Tuesday, February 10, 2009

when in India...

I dropped my used floss on the classroom floor the other day, discovered that I had dropped it the day before in fact, and I did not bother to pick it up. An act of conciliatory truce on my part? Or a rebellion against all I've been taught and appreciate about hygiene, aesthetics, and consideration for others?


I was too tired to walk outside to the patch of (dirt, grass) I've been using as my midnight loo, so instead I (rebelled) (conciliatoried) by hanging my ass out the classroom window and letting the piss fly where it may.

Instead of calling ahead for a hotel room or booking a bus to Pondicherry for next week's leave-taking, I am mentally gearing up (or down) for just shoving all my stuff into my rat-eaten rucksack and taking off, to land unannounced and then just figure out what to do when I arrive.

This afternoon I sat on the ground with the cook (the other is away) and chopped vegetables. Here's the conciliatory part: I didn't even flinch when she handed me koss (cabbage) from the pile of vegetables lying on the floor. Everything goes into the pot anyway, right? Right?

I am making great progress, no?

The cook I helped this afternoon: her name is Kala. She is adorable. Very open face, friendly, smiling, round, laughing. Several days ago she started calling me 'sister'. I am going to cry. So I learned the Tamil word for sister and tried it out on her, 'Vannakum sagodri!' (hello sister!) The other cook, Mageshari, tried to tell me that Kala's last name is (something I don't remember but consists of no less than eight syllables and rhymes with 'sagodari'). I repeated my clumsy attempts at Tamil Sister, repeated Sister in English, and they both laughed appreciatively. Also, like I had actually made a funny joke. They understood then what I was trying to say and beamed.

Here, verbs are used with the -ing. Also, people in our group (or, as far as I can tell, any English/western group) are referred to as 'members'.

Today, I am feeling dizzy and slightly euphoric: not as a result of the dizziness, but rather with the relief of extreme despondency and diarrhea and, as hyperbolic as it may sound, a will to live. I'm looking forward to The Great Unknown...not with eager salivating anticipation, but with at least a modicum of grinning and nervous sideways glancing, which is much more than I've felt capable of up to this point for quite some time.

This member smiling!

And I look forward to posting pictures in Pondy :)


TangoAlphaMike said...

Holly WOW! Where are you? India? Well hello over there. I love your writing I'll be checking back and often.

Tam Hess

V.K. said...

hey girl!! so nice to hear from you! I miss you...seriously. Thanks for the mass love and stuff. Hope you're doing really good.
more of that xoxoxox

grinning mouths said...

Talk about life-affirming! I'm missing out on the ExpErIEncE, woop!

And you write just as well as you draw, thank goodness. ;]

V.K. said...

hey there....shanks for shayin' hey and all, and for the life-affirming opposable thumbs up - hope yer doin' well and good!