RE-POST FROM 2013
Let’s just come out with it; I should have been born here. The only thing that doesn’t match is the color of my skin, eyes or my hair and the language I speak. Besides those minor details I easily fit into this life.
The male peacock wakes me up in the morning with his loud cries as he places himself just out of reach from the stray dogs who have found their morning mission to chase him as they fight for territory. I crawl out of my bed of loose cotton-filled padding and make my way to the back balcony where the “modern” second-floor toilet is placed for all neighbors to see exactly where you are going.
After two cups of chai masala made by our hired servant I head to the rooftop for my morning workout as more neighbors slowly make way to their balconies to catch glimpse of what crazy moves the blonde American will be performing today. I feel like I have become a sideshow to them. I practice my fencing; here I have my epee and tennis ball on a string and practice my coordination and footwork. Following with some joint mobility, bands, body weight exercises and not forgetting my jump-rope. After moving to the inside room for a little suspension work I have completed my 2 hour morning workout. Now time for a bath.
The Bucket Bath – It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t winter here. Did I mention there is no heat throughout the house? To get to every room you have to enter the outdoor common area. So I fill up my bucket full of hot water and debate whether or not I really want to suffer cold with wet hair or not. Today I will not wash my hair, as I pour the hot water over my body it immediately turns to cold as the air hits my naked flesh. The bath does not last long, for it is time to get my day started.
After dealing with my work in the US via internet I need a break from the house. No fault of her own, our help is beyond curious of my daily ritual to where I feel like I am being stalked in my own home. On top of that she doesn’t speak Gujarati or Hindi so my communication with her is hopeless. I head out on my daily adventure by bike, but not before I have to move the cow who has placed herself right in front of the gate, obstructing my exit. I was not alive during the Industrial Revolution America endured, however I can imagine it was somewhat like what India is going through now, fore the pollution is so bad it burns your eyes and chokes your throat. After spending my second day constantly gargling salt water to get rid of my sore throat I resorted to making my way through the streets with my face covered.
Although I felt, and still feel silly every time I cover my face and head with my dupatta looking like flower splashed veil for a burqa or abaya, I found it better for my lungs and safety as I rode my bike down the streets. Ahmedabad is a large city in India but not a common tourist city where you get many western travelers, so seeing a blonde haired blue eyed female riding a bike throughout the city can cause for attraction. Which I learned quickly as people driving scooters and rickshaws liked to stare at me as they passed by while slightly swerving toward me. Completely covering my face and head ended many close calls of collision.
The beautiful chaos this city and this country has to offer simply cannot be express by only words. Yes there are slums, street beggars and poverty. Yes there is no rhyme or reason to the traffic flow. Yes there are cows roaming everywhere and stray dogs on every street and you cannot eat local street food without the fear of the ever so dreaded Dehli Belly. The colors and music and spices and faith, (whatever religion it might be) supersedes anywhere on earth. Generation upon generations living under the same roof defining the meaning of what a real family is. It is a country that heightens all your senses.
A place where every day is a different adventure. A place where you are forced to sit back and look at the things which are truly important in life. Thought provoking. Risk taking. Soul searching. Adventure seeking. Perfect. India.
Repost from: January 2013 WP Without Borders – in efforts to merge blogs