Friday, September 04, 2009
And despite a pact to never go again..I did go to the Notting Hill Carnival!
Yes, it is Europe's largest street party. Its loud, its open, its funny and it is full of people peddling drugs like any other party/ festival. There is alcohol to be consumed and jerk chicken to be savoured, celebrities to be spotted, all fun.
Part of the fun is also having people brush past you mumbling, 'get me, 5 rolls for a tenner, get me!' and then there will be yet another who shall walk past quickly mumbling, 'weed, grass, marijuana, e, speed - cheap'. Different strokes for different folks..whatever you speak, you would get what you want there. No problem.
Yet another element of fun were the glass pieces on the floor..with 1 million people pushing through London's narrow streets, its often hard to see where you are going. Mix glass shards with horse droppings (from the Met police on horses) and you get a unique mix of stuff that can screw your flip flop clad feet in more ways than one.
The fun also comes for many in the form of amazingly skimpily clad people...no not in the parade..but watching the parade and shaking their...booties (for lack of an appropriate term) in time to the music coming from the steel bands going past. Some of these skimpily clad women and men were this time around coated in chocolate...so much of it..you could smell it at a distance! Some of them were not clad at all..! I had much fun watching the starer and the stared.
What was not fun were the 222 arrests made in 1 day of people causing trouble..peddling not just drugs & alcohol, but also those carrying knives and guns, wearing bullet proof jackets..using the carnival..now notorious for its high level of 'danger' to the common person. Riots are known to break out during the carnival as gang wars find a place to be executed. Therefore the police was out in large numbers too! Which was comforting at some level..but slightly disturbing as well..as always.
This does sound like a report of the carnival..it was not meant to be. I am sure most carnivals have drugs and alcohol as part of the atmosphere. So I am down to my pet peeve..guns! Held by an officer - intimidating, held by a criminal - upsetting/ scary. But guns in a carnival - pathetic, depressing, annoying..its meant to be a party of good music, dancing on the streets, dressed up people, good food and many smiles. Yet we have people with guns walking around..and not just the police.
Am I being naive/ pathetic myself by being upset? Are guns now a part of our so called 'society'? Or is this just so in UK/ US? and does not happen in Rio? or in Bombay for visarjan? Anyone been part of the Ganpati visarjan crowd for a whole day? I want to hear from you.