DOWN IN THE BACK GARDEN FOR COFFEE, having breakfasted at the Clarks hotel down the street. Tourist gluttony: toast, rolls, butter, marmalade, pancakes with honey, juice, coffee and horrible, taste-like-death eggs𤺠 Rs, eight to ten waiters, room full of French people eating fast so they could get down to smoking; Indian tour guide speaking brutal ("Ooh la la!") Frenchvery disturbing; lane outside the hotel full of parasitical touts, drivers and monkey handlers. Glad to be back in the monastic calm of my hotel, where there's an orange cat (!) on the loose, very shy and not too thin. My spirits were already goodexcellent surprise of a call from Mom & Claudia (Sony-sponsored party line) late last night, they entirely support choice of Bombay over Calcutta (M: "What were you going to bring mea leper?") so that was helpful and healing of pride to be told.
Finishing the events of yesterday: from Sarnath, back to Papu's house (through a neighborhood awash in red and purple dyestill dancing, celebrating in open tents on the street, girls performing Hindi film songs before an audience of groin-eyed, slack-faced men and boys; stained older men embracing one another with long formality; women emergent, their hands stained red, fresh red powder in the partings of their hair, holiday pleased and attired). Met more of his family, including the sister-in-law out of Chekhovno English, but the genius for assigning blame from inside the safety of the parameters of the civility one has put oneself in charge of establishing, was very cleara married lady wearing, somewhat remarkably, pink lipstick; Papu, who behaved as the object of her complaints with remarkable forbearance, kept leaning across to tell me that she lives in Mughal Serai, as if this explained everything
Down the street at Hotel Surya/Canton Restaurant for dinnercheaper and inhabited
I don't know why I'm behaving as if I have infinite hours to waste on every opportunity to obsess about money and injuries to my pride and why men are evil and money again; why I can't transcend even by inches my clearly excessive limitations as an individual just enough, at least, to be able to mention that yesterday I saw: (a) two goats creating chaos in a barbershopa little cube with two chairs standing open to the streetone goat was standing in one chair and the other was knocking over the bicycle belonging to the customer who was sitting in the other chair; (b) RAJA HINDUSTANI, finally, at a small hot packed, theater, with Papu, his wife and their two young children, a boy and a girlthe little girl, Puja, sat on my lap for most of the moviefor most of what we saw of the movie, as we arrived well after the start, and it still ran (with one intermission while the aisles fill with men distributing food and drinkfor which they collect the money after the film has resumed, in the dark, knocking through a litter of empty glass Pepsi bottles which someone comes even later in the film to collect) until almost nine, two and a half hours after we got there
Hotel de Paris, Varanasi