Sunday, May 19, 2013

31) The Freaks Who Conquered Goa.

These stories, that have been available on Blogspot for 10 years for free, will now only be available on Amazon at the address above. They are contained in “Vagabon Freak”, the 1st volume of a trilogy titled “The 7 Lives of the Punk Poofy Cats”. I have been the archetypal starving artist in his garret, painting, drawing and writing, writing, writing as if I were some waif crying out in the wilderness. Now I need you, dear reader, to hear my cries and go to Amazon and buy a copy of my book and keep me alive. There you will find my complete tale, from beginning to end, in one place, for you to hold in your hot little hands. When you read it straight through, I assure you, it will blow your mind.

Below are introductory paragraphs and some pictures that I still retain to illustrate this story, hopefully to give you a come-on to get my book. Thanks for giving me a go, TZ.

Eventually the gang of four tripsters made it to Delhi where they discovered they’d run out of money and had to sleep on the streets. In early Seventies India it was a touch and go process to get money sent officially, banks liking to hang onto the dosh, the clerks’ faces glum behind their caged counters as they yet again mumbled, “Sorry, your money is not coming today”, possibly secretly pleased with the endless bureaucratic red-tape entangling the desperate firanghi supplicants. It meant Arthur, Steve, Jean-Jacques and Tara had to exist for a few days on nothing till someone’s money came through.
They were in a big, alien city and were starving. At one point Arthur somehow cadged a couple of chapatis from a befuddled shopkeeper and when he brought the meager food back to his friends, Jean-Jacques, being hungry as an alley-cat, callously snatched the lion’s share and gobbled it all down quickly, before the others could get even a morsel.
Arthur spewed, “You selfish bastard! That was for all of us, you’re a fucking bummer! Some gallant hero you are!”
“I need it more zan you, I burn more energy, I am zee leader of our gang, I have to think!” hissed the dark pirate.
“What bullshit! I got the fucking chapatis, you lay around twirling your moustache. You just don’t care about anybody but yourself. You’re such a phony!”
Tara tried to calm their tempers, “Don’t worry about it Arthur, I’m not so hungry. He probably does need it more than me. We’ll get money tomorrow, god willing.”
“He’s bringing us all down… I thought you had more sense but now I see you’re just a fucking doormat. What on earth do you see in him?”
“He’s so bad, it turns me on. He’s like a dark, nasty little boy and at the same time a real man… he takes risks, sometimes he succeeds, I know he’ll give me a good life. And he knows what to do with a woman, I love what he does for me, the chapattis are the least of it.”
“If he’s always going to be an arsehole I’m splitting and you can have Mr. Dark and Nasty all to your lonesome. I can do better on my own.”
November nights in Delhi were chilly, they slept on their thin cotton dhotis laid out like mats on the cold concrete pavement, light shawls as their blankets and huddled together in their misery. But they didn’t worry overly much as delivery from their depredations would come sometime soon, they banked on it, and the local street people merrily assured them it would be so for in Indian folklore faranghis were famous for conjuring up money from thin air, like djiin princes of the fabulously wealthy West.
It was 1975 and, like many an iron maiden from history, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was trying to put in order a chaotic, multitudinous country by administering shock treatment, instilling tyranny to protect democracy. Up to forty thousand people had been jailed for striking, marching in protest and publishing dissent to her ‘Maintenance of Internal Security Act’. Earlier that year a huge demonstration, led by her main opposition party, marched through Delhi demanding her removal. Indira was then dismissed by the High Court for electoral malpractice in the elections of 1971.
“Mother India” threw a nasty tanty, believing the CIA was behind the ongoing political turbulence to oust her in the Great game against Russian influence on the sub-continent. She dissolved parliament and declared a State of Emergency, arrested the Opposition, censored free speech and sacrificed the rights of the individual for the so-called good of the whole community, much like the Russians do to their own citizens. And indeed, for a short while, the Emergency was popular with some as life did improve slightly for some Indians.
There were no strikes or disruptions, no marches or street skirmishes, prices lowered and shortages were relieved, taxis drove on the correct side of the road, people queued and trains ran on time, peace and order at last seemed restored. Part of her strictures was a ‘clean up the city’ campaign, which meant getting rid of all the desperate poor squatting in every available space, cluttering up the footpaths because they had nowhere else to live.
The cruelty of The Emergency regime must’ve flown over her head in her zeal to improve her nation’s lot, perhaps being of Pandit family background she and her elite cronies just didn’t care about the hardships of lower orders, of which there was a long history. More likely The Emergency was declared to hang onto power, and it was the common people who suffered most, their slums cleared, herded off to rallies to hear her edifying speeches then into work camps to slave for no wages.
Living the fantasy life of “Kim” while the very last vestiges of the Raj crumbled, Arthur and his crew were oblivious to the political upheavals in the society seething around them; as narcissistic adventurers they were distracted by their own confabulations, desires and delusions. Making sure Tara was safely stretched out by a wall with J.J. cuddling her, with himself as extra protection, Arthur laid his head upon his shoulder bag and tucked his thin blanket around him. 

(If your curiosity is piqued please go to the WEB address above and buy the book to read further.)

Indhira Ghandi
Cleo Odzer