Women

What does it mean to be traveling in India?

A single or a couple of women taking a trip in India comes with its own volley of problems, as every step of the way throws up a new challenge. First of all, you cannot do the most travel-esque thing: hitchhike. A method tried and tested for travel experiences that remain unforgotten, in a country where the news is full of horror stories about crimes against women, it is a privilege only accessible to well-built, thrifty men, as we give up dreams of our very own Motorcycle Diaries. Or so common sense will tell you.

Worries begin as night falls- while big cities are notorious for their crime rates, small cities have that eerie sense of abandonment post nine pm, of perhaps police being not so readily available, of people misconstruing your purpose, of stumbling across barren land and little connectivity. As women, we choose to spend the extra cash, but not compromise on safety- we try to stay in downtown areas, tend to peek in buses to check the male-female ratio before hopping on, and generally beware of accepting any unsolicited help. We take extra care about where we stay, about the homestays we pick, about the hotels we decide on, as often enough one hears horror stories about hotel staff mixing with local goons to harass you.

And then of course, for the cherry on top, there are always judgy uncles and aunties who are only too happy to show you your place. In our train back to Delhi, a middle aged couple was surprised to find that the two of us girls were out by ourselves, asking us whether we were too fond of adventure, their eyebrows raised so high up that they threatened to get lost in the hair on their head. Of course, there are many, many of us who do go out on our own, who do hitchhike, who do take trips while staying on a tight budget- but a general middle-class consensus remains, that for a woman to travel alone in India, without an external support system, is just not safe. I do not suggest that these problems for women are exclusive to India- but perhaps I may suggest that they exist more so in India?

A night in Jodhpur and all of us sat together, conversations taking us to places unexplored. A French girl traveling to other states of India after a three-month long stint in Leh, a German out to experience the whole of south and south-east Asia, another German with similar travel plans, an Indian guy bagpacking across the entire subcontinent with a goal to know every corner of all our twenty-nine states over a period of one-and-half years- and of course, us two girls, our travel plans seeming increasingly tiny in front of their ambitious ones.

Suddenly though, the equation changes- there are foreigners amidst us who have their own set of problems. They don’t know the language, they stand out for their differently coloured skin, and are obviously not so aware of the culture of a place- additionally, in a country like India, where culture can vary so greatly every few hundred kilometres, it can get all the more confusing.

They begin to relate their experiences, one of which happened right in front of us- some of the locals extremely keen to take pictures with these whiter skinned people, simply walk up  to these foreigners and stand next to them, asking their friend to click a picture. It is bizarre; the French girl exclaims that it does not make them feel like celebrities, that it makes them feel like zoo animals. That is the gap- it wouldn’t be the locals’ intention to make them feel like zoo animals; perhaps they just act out of curiosity, and do not find any other way to express themselves since they cannot speak a language common with them.

Then there are some instances which are not so funny, some which are just plain awful. Foreigners raped on the beaches of Goa, raped while they are on drugs, robbed as they try to ask around their way, fooled into things much more sinister. It is not just limited to foreigners; as the two of us girls walked around in Pushkar, a bunch of local guys begin to follow us, asking us which country, which country. When we do not answer, they try and push each other on us, so they may accidently brush against us and every time that happened, the whole group would cheer.

There are smaller problems as well- imagine leaving a valuable bag at some place you visited, some table you sat at, in the excitement of the day, imagine accidently leaving it behind at a shop, a restaurant or in a taxi. I make this statement without referring to any stats, because there can be no reliable stats for such a thing- you’re just less likely to retrieve something you left behind or lost in India as opposed to in other touristy countries. It is easier to find something you left behind, or dropped on the way, in a country like Singapore, or Germany or Switzerland.

But why? Is it because people are more dishonest here, more deceitful? No, maybe not; maybe the problem is that we don’t have the kind of systems in place that will facilitate the search of a lost item. We don’t have effective Lost-and-Found management at tourist places, we have police who are overburdened and have better things to do than find your lost wallet and they have no problem even telling you so- it is perhaps because the system doesn’t support us that individual acts of such assistance are more rare. Of course, experiences are always subjective- you could have lost your bag in Singapore, never to be found again, and found a lost one in Punjab. But on an average, I would not pick up a wallet lying on the road and make an effort to report it to the police if I know that it’s going to take away too much time from my day and earn me additional jeers from the authorities themselves.

