BootsnAll Travel Network

June 16th, 2008- Last day in Shimla, India

Of course me being me I left everything that I wanted to do in Shimla till the last day which meant that it would be a long day but hopefully exciting. After class Michelle, Ben and I went to the High Court of Himachal Pradesh which is the state Shimla is in and since Shimla is the capital they have their high court within the city. Ben and I were dressed like shlumps, I had no choice as all my stuff was packed away in my bags since we were leaving the next day for Dharmasala. When we got to the High Court, I went to the front desk to ask if we could enter. The lady was extremely friendly and told us that we could and that the Chief Justice’s court was on the 7th floor. She also said that the court is in session from 2-4pm. Since we had gotten there at like 130PM by the time we had spoken to the lady it was closer to 140PM. We decided to just go upstairs and wait for the 2 O’clock hour to roll around. When we approached the elevators we were stopped by a guard who said we could not enter. I told him that the lady two seconds ago had said that we could go up to the courtroom.

This is where the communication barrier came in to effect.  He didn’t understand what we were saying and we didn’t understand what he was saying.  In the end only advocates and judges were permitted to go up in the elevator so we were left with walking up 7 flights to get to the courtroom where the Chief Justice presides.

The three of us made our way up to the 7th floor and wandered around a bit until we saw a familiar face.  It was the guy who came to visit our class when Raj Kumar gave his lecture on the new law school in Delhi.  This guy’s name is Mr. Sharma and he is the registrar general of the high court in Shimla.  Shimla is the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, so he is definitely someone important.  He greeted us warmly, well at least Ben and I, and really didn’t even look at Michelle, much to her dismay.  He told us to come find him after we were done watching the court proceedings, and we told him we would.

He along with a guard brought us in to the courtroom through the special side entrance which was for authorized personnel only, that was cool.  The guard brought us two thirds of the way to the back and pointed out seats for us.  We said thanks and immediately noticed that all the rows ahead of us were for advocates only.  At that point we had about fifteen minutes until the judges would enter the courtroom, maybe more since it is India.

Eventually the judges entered the courtroom and we all got up the judges nodded their heads at us and we reciprocated the nod to him with a slight bow of the head.  We watched several different cases with the same defense female advocate.  It was really hard to hear them and coupled with the imperfection of their english, it was really difficult.  We did watch one male advocate get ripped apart by the Chief Justice himself and saw a female advocate really go at it with the Judges in trying to prove her point, that was certainly interesting.

After about a half of an hour I looked at Michelle and we both said “lets get out of here,” I then turned to Ben and told him lets go, so we all got up, nodded at the judge with our heads, with a slight bow of the head and then did the same before we left the courtroom.  I want to note that there were about 7-8 percent female advocate and I really did not like the fact that when you are getting reamed by the judges, that you bow your head and agree.  I’m certainly not bowing my head for anyone, definitely not if I am a lawyer and he is the judge.  We are both doing our jobs and he is not a g-d by any standards.

After we left the courtroom the three of us went to the Registrar General Office where he greeted us again with a firm handshake, not Michelle, again and we sat down and had a nice talk.  He offered us some tea and biscuits and to turn down tea and or biscuits in India is a huge insult so no matter what you accept.  I happened to be in the mood for a little chai (tea).  Mr. Sharma basically gave us the run down on the Indian Judicial system and I asked him several questions like what his impressions were on the success of the Lok Adalat’s.  The Lok Adalat’s are India’s version of Alternative Dispute Resolution.  It doesn’t really work, but he thought that it did work in a few circumstances but still had many loopholes that needed to be tied up as I believe as well.

At one point I asked him how many cases the High Court had per year, and he didn’t know, so he picked up the phone and called someone and I could understand his Hindi, he basically said hello, this is the registrar general calling, how are you, I was wondering how many cases blah blah blah.  So once he got off the phone he told us that they have over 27,000 cases per year.  I exclaimed “wow, thats a lot!”  He questioned if that was really a lot and I said that for a population of 7 million that is quite a few cases per year at the highest court available in the state.

The clock was past 3PM and I was supposed to be at the clothing shop at 230PM so we needed a way out of this meeting.  Eventually Ben pushed the envelope and said we had to go pack and take care of things before we left for Dhamasala before tomorrow and then Michelle and I chimed in with “yea, we gotta go.”

When we left Mr. Sharma gave his salutation goodbye he at that point acknowledged Michelle and shook her hand goodbye.  I could tell Michelle was a bit angry.  She is somewhat of an active feminist so things like this probably drive her nuts.  Sure enough, as we left the courtroom she expressed her sentiments about Mr. Sharma and how she felt about what had happened back at the courtroom.  Personally, and Ben agreed that she might have overreacted a bit.  I definitely thinks he overreacted, not taking in to consideration the different cultures and ways of thought throughout the world.  I mean Orthodox Jewish men don’t touch women who aren’t their daughters or wives is that sexist?  I don’t think so.

After the courtroom I arranged to meet Ben and whoever to go up to the Monkey Temple but told them first I had to get my camera and get up to the shop to try my suit on and to make any of the necessary corrections needed for it.  So I ran back to the hotel, quickly grabbed my camera and hoofed it to the shop.  When I got there I apologized for being late and they told me no problem.  They called the tailor who came with my suit.  I tried it on and basically had to just take in the jacket and pants just a little bit.  No big deal.  Since Cat had a lot of changes that needed to be made he said to come back at 815PM and we would see where the tailor was and it might take longer, I said no problem and told them I would see them later.

