So it has finally happened. I was cruising along at the one month mark feeling invincible that my stomach had proven impervious to the spices, oils, and distrustful water that occupy Indian dinner plates and I finally got sick. I would love to fill you in on the delicious details, but lets say that food has been exiting my body at a much faster rate than it has been entering it. After about 6 days of this, I decided it was time to visit the doctor (Yes mom and dad I went to the hospital and I am fine). Actually I just got my lab reports back this very minute and I don’t have anything that cool or foreign, just a little food poisoning they think. Future advice for any of you thinking of coming to India, bring pepto bismol and immodium, and don’t eat the reheated pizza from Celebration Bakery. Though unfortunate that I’m sick, I guess this is my initiation or visa stamp, proof that I did indeed go to India.
What I was initially going to talk about for this blog is in a way connected to my illness, and has been the reoccurring theme in all of my posts now that I think about it, but it begins with food. During my usual fantasies of delicious steaks with baked potatoes and bowls of captin crunch I made the observation that I feel like I am constantly eating appitizers and I’m just waiting for the main course. Its like being in an Olive Garden that has a broken air conditioner and the only thing on the menu is the unlimited bread sticks and salad, its manageable, but I just really want an entre. This feeling of waiting didn’t just occur at the dinner table, instead I have constantly found myself “waiting” during my time here. Professionally speaking I am waiting for the power to come back on, waiting for people to return my emails, waiting for the jeep driver to show up, and waiting for a chance to get some interviews done.
Even beyond that though, I feel like socially I am waiting for India to “mature” a little bit. I know that sounds arrogant and western-colonial, and its a bit ironic given the age difference between my nation and theirs, but taking a walk down the street I can’t help but notice it. Having a group of 50 year old men stop and stare at my female interns, whispering and making jokes to themselves while showing no care about how uncomfortable they are making them just feels childish and immature, and a bit below a civilization that has existed for thousands of years. Its not just the treatment of woman, but of lower castes too. While the caste system has been legally abolished it is still prevalent in everyday action, and I just constantly hear Draco Malfoy’s voice in my ear when he says to Harry, “You’ll soon learn that some wizard families are better than others, you don’t want to go around with the wrong sort. I can help you there.” I mean after thousands of years they must have gathered enough evidence to figure out that we are not chained to the legacies of our fathers?
I understand that I’m an outsider in a strange culture, and that I am also young and prone to quick assumptions, but I don’t accept the doctrine that we can not judge other cultures. If all humans are equal then there must exist some basic fundamental levels of comparison beyond having two eyes and a nose.
Its time for me to go take my medicine, so thats all for now. Till next time!
– Evan George