Stranger in a Strange Land
Tales of a Year Abroad

Out and About

Finally made it out of the house today--no late-showing cleaning crew, no upset belly, no excuses. I put on the flops, grabbed the (new) bag, and high-tailed it out of the apartment. And it was... liberating. Mind you, I just walked around the corner, past Law Garden and down to V-Mart (which does not sell anything worth buying), back down pass Law Garden, and caught a rickshaw to Reliance Fresh for some grocery shopping. Nothing really to report--saw some traffic (dodged some traffic), saw some guys doing whatever it guys do, and this bad boy making his way down the street: 

In other news, the local neighborhood boys (probably about 8-14 years old) have "adopted us. Steve attempted to make Poha one day (a mixture of potatoes, peas, peanuts, flat rice, and various spices) and botched the whole thing. We saved it to feed to the Three amigos (a trio of adolescent puppies that live across the road from us) as I WILL make friends with them, they will not bark at or skirt me every single time I walk out the door... but I digress. We couldn't find them--we searched up and down the road. Then we saw them playing in the courtyard in the building across the way. Now, I'm not one to trespass on others' properties (okay, when drunk, I may "know" and "take" certain shortcuts that involve hopping fences and dashing under windows but still...) so Steve and I stood, scorched poha in hand, peering at the dogs, hemming and hawing about feeding these little monsters when three little boys ask us, "You want to feed the dogs?"

After some initial mis-communication, the boys lead us inside. The dogs, two golden colored, one black, all curly tailed, scatter when they see us (I am used to this by now). We put the poha down on the ground and wait. The black dog (Puppyrati--because he yodels and sings vs. barks) comes out first. He is friendly and has let me scratch his ears before. They boys bring us a dish to dump the poha into. It occurs to me that these dogs, unlike most of the dogs we see wandering the streets, are actually taken care of. While belonging to no one, they've found shelter and people who will feed and socialize them. They are used to and friendly enough with the boys that the dogs let the boys pick them up. The boys tell us that the puppies' mother came there with them one day, left, and didn't come back. Since then, the whole complex has taken care of the dogs--feeding them, playing with them. 

These boys are also curious about us--they want to know where we are from, what we are doing, if we speak Gujarati. They tell us their names and some other details before being called in for diner. Before they leave, the one that speaks (and understands) English the best instructs us that he and his friends will be available daily only at 6 p.m. Over the course of the next couple days (including today), this boy has introduced more friends to us, invited us to play, and shown me a open/closed electric circuit his friend made a school using wire, an remote controlled car motor, and a AA battery. He left only after securing a promise to meet them at 6 p.m. tomorrow to learn how to play cards.

AWEEEEE. Tina and Steve make little friends. :) I vaguely recollect those 'drunken nights' of Tina guiding me around Delhi streets, (a place where she has never been before) stating unconditionally, that she knows shortcuts through yards and over fences. he he. :) Can't wait to hear more! love you sissy!

HA, you better watch it, you KNOW those kids know 5 card stud. You guys are So going to loose your shirts ;) lol.

BTW, teach them bullshit. Best card game EVAH.

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Visions of India

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Hodgepodge and Miscellany

The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Alladin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday's bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.
- Mark Twain

In India, I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it, inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything, but possessed by nothing.
- Appolonius Tyanaeus

If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
-Romain Rolland