Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Girls Just Wanna Have Hunt

To paraphrase J.B.S. Haldane Arthur Stanley Eddington, not only is India stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Where else can you see "women dress up as men and carry weapons [and are] out on the roads for a hunt. They hunt anything. Hens, pigs, goats and dogs." (Equally interesting: who decided this ritual could be observed only every 12 years?)

This is the festival of "Jaani Shikaar" (Such a literal but memorable name for a festival. It sounds like the opening of a Raj Kumar dialogue - as in "Jaani, shikaar to hum kar ke rehenge, lekin sher ka nahin, TUMHARA!" Transl.: Beloved, we will hunt, not Cher but Sonny.)

How little is known about rural and tribal Indian customs and how little of it is documented on the web (and the best source still is Kamat's Potpourri). Searching for "jani shikaar" on Goog brings up some uninformative results (including one resume in French, presumably of an anthropologist.)

But back to our girls gone wilderness. (The bad puns will keep coming at you like a deranged hunter after his prey till you all agree not to see "Da Vinci Code".) They hunt (non-dangerous) creatures and then what do they do? Why, party all night, of course. "They hunt rabbits and other eatable animals in the jungle and celebrate a born (sic) fire in the jungle. They cook the hunted animals, feast and dance all night." (link)

City girls they're all right but damn, these country girls are something else. Can you even imagine a group of (I would have said "bevy of women" if I was writing for a crappy Indian tabloid) city-bred women hunting, feasting and dancing in the woods?! If this does not put to rest the popular image of a girl leaping up on a table or a bed at the mere sight of a mouse or a cockroach (or even lobsters), I don't know what will. (Nevermind that I still shriek like a girl banshee at the mere sight of a gecko. Can't stand them.)

Now, before some of you start slobbering over your keyboard thinking about Girls With Guns and start making vacation plans involving this jungle party, we're told this very unique girls' night out is strictly a "ladies-only" affair.

Guys, we start the chorus of "discriminatory practice!" in 5...4...3

(OK, so I am ashamed at my Hindustan Times-ish headline. But it is a shade better than "wild and wetty", don't you think? Don't you?)


neha vish said...

I see my post just pushed the pathos out of you!

kundalini said...

:). with you w.r.t geckos. have had one fall on me.

Bidi-K said...

Wrote something in a certain frame of mind today and then while reading other blogs found resonance with your ticket collector post. I linked it, is it ok?

km said...

Kundalini: you were *just* dying to tell me that, weren't you. Falling geckos. UGH.

Neha: oh absolutely, and if it's pushed pathos into you and other readers, then my job here is done :D

kundalini said...

yeah :)

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