And after 15 weeks in India what do I think

I think


I think my opinion of the human race has gone down

And Priscilla says

Its made her a more critical skeptical person

Because its filled in the shades of things she suspected were there

But its not like the things in india overshadow the things in the rest of the world

Yet it has confirmed more of the negative aspects of humanity for her

Its given them an image, a smell, a shape, a sound


No comments:

Post a Comment