Monday, May 08, 2006


I went for a walk today, and was less put off by the chaos on the street. I find that I really capture the sights and sounds when I am not enclosed in a glass cage. In many ways, my office feels like a prison as well, with bars over the windows, windows that are frosted over, high walls, gates, and guards. The streets are full of all sorts of smells- and seeing people urinating along busy streets in full view is common. Advertising is everywhere- like a collage. Even the road work barricades carry logos and advertising of banks and phone companies. One brilliant idea is the countdown clocks at the few stoplights. They are sponsored by the Hindu newspaper- and they countdown how many seconds until the light changes (either to red or green). The entire time you watch it, the newspaper's name flashes.

As I walked, I found people staring at me. I don't know if it was because I was the only westerner in sight, or because I was the only person sweating. It was 95 degrees today. Somehow the locals don't seem to break a sweat. I don't understand.

If this doesn't look like a high tech digital studio and color lab, I don't know what does!

The only actual beggar I encountered. This guy was so visibly impaired that it was truly disturbing. He appeared to be mentally retarded with some physical problems as well. His hands were contorted, and he walked with a very unsteady gait. He could not speak. He held out his hand, and every Indian I saw gave him a coin. He came up to me and I really didn't mind parting with a 100 rupee bill. With great effort he managed to get it in his pocket. Walking around barefoot through the rubbish and filth of the city is not uncommon. I wonder how this guy lives- there isn't quite the safety net we are comfortable with in Europe and North America.
While I have seen hundreds of dogs running free, this is the first cat- a mangey little kitten.

This is the standard issue Indian dog. They sleep in the middle of the street- or sidewalk. They actually look dead, like road kill, until you startle them. Then they magically spring to life and trot out of the way, careful that they do not break a sweat.

No comments: