Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You've heard of Indian traffic, right?

Ouch!

 Oh boy. So last time I was in India, the traffic scared the hell out of me. I was usually yelling at husband to slow down, stop following so close, please don't hit the pedestrians, I can't watch this! Surprisingly, I felt safer on the motorcycle as it is able to swerve in between and around and felt like less of a coffin. We had a few close calls, and got hit five times, just little bumps and nudges, where you just stop, glare at the other driver and move on.

 This time, the traffic is more like a video game, where I am enjoying the seamless beauty of swerving, darting, shuffling, hedging, and honking, gasping at close calls and itching to be my own driver. Oh to tackle it and conquer! I would do this, not that, go here, dodge there, jump through that opening, squeeze in between those trucks, pass this loser, fall back now, grin maniacally at my fellow contestants, exhilarated, and loving how alive driving is here.

But accidents do happen and I experienced my first one last night.

 On the motorcycle, Husband and I were heading to a baby's first birthday party, and another motorbike turned into our lane without looking at all, and slammed right into us. Husband tried to slow down, but there was no where to swerve to as the median was on our other side. It all seemed in slow motion to me, the bike falling over, the other bike and two passengers almost on top of us, skidding down the road. No helmets. When we came to a stop, Husband jumped up and pulled me up, pulled the bike up, moved us over to the side of the road, and we were instantly surrounded by at least thirty people, watching me cry as Husband used my water bottle to wash off my bleeding elbow. I don't recall what he said to the other bikers, I was kind of shocked that my video game turned harmful, and was grateful that we were both fine and that it was late, around 11pm, so there was less other traffic to worry about as we were skidding and laying there, and getting up and moving to the side of the road. Of course no police were called, no accident reported, no exchanging of insurance information. We just hopped back on the bike and went to the party.

 This morning, there is a bumpy bruise on one knee, and one of my toes is paining. Husband is fine, and says "This is India, babes!" meaning that this is common and we just glare at the other driver and move on.

 Oh India. How I love the way this country will take an observer and make them an active participant. You cannot be apathetic in India.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Lately....

Well....
 I've been online a lot looking at visa stuff for getting my man over to my country. After I got home last time, I consulted a lawyer and he made it seem pretty simple, but he wanted $3600, and that is something I don't have right now. Husband is still getting his paperwork together, so we haven't been too concerned about it, but once I leave here, I wont be able to afford to come back for a long while. I think I can do this without a lawyer, thanks to the plethora of information on the internet (Oh how my life would suck without Google!), but first I need to get home and get a job and an address, so I think it might be a while before I see my sweet man again. Makes me sad.
 My time is winding down. Two weeks until I leave India and about a week and a half until we leave this village and go to Mumbai and Goa. So ready to see something new, and so ready to go home, back to yoga, back to work.
 I have been sick a lot lately. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and sinus issues which have been giving me headaches. I want to do Bikram for 30 days in a row just to get out the toxins I've built up here!
 I wrote down a recipe for a Punjabi dish that my sister-in-law makes. It's called kadhi and it is kind of like a spicy soup with pakoras in it that I put over rice. I like it a lot and it looks pretty easy to make so maybe when I am visiting you, Emily, we can put it in action! Mind you, the recipe is more like a little of this, a pinch of that, a bit of this, some of that, so we shall have to go by looks and taste. :)

 So, forgive me for not posting. I am burnt out.
 And if anyone has any tips on visas and immigration stuff or knows of any web sites I could gather more info, it would be appreciated.
 Hope you all are enjoying life, love, good coffee, and being a productive member of society. Aloha!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interesting India

Some interesting things that I have read in the news here:
-Monkeys have taken over the runway at Ahmedabad airport. Planes cannot land until they get them cleared out.
-There is usually one story a week about an abandoned baby girl. Seems like boys are still the most wanted. Sad.
-Men buy more beauty products than women, with teenage boys buying the most. Everyone seems to be obsessed with whitening creams and lotions.
-A 20 and 21yr old couple committed suicide when they realized they wouldn't be allowed to marry as they are from different castes. They drank poison.

