A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Amoeba Mediator

I want to thank my heart for not being broken (literally, healthy ECG), and my Dr. friend for putting me on anti-amoeba pills that within hours cracked my 101 fever and severely reduced my dizzies (I'm trying not to think what that means was/is inside me). A week of dizzies and heart palpitations, a day of fever and some bed bug bites don’t seem like much. However, I am not going to tempt fate and ask for India to “bring it on” or anything. It’s like Goldilocks and the Bears—I’ve got juuust the right amount of stressiness, India, so that I don’t tip over the edge.

Such sweet friends: one made me a favorite food for dinner, and another took me to tea at a lovely outdoor cafe aptly called Under the Banyan Tree. (Photo of another banyan tree) Even my roommate is talking! I always know my roommate is home, because the bedroom door is locked when I get in. The signal is kick twice to rouse her. Tonight the landlady got her angry, and she finally opened up a little: she has a sister near here and has lived in this room for 1.5 years, and we got a/c the day before I moved in, and it was painted just a week before (that I knew). She also blames the stain on her mattress on a pigeon flying in and peeing on her bed (a warning since I leave windows open for "fresh" Bombay air), and fears lizards will rush in and attack us. In her defense, the maid probably wouldn’t clean that up. (Photos: look what a good job our maid did today because I left before she was done)

I am amused by Indian marriage mania (which is easier for me because I am not in it, aside from a grandmother who told me I am too old, no man will want me). A number of friends here seem to be in marriage crunch mode (or at least their families are) and typical entries on what I am calling Indian marriage resumés include: “wheatish” complexion, the following # stats: (age)/(height)/(salary), “homely” (girl who’s good at housework), native language, caste (often disguised as “highly placed” or “status” family, employer (corporate or family business empire seem best), “teetotaler” (non-drinker) and non-smoker, if open to resumé responses from abroad, education level and work field of prospective spouse, mini bios of all family members (including where they live, if married, ages, education levels), a hobby (I know one who put water sports, and since I have yet to meet an Indian who can even swim, this is possibly more limiting than matching native language, caste and salary—which one middle-class man told me in Bombay has in 9 years matched him with just 25 local prospects, only one he even considered). Men should be a few years older than the women, divorced women are in way more trouble than divorced men, resumés are often exchanged more frequently between mothers than potential mates. I was invited to an Indian wedding, but alas I will be (better be!) in Cambodia. (Photo: Muslims heading to Haji Ali for prayer, excited I caught a crow mid-flight with my slow-snapping camera)

I can’t tell at times if people offer me extra help because I’m foreign, a woman, white, or some combination of the three. Like today, spending a day in and out of the South African embassy while everyone else sat in the waiting area, I sat on a sofa where South African nationals wait, so I didn’t “wait” like the Indians there. I thought it was because I was a woman, but then I saw an Indian woman in the other room. And employees kept coming to talk to me (“madam”). Of course, they won’t guarantee to return my passport in time for my Thailand trip and they tried to add a 15th document that would take days to get right after I’d paid and gotten a receipt, so I am not exactly confident about this. But then, I am American, so I know I have a better shot. (Note: Somehow the embassy got my cell and called the very next evening to say my 8-month visa is ready, and "Now, you are not so worried, right?" I so got the royal non-Indian treatment.) Like this recent to-do about a Häagen Dazs opening in New Dehli that didn’t allow any Indian nationals inside. A friend here sent me this picture, which I think is a perfect farce of the American mindset (click on it to make it bigger/more legible):

I’ve been listening to some very interesting PRI (Public Radio International) podcasts called America Abroad. Fitting with a general trend of response instead of prevention, I found the piece on Shortchanging Foreign Aid particularly enlightening (also since I applied for a USAID job, there are many empty offices for years now, and my application that the website said would be processed in 1 month has since been outsourced to a company to contact me within 1 year). There is no such podcast about any other country. There is, it seems, not to be high-and-mighty, no other such country. As for the universality of English, we owe much thanks to the UK ahead of us for exploiting the world. Here's hoping and working towards our not following that trend further.

Speaking of any other country, nowhere else have I found ants in my bed—which I later realized was due to ants in my computer! My response, as with the possibly-bed-bug-infested clothes, was for my sheets, nightie and sweatshirt to all chill in the freezer with the peas and homemade frozen juice desserts (as in, I freeze juice in little tupperwares and eat them like containered popsicles). And whenever one of those little buggers popped out of the keys or the vent today, I squished ‘em right quick. Take that! Speaking of which, I decided instead of reporting my “friend” at the Internet company, I would use him to remove my late fees from not being able to pay my bill on time because of my stolen credit card. Let’s just say, all I did was ask, and 6 hours later, over $40 in fees were gone and someone is coming to my house tomorrow to pick up the payment. (Photo: flower shops near a temple)

To come full circle on bugs in this post: my roommate also told a funny story about another anonymous roommate note left for her one day. 'You have killed a cockroach in the bathroom. It will take a rebirth and get back at you.' Does that mean the amoebas are coming to avenge me or the quinine?

Posted byValerie at 1:55 AM  


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