Friday, June 29, 2007

Random Thoughts

1. If you are ever around Indians in a bill paying scenario, you may have seen a peculiar sight: people stepping over each other to pay the bill. I’ve seen this growing up when my family would get together for dinner at a restaurant, and there would be elaborate tricks to recruit restaurant staff to only accept the credit card from this end of the table, or a quick slip of the card into the waiter’s shirt pocket before we have even sat down to order. This is all great with my very well-to-do family in California, but to see it in India with people I hardly know sends the generosity scale through the roof.
Surajbhai (a friend from the Ashram) and I were driving around Baroda on his motorcycle as he was helping me get an Internet connection for my laptop. We stopped over for gas, and when we had pulled up to the pump we both lunged at the attendant (in India all stations are full service – another example of the huge supply of willing but incrementally useless labor in India) with our money, but ultimately Suraj prevailed. Here’s a kid, just graduated, who’s only every dealt in Rupees, who I’ve known now for about 3 days, not allowing a ostensibly rich NRI ABCD to pay for gas that (I was surprised to see) was more expensive than at home (Rs.48/liter is $4/Gallon right?). It was incredibly generous, but if you would have asked Suraj he wouldn’t have gave it a second thought. This is the type of generosity that runs in the blood of most Indians, in my experience. I know of friends who have wandered in rural parts of India with no money in their pocket and been taken in by the poorest villagers. They may not have much, but what they have they offer. This is one of the things I love about India.

2. I’m peeing a lot less now that I’m here, and up until the realization I’m about to share with you, I was a little confused about it. I pee at most twice a day – once in the morning and only sometimes one other time during the day. My realization is this: my water is now mostly being released through sweat! I’m sweating profusely during much of the day

3. If you’re Indian, you might have noticed that when your mother does laundry, before folding a cleaned and dried item she would do a quick snap on the garment, almost like shaking the dust off of it or waking the clothing up before it goes back to sleep in your drawer. Anyway, I realize now why she does it… because in India when you hang your clothes out to draw, bugs crawl in them! When I was folding my boxers, I found a couple huge beetles that would have easily been dismissed by a good snap of the wrist by my mom.

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