Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | May 14, 2008

this is Calcutta (Kolkata)

the pilots told me once monsoon season hits there will probably be weeks  where power will be out and all telecommunication will be down and i won’t be able to get in contact with anyone.   I’m getting an Indian Phone upon returning to Mumbai, so i’m told.   I’ll be turning my phone off and will only be paying enough to keep the number.  It will be $.015 to text message from the U.S. for you all.  If you have skype on your computer you can call me U.S. to india for 2 cents a minute.  Unfortunately if i try to call from india it’s about $1.50 a minute and paying those type of bills is not why i signed on to this project. 
 
freaking fabulous right?
 
I was talking to a guy at the hotel bar last night- he told me all about mother teresa’s church and landmarks here in Calcutta.  The city itself is very poor as is the entire country.  It’s beautiful, however the poverty is pain staking.  These people don’t have the liberties we do so instead of staying home and watching t.v. they wander the streets and tend to their cows roaming the alley in traffic worse than Manhatten.
 
I can’t seem to stomach any of the food here, and have completely lost any type of appetite. I don’t know if it’s truly psychological or due to the poverty i’m seeing.  Literally, we pass homeless three year olds and people who have legs smaller than my wrists.  (Mom/Dad – I’m going to need you to send me soup or something bc i’ve already lost ten pounds and still go to the gym on a daily basis- the nichole richie look is soooo 1993).  The pilots are giving me a hard time.  I feel so sorry for these people and give my food to them and then walk in to my five star hotel. You get the picture… it’s heart wrenching. 
 
I’ve never seen filth and disust like this. 
 
Calcutta is cleaner than Bombay(Mumbai) – we have drivers everywhere we go. there are no traffic laws.  Yesterday, on the way to the airport we made a turn which in the states would have been considered a one way street.  **I’ve been to Mexico City where a city busl dileberately crosses 8 lanes of traffic without warning and cuts cars off at 60 mph however, when we turned into on coming traffic and clipped a few cars I nearly lost the bile in my stomach and said more than a few explatives.  The pilots just shrugged and said, “Eh! You’ll get used to it.”
 
I’m flying a rich family who owns half of India and all their Bollywood friends who own the other half.  We have trips planned to Africa, Geneva, France and Bangkok but while I’m in India – my heart can’t help to leak (i blame my parents!). I’ve talked to the front desk at our hotel about going to some mission churches to volunteer.  In return, they have tried to talk me out of it as I will be putting myself in danger.  I’m really sick and tired of people referring to me as “Miss Henry” simply because i’m at a five star hotel.  These type of hotels are extremely accomadating, I’m such a tomboy and find it annoying, “please i’ve got my bag – thanks for offering again.” In other words, get away I  don’t want to be bothered.
 
  I’m asking you all to think about the people in this world who have nothing more than the clothes on their back.  I’m asking you to step outside of your daily life and do something completely random for someone else.  Maybe they know you are doing it on purpose and maybe not.  I’m asking you to give up something to help someone who doesn’t have the goods you do.  Even if it’s collecting the travel goods in a hotel bathroom and donating them to a shelter.  I don’t care if you do it in your relions name.  Just do it.  We truly are blessed and take advantage of everything we have in the U.S.  Do good in the world. 
 
I’m stepping down from the stoop now.
 
***The pilots and I talked in great detail last night – I may stay a year w/o coming home – i’m still not sure – I may be back in 50 days.  it’s only a year of my life if I do decide to stay.  when we’re not flying the stupid rich and obnoxious there is a lot of good in the world to be done and they know a body guard in Mumbai that can follow me on my  ” Miss’s Do Gooder Missions”. ***
 
All my love,
Jess
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Responses

  1. Jess, listen to the pilots on this one thing: Safety First!
    You’re a wonderful human being and I truly admire your desire to help those less fortunate than yourself, but you won’t do the world any good at all if you end up dead in a Calcutta slum. Really.

    Sorry to hear that the food isn’t working better for you, too. I figured that you’d finally find a wider range of interesting vegetarian options there! Ah, well, nothing turns out the way we expect, does it?

  2. It’s good that you’re really feeling for the people who don’t have a tenth of what we do. How many people in that hotel do you think just walk by blind to it? It’s more human of you to be bothered by the deferential treatment you receive than to just act like you deserve it more than the people on the street.

    Be safe :o)


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