These are among the many factors that make traveling in India not just dangerous, but consistently difficult, and that is a terrible shame, because India, with its endless history and multicultural demographic has monumental potential. Every state has so much to teach you, with effects of an increasingly globalizing world palpable on the local population, that traveling in India can be one of the many great experiences of your life.

But as the night went on and the Jodhpur air cooled down, we began talking about the other side of India, the side beyond the gruelling heat and inconvenient transport, the side beyond the dilapidated histories and the forgotten lives. The side which sheds light on the warmth, the brilliance and the beauty of cultures which believe in communities, in helping each other out, in looking out for more than just yourself.

They relate experiences and instances where the generosity of the people has exceeded anything that they have ever witnessed- the simple gestures by which the locals welcome travellers in their homes, the way they ask them to sit and have a meal with them, to share their food and understand where they come from. I hear that and I can’t help but agree- seeing a baraat passing by the main road from our balcony, all of us rushed down to witness it as the groom and his family pulled us in with them, made us dance, and asked us to come along, to be a part of their festivities, to share their happiness. They asked us, as we stood in our dishevelled hair and random pyjamas, they asked us to come along.

When our German friend caught an auto in the middle of the night to buy cigarettes and upon reaching the shop, realized that he had no money on him, the auto guy generously offered to purchase them for him. When in the train, the judgy uncle-aunty who disapproved of our trip, also made an extra effort to visit us and check whether our unconfirmed seats got confirmed. A couple of years back, while on the train from Goa to Delhi, we befriended an old, sardaar uncle who never fails to call and wish me on any festival, who never fails to wish me on my birthday, more than two years after we met him that one time.

There is something about this country that makes traveling here an absolutely maddening and an absolutely heart-warming experience. The range of people you will find here, there is little chance that you will find it anywhere else. Perhaps its still not too clichéd to say that here you will find that something else too, maybe a method in madness, a beauty in disarray, but it is something that works.

 

 

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Masaan and the Many Faces of Love and Sex

[Image source: http://www.filmimpressions.com/home/buzz-masaan-at-cannes.html]

One of the best things I read in the reviews of Masaan after watching the movie is the underlying irony of the story: Varanasi, the city which is believed to be the gateway to ultimate liberation of the soul, can entrap the soul just as well. Masaan narrates two storylines depicting the lives of particular individuals who sought to break away from the lines of caste, class and gender that divided small-town Varanasi.

Except for a couple of aspects, I found the movie absolutely fascinating with subtle and insightful portrayals of new versus the old, illustrating the many ways in which technology is seeping into homes and families, lives and its loves, attempting to break age old barriers as traditional institutions battle it out against this unstoppable force whose victims are the people of this tragic generation, forever stuck in the middle.

But the facet of the movie that I wish to touch upon is Devi’s storyline, who checks into a hotel room along with her boyfriend and then proceeds to have sex out of curiosity. Trouble strikes as police barges into the room, intimidating the couple as a result of which Devi’s boyfriend locks himself into the bathroom and slits his wrists, as the police threatens to call his parents. The police also clicks a photograph of Devi while she is naked in bed, which they will later use to threaten and blackmail her- the Great Fear of the Scandal.

There are two striking features at this volcanic start: a woman in a small town watching porn on the internet, who then goes to have sex with her boyfriend, admitting that she didn’t want to do it under the so-called pressure to ‘put out’ but because she was also a human being who had sexual urges and a curious mind. What? A woman who wants to have sex?! Out of choice?! How blasphemous!

This is the reason why Masaan, despite its confused storyline and untapped potential, still managed to win my heart because it not just acknowledges female sexuality and natural carnal needs, but is also accepting and unapologetic of it. When her boyfriend commits suicide out of fear of his parents, she doesn’t die of despair- one could even say she was just plain disappointed. Despite the threats of ‘an MMS scandal’ that the cop blackmails her with, she goes back home to face her father, taking his anger, and telling him after a while that she did nothing wrong. Her eagerness to pay off the blackmail money is her desire to put this nasty episode behind herself and start anew not by marrying and settling, but by bravely visiting her deceased boyfriend’s family, in spite of knowing they would blame her for his death. She even moves out of her ageing, lonely father’s home in Varanasi to Allahabad, because, as she says, ‘jitni chhoti jagah, utni chhoti soch’, an action which is particularly laudable in the Indian setup.

