if you're in india, it's good to be beef. you can go anywhere you'd
like, stop traffic, and even walk in front of buses safely. i've included
picture of a cow on the highway in front of
a bus. there's probably 10 cows each mile on the highways. more in the
so about the poetic justice. as i wrote earlier, we went to agra and saw
the taj mahal. everyone we saw was dirty. people taking baths in mud puddles,
using the same water to drink later. people in clothes so dirty you couldn't
tell the original colors.
but that was only the men. they looked so unkempt. but the women were
dressed very nice. i'd see a bicycle go by, pedaled by a guy who looked
homeless, with his wife dressed in a radiant, brilliant sari. with her
hair all braided neatly, and wearing gold earings and necklaces. there
were so many of these ladies around - with their daughters all decked
i tell you, these colors on their looked beautiful. i'm an orange freak,
and there was SO MUCH bright flourescent orange outfits arounds. then
pinks, greens, deep blues, reds, and yellows. so incongruous with the
we were returning from the taj mahal, after such a wonderful visit. it
was dark, and the taxi's headlights were lighting up these gorgeous saris.
latif and i were talking about how sad it was in India - so much could
be done to agra, to make it a tourist haven with better availability.
instead, it's buried under so much filth and corruption, it seemed there
was no hope.
i pointed out the window, and began my speech. i told latif to look at
the beautiful saris all around. i told him that even with all the filth,
corruption, and decline, those saris told me that there was still hope,
hope that india would be able to rise up and pull itself out of the ditches
and into the mainstream of modern civilization. hope that the common
good of all humanity would shine. hope that....
latif cut me off. he told me that i was "mushy" after seeing the taj mahal,
and besides, i was missing pam, and any lady dressed nicely would look
nice. he said that the last thing on these people's minds when they dressed
up so nicely was to provide "hope" to a silly american on a 2 day visit
you can imagine how outraged i was. or, puzzled would be a better word
for it. i told latif that it was just sour grapes, and because he was
a pakistani, he was blind to the advancements of these people. i said
that these outfits indeed stood for the resilience of the indian peoples,
and that it was a foregone conclusion of the imminent turnaround of their
country. after such a day, i was ready to become a poet, and compose elegant
verses about natural beauties.
"nuts," he said. and refused to talk about it. "fine," I said, as we dozed
off on the ride home.
so much for the resilience and hope. and to top it off, we stopped at
a restaurant a couple of hours later, and the waiter explained to us that
it was a very special holy day for the hindus. the celebration of the
birth of Rama. the celebration was for ladies, and the way they celebrated
was to put on their
finest outfits, go to the temple, and have a party afterwards. you guessed
it - the ladies we saw were on the way to the temple.
now i am a realist about india. no more poetry. i woke up today, saw how
everyone was dressed, and alas, realized that yesterday was an aberration.
today, everyone's in dirty clothes. everyone's washing in puddles. my
illusion was shattered. i'm leaving india with a more realistic view.
well, i still have the taj mahal....