And an interesting thing I have noticed concerns the babies. The boy babies have eyeliner, and bangles around their wrists and ankles, and get dressed in pink. The toddler boys have long hair. The girl babies are rather plain, sometimes they have eyeliner, and sometimes they have pierced ears. I have taken to asking my niece what gender it is just to be sure.

The other day, Husband took me to a hospital to see a 10 hour old baby, and the poor mother was so exhausted. I felt like we were intruding, but he says it is normal for everyone to come see it as soon as possible. At home, we would wait until the mother was home and ready for visitors.

Husband's car was so dirty that the neighborhood kids were writing in the dust all over it, so one evening after the sun went down, I asked for a bucket, soap and a rag and I went and washed it myself. Needless to say, at first my Mother-in-law couldn't quite figure out why on earth I would want to do that, and I became the entertainment of the neighborhood, as the Indians were quite amused by the foreigner washing the car.

My sister-in-law wants me to teach her some yoga. :)

My friend from Ahmedabad is coming down on Saturday. I hope she brings me the Indian version of People magazine. I am dying to catch up on all the Bollywood news! ;) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

H-O-T

Oh the heat here!!!

 I was warned.

 People, I spent every summer in west Texas, but I don't think the heat was quite like it is here in India. I wake up in the morning full of energy and plans (we sleep with the AC on), but by noon I am sprawled on the bed with my skirt pulled up as far as it can be while still being a somewhat proper Indian wife, zapped of any desire to move. (But I have to move to turn over every once in a while because the parts of the body touching the bed soon become drenched with sweat.) Even a trip to the bathroom takes much gathering of resources and droopy shuffling, with a huge sigh of relief when I return to plop back down. I don't even towel off after showers anymore, because those precious few moments before the drops of water evaporate are pure bliss. I now take two showers a day, sometimes three! Oh my lord.

 And it is only going to get hotter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Halfway

This week has been full of new adventures!

 Now, don't get too excited. My excitement threshold is such that just leaving the house is cause for celebration. :)

Husband has been fabulous, taking walks with me in the evenings and out on the bike for his errands. He also took me to a couple of libraries to look for books in English. Both of them had about one shelf worth, but they weren't really books I would normally read. I was ready to sign up for a membership, when his cousin mentioned that she has a friend that has a bunch of English books. She called her friend and then came by one afternoon on her moped to take me to the friends house.

Now, just getting to go for a moped ride in Indian traffic is a thrill, but the prospect of more books made me giddy. Every speed bump that jolted my butt off the seat had me giggling like a girl.

 When we arrived, this extremely nice lady sent her teenage daughter out to get us all some ice cream. A moped ride, books, and ice cream?!!!! This has to go down as my favorite day so far!

 She teaches at an English medium school, and offered to ask her principal if I can come to school with her, to chat with the kids, and browse the school library. I would totally be interested, would love to chat with some kids that speak my language, and satisfy my curiosity about schools in India. (When I told my niece of this, she promptly insisted that I come to her school too. So this next week might be busy.) I ended up borrowing 13 books, and have already finished three...

Saturday evening, Husband picked me up and we went to meet his friends for drinks. Since this is a dry state, drinking takes place in people homes. We went to his cousins place, and I chatted with his two little sons and even got to ride a bicycle! I told you, lots of adventures. ;)

So. I am no longer bored. Besides the school visits, the other things I am looking forward to, is, one, my friend from Ahmedabad is coming down next weekend to meet the family and just hang out. She said she would bring me some magazines and I am beyond thrilled. And, two, before I fly home we are planning a trip to Goa! Yes, beautiful beaches and the laid back Indian life await me. I am happy that I will get to see more of this wonderful country.

