Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | May 16, 2008

life in India Day 6

There are 123 different languages in India.  English is the common language since Brittan captured the country in the early 19th century.  It’s pretty funny at times because in the middle of a conversation someone will break into English words.  Not everyone speaks it but it is common. 

 The pilots and I agreed to look at this entire project as a comedy routine.  Our regular handlers in Mumbai names are Gandhi and Elvis, yeah I couldn’t make that up if I wanted to.  We find so much humor in every day.  For instance, gesturing with your hands while talking is no big feat for me since I grew up with Italians that gestured like wild fire.  However, in India, emotions accompany these hand gestures.  In Calcutta (Kolkata) we had been on the ground for roughly two hours as the men at the airport milled around the plane not really doing much of anything…it’s pretty common in Kolkata (the East Indians hate the West Indians and think they are lazy and slow **they are really slow and it takes an hour to get a bottle of water).  I digress, the pilots and I are standing outside of the plane as the sun sets when off in the distance next to a shack we see this guy doing Calisthenics.  I laugh just thinking about it because we all thought it was hilarious.  After that moment had subsided an older Kolkatan with Don King hair ran up to Sineal (our Indian pilot) raising his voice while using huge sweeping hand gestures.  Surely, something was wrong we all thought.  After he walked away we asked Sineal what’s wrong.  Do we need to reposition the plane?  His response was not what we expected after this man’s actions. 

“No, the dishes are done.  They can bring them back if we’d like.”

 All that emotion and drama because dishes are done.

Each morning we are in Mumbai I wake up and go for a jog on the beach.  Yesterday, I spent a good half hour doing cartwheels in the sand with three kids who spoke no English.  This was communication in its true form of hand gestures and smiles. 

Children on the beach seem to be in awe of a gringet.  The first day I’d smile and they would just stare at me.  Now when they see me I wave and a big smile crosses their face and they wave back.  It seems waving is a way for me to acknowledge I see them and single them out.  My hands are going to be so wrinkled before I leave.

Dave and did a little shopping yesterday.  I bought a camera and then he took me to “Food Land” where I was able to purchase some dehydrated soup.  My stomach issues are easing up as long as I only eat things in the hotel.  Their food goes through the filtration system in the hotel so it’s pretty safe. 

My heart broke in two when I came out of Food Land as two girls ran up to me wearing no pants and no shoes begging for money.  I gave them what I had and some food I had just purchased.  It was enough to eat for a week.  I told Dave my heart was breaking and, “Can I bring them with us?” He responded, “I know – get in the car.”  Later in the day he told me about a girl who brought him to tears because she had “crazy hair” like his daughter.

We’re leaving in an hour to get our hepatitis A & B shots.  Tonight we have a “party” to attend with the other flight crew that’s here from the states and the company that is managing part of the plane. It’s confusing as we as crew members are actually managed by a Canadian company ACASS. 

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Responses

  1. Your trip is making me laugh and cry all at once! Crying aside though, I must ask… does Elvis know that Elvis is a funny name for an Indian to have?


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