Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Beaked God

The most outrageous thing I have ever worn to an airport was a tall Ladakhi ceremonial hat. Shocking pink with a silken sheen and golden tassels, it caused a sensation at Leh airport in the summer of 2010.

I had acquired said hat at a street-market in Leh, but when packing at the end of the trip, I discovered it wouldn’t fit into my backpack. The only way out was to wear it to the airport, a solution which had the added benefit of providing long-suffering air travellers and airport staff with some free entertainment.

Recently in Venice, I bought a papier-mâché carnival mask, too fragile and oddly-shaped to go in my hand-luggage. But it was a striking and beautiful thing, hand-painted in bright colours and embellished with gold-leaf, and with a sinister, phallic beak, like the god Quetzalcoatl.

Naturally I wore it to the airport. Italians, naturally excitable, thought it was hilarious. Some tried to engage me in conversation, but behind my mask I remained silent and inscrutable. Occasionally I raised an enigmatic index finger. When the fancy took me I drew a finger across my throat in a slicing motion, or nodded in stately fashion. With these and sundry other cryptic and sinister gestures, I frightened off the curious. I was like unto a beaked god among these babbling imbeciles. But for security check and at the immigrations desk they made me take it off.

Unfortunately there are no photographs of the pink Ladakhi hat, but Myshkin took one of me wearing the mask, and a bed-sheet for a cloak.

7 comments:

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

:D This is incredible. You should wear it to Kolkata.

Raktima said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Upload picture of pink hat!

Abhiroop said...

That looks like Bane's mask. Dude!!!

Sroyon said...

@Shrabasti: Sujaan took it with him to Kolkata! He could if he chose have alighted at CCU wearing this, but knowing him, I doubt it.

@Raktima: Don't have photos!

@Lahiri: Right, and I look like Bane.

Anindita said...

This is ruddy brilliant! You should have attended a few classes with pragmatic or ani mazum similarly attired :)

Indecision Personified said...

"When the fancy took me I drew a finger across my throat in a slicing motion, or nodded in stately fashion. With these and sundry other cryptic and sinister gestures, I frightened off the curious"

I wonder you were not immediately tackled by airport security and whisked away to a high security prison somewhere. Or were you?

Sroyon said...

No, there were no such incidents. Even airport security staff are god-fearing.