Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Just desserts?

First that delightful Punjabi phrase "tere maa ki" entered the Australian lexicon thanks to laboured ICC deliberations over whether Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a monkey or referred to a part of his mother's anatomy, back in early 2008. The lasting effects of that particular incident means all pissed-up Ozzies getting in taxis now know exactly how to best insult their hapless Indian cabbies.

Now, the ancient Indian sport of kabbadi, a kind of squatting wrestling, has gained a bit of nationwide attention. Australian-Indian violence has been in the headlines of late, particularly if you're partial to a bit of that hysterical jingoism that is the delightful Times Now. Now, it seems, the tables have turned:

POLICE were investigating whether racist abuse was behind a brawl involving angry Indian wrestlers in Melbourne's northern suburbs that put two men in hospital.
Police have confirmed two men... were assaulted and hit with sticks in a fight after joining a "mouthy" skateboarder who allegedly sparked the incident outside Meadowglen International Athletics Stadium in Epping yesterday afternoon.
Inspector Mark Doney, from Mill Park Police, said the incident occurred when contestants of the wrestling team sport kabaddi, which attracted up to 5000 people, began to leave the venue.
"One of the youths there tried to get in the way of the cars and yelled out a bit of abuse at people,'' he said today.
"I think he got his just desserts by the occupants of the vehicle after he smashed the window of their car."

I am actually in Melbourne at the moment (it is freezing): my lord the Australian accent is harsh when you're used to the mellifluous tones of south Delhi. I'd like to introduce foreign readers to a bit of Australian vernacular that would well describe the skaters above: bogan. But be warned: many wear it as a mark of pride. If you really want to offend, try calling an Australian a yuppie. That, they won't take kindly to.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Night out in Delhi

So the dress I wrote about last was for the British High Commission ball, which was on last Saturday night at the Taj Mansingh hotel in central Delhi; we were invited by a friend who works there. Immediately my Antipodean inferiority complex took hold and for the preceding week, feeling all Eliza Doolittle, I practiced walking gracefully, eating daintily and rounding my vowels.

I needn't have worried.

It's not that British HC types are a bunch of lushes, but they're terribly jolly, like a drink and a tango and one to drink and tango with, and don't seem to worry which fork one is using.

Seated next to me at our table - which was at least fifty percent Australian anyway - was the wife of a diplomat. She was already quite squiffy and in a confessional mood (but not embarrassingly so). I thought, I quite like you, especially as she poured me another glass of valpolicella, and forgot to be intimidated.

Later, I met another American, this time a Marine in full regalia. He started telling me about some of his tours of duty to 27 countries and I could have kept talking to him except that the cars had arrived and we had to go.

All up, a wonderful night, one of those nights when you pinch yourself and feel blessed to be there.

And the dress? The dress turned out magnif, so much so I'm very much regretting divulging the name of the tailor in my previous post.