Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chandigarh Rocks

19 November 2009 – Chandigarh, India. Rock Garden with art sculptures made from ‘urban waste materials’ by Nek Chand.

With just a few hours left my last day in Chandigarh, I made a list of all the errands I must do before leaving for Malaysia[bxA], walked out to the main road, hailed a motor rickshaw and commanded the driver, “take me to the rock garden!” Huh? Where did that come from? What about the list in my pocket? All the things I must do? They can wait. Abhishek said I’d love the rock garden.

I got there just before dusk thinking I’d wander aimlessly listening to my ipod. At the entrance there were a couple dozen Sikh teenagers who’d just finished their tour.

One of them asked to take a photo with me. This is a phenomenon I won’t try to explain now, but people love to take photos with westerners (they especially love to take photos with Alyssa, but when she’s not around, a photo with me will do.) After I posed with the first guy, pandemonium ensued.

Everyone wanted a photo. I only got a few with my camera, but they all had mobiles and the photo shoot went for a good 20 minutes, costing me precious daylight to explore the garden, but it was much fun and totally worth it. They took turns carefully asking me my name, which is now officially ‘Alexandra’ to strangers because I can no longer defend the ‘Ali’ thing. It’s a boy’s name.

Eventually I made my way into the rock garden, which blew me away. The sign said it sprawls over twelve acres, and it does. I got lost and had to be rescued by two adorable Sikh boys who made it their mission to lead me through the maze of walls and statues and rocks.

It was like Houston-Montrose-Folk-Art meets Xian-China-Terracotta-Warriors. Abhishek was right, I loved it. Made me think of Nikki’s dad and his propensity to not only landscape, but build artful constructs in yards of apartments he was only renting. A thread always weaves me back to Houston…

Link here for more photos on Picasa (click on photo to open Picasa album).

Chandigarh Rocks