The chronicle of a lonely do-gooder family doctor who survived.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I am going to India this Saturday. This will be my third trip with Mrs. Sour Puss. In getting my stuff together, I came across my travel journal from my first trip in 2002 which contains these random observations:

"The village is crazy -- I'm the center of attention and it's not always good. Like there's preconceived notions of who I am and I don't exactly know what they are. I guess all I should do is smile and be comfortable."

"Charan says we are celebrities in this town. I should dress in Indian clothes...The first temple we went to [in the village] was the Sai Baba -- very new and bright. All eyes on me the whole time. I don't know who Sai Baba is -- some saint "who did good things for the people." I made the left hand mistake with the priest, accepting the offering of coconut oil...I heard a gasp from everyone in the temple."

"I keep making these cultural mistakes and I don't know how forgiving people are of them. I was definitely the center of attention [at the harvest festival in the village]. Everyone (especially kids) was staring at me. I made the mistake of approaching the kids after taking their pictures and showing them on my digital camera. Very quickly, I was mobbed and couldn't get away. One of the relatives came and had to rescue me with his tractor. After climbing in and getting above the crowd, I was driven to the other side of the field. All the kids followed us and stood about 2 feet away from me, every once in a while a shy kid in broken English would ask 'What is your good name, sir?' One kid asked me for my autograph. Later that day, I was told by Charan that I probably shouldn't go to the dance presentation, he cited 'security concerns.' "

"The poverty and ill health at Chipadu was astounding.Yet the curiosity and eventually generosity of everyone shines through. At the church I ponder what an incredibly spiritual place this place is and how utterly spiritually dead the USA is. This is why we have so much misery, illness, and crime and why we export it to the rest of the world."

"Q: Why do they have police at all of the traffic lights?
A: Because if they didn't, no one would obey the traffic lights."

"The crowds got thicker, the pushing got harder, and all I could think of was what a powerful, scary force religious zealotry is. These people believed they were in the actual physical presence of God and were freaking out! We only saw the statue of God for a few seconds."

"I love the fact that you hear a lot of ambient music everywhere here. Either the call to prayer from the mosque, some Rajasthani cultural program down the street, the bagpipers @ the Lake Palace, or random drunk Indian guys."

Will post more later from India, hopefully.

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