Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Supplementary Edition

I trundled up to the airport a few days back expecting to be in Melbourne by Monday night - ha! was I wrong. In fact, it is Tuesday afternoon and I'm still in lovely Hyderabad.



This gave me time to do even more shopping - not for myself of course ;-)


This is a fourth generation perfumery located in a 300 year old building which houses an even older market.


The above building I was told is of such craftsmanship that it is held together by gravity alone - no mortar between the bricks!

Something else I've been learning about is the traditional Hindu caste system. Its structure is divided into 4 main castes:

1. Brahmin (priests)
2. Kshatriya (warriors)
3. Vaishya (merchants)
4. Sudra (peasants)

Beneath these were the Dalits, formerly known as the Untouchables, now officially known as the Scheduled Castes. Although the system has been considerably weakened starting with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, the caste system is still representative of much of the socio-economic divisions of Indian society. However, through positive discrimination, scholarships to universities and government positions are reserved for the Scheduled Castes - in fact, I'm told the previous prime minister was from such a caste.

One powerful force that I've often felt here, was that of under-representation, generally in the peoples of rural areas and the more impoverished (often representative of the lower castes). Upon showing images like the ones below to the subject of the photo on the screen of the digital camera:

(cleaners at the airport staff canteen)

(a beggar or front of the airport), the person in the image would generally respond with a deep sense of reverent excitement, often expressed in emotional handshaking along with 'thank you, thank you sir' if they speak English. I can't help but think this has to do with the 'bias of technology' as some call it - those whose faces may appear represented on a digital device must be favored either socially or economically in order to gain access. Otherwise known as the digital divide.

On other topics, I've been doing my best to learn the local eating customs here.


Eating with hands - and only one at that (the left hand is reserved for cleaning one's backside).


As I've blogged before, the food here is sooooooooooo fantastic and affordable. A reason to come back in itself. This lovely dish (one of my favorites) is called Thali (pronounced 'ta lee') costs around AUS$1.50 - I'm trying to eat as many as possible!

Night time is particularly beautiful in India.



Whether it's the markets...


the lit-up sights...


in the evenings, things seem to come alive in a different way. Can you spot me in this long-exposure snap?

Well, 3 hours till I leave for the airport, hopefully this time I'll be on a flight and home by tomorrow. The trip's been great, but I'm looking forward to getting home!

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