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  • Half an hour in India

    Posted on July 5th, 2009 Sheila Yair No comments

    trafficI walk out to the street. It is horrifically noisy, it seems like a thousand cars are beeping at once. It is a small village of about 1000 people but it is noisier than New York’s midtown. On a one lane road cars, pedestrians and animals all try to make their way in both directions. A big truck is stuck in the middle and no wheels, feet or hoofs are moving at the moment. I look at the poor kids running around they are so filthy. After 10 minutes that seem like eternity things start to move. A beggar jumps up at me, I avoid him and get hit by a car that is speeding along. Despite the combusted mass of cars, people and animals they drive as if they are on the German Autobahn. I walk in to a shop to get some bread and toilet paper, I have to haggle with the shop keeper because he states a price 3 times higher than the real one. Everything here has to be an ordeal. Of course as I walk out I see that he shortchanged me so I go back to get my 5 rupees.

    I walk to the post office, naturally there is a long line, and it goes all the way outside. I stand here with the sun beating on my face and sewage running 2 meters from me. How can people survive here? I finally get in and see the cause of the line. The stamps here don’t stick by themselves so everybody has to apply glue from one jar with a stick before clearing the way for the next person.

    I look for the cleanest place to eat. I sit down at a place that seems OK. The owner serves the rice with his hands and his helper who is frying the potatoes checks the temperature of the food with his finger, thanks for the concern. There is a little plate of salt in front of me with mounds left behind by all the fingers who reached for it, I guess no salt for me. As the food arrives I wonder who in India didn’t directly or indirectly touch my lunch. I add hot pepper, my only friend here. Two women are coming over to ask for money. This place is hell.

    I walk out to the street. It seems a busy day. There is always something happening here even in the smallest villages. It is a truck stuck in the middle of the road. Even though they only have one lane for cars, people and animals things always somehow work out. I look at the children running around. It is amazing how happy they seem without anything, no ball toy or video game to entertain them. Things start moving. Some indecipherable harmony always prevails. A beggar jumps up at me, I almost get run over. I have to remember to more careful. I give him a few coins. I walk in to a shop to get some bread and toilet paper, things are so cheap here compare to back home. Even though he is probably overcharging me it is pennies. As I walk out I see that he shortchanged me, oh well 10 cents down the drain. I walk to the post office, there is a line stretching. I stand outside, it is a sunny day and I look up to the mountains and think of all the birds and monkeys that are playing around in the trees. I get in and buy my stamps. They don’t stick to well, luckily somebody thought of that and has left a jar of glue.

    I look for the cleanest place to eat. I sit down at a place that seems OK. The two friendly guys serve me a delicious plate of rice potatoes and vegetables. I add a little hot pepper just to be on the safe side. Two women in gorgeous brightly colored saris are headed this way. This place is heaven.

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