Saturday, April 25, 2009

Road trip

I went with some friends to see their village house and I was reminded that I live in a unique place.
Where else does a bus driver get such a canvas for personal expression?
Where else do shepherds get away with walking their sheep down the highway?
Where else can your child ride in the car without a seat belt? In fact, he can hang out the back of the car while the door is wide open.
There's a whole world to watch go by.
A whole world to drive out and see.
Some of it is just too beautiful for words.


The mustard fields are in bloom.
They are yellow yellow.
Full of color.

Here are some of those who live near the fields.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Down on the farm

I'm staying with some friends. They have a number of domesticated birds wandering about: chickens, quail, guinea fowl.

The guinea fowl are odd and noisy birds.
I think they sound like an old, rusty, water pump.

Some new little chickens were born this past weekend.
They are nice and fluffy.

And what farm is complete without the faithful, guard dog watching over it all?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stuck on a bump

I saw a strange thing today: a car stuck on a bump.
How did the driver even get there? What you can't see from the picture is that just beyond the car and trees is a huge gully. So what was this driver thinking to get so close and loose the ability to control his car?
But how do you get the car free from such a predicament?
First you stand and look at it.
Then you give it a push and run the engine really hard.
Then you get more help, an audience, and the car will be free.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Autos are hard work

The zipper on one of my suitcases broke off while traveling recently. The suitcase is a fairly new one, so I wanted to take it to the store where I bought it and have it fixed.
I called them first, knowing that if I went all the way out to the store and they didn't have what was needed for the repair that I would not be happy. They told me they had a store much closer to my location and I should go there instead.
Good idea.
That's where I headed this afternoon (first auto). The shop was supposed to be at a newly constructed mall. I walked to its location, didn't find it, and then I asked the lady at the information counter about it. "Oh," she said, "That shop is closed while they have a meeting."
"When will it be open again?"
"Two or three days."
"Yes, ma'am. Sorry for inconvenience. You look tired."
Of course I was tired. I had been carrying around a suitcase for half an hour.
So I headed out to another store in another market (second auto).
When I brought the suitcase in and showed it to the store manager, he was very happy to fix it and told me it would take two days.
"For a zipper?" I asked, hopeful that I could have it back within the hour.
"Actually, ma'am, our repair man is due to come in today for some other work. So perhaps it will get done today and you can pick it up tomorrow."
Well, if I must come all the way again tomorrow...
I got something to eat and headed back to where I'm staying (auto three). About half way there, the driver suddenly pulled up next to another auto and said to the driver: "Will you take this passenger to the PVR for 50 rupees?"
"Of course," he waggled his head.
What? My driver was kicking me out?
Apparently, he had bought his lunch just before he picked me up and was now too hungry to drive any further without eating it. He and the other driver made a deal and my price was the same, so I climbed into auto four.
Just as I entered the neighborhood where I'm staying, my phone began to ring. "Hello, ma'am? This is Mohit from the luggage shop. We have your luggage fixed. Are you still in the market?"
"No, I am not there anymore. I will come for it tomorrow." Bummer. Shoulda been more patient.
"Very good, ma'am."
I went into the house and started to wash all the dust off me from being out in the traffic so long and my phone rang again. "Hello, ma'am? This is Mohit from the luggage shop. We have fixed your luggage today."
"Yes." This sounded very familiar. Had he forgotten that he'd just called me?
"Inside your suitcase you have left some money. So it is best if you come to pick it up today."
OH! The suitcase has so many pockets and I thought I'd checked them all, but I'd missed a very important envelope with a significant amount of money in it. "Yes. You're right. I will come now."
I walked back out to the road and negotiated with a driver to take me to the market and back again, and off we went (auto five).
I got my suitcase from the shop and thanked the manager several times, telling him he had done a very good and honest thing.
Then I found my driver and set off again. It took us an hour and a half both ways.
Riding in an auto is hard work. All the bumps and jolts. The shaking and vibrating. The exhaust and heat. All together I spent over three hours riding around in them today. I feel tired and covered in dust.
I hope I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow.