DELIVERING INVITATIONS IN BALI PART ONE: for a society thats pretty casual about post aNd delivery generally( replying to emails, passing on parcels, acknowledging receipt of anything), the balinese are strict about hand delivery of invites to aristocrats and bosses. A posse must be dispatched in full balinese dress to hand delivery even coupons for the next bazaar. Last night two such postmen grovelled into the brahman house where i was sitting with my dad on a small terrace chewing the cud.
" tell em to sittown' came the rude command from the family head inside
They grovelled over to a pavilion edge where my driver was masturbating the house cat.
Then big mama dayu gede arrived in a clapped out van from a cremation in kuta; she stage-manages hindu events with her hard-working lady-in-waiting. Two kuta bearers carried in offerings for tomorrow's Ngajum ceremony. Dayu gede dismissed them indifferently ( balinese serfs adore being dismissed curtly by brahman boss-ladies -- its part of the joy of feudal life) and then turned her indifference on the coupon bearers just in case they were here to order offerings .
I was saying silly things all the time like " i'll take a cut of the coupon money" etc but it was as if i didn't exist: in a brahman house, facing a fierce mama-san , most balinese legs turn to jelly.
Eventually the coupons were delivered and the postmen backed out , bowing and scraping. Oh how well everyone plays their roles in this medieval play on life.
Last week , high in a ceremonial pavilion in denpasar, where two raja's reps were fashioning exquisite soul effigies( padma), a high priestess complained to a raja about him not attending the recent cremation.
" HEAVENS WOMAN" he bellowed " your invite courier came in shorts!!!"