A Bit of Culture in Guwahati

After a period of rough riding, it generally takes a few days to become a functioning human again. My first two or three days off the bike are spent in a stupor of catching up on missing sleep and remedying whatever calorie deficit I had accumulated.  If I’m lucky I get around to doing my laundry, mending, and bike cleaning by about day 4 or 5.  Only after that do I have the gumption to put on my good shirt and go out on the town.

In Guwahati, we sweated it out for ten days waiting for Chris’ new rim to get delivered.  So, by the time it was about halfway there from Punjab, I was ready to don my person outfit, leave our awesome host’s house (thanks Indrajit!) and go out and do things not related to food.  Here’s the result:

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First up, the Assam state museum!  Nice bust of Gandhi here, several rooms of life-sized dioramas of traditional villages (which looked mostly like the numerous villages I’d already passed through), sample handicrafts from the state’s different tribes and a collection of old religious art.

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This included not only ye olde’ Buddha head,

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but also some Shivas, Krishnas, Vishnus, Ganeshas, Kalis, and other many-handed Hindu gods and goddesses,

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some stone age metalheads,

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a bit of romance,

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a bit of tantra,

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and a bit of who knows what.

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Next to the state museum was the Governor’s Complex, I think, home to a big theatre with some real cultural stuff going on that very night!  And free!  Why not go have a look?

It turned out to be an adaptation of the epistolary novel “Love Letters” translated into Assamese and with the characters slightly adapted so as to fit into Hindu culture and Indian economic conditions.  Sounds interesting except…the “action” of the play consisted of the two characters sitting there reading the letters to one another.  For two hours.  If not for the air conditioning, I most definitely would have skipped out.

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I was slightly scathed by the previous night’s fail, but decided to try again at the following night’s classical dance recital.  I arrived half an hour late and even so the first 45 minutes were filled with these guys standing around, receiving ovations, and presenting one another with various Assamese honorary scarves.

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Again, it was only the a/c that gave me the fortitude necessary to persevere until the real event started.

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Which it did!  I quickly excused myself from my inconspicuous seat in the back corner and ran down to a little nook right under the stage for prime picture-taking.

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What colors!  What costumes!  What makeup!  What jangly sounds!

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I can’t say I understood anything about anything, but everything sure did look, sound, and even smell nice.

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And now for a completely different sort of culture: truck drivers.

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No, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

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