From the shop I wandered up to the church and where the beginning of the hike to the monkey temple began.  I definitely had no idea what I was getting myself in to as I had homemade crappy flip flops on which were susceptible to rain and breaking down on me.  I didn’t think it would rain in Shimla that day which was my first mistake as it had rained everyday since we had been there, over two weeks.  But I decided to just suck it up and give it a shot.  At around 345PM it started to rain hard, and I didn’t think Ben would come, so after the rain subsided briefly I started to make my way up the mountain.  After the first few hundred meters I stopped and went to an internet cafe, which for Shimla was surprisingly fast.  Most of the internet places were brutally slow so this was a slight relief.  At that point I really had to go to the bathroom, but had no toliet paper so when the guys at the shop told me where the toliet was and I saw that there was no toliet paper, I refused to use my hand and just clenched my ass cheeks and said i’ll hold it.

From the internet cafe I proceeded up to the monkey temple.  At one point the road was so wet from the days of raining that I took off my sandals and went all naturale.  I had no choice as my sandals could not handle the wet surface and the water.  After about 30 minutes of huffing and puffing and stopping I made it up to the top, and ironically enough I saw Ben.  He asked me what had happened to me, and I told him that I thought he wouldn’t come because of the rain so I just went without him, and apologized for doing so.  Once we got there we walked to the lower temple, took a few photos, admired the crazy monkeys running around, and then proceeded up to THE Monkey Temple.  It was a little scary as there were many monkeys jumping around and staring at us as we were walking up to the temple and plenty when we got to the top.  I am glad I bought a monkey stick, which is basically a piece of wood, like a cane that you use to walk up hills, and is used to scare away monkey and hit them if they try to attack you.

After my monkey incidents of the past in Cambodia and the other day, a monkey stick was an absolute must.  Ben and I stayed around a while snapping photos and just hanging out, unfortunately just before we began to head down the mountain it began to rain, not just little bit of rain but monsoon type rains.  Before we made our journey down the mountain a group of guys that had followed Ben kept following us and talking to us to the point where we had to engage with them.  I generally don’t mind but sometimes these locals can be annoying.

One of the three guys could speak english the other two only hindi or Punjab so we spoke a lot with the english speaker.  These were three guys from Punjab.  I practice my hindi which worked to a certain extent but could only go so far.  I can pick up on context clues but even I know what they are saying its hard to respond sometimes.

They ran with us down the mountain to a place along side of the road where we could get shelter from the rain.  We ended up spending a little over an hour at this hut with a lot of other Indians who were waiting out the rain.  One Indian kid sent me some good Punjabi music through bluetooth to my cell phone as well as a photo as us that he took with his Nokia.  They also taught me how to dance Bangra, which is how you dance to Punjabi music.  It is really fun to do.  At one point we had this inclination to try and get a cab from a place a few hundred feet down the mountain, so I gave Ben all of my stuff and rain barefoot in the pouring rain to this shack and asked in Hindi about cabs, the lady said “no cab, no cab, you can wait here.”  I told her no thanks and then ran all the way back up the hill in the pouring rain barefoot.

I told the guys that we were out of luck and that no cabs were around here.  Then suddenly one guy appeared and said he could get us a cab, but wanted like 400 rupees or something nuts.  We were all like thats absolutely crazy, and were like forget it we’ll walk.  When the rain subsided slightly we took off for the hotel and the bottom of the hill.  We all ran, I did so barefoot for the bottom.  Once we got to the bottom the rain wasn’t that bad, Ben went to the internet cafe that I had gone to on my way up, I walked the rest of the way dancing Bangra style randomly.  It was so funny because every time I did the kids would laugh and go crazy.  At one point they videotaped me doing it, I’m sure that will be on the internet somewhere, sometime.  Anyway, I went one direction, said goodbye to the kids and they went another.  I definitely did not want them knowing where I was staying, for purely safety reasons.

On the way down to my hotel, a little boy came up to me and starting talking.  I thought he was a beggar so I didn’t pay much attention, but then he got real close to me, and asked me if he could take my photo.  Now this has been very common during my time in India, they love taking pictures of White Westerners, guy or girl.  I thought it would just be with him but as it turns out he wanted a photo with his entire family of their 9.  It was hilarious and I got a photo of us all with my camera, but the kid took a blury one, damn image stabilization not working when I needed it too!

I finally got back to the hotel, changed, saw everyone and told them of my experience, and then Professor Subotnik and I engaged in our long awaited championship ping pong battle.  He had been talking a lot of smack about his ping pong abilities so we set up this little match.  2 out of 3 to 21, winner take all, of what, well to be decided later.  He won the first game, as I was warming up, I won the second game after being down 19-15 playing to 21, and 20-19 with him serving, I stayed tough, fought back and won 22-20.  I was pumped up.  Then the third game went status quo as I beat him pretty handily 21-16 or 17, I forget.  I immediately rolled up my shirt and made a muscle with my right bicep and kissed it.  Thank g-d for anonymous grading.

This was a long day, similar to last summer right…well anyway after ping pong, I changed and Cait, Arrindum and I went to the shop to get our suits.  When we arrived on time the owner told us that the tailor needed 30 more minutes, we took down the guys number just in case we had problems and then walked around killing time.  After about 30 minutes or less, we arrived at the tailorshop, low and behold the suits were ready.  I gave the tailor an extra 300 rupees or less than 8 dollars as a tip for rushing our suits and mine look sweet.  From the tailorshop the three of us agreed to go to this place called Footloose, or the only listed form of nightlife in Lonely planet.  This was also the place that Arrindum and I had checked out a few days earlier.  We didn’t go to the disco portion but sat down and had a few drinks.  I had a shot of Whiskey with Cait and arrindum had some mocktail.  I then had the most disgusting Whiskey sour of my life.  I barely drank it.  From there we went back to the hotel, had dinner and reminisced about our day.

After dinner I just hung out with some peoples, and then got to bed.  It would be an early rise as we would be getting up at 5am to get the ball rolling on heading to Dharmasala by bus.


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