The streets are like nothing I’ve ever seen; just utter chaos. I’m in South India with my sons who have always called me Beans, “Beans! You need to use all of your attention to stay alive.” Luc keeps reminding me. But you cannot imagine more distractions! Everywhere you look it’s another OMG sighting; an enormous dull eyed humpback bull with giant red horns (thank Ganesha they lack the ambition of their Spanish counterparts), a woman with an entire bail of hay on her head and a kid on her hip, and the endless honking, the best and worst smells, buses practically shaving the side of your legs and children asking for pens, hungry eyed men, piles of cashmere, the biggest castles and palaces and slums on earth so my A.D.D. is in full force. Luc gently grabs my feet and pulls me back down like a big Bean balloon to the filthy ground or steers me out of the way of the donkey pack.
Utter chaos. Look it up. That’s India. It’s unnerving to think my super power scream would literally go unnoticed here. Luc says I stick out like a giraffe. Being 5'4" I’m kind of flattered, till Cougar, my older son, pipes in with, “yea, a blind one in a lions den”. Americans are always rare on our Christmas trips but this time is exceptional.
I’m not having a cocktail cause I have no idea where I am and everyone else seems to know exactly where we are. Have you ever gone night diving? You’re down there with a light so you can see maybe 15 feet all around you in the pitch dark water while everything within 2 miles can see your dumb ass. It’s kinda like that. We have been followed and scammed, there is just no blending here.
I feel like Snow White in an opium den….Most of the remote areas in the South don’t see many white people. Many of the younger people have never seen one and they get really excited. We have been surrounded at every turn like celebrities and several times it has taken the aide of a guard to extract us from the throngs. The rush to shake our hands, ask our names and take a picture with us is constant. Many groups of children don’t have a camera and ask you to take a picture and then show it to them in the view finder. Their innocence is sincere and endearing, very little begging outside of the occasional request for a pen.
All in all it was a lifetime adventure I wouldn’t trade for anything. This trip has changed our eating habit permanently. Months later I’m still experimenting with spices and flavors, nothing like travel can enlarge your culinary repertoire!
All photos by my son, Lucas Oliver Oswald, an exceptional photographer, see more of the world through his magical eyes on his website