Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Karavan stop 3 --Ranchi

Post - Ranchi Delhi Belly & Raj Holi Feb 27, 2010

Delhi Belly in Ranchi, the clean city, is Delhi Belly nonetheless. A wave of illness washed through the artists during the past week and -- literally -- cleaned us all out (with the aid of a large dose of bacteria, I suspect). Marisa was the first to get “it,” a bug featuring diarrhea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, headache, dehydration in a combination of any or all. But it soon spread throughout the Art Karavan, dropping white people first but eventually hitting some of the Indian artists. It only lasts for a day or two (during which you sleep around the clock when you’re not running to the toilet). However, two of the artists ended up on IVs in the hospital because of dehydration and other complications.

I actually got off fairly easy -- I didn’t vomit. However, I felt like I was GOING to vomit for two full days. I couldn’t face food (especially the greasy and or spicy food we are usually fed) and I slept an entire day. The worst part of my bout was the SPLITTING headache I had for 3 days. No matter what I took or how much water I drank, my head pounded relentlessly. The doctor came to check us all out (and prescribed some medicine for the cough I’ve had since Nepal 6 weeks ago) and basically had us drinking rehydrating salts and taking pills to stop vomiting and diarrhea.

So, of course, as bad luck would have it, this is Holi time. Holi is the festival of colors... people light fires in the streets and fields to kick it off and then spend a couple days drunk and throwing powdered dye on each other. Nutan, the Rajasthani lady who hosted our tree wedding, invited Khitish, me, Kata, and Eric to a “Rajasthani Holi” celebration. Which would have been wonderful at any other time, but I was in the midst of my sickness, Kata just recovering from hers, and Eric starting to slide into his. Oh, and it was also 10 pm and followed a looooong program and the local museum.

But when a wonderful Rajasthani lady calls, we answer.

We walked to a hall a short distance from our place to the community room in a beautiful (gated!) high-rise apartment complex. The room reverberated with pounding drums and singing. We were greeted like royalty (showing up late, but, hey! we’re royalty!) The women (all dressed in beautiful brightly colored saris) jumped up and started dancing, dragging Kata and I into the fray. Of course, Nutan said there would be no colors (throwing dye), but we got smeared with fluorescent pink within moments of our arrival.

For the next two hours, the men drummed and sang (it was wonderful! Indians really know how to drum!!) The women danced and then the men danced and then we all danced together for the grand finale. The food looked wonderful but my stomach wouldn’t even consider letting even a morsel come its way.

Even though I gulped down some pills and crashed the moment I got home, it was a night to remember.

Post -- Ranchi -- Feb 28, 2010

I woke up today feeling half myself and that was good. My headache was halfway gone, my stomach felt fairly good, and my cough was slightly improved; a good day (compared to the last two days of pain and exhaustion).

I spent the day editing photos and video (learning I Movie out of sheer necessity) for our presentations tonight at the Center for Coal Production (or something like that), who gave us some money for the Karavan. Khistish and I are going to present the tree wedding piece.

Of course, we were first dragged to another place with another crowd wanting us to do anything to entertain them but none of us were prepared because no one told us what was happening so a few improvised and seemed to satisfy them.

But the Coal Center was amazing. The most modern building I’ve ever seen in India. It was in the midst of a corporate living community that could have been in the US. The show was long and drawn out .... lots of folk dancers and singers and our presentations that dragged on and on. We did get to dance with one of the tribal village groups which was fun. But basically we were all starving.

But, boy, was it worth the wait! It was a spread! Hot and sour soup, chicken in gravy, steamed vegetables, ice cream (these are what I ate) and loads of other delicious dishes.

We ended up all dancing wildly with the Indian men (and a few women) and had a fantastic time…. That’s what the Art Karavan needs – LOTS OF DANCING!!

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