On the road

‘I happily surrendered’: Chris Mannix from ‘The Hateful Eight’ on travelling in India

Actor Walton Goggins travelled through the country in 2009 and blogged about his impressions.

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which opens on January 15, follows bounty hunters who get sucked into a web of betrayal and deception while seeking shelter from a blizzard. The cast includes Walton Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix. Goggins, who also appears in Tarantino’s Django Unchained as a sadistic slave trainer, started his career with the television series The Shield, in which he plays the iconic detective Shane Vendrell, and progressed to the silver screen with films such as Machete Kills, Lincoln and Predators.

After wrapping up The Shield in 2008, Goggins took a two-month break in 2009 in India. His blog, Hindu To You Too, traces his journey of his journeys through India.

Goggins started out in late February 2009 at the popular tourist spot Varanasi, then travelled to Delhi, and then on to Bodghaya, where he befriended Buddhist monks. In March, he marvelled at the Khajurao temples, mused about Indian attitudes towards marriage and sex, visited a mosque in Bhopal and ended the trip by celebrating Holi in Pushkar in Rajasthan.

Though his itinerary might seem predictable, Goggins presents an interesting outsider’s point of view of India. Here is why he thinks people identify with the United States of America.

a group of young boys spotted me taking pictures and began asking where i was from. “America” i said, “BARACK OBAMA” they replied.

— Post titled “There's some f*****g going on”, March 9, 2009.

An excerpt from his Holi blogpost chronicles his attempts to escape the festivities.

i must admit i simply wanted to participate as an observer. i even took refuge in the foyer of a HINDU temple thinking SHIVA would protect me. my efforts were in vain. 5 young men, suspecting my reticence, snuck up behind me and began smearing paint all over my face. i broke the grip of the biggest one, began running down the street, only to have my escape route closed off by 20 teenage INDIANS, who looked like they'd been on the road with THE GRATEFUL DEAD for 6 months. tackled to the ground i was, color stuffed in every orafice. i surrendered. i happily surrendered.

— Post titled “HOLI”, March 11, 2011.

Goggins also taps into the fact that Indians love being photographed. His subjects are run of the mill and that is how he brings out the distinctive in his everyday surroundings.

A tender moment between man and beast in Varanasi.
A tender moment between man and beast in Varanasi.
Goggins made friends with a Buddhist monk at Bodghaya.
Goggins made friends with a Buddhist monk at Bodghaya.
Reading through the newspapers in Delhi.
Reading through the newspapers in Delhi.
The Khajurao temples are interesting to Indians too.
The Khajurao temples are interesting to Indians too.
At the Khajurao Fair.
At the Khajurao Fair.
A late-night stop at a tea shop.
A late-night stop at a tea shop.
A mosque in Bhopal.
A mosque in Bhopal.
Goggins loves this t-shirt.
Goggins loves this t-shirt.

He also accurately summarises travelling in India.

Imagine you body, your human form, hollowed except for one artery running its entire length. then imagine everything passing thru that artery; blood, oxygen, carbon dixoide, water, food, waste, muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, thoughts, emotions, all functions of the body. add to that cows, chickens, elephants, goats, monkeys, rickshaws, oxcarts, tractors, transport buses, tourist buses, bicycles, rickshaws... welcome to traffic driving in INDIA.

— "Mobility", March 8th, 2009.

Goggins is likely to become more familiar to Indians after the release of The Hateful Eight. He gives us a peek into Chris Mannix, who claims to be the Sheriff of Red Rock town.

Play

All photos courtesy Walton Goggins at hindutoyoutoo.blogspot.in.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

Play

During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.