Taking the issues that Masaan raised, we, as a society, need to ask ourselves why are we so uncomfortable with sexuality? Why are we so prepped up against any kind of sex that is not legitimized by a heterosexual marriage? What is so wrong with pre-marital sex, with marrying a person you love while disregarding his or her caste, that it drives parents to murder their own children, and children killing themselves out of terror of their parents’ wrath? Why is it a crime at all if a grown man or woman chooses to sexually engage with someone of their age in a private hotel room, a crime that a police can arrest you for, socially, if not legally? At a time when the Indian government decides to ban porn, this is certainly a very important question to ask. What is it that makes us so very, very afraid of the most biological eventuality in the world?

And when I say we, I do not just imply Indian society- most major societies in the world are intolerant of, or atleast once were, any sex outside of marriage. There are also many societies in the world which are even more intolerant than ours; but because I have grown up in this particular society and can form the most informed opinion on this one, I choose to question my Indian society.

Any discussion about ‘unnatural sex’ is always guised by two constructs: that it is a ‘western’ import and a development of these ‘modern’ times that does not understand culture or tradition. Both these arguments are doomed from the start, as neither of these have any concrete basis, and are actually themselves constructs created by certain groups. It would be foolhardy of me to cite history, for neither am I learned student of history, and nor are there enough resources even in the deepest recess of the web to capture the multitude of traditions and cultures that have existed in the world over the ages. So I decided to go over a couple of examples that general knowledge and the elusive ‘common sense’ provide us.

Everybody has heard about the Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu treatise on sex, which describes the many ways of pleasuring your partner. We have even heard about the Khajuraho temples, and similar temples in the south, which show carvings of men and women engaging in all kinds of sex, be it homo or heterosexual, be it with a single partner or multiple. We know how Draupadi was forced to accept five husbands, and it is a known fact how the princely, dynastic families used to practice polyandry and polygamy to ensure succession. The ruling classes, just like the present times, were known to lead hedonistic lives which were quite different from the simple morality of the lower and middle classes, and again just like the present times, the lower and the middle classes allowed themselves certain freedoms and liberations of which the upper classes remained scathing.

The point is, ancient attitudes towards marriage-less sex were as ambivalent they are today; while there were communities who condoned it, there were groups who condemned it. While sex was considered the lawful dharma of any husband and wife, sex without a higher, righteous purpose was akin to sin. Such codes were respected by some and dismissed by the others- while the brahmanical classes maintained tight rules by the word of the Vedas and the Upnishads, there were many,many other whose lifestyles were quite different.

One good example for this is the Muria tribe, an adivasi tribe in the Bastar distric of Chhatisgarh. Muria are known for their open and embracing attitudes towards sexuality- from the onset of puberty as young teenagers, Muria girls and boys are sent to ghotuls, which are mixed-sex dormitories and are encouraged to make love to their partners. While some are told to go ahead with monogamous relationships, many of these teenagers are told to adopt multiple sexual partners in the course of their lifetime.

This is not an ideal, nor a debasement: it is simply an example of the variance in sexual practices not just all over the world which are many, but within India itself. The key here remains in sex education and acceptance, rather than imposition of one particular morality over others. We have a huge world with so many traditions and cultures that a lifetime is not enough to even study them- then how can we, insignificant, pathetic human beings that we are, living for a measly, little time period, even attempt to tell someone else that this is how it should because it is written in this book or because it’s done that way in one society, when we are nothing but dots in the cosmic infinity of space and time?

TITANIC: It’s Best That Jack Died

[Image source: http://www.sodahead.com/]

Titanic truly is the greatest movie of our times: the beauty of the ship breaking the water apart and cruising the sea, the grandiose of the interior, the thrill in the direction, the embodiment of Jack Dawson in Leonardo DiCaprio, the people falling off the ship, the ship itself standing vertically about to sink in the water and the great love story of Rose and Jack are things that are hard to replicate even now, more than fifteen years later. Yet one can’t help but think why Jack had to die, for Rose had known him less than four days, and there was great scope to portray the Happily Ever After that goes down so well. I battled with this ending for years before I realized that it was indeed a better decision to let Jack die primarily for two reasons:

Rose’s core struggle as a character was her desire for freedom, which she would never have gotten had Jack been allowed to live, and secondly, Rose, as an aristocrat who had grown up in the lap of wealth would not have been able to adjust to Jack’s ways of living.

