Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mark My Words

// This is my 8th attempt at writing this article. I’ve found it incredibly tough to convey what exactly happened in that night at Dharamsala. The language used throughout the post is raw and most of the times offensive. Either have an open heart to accept what reality is or quit reading.

It is not entirely surprising that an year after that cold and humid May evening at McLeod Ganj (Dharamsala), that I remember the brief yet inspiring conversation with Australian documentary film maker and theatre artist Mark (who never gave away his surname either assuming he was already famous or too scared that we’d google out and find the truth), as if it were yesterday.
My initial fascination for the bald guy had a lot to do with his girl friend. Here was a man, definitely in his late 60s walking into the room opposite to ours with a ravishing beauty. If I remember right, the two words I had used back then to describe our protagonist were ‘lucky’ and ‘bastard’. And then I had moved on.
It’s the loud and surprisingly sane conversation coming from our other room a.k.a the ‘high’ room (and trust me the height of the room had nothing to do with the christening) that led me to Mark again.
24/05/2011 : Hunted Hill Hotel, Dharamsala
*Knock knock*
Me : “Dharmasala pickle is not making you high Bavani?”
The door wasn’t locked , so I pushed open the door and found the entire gang crowded in the small balcony curiously engaged in a conversation with someone in the room nearby. 
Strangely, Jp was gazing at the sky quite resembling that scene in Venkat Prabhu’s ‘Goa’ where Sami stares at the moon.  And as soon as I reached the balcony, the guy went totally crazy. Apparently the staring had nothing to do with things he had consumed. He had managed to see a lady wearing just a bra.
It surprised me to find that our ‘lucky bastard’w as the reason behind all the fuss. He introduced himself as the Mark, the documentary maker, presently on a quest to make a short film about that year’s Ms. Tibet contest which had an Australian taking part in it. There was an incredible urge to ask why a documentary maker was staying at such a cheap hotel but the extravagant view of the ‘Triund’ and the ‘Bhagsu’ plus the realization that artists are crazy people, stopped me from blurting it out. But not wanting to stay dormant in the whole conversation I asked,
Me: “I was reading this book by Vanessa Walker. Mantras and…”
Mark: “..Misdemeanours. I know Vanessa personally. Good writer. Funny book isn’t it? Tells you the story of McLeod Ganj, though you as an Indian might have found it a little awkward at times. But in all honesty, that’s what the majority of the foreigners feel about your land. A beautiful land filled with wicked people. I left my country at the age of 18. It’s been travel ever since. My 8th time to India this. Anyway where are you lot from?”
CT : “ We are from South India. From a beautiful place called Kerala.”
Mark : “ I know Kerala. I was there for 6 years. At Kalamandalam, learning about Kathakali and other various dance forms. Kerala theatre is very impressive as well. In the west, we don’t give importance to facial expressions to convey our emotions. So it was a great lesson for me. Women in Kerala are very beautiful. Magical eyes they have!
CT: “Oh well, we’d like to disagree. Delhi metro’s way cooler :P “
Mark : “How many days at Dharamsala? “
CT: “ Just one night. Reached today morning. Will leave tomorrow evening to Manali. “
Mark : “Change the plans. Stay here for one week. That’s the real problem with the world. All are tourists. They wanna go to a place, take a photograph and move on. Nobody wants to learn. To live. To be the part of a new and exciting culture. Nobody wants to TRAVEL. A tourist does not give a damn about the people. He sees the Taj Mahal. A traveler sees the lives intertwined with the Taj Mahal. The ones who makes money by selling the shoes, the chai walas and more.  And it’s not Slumdog speaking here.  I ought to know after these many years.”
Me : “But it’s our first time to North India. We want to experience snow. The real Himalayas. “
Mark : “Ok, I get your point. But it’s terribly sad. See you all 20 (? ) year olds claiming its your first time at north India. Blame the parents. In India children are nothing but slaves. Tools which the parents use to achieve everything that they couldn’t gain in their own respective lives. “
Me: “ We saw Gilli and Ryan Harries today morning. All drunk and happy. “
Mark: “ Gilli’s a nice guy. Real great lad. But tell you what. Warne’s the opposite. A real dick! Has nothing but booze and girls in his mind. “
CT: “You know these cricketers? Wow. What about Bret Lee ? You know him too? “
Mark : “ I don’t know him personally. But I hear he’s an ok lad. “
And the conversation continued for a little longer until Mark said he needed a fag.
The next day morning we couldn’t find him in his room. Mr. Suresh Thapar , the caretaker, informed us that Mark had already left for his work. A remarkable evening, made all the more special by a remarkable conversation.

View My Stats
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | coupon codes