Thursday, June 17, 2010


Ah, the familiar sounds of the Bapuji Children’s Home at 6AM. My first morning on Indian soil, I am awakened by the slapping sound of the laundry woman. An item is soaked, swung in circles above the head and brought down with gusto against the washing stone in the courtyard just opposite my second-story flat. And repeat: soak, swing, slap.
Next sound, the banging of the water pump, an old rusty metal lever which takes two hands to maneuver. A few bangs up and down, and the small bucket is filled. Soak, swish, swing, slap, bang. Repeat. The lever is screeching- they need to oil that thing. The chorus of children’s voices gets more complex as the crew wakes up. I look to see a girl of 4 or 5 years standing in a pink foofy dress staring at a little boy in the dirt.
The birds. What is that one sounding like a Cukoo? Every time I hear it, I am transported to Auroville where I first landed in India 12 years ago. I must admit, the transport back in time unsettles me, as the sound of that particular bird. Rev of a motor bike. Later, the fruit cart man yelling to announce his wares as he crosses through each neighborhood of Gokulum, third stage. Two-stroke diesel engine of a rick-shaw passing.
Ten Am, after practice (feelin good after the first few Suryanamaskar, except I can’t hold my balance), its still relatively quiet. Beep of a horn, ding of a bicycle bell. Flip flops on the street beneath the window. I am listening to the water boiling in the kitchen. I will let the pot cool down and have some drinking water until I contemplate putting on the shawl and heading out to see Swami, the tailor who also delivers 10 gallon water jugs, even up the stairs, sweating.
Speaking of sweating, it’s quite humid here. The sky has cleared up; I get anxious to do some washing so it may actually dry on the line. I get excited to do a lot of things, but I sit here instead, pacing myself.
I’d love to go through the smells with you and tell you of the variety, but my face feels swollen to double and I can’t smell much but a bit of must. The taxi ride from Bangalore to Mysore is not good for the sinus, no matter how much oil I put inside my nostrils. I must have wiped it out and reapplied half a dozen times yesterday.
Oh wait- I smell something, if I put my nose to the window. Cooking. Smells like vegetable oil frying. Heaviest breakfast on earth around here. It might be that time.

1 comment:

ro said...

thanks for posting! i love reading about your adventures. it's almost like being there. though i do have to say, it sent me into a serious india spiral last week. i was watching all manner of documentaries about india, reading news about india, stalking airline tickets to india...i hope i can get back soon. until then, i live vicariously through you! : )