Rose DeWitt Bukater, seventeen years old from Philadelphia, has been engaged to Cal Hockley, son of Pittsburgh steel tycoon Nathan Hockley, to maintain their high society status after Rose’s father died and left them debt-ridden. The first time we see the seventeen year old Rose, she walks in, opulently dressed, as the fiancée of aristocrat Cal Hockley- and as an aristocrat herself. “I don’t see what the fuss is all about,” she comments about the Titanic, walking past the third class passengers queued up for health inspection , leading the trunks and trunks of her luggage, straight to the parlor suites, aboard the Ship of Dreams.

To me it was a slave ship,” she declares, “taking me back to America in chains. Inside I was screaming,” referring to her engagement to Hockley, articulating the first tenets of her desire for freedom.

One of the first things that we hear from twenty year old Jack Dawson is, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” And indeed, Jack had nothing to lose: once his parents died when he was fifteen, Jack ‘worked from place to place, on tramp steamers and such’ managing to scrape together enough money to secure himself a meal and few blank sheets of paper to maintain his cheery disposition, and his will to take life as it comes. In the spur of the moment, at a lucky hand in poker, Jack along with his friend Fabrizio, wins two tickets on the RMS Titanic which will take him back home to America, as they run to get aboard, contending that they are the ‘luckiest sons of bitches alive’.

Conversely, as Jack jumps the lice inspections that other passengers of his class are subjected to, and gets straight to his third class bunker beds, Rose is busy arranging art of Pablo Picasso who was just ‘Picasso something’ at the time, and quoting Dr. Freud, hearing which Molly Brown addresses Hockley, “She’s a pistol Cal, I hope you can handle her.” We are shown, right from the beginning, that even at seventeen years of age, Rose has a strong voice of her own which will not be silenced.

Rose, forcibly engaged to Hockley, who makes sure that Rose that there is nothing he could not giver her, sought to escape this first class world in which she was unfortunately born. “I saw my whole life as if I already lived it. An endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches..”, the ‘inertia of her life’, thoughts which make her run to the deck and contemplate on whether she should throw herself into the icy waters of the Atlantic.

When Jack goes after a running Rose who is now hanging at the edge of the ship, we know that Rose would never have jumped. Maybe in a few years when she would have been driven crazy enough by Hockley, but not now- here she was just testing her guts. “Don’t presume to tell me what I will or will not do, you don’t know me”, one of the first things Rose says to Jack, reminding him of his class, as he attempts to dissuade her from jumping. She only warms up to him once Jack begins to narrate his story about the time he had gone ice fishing.

That is the point when her fascination with Jack begins- “You are rude and uncouth and presumptuous,” she tells him, a little before she sees his drawings, just a little before she’s intrigued by him because he can do anything and go anywhere he wants- within his limited economic means, of course. He tells her about the one-legged prostitute he meets in Paris, the naked women he draws, the portraits he does at a pier in Santa Monica and the squid boat he worked on in Monterey, as she falls in love with his freedom. “Why can’t I be like you, Jack?” Rose asks him, “just head out for the horizon whenever I feel like it.”

Once again, Rose pauses, thinking, daring, “Say we’ll go to that pier, even if we only talk about it..” she says, waiting out on his response. Jack shrugs like its no big deal, which in all honesty for him, was not-“No we’ll do it,” he says. “We’ll drink cheap beer, we’ll ride on the roller coaster till we throw up. Then we’ll ride horses on the beach, right in the surf”, he proposes, as Rose looks on at him in glee, for Jack promised her what Hockley never could, despite his claim. Restricted and constrained by being cultured into the high society since her birth, Jack lays bare a world in front of her which cannot be bought, a world where one does not need a first class status to live life- the cheap thrills which are more often than not, free. This contrast further acts itself out in the third class party that Rose goes to, ‘below the decks’, the first ‘real party’ that Rose has ever attended.

The next morning, Hockley confronts Rose about her night with Jack, instructing her to never act the same way ever again. “I’m not a foreman in one of your mills that you can command. I’m your fiancée.” Rose demands respect and authority, and in Hockley’s show of anger, she gets the opposite- subdued only for the moment, Rose’s desire to break free is ever so strong.

