Tuesday, October 15, 2013

That's Sursugar at night, just outside the gate to the old city and the main bazaar. The Performing Arts Faculty,  my formal, though loose, connection sits in the dark across the lake in this photo. Arriving there the other morning, Ben and I watched  public workers load an elderly dead man, shroudless, into the back of a municipal vehicle. Rigor mortis had caught his arms bending at the elbow forming right angles to his body. He must have died on his back, reaching for the sky.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This kid's asleep on the street. He picked a good spot - there's a fire station just across the street, with firemen lounging on the sidewalk out front. Two blocks away thousands of people are dancing garba (playing garba) as part of the nine day Navatri festival.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

They left the lights on when they swam out of the front door

Baroda is flooding. Rain has fallen almost non-stop for five days now. Last night we went out for supplies of food and drinking water. Mohit, a friend,  drove us. Supply mission accomplished, we went a few blocks out of our way to get to the river bridge. The Vishawamitri was huge, and flowed into houses that still had their lights on.

Marsh crocodiles, or muggers, live in the Vishawamitri basin. It's a seasonal river, but it certainly has water in it now. I wonder if the muggers come to town with the water. I would love to see one. They grow to the 14 foot range, and are not particularly aggressive toward humans.  No plans to go wading, as there are other problems with the floodwater. 

Friends tell us this is a bad time to eat in restaurants. Floodwater, which makes a savory stew out of the variety of excrements in the street, may leach into the municipal water system.  I doubt they're washing dishes in boiled and filtered water back there.

The deal revealed

I hand over full payment for four month's rent and deposit to Mr. Shabbir Barodawalla, my landlord and a genuinely good guy. Like shoes, bills don't come in large sizes here.

How the deal turned:
Now I know that our more acceptable broker four years ago, Krunal, overcharged us by not taking a fee proportional to the lease length, and charging as if the lease was for eleven months. Who knew?Rajah offered the same; I accepted. It turns out the minion was the connection to Mr. Barodawalla, the owner of the property. Rajah happened to be in the right place. The minion was not a minion and Rajah was simply the vector of connection. I have no idea how they split the money, but they got more from me than they should have. My fault. That said, the flat we rented is great. It came with a Sony monitor attached to the wall. I don't have to buy one to work with video. There's a month's rent. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013


 I'm in Baroda, Gujarat, looking for an apartment with a four month lease. I've been asking people I knew on the street four years ago to help with this, and they have helped. Marshal, who owns Honey Electric, an electrical parts and repair shop, took me to see a place his neighbor had for rent. Too small and too close to the river and mosquitos. Gaffar, who closed his investment service when the economy stumbled and now runs a bootleg dvd, cd, and bling store on the street, put me in touch with Rajah, a real estate agent. I mentioned I was looking for a place and Rajah walked up. I believe Rajah's scooter is his office, but he used a minion to take me on another scooter to look at an apartment. Most interesting to me is how these connections work. I don't understand the fine points, of course, put I do know that they are local and personal, as well as part of doing business. The lines between roles don't constrict the humans in the roles too much. Things get done. People look out for each other. I like it.
That's Honey Electric behind the glitter bomb.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hands and feet, 2009.
Going back. I'm going back to India, but this time it's to make a documentary and do field recordings of brass and drum and 12 volt electronics wedding bands in Gujarat.