Highlights of India – 1st week on my own
March 11, 2013
35 degree ++ Celsius humidity (complete with mosquitoes and no air-conditioning), but blessing upon blessing, there things called electric fans and when I have the energy to walk down, the breezes of the open sea;
Acres and acres of garbage that riddle the sides and corners of every street and every property of this otherwise lush tropical paradise – I swear… not one place have I looked that piles of garbage aren’t strewn somewhere on the land;
Waking up to chanting, the boom boom boom – the bass of the music from the Gym down the street, roosters, loud big birds (they are like our magpies in Canada), and get this – coconuts falling on the roof in the middle of the night as the monkeys harvest in the cool night air;
The rickshaw driver Lalan, giving me more and more information about the culture here with every ride – everything from pointing out the fresh flowers that only come out this time of year, to playing me traditional Hindi music as we ride;
The absolute abundance of beach dogs who feed on the waste everywhere – we’re encouraged not give attention to or feed them, for fear they follow us home with their fleas or rabies;
The walking vendors… loaded up, always trying to outshine and out-bid the shopkeepers… The schpeel is the same “I give you good price” or the one, one vendor uses over and over that makes me giggle… “Monsoon price!”;
Working side by side with my tailor Kishor, designing and creating the two raw silk blouse and skirt ensembles I will be using for conducting ceremony when I get back home and finalize my training;
Tiny concrete shacks 2, 3 and 4 buildings deep on one stretch of land with footpaths between them, each of them with different rooftops designating their “level” – woven palms, corrugated metal or, if they’re even luckier – a concrete rooftop;
Two and three-story gated homes, painted in vibrant colors – bright blues, yellows, pinks, purples and greens… some even with house staff to do everything from cleaning and grocery shopping – to burying or burning the garbage;
Visiting the daycare centre at the bottom of the hill a couple of times, actually being let in to play with the little girls and boys, you can tell they are from affluent families – always dressed up like little china dolls;
The beggars everywhere, no matter where, travelling in “packs”… sending in the weak and the elderly first asking for food, then if that doesn’t work, the tiny children – asking for “pens please” is the big thing here – so the child can supposedly go to school, but then they just sell them off.
All this is India, and she continues to have me simultaneously challenged, and mystified.