Friday, December 09, 2005

Sanjay Gandhi National Monkey Place to Harass Tourists

Wait a minute, this is great! Episode III finaly made it to bootleg DVD here:

I don't know how everyone else felt, but I thought Smith was overdoing the "anger" thing just a little too much. After all, Jedi's aren't supposed to be so darned vengeful, are they?

Something I've been meaning to do is make a bike ride out of that national park over here; you know, the one that borders this town only about a mile away. The one I ogle out of my bedroom window all the time. This one, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Though it's a huge park and it's boundary is, at most, a five minute bike ride away, the entrance is clear on the opposite side and therefore about 30 kilometers away. That makes for a pleasant bike ride from here as the highway takes its time dodging out of town (giving the rider plenty of opportunity to get his traffic-induced adrenaline fix with pomegranate juice mix-in) and into the jungles.

Once in the Nat’l Park the road twists it’s way very near the highest point of all the Mumbai Islands (interesting fact: Mumbai is actually made up of 7(?) islands artificially connected (filled in) by man’s ingenious efforts to meddle with nature). Here on the road is the first glimpse on the hillside of what hundreds of people come to scrutinize every day.

Ambling through the hills are the fantastically…ergonomic Kanheri Caves. These 2000+ year-old, Buddhist carved antiquities (is that a noun, maybe I should just say “old things”), are tribute to the early origins of Buddhism as well as man’s apparent infinite boredom before electronic gadgetry.

It's interesting to note that, though Buddhism began here in India, and perhaps is practiced by more people in the world than any other religion (fact check, anyone?), today it is practiced by only a very small minority in India (Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1%). Perhaps that is why when I was visiting the temple shown below (there were actual Buddhists inside praying/chanting/whatevering! ---19mb video---) a group of people asked ME, “What are they doing?” Dumbfounded by their considerable surprise and disbelief, “Err, praying I suppose”. “Really! But why?” to which there is really only one good answer, and for anybody who asks for it, doesn’t deserve to get it.

But the most fun comes from these mean little rodents. The buggers are everywhere (Rhesus macaques) running around doing stuff with their opposable thumbs in order to live up to our expectations in personifying them. Here there are 3-4 family clumps:

This bastard was mean. I was all alone until I'd opened a package of biscuits and there he was chasing me when my back was turned and crouched and showing some nasty fangs when I would turn to intimidate him. Never mind I could have booted him off the cliff’s edge like a football, he put on a good show. Rats, I thought this was a “fang” picture, but looking at it now it seems I missed:

Far more scarce, much less bold, and stunningly eloquent was a family of Hanuman languor (leaf monkeys).



Milos said...

Vengeful behaviour leads to the dark side grasshopper.

As for Buddhism, it grew all over asia back in the day and became a state "religion" in India back in the day. I would say "man" can only speculate how much it played in world popularity when it was big... but these days, Christianity leads the race by like a 3rd of the world's population, followed by Islam - a fifth of the population (war for religious power anyone? - current day situation). Buddhism is about 6th place in the world at around 375 million +/- million...
but Buddhism was around before Christianity and Islam and is only over practiced by those that claim no religious interest or beliefs in very populated regions (hinduism and stuff from China)... and again.. is Buddism a religion or a philosophy?

"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity."
Albert Einstein

sunil said...

Where are you dinger? We WANT more!