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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 5

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012
    Kolkata, India

    A rickshaw driver / professional extortionist hauls me over to the Blue Sky Cafe on Sudder Street in Kolkata, India.

    When I walked out in front of the hotel today, I was surprised to see the same rickshaw driver I had employed to ride me home the previous night. As he pulled someone by, I told him I needed a ride. A few minutes later, he returned and I showed him a 50 rupee note and said to him, “I’ll pay you 50 rupees for a ride to the Blue Sky Cafe,” which is the standard tourist rate for one kilometer. He motioned for me to climb in and off we went. I was psyched to shoot some nice clips and photos the whole way. About a block or two from the cafe, there was a major traffic quagmire that brought everything to a standstill for a few minutes.

    The Blue Sky Cafe on Sudder Street in Kolkata, India.

    Finally, when the driver dropped me off in front of the cafe, I went to give him the 50 rupee note and he sternly demanded 100 rupees. As I argued with him for a few seconds, he angrily repeated “100 rupees,” so I told him I had planned to employ him every day, but not anymore. Then I dug out a 100 rupee note and threw it on the seat of the rickshaw. I wasn’t about to place it in the hand of such a crook. After lunch at the cafe, I just caught up on a bunch of work at an internet joint for a few hours. When I was almost done, I heard the sound of drums out on the street. An ensemble comprised of a small synthesizer and several drummers stood around at an intersection on Sudder Street, pounding out some deafening polyrhythms smothered with strange melodies.

    A plate of vegetable matter and naan at  the Blue Sky Cafe in Kolkata, India.

    One kid rubbed a tambourine with a flaming stick. I was so happy I made it just in time to catch a few moments of it all on video. Then they loaded a colorful figure from a Hindu shrine onto the back of a truck and kept playing as they loudly paraded through the neighborhood. You’ve gotta love India. Later, right when another rickshaw driver dropped me off in front of my hotel, a random passerby started talking to me, asking something about an American sport in which you carry a brown ball. “Football,” I responded. As he kept blathering away, I backed away from him before he could ask for money and said, “I’m tired. I’m going to head inside now. Have a good night.” You’ve to got shut down those situations before they even get started.

    A group of drummers on Sudder Street  in Kolkata, India.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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