April 30, 2007

Men in Saris

Out of the many categories of less fortunate people in India (the old, the young, the unhealthy, the mistreated, the frequently impregnated, …), the one that is the most forward in their requests for money are the Men in Saris (MIS’s). Frequently they attempt to make physical contact with me, stroking my face or other significant landmarks on my body. The MIS’s also have a unique clapping technique which they use to signal their arrival and consequent demand for compensation.

Draped in traditional Indian clothing, each of these (wo)men possess muscles comparable to what 10 regular Indian men enjoy, and can be very menacing. As their unique position in society prevents them from getting regular jobs, they have turned to alternate means of funding their subsistence. Whenever I am approached by beggars I give them food if I have it, but I never give them money. I usually receive several colourful epithets and a scowl in return for my lack of financial generosity.

Those with a superstitious mindset have suggested that the MIS’s may have instigated the birds against me, which would explain my frequent aerial attacks. In one week, I was victimized twice - a pair of brown nuggets on a blue shirt and a white stain on a beige shirt, bringing the total count to 6 overhead attacks.