It first hit me as I threw a Snickers wrapper into a rubbish bin in the city of Mysore. The bin was shaped and painted like a snowman, which in the 40 degree heat made me feel even hotter than I was already. On the next block was a penguin bin. On the next one, a rabbit.
It was one of those moments where everything falls into place. The three-wheeled taxis; the car horns that squeeze as many sounds into one honk as possible; the signs on the backs of trucks that actually say BLOW HORN; the back up tunes of trucks that play everything from The Funky Chicken to Auld Lang Syne (my favourite being the disco version of the entire first half of the theme from Love Story; the one where Ali MacGraw makes a miraculous recovery and becomes a Bollywood film star); the driving that’s more like bumper cars, where road signs, traffic lights, and lanes, are treated like the suggestions of someone’s twit of an uncle; accidents that are always the other person’s fault. The sign on the back window of the car in front that reads: Are you ready to die for me?
All this combined with the habit of sticking anything shiny onto anything that moves; cars, cows, babies, and finishing it off with a swathe of tinsel; the endless search for the light up thing that can flash in more combinations than the last light up thing; the gleeful use of pneumatic drills way past bedtime. And let’s not forget the plumbing that’s put together like the person got bored in the middle and went off to play a video game. Yup, it was clear as New Delhi’s bright orange 108 foot high monkey god, Hanuman. India is run by nine-year-old boys.