Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Day of Activity

The following message was added in early 2008: I have been meditating on whether to remove old postings. My perspective in some entries is that of "other" in the countries I was visiting. My orientation and voice have shifted a great deal. For the time being I have decided to leave all postings in the blog. Some of the postings in question have received praise over time, and some, although humbling now, do show what was real to me then. Please forgive any cultural insensitivities and United States Americanisms you may find. I am open to your feedback on this: send to lizabehrendt at yahoo dotcom. Thank you.

I played cricket today, with ten neighborhood boys, aged about 8 to 15 years, and my buddy Ramya. The boys were healthy and well fed, for the most part, I sense I'm in a posh neighborhood. Later we ran running races. The oldest boy, whose English was excellent, guessed my age as 18. Bless his beautiful heart.

Later at my place, joined by four neighbor women, one holding 9-month-old Sachin, I learned Tamil dances ~ think Bollywood movies. It was vigorous and totally fun! They were great teachers and dancers, and it was easy to pick up their stylin' moves.

I also had my first solitary walk this afternoon. I had an appointment to observe an interview of a village girl, but at the last minute it was cancelled, because she wanted to go to a festival instead. I was able to sneak out therefore, and move my tall body on my own. It was heavenly to get out and walk forth in the world, unsupervised.

It is extremely challenging for me to get out on my own. I'm not allowed by Ramya, my 18 year girlfriend, to do anything like that without her. She's always itching for something fun to do, but I knew she was studying for exams and having lunch.

On the road people stared, as they typically do. I am an anomaly in so many ways. Today I had energy to smile, and mostly I got smiles back. A man on a rickety bicycle, the only kind you see, slowed and offered me a ride back to town. I would have had to perch sidesaddle on his rear bikerack. I declined, much preferring to walk, he persisted, I declined again, smiling, he hovered, and finally he rode slowly on without me. No English was exchanged, just names of towns as he tried to figure out from whence I came. His best guesses were Mysore and Bangalore, which made me chuckle, as those are like a hundred miles away. It would have been a long walk. I guess he hadn't heard about the tall foreigners in Sathy yet. Anyway as far as I know, that was the first time a man tried to pick me up in India.

I got lost coming back on my walk, missed the turn by the milk store I figure. I realized it some kilometer later, and made the best of it, feeling proud when I eventually came upon something I recognized, a sleeping pad store. I made my way back past the fruit shop, and stopped for a huge bagful of fruit, raisins, and veggies, for about US$2.