G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wild Stag Weekends of Nepal - Sex Treks and, if Shower Works, Wet Maidens

For last few years, Nepal- world’s only Hindu kingdom- has been in the news for wrong reasons- regicide, lawlessness, illegal trades in drugs and arms, hijacking etc.

Since January 24, 2008, it made news for different reasons.

The Economist January 26, 2008 had this story:

“I CAN only dance when I'm drunk,” confides Srijana, a 20-year-old employee of the Pussy Cat Bar and Shower, a tavern in Thamel, Kathmandu's main tourist hangout. A few slurps from a customer's glass later and she mounts a small stage. There, to whoops from a few tipsy locals, she sheds most of her clothes and gyrates to a Hindi pop tune. Dangling above her is the Damoclean sword included in the bar's name: a silver shower nozzle, positioned to spray flesh-revealing water on a dancer below.

Such gimmicks are common in Thamel's bars, where competition for lascivious males is fierce. Until a few years ago Nepal had no obvious sex industry. There are now an estimated 200 massage parlours and 35 “dance bars”, such as the Pussy Cat, in Thamel alone—with over 1,000 girls and women working in them. Many sell sex. In the Pussy Cat, another dancer admits to turning tricks, for 1,800 rupees ($28).

That is a tidy sum in Nepal, South Asia's poorest country. It is much more than Nepali women are paid in India's flesh-pots—to which over 5,000 are trafficked each year, according to the UN. But the dancers in Thamel are chasing a richer sort of Indian: tourists. And their government seems to be encouraging them. In an advertisement for “Wild Stag Weekends”, the Nepal Tourism Board offers this advice: “Don't forget to have a drink at one of the local dance bars, where beautiful Nepali belles will dance circles around your pals.”

In a country with a rich tradition of dance, where paying for sex is illegal, this might be harmless innuendo. But not everybody thinks so. During the recently-ended civil war, Nepal's Himalayan tourism industry collapsed. Some activists think that sex tourism is replacing it. According to John Frederick, an expert on South Asia's sex trade, “Ten years ago the sex industry was underground in Nepal. Now it's like Bangkok, it's like Phnom Penh.”

The war, which put much of rural Nepal under the control of Maoist insurgents, has increased the supply of sex workers…”

A silver shower nozzle, positioned to spray flesh-revealing water on a dancer below?!

Hindi films indeed have shaped carnal desires of millions. Me included.

Times of India reported on February 3, 2008:

“ (Nepali film) Kagbeni also has the distinction of having Nepal's first onscreen amorous kiss. And a large section of the Himalayan kingdom has been tickled by the minute-long liplock between the lead pair Saugat Malla and Deeya Maskey…”

8 comments:

waman said...

Dear Aniruddha,
Leave aside Nepal. What is happening in Gallies of Mumbai between Marathi & Bhayye? I expect your true comments on this ongoing tussle between poor migrants and the natives. It happened here in USA, New World called by Spannish when they entered Mexico. But later on they took away "Cochineal" and ruined American ancient culture. Is it going to happen in Maharashtra? Since I am far away from my motherland for decades, I wish to know from you.
Waman Karnik, Boston USA

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Waman,

I am sorry I can't agree with your analogy, if I understand it correctly.

Our culture is too strong to be swept away by anything. Our saint-poets have ensured that.

Current developments are just to take advantage of the whole thing politically.

They will pass.

Shivaji must be very angry because people do such things in his name.

waman said...

Dear Aniruddha,
I think you did not get me. Do you know Cochineal episode? It was an insect producing perfect red colour dye, but was very much fragile to travel and live in atmosphere other than Mexico's central Oaxaca region. When Spanish conquored Mexico, they exploited this fact and kept the secret of cochineal to themselves. Soon they even destroyed the native Indian culture, calling Mexico as New Spain. They not only banned the export of live cochineal, but forbidden any outsider to enter into that area.
This is what happened in colonial Raj of British in many parts of world.This should not happen in our Maharashtra. I think you understand this aspect.

Waman Karnik

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Sorry Waman. I didn't understand you corectly first time.

Thanks for educating me. I didn't know the episode.

Sure such dangers exist.

Nikheel Shaligram said...

Dear Waman & Aniruddha,
Please allow me to join your interesting disucssion.I have read how Spannish conquistadors made Cochineal a monoploly and fortune for not less than three centuries. They have totally ruined the native Indian culture in Mexico calling that region as New Spain. Can it be restored?It may happen in Maharashtra slowly, when hungry, from wealth as well as politics come to stay. They bring their culture from North. I feel, Aniruddha, Marathis should not take it lightly. At the same time they have to be cautious about our politicians like "Raj" clan also. What they have done before, when they were in power with bhagava in their hand and name of Shivaji on their toungue?
What do you comment, Aniruddha?

Nikheel Shaligram, Kolkata

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Dear Nikheel,

I feel our eclectic culture is very "strong" and faces no threat from North or South Indians or anyone else. Marathi borrows as much from Arabic/ Farsi as Sanskrit and yet it produced great Tukaram.

The only threat it faces is from its so-called protectors.

Shivaji was supposedly as fluent in Farsi as Marathi, he dressed like the way rulers in North India dressed but he did things for our culture as much as our great saint-poets.

Our rulers have, barring few periods in history (like that of Shivaji, Y B Chavan), have always been side-shows.

stag do said...

add some more photo that look better.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

stag do,

I don't have any photos. This photo is from the print edition of The Economist. They don't have it on their website.