Day 9

Monday, 5 January, 2009

Wait, that’s not how the song goes! It’s purple rain, purple rain…but here in India, it certainly feels like a purple haze.

I know the sky is blue, but I’ve yet to really see it. I miss blue skies, not grey smog.

Air quality is massively shitty. I have zero desire to pick up a cigarette thanks to trash burning and the construction dust – there enough pollution in my lungs without adding that. It’s even a bit hazy in the apartment, but it’s nothing like outdoors. I hate the black boogers that come out of my nose…TMI? Well, like that’s ever stopped me before! I actually have coughing fits that won’t stop until an hour or two later. It certainly makes my walks around the apartment building a bit hard. I hate coughing…so I sometimes stay indoors and forego the walks, but I love seeing the little stray dogs.

There is one stray dog whose picture I try to take but he somehow eludes me each time…He/she is probably about 4-5 months old and is so damn adorable. The dog loves people and is such a clown by nature – right down to it just walking or running. I can’t describe it, but saying the dog has clown antics is not too far off from the truth. I swear, that dog is just so uncoordinated when it walks and runs it cracks me up. It’s also the puppy/dog that has the little Hindu marking between his eyes, on his forehead. I wonder what deity he worships? Haha. The dog is so friendly, it comes running and is truly a sight to behold, legs flying in all directions complete with head flopping about and tongue hanging out. I swear, that dog smiles. Sadly it’s a stray and I’ve already been told by the guards to not play or pet the dogs.

The puppy’s mother likes to sleep on the mat outside of our apartment door. I suspect it’s slightly warm and she loves the garbage we leave outside for the men to pick up every morning. The men don’t get here on time and the dog usually tears through the food that we throw out…I hate how food is disrespected here, I guess. So there is a huge mess outside the door and I freak out, thinking of roaches and ants. I just hate that there is no trash place for me to dump things. I suspect that the men who take the trash away just toss it out onto the lot behind the houses here…and that is the shanty town. I am fairly sure that once that happens, the people of that town grab the bags and look for food…after that, it’s everything that can be burned.

As I said earlier, I have issues with how food is treated here. I guess I am more like my mother than I really wanted to ever be. I’ve accepted I am like her in some ways, but I can’t believe I’m like this when it comes to food now.  For breakfast and dinner we’re given a lot of food…I mean enough to feed 4 people, not 2. Dinner has proven to be the most difficult because Gaury, the cook, loves to give us so much that Colin and I eat as much as we can…I desperately try to save the leftovers, thinking I’ll eat it for lunch, but it’s not the case. I’m usually so full from breakfast that I don’t get hungry until dinnertime, which is about 8 hours later. We have had leftovers I’ve been trying to tackle for the past week and Gaury noticed, telling me that she’s going to throw it away. Of course, my mom screaming, “Don’t throw food away – that is grace!” always goes running through my mind. Gaury’s completely right in throwing it away – it is going to spoil. What’s the point in hanging on to that?

I want to take what is left over and give it to the people in the shanty town, but I’m often told to not do that…because they will show up on my doorstep, wanting more. Simple acts of kindness are rarely done here. One day while getting gas for the car, Colin stepped out and got himself and the driver a Diet Pepsi and a samosa. The driver was surprised – things like that aren’t done here. That said, I’m truly surprised at how kind the people have been to myself and Colin. Is it a double standard? Be nice to the guests/tourists but not the natives? I am just amazed at how well Colin and I are treated, but to see regular everyday people get treated like dirt pains me. I know I’m no saint when it comes to being kind to others, but I do have some modicum of decency.

It’s strange, but I never thought I’d have to harden my heart in a strange land…


Day 11
Day 5

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