I’ve nothing to offer you, I know that” Jack says, but he’s never been more wrong- Jack offers her adventure, and Rose, young, naïve, impulsive jumps at that. In the famous ‘Titanic scene’, Jack gives her a glimpse of the life that she could have with him. It might have been a glimpse, but it was all she needed.

She takes Jack back to her suite, and shows him the Heart of the Ocean- the diamond of Louis the XVIth, bought by Hockleys, inherited by Rose’s fiancée Hockley, and given to Rose as their engagement gift, and is in fact, also the heart of the story. She tells Jack she would like him to draw her wearing only that necklace.  The scene particularly becomes the core of the entire story, as not only does it become a turning point in the movie, it is also the very thing that causes Rose to recollect this tale 84 years later.

As Jack draws Rose wearing the Heart of the Ocean, multiple things happen: not only does Rose become one of the subjects of Jack’s drawings, all of whom fascinate Rose, she gets herself immortalized wearing her own slave chain- the Heart of the Ocean, her engagement gift from Hockley. If she was so eager to break away from what confined her, why did she get herself drawn wearing the very emblem of that confinement? “We are royalty, Rose” Hockley had told her, while giving her the necklace- in a way, she immortalized herself as royalty.

Rose’s thirst for adventure and her wonder to escape to far away places is further articulated when in the next scene, Lovejoy, Hockley’s manservant, begins following Rose and Jack. As he walks behind them, Rose grabs Jack’s hand and yells ‘Run!’, in a wannabe police-thief chase. Why does she run? Lovejoy was just a sidekick, he wouldn’t possibly dare to drag her away forcibly, and he had already seen them together and would be reporting that to Hockley- Rose ran for the adventure of it, letting him chase them as they ran up and down the ship.

Additionally, once Rose and jack find the car in the famous scene, Rose sits at the back while Jack sits at the driver’s seat asking her, “Where to, miss?” to which Rose replies, “To the stars.”

The point where all these instances come together to furnish the final argument on why Jack had to die for Rose to be truly free comes once the shipwreck has happened, and Rose is standing on the deck with her mother and Hockley, waiting to get on a lifeboat, while Jack is locked at the bottom of a sinking ship for a crime he didn’t commit. “Will the lifeboats be seated according to class?” her mother asks out loud, turning to Rose and saying, “I hope they’re not too crowded.”

This proves to be the final straw as Rose refuses to get on the lifeboat and moves to rescue Jack. “Where are you going?” Hockley asks in anguish, “To him? To be a whore to a gutter rat?” Without a flinch, Rose answers, “I’d rather be his whore than your wife.”

I’d rather be his whore than your wife- that in itself is symbolic of the freedom Jack offered to Rose, which was only relative, and not absolute, and hence for Rose to be truly free, which I believe to be the core of the story, Jack needed to die. Passed from one man to the next, Rose’s independence would not come about, if Jack hadn’t died.

For if we suppose that Jack had survived, and the two of them reached New York City, harrowed and cold, but alive and intact, it is interesting to imagine what would have been. The appeal of cheap beer and roller coaster rides can only hold out till the day the vomit doesn’t drain every bit of energy out of you, and the hangovers don’t cripple you. Adventure remains adventure only till the time you have a stable centre to return to. Rose, growing up in luxuries and dressed by personal maids, obviously longed for ‘spitting like men’ and going to Paris with Jack, surviving on only ten cents a day, because it was romantic idea, and solely that.

Could Rose possibly know what paucity can truly entail? What would have happened when the seventh night in a row, Rose, along with Jack, would have to sleep under a bridge, on a stomach filled not with the sumptuous first class meals that she was used to, but with only promises of grand adventures. The adventure endures thrill when you are not running for your life, when every other day, you are not on the lookout for a temporary job for a loaf of bread.

This argument has a counter- for even when Jack died and Rose had a chance to return to Hockley, she did not. She still chose to struggle as an actress and start from scratch, refusing to back to her. However, the difference must be noted- if Jack had lived and they had to sleep under bridges and makeshift tents, Rose could have easily grumbled and fumbled and blamed Jack for leading her into a life of poverty. But when Rose refused to be a rich slave and instead chose to be a poor but free worker, she took her fate upon herself and geared herself for the consequences. We can’t speculate how her acting career went, but we do know that she married a certain Calvert and did not too badly for herself.

