Karachi, India

OK Friday Sunday, April 12 10 12, 1929 Friday, April 12, 1929

Bugs are descending upon us again, especially on my bed, so I spent the night on three chairs on the roof. I probably [will] be buying a little cot before I ever leave India. Last night Mort went out to get a drink in a joint down the drag. An inquisitive Hindu began pumping him so Mort told them he was an American, had only been in India about 4 years, bought his shirt in Java, spoke a little Hindustani, and didn’t work, just lived anyway. When he left, a man followed him to the hotel, then told a cop. Evidently the cop had a talk with the proprietor here because this morning the latter came in with a worried look on his face and presented us with a slip requesting that we deposit 40 rupees, the approximate amount of our bill to date.

Went to the Diamond Theatre tonight and saw an Indian movie. Had a ritzy 18¢ seat under a fan. The inside of the theatre is like a cheap show in America except this had a large stage on which a stray cat meandered about. Two pigeons made themselves at home on the scenery. Candy vendors paraded the aisles yelling their heads off. The thriller was a ten-act drama. The titles were shown in English and two Indian dialects. Everybody recited them aloud, talked when they felt like it, and yelled and whistled to spur the hero on. A native orchestra of a bagpipe-like wind instrument and a tom-tom furnished the weird music while in exciting spots one gentleman felt the need of singing accompaniment.

The movie is Give and Take. “Dedicated to those Brave Souls who under any circumstances keep their faith in Love and God.”

Chandri is the heroine, a little too plump, but very attractive, more so in her dual role as Niena, the flower girl. In her nose is the little ornament that became an asset to her beauty when you got used to it.

Her wicked guardian is trying to force her to marry his son “Vinod, a good-natured young man to whom his father’s word was law.” Chandri wanders listlessly about the big home, tragedy personified. “Bulbul (the canary bird), I understand why you crave to fly freely in the air.” The guardian enters. “I feel like a caged bird in this house—please let me enjoy freedom.” “Madupur, Capt. of the Royal Guards, earned the reputation of being the arch-enemy of flattering ministers.” (No less than the bold hero, possessing a set of ivories that would starve a dentist.) Then came “Miena—a flower girl who dreamed of becoming a great lady some day.” As she tripped lightly (?) down the road followed by a dozen men—”Miena’s flowers attracted more young men than bees.” The drunken king had a new plaything. She says “I don’t want your crown, I want slippers bedecked with real pearls.” Enter the minister. “Prepare a pair of slippers bedecked with pearls costing 10,000 rupees,” says the king as he staggers about. Exit the minister to squeeze the necessary funds from the half-dozen protesting farmers in a nearby room. Up steps the hero and spouts off about a wicked king sucking the blood and bones of poor farmers. He goes before the king and quarrels, finally resigning. The minister says, “To fill up this wicked belly, we must sell our conscience.” The hero turns outlaw and complications develop. The hero has the heroine in a haunted tower. “I am going to brand those snake-like eyes that have been playing with my heart.” Then weakening, “I have not the courage to brand the beauty that has damned my soul.” Later, when they and the outlaws are defending the tower—”Unaware of the approaching calamities, they were enjoying the pleasant talk of sweet love.” Then—”The police has besieged the tower.” All ends happily. These Indians just eat that sort of stuff.

The Poet-Laureate’s contribution to Frank

Dedicated to M. Frank Aldridge/Franck Aldridge is good and kind,/Holds his friends in esteem and dear to heart/So may his Honour grant in his President’s mind Right-rule./India, a Tour Full of Blessings to Impart.

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