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June 17, 2008 / calebdresser

Superficialities?

Ice cream cones cost 24 US cents. Cows in the street. Writing in Devanagari. Eating with my right hand. Haven’t seen a Caucasian since I left Delhi on the 10th of June, haven’t eaten meat or had a drink since leaving the Philippines. Two baths a day – dipper cup and you sit on a stool. Nobody speaks English well enough for me to focus on the person rather than the language when in conversation. No toilet paper.  Doorbell rings constantly – trash wallah, milk wallah, maid, neighbor, others I do not know. Deadbolts everywhere, even on interior doors. Police weapons large and visible on the street. Driving on the left, if you can call it that. Haggling. Curious faces everywhere I go, others impassive. Power outages, three or four per night. Soaring highs when things are good, long lonely stretches of empty time. Milk curds. Water runs only in the morning and the evening. Loud noises. Spices in everything. Tea service. Crisp collared shirts. Servants. Hard, unyielding furniture. Colorful fabric draped on everything, including the women. Caste lines, gender lines. Heavy boots, long pants, hot air. Time for reflection, time for over-analysis. People everywhere. Dust on the surfaces outside, inside, doesn’t matter. Parking in the middle of the road. Thinking about people far, far away. Snap. Head in the here and now. Double life, double vision. Wailing, strummy music. Trends and observations new here that I had heard five years ago. Clean water a prized possession. Cockoaches. Endless cups of spiced, milky tea with men – yes, it always seems to be men here – that I have never met and may never meet again. Rooftops cool in the evening. Monkeys. Passive social behavior, hints hard to read in a different language.  A McDonald’s fallen from the sky near the mango stand. Same shit, different ingredients. Trash by the road, even the educated litter. Can’t speak much Hindi yet. Everyone wants to know what things cost in America, thinks money rains from the skies. Stray dogs, everyone throws rocks except me. Sunsets of curry and mango and dust streaked in the west.  Life lived in my head, in my heart. People I miss, people who matter. Flip-flops at dusk, a few mosquitoes out over warm paving stones. Humming songs to myself wherever I go.

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4 Comments

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  1. bengolas / Jun 18 2008 8:14 am

    Hey Caleb! I just wanted to let you know that you still have a friend in Africa who is thinking of you. I can definitely identify with a number of your experiences, some more than others. When you find a cockroach larger than your thumb, then you can talk to me about bugs.

  2. kaitlin / Jun 18 2008 11:07 pm

    ahh hope you love india, i miss it!

  3. Becky / Jun 22 2008 11:43 pm

    Thanks for not throwing rocks at the dogs 🙂

  4. Amy / Jun 25 2008 4:13 am

    Yay humming! Sometimes music just makes the world feel just the slightest needed bit smaller…

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