I’m a survivor, Rose” Jack tell her, and indeed he is- he would have survived had Rose not been with him at the time that the ship sank. “The ship is going to suck us down,“ he tells her, “Take a deep breath when I say. Kick for the surface and keep kicking. Do not let go off my hand.” But he forgets the primary difference between them- Rose is wearing a life jacket and Jack is not, and when you see the suction created by the sinking of the ship, you realize that it makes a hell of a difference.

While in the water, a jacket-less Jack holds on to Rose, hoping to get back to the surface on the force of her jacket. That doesn’t happen, as he sinks and she rises. Rose cannot sink, for she is wearing the jacket- flailing after drawing air, she looks for him. Jack finds a wooden plank and tells Rose to get on it, realizing that if the both of them try to get on the plank, it sinks. Rose gets the plank, and we see it in the briefest of looks, in the briefest nod of resignation, of ‘if this is how it must be’, Jack proves to be more of a gentleman than the entire first class put together.

Jack, white and hypothermic and drenched in freezing water, reassures Rose that the boats would come back and that she needs to hold on just a little bit longer, “You must do me this honor,” he asks of her, “You must promise me you’ll survive. You’ll never let go”, asserting  that never letting go implied precisely the opposite- for Rose to survive, she had to let go off Jack. Similarly, to be truly free, to truly be able to gain her independence, it was essential for Jack to not weigh her down.

Titanic was best left at this, as an unfulfilled love story, as is said in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, only unfulfilled love is romantic. “He saved me in all the ways that a person can be saved,” an old Rose recounted 84 years later. If Jack survived, who is to say the epic nature of the story would have survived- maybe it turned out that perhaps Rose did not find Jack’s rootless existence that charming. Throughout the movie, we see Jack leading Rose out of tricky situations which a courageous Rose managed quite effectively but at the end of the day, courage is one thing and slick is another.

How would Rose have ever found her own way if she always lived in Jack’s shadow?

Being a Sport

It was late afternoon and the metro was warm and cosy; the crowd was suddenly your friend, and the otherwise incessant chatter like the caress of a soft hum. The ‘general’ compartment was filling up fast, and noticing the last empty seat, he rushed, quicker than his friends, and sat; sighed, leaned his head against the back, relaxed his feet. Loosened, shuffled, and opened his eyes again.

When he saw his friends sniggering, nudging at each other. “It’s for ladies only,” they said, pointing at the green sign above the seat. “Perfect for you.” He shook his head at their taunts, smiling back sarcastically in return, but worried inside- should I get up? It’s peak time, some woman was bound to claim her seat. Yet, he wanted to enjoy those few minutes of rest just as he wanted to join his mates, stand up, be their equal. So he sat back.

The doors opened.

She entered, wearing a bright orange jacket, straight hair, laptop bag in one hand and a large handbag in the other. She scanned the compartment, and finding all seats occupied, plonked her bags on the floor, held the railing and stood facing him.

His friends laughed louder.

Ab toh uthna padhega,” they said. Now you will have to get up. Urging, jeering, laughing. He could not ignore them and more importantly, he could not ignore her and her right; bhaisahab, he would hear soon, uthenge zara. He closed his eyes for one more second, relishing in the stillness, and then opened them determinedly, resigning to his fate.

He half-rose.

Baithiye, baithiye” she said, laughing loudly, touching his shoulders, forcing him to sit down at what he believed had been reserved against him. Surprised, he settled back down, looking at her bags, his friends, and then at her. Her laugh was sparkle, her eyes playful- she glanced back reproachfully at his friends who were jeering even more loudly now. Smiling mischievously, shaking her head as if to say, nice friends.

In a bit, he relaxed again and his eyes shut, oblivious to the ladies only seat, to the lady who stood in front of him and her rightful seat, to the “doors will open on the right”, and leaned back in peace, in contentment.

Is it love at first sight? No.

Her magnanimity? Not really.

This

is spirit. Spontaneity. Love and cheer, on a cold, January day.

In the sweat and grime, hostility and spite, in the rat race, in the overpopulation and the muck and pushes and impatience, it is being a breath of fresh air.

This is what, is called being a sport.