Sessions, Shravanabelagola, Halebidu and Belur: May 24-25

In India, house music is pretty big, and Tara, Nandi and Shiva know at least a couple DJs who mix the music for parties they call Sessions. Justine had already been for one before we came, and then the Saturday after Smita’s wedding Shiva, Nandi, Justine, Joanna and I and some of the ninjitsu crew headed out to Ganga farm for a Sessions party. Their fellow ninja Karn was one of the DJs. The farm was actually nicer than I thought it would be, with a bar, a lawn for the dance floor and a bonfire. We drank and danced into the night, until finally Shiva drove us back home. Nandi, who had been pressuring me all night to DRINK FASTER was passed out beside Joanna and me in the back. Joanna, Santosh and I serenaded Shiva with our usual drunk singing repertoire, including Basketcase, American Pie and Hotel California. Nandi was too tired to complain, but the next morning she promised that when Joanna is in labour with a child and I am passing a kidney stone, Nandi is going to come and yell Wonderwall in our ears.

For some reason, Justine decided it would be a good idea for us to go to Shravanabelagola, Halebidu and Belur, three temple towns, the next day for a day trip. We got back to Nandi’s around 2:30 in the morning; Justine came back with Nikolaj and only got in at around 4 or 5. Shiva woke us up at 7 in the morning to drop us off at the bus, and Justine was alert enough to get us out the door on time. I passed out on the bus, waking up briefly for our breakfast stop, and then we got to the first place, Shravanabelagola. This turned out to be a 620 climb to the top to see a temple in the hot sun, not the most fun when you’ve just been on a wild bus ride and are hung over. We also had forgotten to bring socks to protect our bare feet from the hot stone, since you’re not allowed to wear shoes. Luckily there were enterprising young boys selling socks at Rs 10 a pair, which we picked up. We eventually made it to what we thought was the top, with a few stops on the way. There were some men carrying old people up in palanquins which I was temped to take. When we got to the semi-top, there was a small temple and then more stairs to another temple. Joanna and Justine decided they were too tired to make it, but I decided to soldier on. It was definitely worth it. At the top was the Colossus Gommateshvara, a giant Jain statue of a naked man, which was pretty epic. As I was leaving Justine had worked up the energy to see the statue too, but Joanna wouldn’t climb a step more. We headed down the stairs, which is not as bad as climbing stairs but is almost more difficult, especially since some of the stairs were steeply sloped or chipped. Justine was worried the bus was going to leave without us, so she bounded down the stairs, and was feeling the pain the next day. When we got to the bus we actually had about 10-15 minutes to relax, and I had a drink of mango juice to replenish some of my lost fluids. Bad idea. This was probably our worst bus trip of the entire trip (maybe because we we were hung over), but the bus driver kept weaving and jerking non stop, and blaring his horn which sounded like an air horn. I got sick, and you can’t really tell those buses to stop, so I puked up all the mango juice, but none of the breakfast, into a plastic bag. I feel sorry for the people that could see/hear me. After that I felt somewhat better, and we headed to Halebidu, where I disposed of my puke bag. Joanna was still feeling crappy, so Justine stayed with her while I followed the tour guide and saw the temples and Nandi bulls, which were pretty similar to some of the temples we saw in Hampi, but still very nice. After that, we headed for our lunch. I decided not to trust my stomach to the bus driving, so I ate nothing, but Justine and Joanna ate. Our last stop was Belur. Here Joanna and Justine finally joined me for the entire tour of the site, though by this time we were all templed out and found it hard to concentrate hard enough to decipher our guide’s accent. After that was the long ride back to Bangalore. First though we had to wait because the road was blocked with hundreds of men celebrating election victories by throwing dyed powder at each other since the state was dry for the election vote counting. We eventually got through them and headed back. They decided to put on two loud Hindi movies which were quite odd. From what I gather, the first one started with a no goodnik boy who was being chased by some men, but was rescued when he hid with some random girl on a carousel. She gave him a charm necklace, which he constantly tried to get rid of but implausibly came back to him. Then we jump into the future where there’s a magic act involving a tiger, who somehow turns into a man, which is apparently the no goodnik boy grown up. Also, he is now Neo, and can kick everyone’s ass. The girl has grown into a servant girl, but her bosses hate her and try to have her killed, but she is saved by Neo. Then they somehow get to some magical god place, and Neo is transformed into a god himself, and overthrows the evil god. Then we go back to earth and the evil god follows him and transforms into a sexy girl and tries to seduce him. Other stuff happens, it gets super violent and Neo kicks everyone’s ass and then dies and then comes back to life and kicks more ass, and somehow that charm comes back and saves the day. Also there were random dance sequences interspersed. The next movie was even worse. It consisted of some guy who basically whined nonstop and thought there were all these injustices going on, so he finds some website that makes him transform into a big evil vigilante who kills people very violently, like tying them up and covering them with flesh eating worms, or basting them in Tandoori and then deep frying them. Sadly, we got back to Bangalore before we could finish this gem. We returned to Nandi and Shiva’s for a chillaxed meal with cousins on our side and A. Brinda’s side.

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