Right now, I am in our room, and nephew is playing a game on the computer while four of his little friends are gathered around watching. I have no idea what they are saying, but their cheers and laughter are making me smile...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Aries isn't made for the housewife life! (aka -Posting just to post)

 I totally want to post something witty and amazing, but I am out of steam. I look at the calendar and see that I still have 5 weeks to go, and I am about to jump out of my skin! I want to go back to work, I want to go back to Bikram yoga, I want to ride my bike to my favorite bar and have a few scotch & sodas while talking story with all my drinking buddies! I am thinking that 2 months of just sitting around reading is surprisingly not as fulfilling as I imagined it would be.
I am enjoying the time with my husband, and with the kids, and I do like being here, but the slow tick-tock of these endless days, are wearing me down. If my knee wasn't injured I might start going for runs just to burn off some energy. I cant focus, and I just keep obsessing about all the things that I need to do this summer. I am worried about my lovely job and how I might lose it because I took this time away. I am irritated by people who don't return emails. Argh!
Okay, enough with the negative. Sorry for the uninspiring post. I wish I had something going on to report on, but literally, there is NOTHING going on.
Ah. But...Maybe I should list all of the books I have read since I've been here. :)
-Someone Else's Garden    *Dipika Rai
-The Glass Castle   *Jeannette Walls
-An Instance of the Fingerpost   *Iain Pears
-Between the Assassinations   *Aravind Adiga
-His Dark Materials Trilogy   *Phillip Pullman
-Hotel   *Arthur Hailey
-Five Point Someone   *Chetan Bhagat
-If Today Be Sweet    *Thrity Umrigar
-Mother Pious Lady   *Santosh Desai
-A Girl Like Me   *Swati Kaushal
-Known Turf   *Annie Zaidi
-Hindi Bindi Club    *Monica Pradhan
-Being Indian   *Pavan K Varma
-A Fine Balance   *Rohinton Mistry

The last one I am still reading.
So 14 books in 3 weeks, and I still have 5 weeks to go. Hmmmm. I need to find a bookstore again. The train station here has Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Arthur. That is it. So I have been trying to get Husband to take me to Vadodara, a larger town a couple of hours away. We might go when the kids are done with exams and make a day out of it.
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh..................................

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's like that only

 I am obsessed with this phrase that is uniquely Indian.
  "It is like that only."
 It is a response to many of my questions that I secretly think they don't have an answer to. So this phrase, accompanied by the Indian head wobble of course, pretty much slays any further questions I might have.
 It implies, how can you argue with this?
 "It is like that only" or "Just like that only" reminds me of when mothers say, "Because I said so!". No further argument please. And, how your mother would sometimes shorten it to "because!", my husband shortens "just like that only" to "just!"
 "Babes, why do Indians do the head wobble so much? "
 "Just!"
 No further comments required.
 You can put "only" on anything. "Sister-in-law, where did you go this afternoon?"
 "There only."
 Well.
 I love it. Every time I hear it, I copy it and do the head wobble. It might be the only thing I pick up in India, but I believe it will serve me the most. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

India wins the semifinal against Pakistan

Cricket!
 I didn't know a thing about it before I married an Indian, but I have been lucky to be here during the World Cup. The family watches every game, and I am trying to understand it. Husband explains some and I also looked it up on Wikipedia. I like it! Not only is it an interesting game, but all the beautiful brown boys make it exciting to watch. You should check out the Indian captain, Dhoni, he is super handsome. I tell my husband that I only watch to watch Dhoni. ;) Heeheehee...
The semi-final was India vs Pakistan, and I guess they have a longstanding rivalry. It was pretty much a holiday here in India, with the banks, government offices and most shops closing early, and the streets were surprisingly deserted. Every time India got a wicket everyone would stream out of their houses and dance with the neighbors in the streets, hooping and hollering, lighting firecrackers. I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement.
 It was a long game but I guess they usually are. Started at 2.30pm and ended about 10.30pm. When India won, it was pandemonium in the country. The news was full of shots of people dancing in the streets and fireworks going off. Here in this town, the neighbors were all out, dancing and drumming, running around with India flags, lighting firecrackers and just smiling at everyone. Husband took nephew and I on the motorbike to see what was going on outside the neighborhood. I made a video for you. :)
video