As promised in the blog header, here’s a couple of random (r)observations and other serendipity from India. I’ll settle for a bullet point list; hope you don’t mind!
- I have been running in a national park near my apartment (both temporary and new) called Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park…or KBR for short. The park is open in the early mornings (4:30 AM to 8:30 AM) and again in the evenings (4:30 PM to 9:00 PM). On Thursday morning, while running in the park, I nearly fell over a peacock strutting down the path. They must be used to all the people that walk (and the few that run) so they just do their thing. And to see peacocks every day…well, it’s beautiful.
- I had to run a bunch of errands tonight. I walked out of the office and flagged down an autorickshaw. Surprisingly, the auto-wallah agreed without argument to use the meter, instead of haggling for an (extra high because I’m a white guy) set price. Success! 45 minutes and 5 stops later, I got back into the auto and headed to the office. As I stepped into the back, the auto-wallah shyly smiled at me, and handed me a small stick of strawberry bubble gum. “For me?” I said. “Ha, sir,” he replied. As we drove off, I unwrapped the gum and blew a large bubble. After it popped, I noticed him staring at me in the rearview mirror, a giant smile splashed across his face.
- I need extra keys for my apartment – for me, for my roommate (more on him later), for my housekeeper and – when Stephanie arrives next month – for her. So I needed a locksmith. Our wonderful office cleaner/errand doer/team glue – Tahira – agreed to accompany me. As we waited for the locksmith to make the keys – he had to take my master key and go on his motorcycle back to his main shop – we sat by the bus stop and she slowly, patiently, taught me to count to 10 in Hindi.
There’s far more depth to each of these stories. About the contrast of a beautiful and lush national park – with the noble peacocks! – set amongst the craziest traffic and pollution you’ve ever seen. About the genuine kindness of everyday people, and the curiosity that my foreign-ness piques in people. About peeling back the layers on people – like Tahira – whose true spirit transcends her job. She’s like a mother or grandmother to all of us.