Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You maaaade me feel shiny and neeew

There has been some knitting of late, much of it accomplished yesterday during a three hour, ten mile journey (yes, south Delhi traffic is that bad, and is made worse this time of year owing to the arrival of massive packs of Ganges-water-bearing Kanwaria pilgrims).

I was in an air conditioned chariot of luxury because I thought it would be the best way to get to a potential field site in the extreme south of Delhi; as it turned out, the chariot may not have been the best choice because it had to sit in traffic and could not perform illegal u-turns; a rickshaw could have merrily broken many traffic laws and gotten us out of some of the worst backups.

The journey also dragged on forever owing to a series of wrong turns that were partly due to circumstances and partly due to the fact that the driver was an amazingly passive aggressive creature who had obviously recently crawled out of a dark, life-hating level of hell. But I digress. Look at the lovely colors of the Dream in Color Superwash, photographed in the brilliant, blindingly hot subcontinental sun:

This is none other than EZ's famed BSJ, which I have named in knitter code so that the non-knitter for whom it is intended will not suspect anything. I held off starting it until I could confirm that a stateside friend could get me another skein - a bit of post-trip Ravelry sleuthing indicated that one skein of the Dream in Color wasn't enough. So far so good, and the pattern notes linked on the Ravelry page are helpful, though everyone who has knit this classic knows that it is nothing so much a cross between knitting and origami, and so impossible to intuit, even for an accomplished sweater-knitter like myself - it's just a big blob of knitting until the very end, and then, fold fold fold, and suddenly, out of nowhere: sweater!

Pain; excitement; mystery - it's like losing my sweater virginity all over again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Existentialism incarnate

Displacement, isolation, meaninglessness, confinement? I feel you, Mr. Gorilla. Sometimes being in India is like that only.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You don't say....

<--"remove outer packing before consumption"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jay Mata Di (or, Victory to the Mother)

Technology: neither evil nor good, but rather, a force to be reckoned with. Personally, I reckon that technology is currently contributing greatly to the great potential that Delhi men of a certain (young) age and socio-economic status have to be entitled, penis-bearing, big huge jerks.

Exhibit A: cars

It's now common knowledge that the burgeoning Indian middle class is buying cars in record numbers, creating more traffic than most roads in India can handle, especially when you throw in all the livestock and cycle rickshaws. About a week ago, Todd and I were taking a cycle rickshaw on a somewhat crowded road when a car packed full of 20-something Indian males pulled up behind us and proceeded to lay on the horn non-stop. As in, they were going to sit on the horn until the rickshaw got out of the way. Car horns are loud and sit exactly on the threshold of pain; drivers in their AC-infused bubble don't have to deal with the sound, which might account for some of their ability to hold the horn down for indefinite periods of time. Of course, our poor guy, pedaling as hard as he could, couldn't pull over because, well, the road was packed with cars and rickshaws. The horn was loud. And constant. So I turned around and looked at the car thinking perhaps they would lay off the horn if someone made eye contact with them, which of course did not happen, at which point I decided to do a little impromptu anthropological experiment to see if in fact the bird carries meaning here in India, with Todd joining me in this experiment.

I can report that the bird has, in fact, landed in India, if the drivers of the car behind us are any indication. So there was cathartic flipping off all round, and then our cycle rickshaw-walla finally got an opening to pull over and the terrible boy-men screeched by, on their way to wherever it was they were in such a hurry to get to. Except, amazingly, they drove to the end of the road, pulled over, and waited for us to catch up, at which point the one in the passenger seat frantically rolled down his window (not wanting to let out the precious AC air before we arrived) and shouted a heavily accented but passable "Suck my d*ck, you whore!," after which the driver hit the gas hard enough to squeal the tires and they were off in their little middle class chariot of a Maruti, frantically rolling up the window as they sped off towards Delhi gate. So we can conclude that internet pornography may not be such a bad thing, since it has clearly enhanced the English vocabulary of untold masses of emergent middle class Indian males.

Exhibit B: Cell phones

Just last night I was negotiating a fare with a local cycle rickshaw driver. It was taking longer than usual because Sunday is everyone's day off and for a remarkable number of these poor laborers, Sunday is the day to drink hard and heavy, so that by 8 a very high percentage of them are quite drunk. The cycle rickshaw guy was actually explaining that he couldn't take me (good call, methinks) and he was trying - kindly - to give me walking directions to my destination when a little group of young emergent middle class Indian men with their cell phones came walking across the parking area.

Here I must emphasize that this parking lot was nearly empty and that it had, by urban Indian standards, a cavernous amount of free space. So this pack of cell-phone wielding boys came closer, their leader somewhat oblivious of his surroundings because he, like many cell-phone owners, was engrossed in some riveting bout of text messaging (or maybe a really good game of snake. Hard to say). He got to where I was standing and without skipping a beat proceeded to push his way between myself and the rickshaw driver, uttering an indignant "excuse me," as he went. Because clearly walking behind me in the aforementioned cavernous amount of free space would have been too inconvenient. Or unmanly. Or something.

A new fearsome Hindu goddess needs to be created - one who wields a cell phone and car keys in addition to a sword and a severed head. Young men would be required to perform puja to her regularly, and at the slightest sign of abuse of technology, the Mother who giveth the accouterments of bourgeois living would take them away, possibly raining down a healthy dose of impotence or smallpox for good measure.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I've landed in Delhi and am thoroughly enjoying the sauna-esque climate and stomach-on-the-edge-of-a-nervous-breakdown. Aaahhh, Delhi Belly. How I have missed thee.

To compensate for the verbosity of the last post, Knitcrit proudly presents a series of recent India photos with minimal commentary:

First, lest the knitblog police force me to change my blog name to Critknit due to lack of knitting content, there's been some heel-turning on sock number one:

Pomatomus is still surprisingly easy and still fun. Knitters: does anyone know anything about a slightly-larger-than-lace-pattern-size hole on one side of the patterned part of foot? It happened right about the time I stopped the side decreases for the gusset. I really don't think I made a mistake. Anyway, I'm choosing to ignore it. Socks go in shoes, right?

English-language newspapers here continue with their hard-hitting coverage of the issues that matter most:

This chicken DARES you to eat her:

Anyone else think this product is vaguely pornographic or do I just have a smutty mind?

Just in case your body isn't producing enough on its own:

Doesn't this make you never want to eat a popsicle again?

Possibly only two regular blog readers will understand this, but still, check it out! I found the dargah in Mysore that has haziri - though there they call it tawaf karna. I was thrilled to find this - it's a good story, actually, but we're favoring pictures this time, so here's the sign that tipped me off:

Dedicated and clever readers: Normally I can deduce intention behind slightly ill-chosen Indian English words, but in this case, I admit to being totally baffled. Probably these helmets are actually made in China, home of the truly inexplicable English word choice, but still - any ideas on the intention behind branding a helmet as "deletion?"

Like many young men on the street in Mysore, these helmet sellers were cheery and possibly a little drunk. Photo concept theirs, photographer me:

My new gold earrings! I love them!

Shanidev street shrine - possibly Knitcrit's new post-dissertation project since the Unani thing appears to be tanking hard:

And finally, even with a month and a half to go, I am still absolutely confident in naming this the best photo from this trip to India: