Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh, the People You'll Meet!

A list concerning [most of] the people I've met in Bangalore.  Know this: they're awesome.

[ Swetha ]:  Like a Journey song, I met this unbelievably wonderful woman on the plane ride from Frankfurt to Bangalore.  Not only was she patient with listening to me panic about living in India, she also gave me basic rules to live by, namely: 1)  Don't drink tap water, 2)  Don't eat food from the street vendors, and 3)  All will be perfectly fine.  Oh, and we discussed So You Think You Can Dance.  Without hesitation, she invited me to her sister's wedding and nearly all of her family's contact information in Bangalore, and even offered me a ride to a nearby hotel.  I owe her a ton.

[ Naidu ]:  My host.  He claims his first name is Sam, but most of his coworkers prefer to refer to him by his surname.  He's picked me up at a McDonald's after I wandered around Bangalore for three hours [ "I was literally shitting balls, not even bricks!  We were so worried about you." ], helped make my cell phone function [ "The first time you call the dealers, you have to be nice.  If you have to call a second time, you kick their ass." ], and even empathized with my insecurities [ "Good god, man.  You're not having a hard time, you've just been in India for 36 hours." ].  He's helped me find ways to dance in Kerala, a nearby state, and regaled me with stories of the different festivals he's seen in India; these stories have convince me to come back in the future.

[ Eddie ]:  My first roommate, from Taiwan, is here to officially volunteer with Samarthanam.  Taught me how to navigate the buses between JP Nagar and Bangalore, and helped get the cell phone.  He took me to his favorite restaurant, a nearby McDonald's, where I spent a considerable amount of time translating Katy Perry lyrics and explaining the difference between "books" and "box."  He probably suffers the most Josh Magno exposure in India so far.

[ Taffy ]:  The second roommate, from Zimbabwe, is here to study blind cricket, and eventually start his own company for the visually impaired who wish to participate in sports.  His name's short for Tafadzwa Nyamuzihwa, and he ironically doesn't know that there's a type of candy named after him.  Really active, very relaxed, and enjoys dancing in night clubs.  Oh yeah, he's blind.  He's used the phrase, "You know, I believe the sky's the limit" at least 50 times in the four days he's been here.  Intends on making his life into a movie or a book, meeting Oprah, and living in a world where the visually handicapped aren't considered any differently than the general populous.

[ Mary/Miriam ]:  Three times a day, seven days a week, this woman cooks for 50 people.  And it's delicious.  It's probably the most authentic South Indian food I'll ever eat, and I'm lucky to get it for freeeeeee!

[ The Children of Samarthanam School, HSR Layout ]:  They live where they learn.  There are about 80 under-privileged students here, anywhere from 3 to 15 years old.  Some are blind, partially blind, crippled, have learning disabilities, and even survived polio.  Most of them come from families that can't afford a "normal" education, and don't see their parents until the holidays ["Then again, it's always a holiday here, in India, the f*cking land of holidays," Naidu claims], and some of them don't know where their parents are.  Most are - relatively - perfectly healthy.  They eat on the floor, wear the same clothes for the week, and sleep on straw mats in the classroom.  Funny thing is, they all seem happy.  That much is clear after sitting with them in class for one day.

[ The Adults of Samarthanam Hostel, JP Nagar ]:  Think of them as, well, the adult versions of the kiddies at Samarthanam School.  These ladies and gentlemen all have a disability, whether it's a visual handicap, skin condition, facial irregularity [there's a 23 year old man who looks 40], or a crippled or missing limb.  Right now, a lot of them are going to college, and applying for "normal" jobs.  We all eat lunch on the roof of the hostel, and it's crazy watching them sing together before a meal and... gossiping?  Yup, sounds and looks like nonsensical schoolgirl chatter.

... I wonder who else this week will bring.

Performers from the Sunadha dance team get their make up on.


1 comment:

  1. Dude, if I were there, I don't think I could resist the street vendors... Especially after I was warned. I have a sick sense of curiosity.

    Also, your roommates sound like awesome people. Hope you're having a blast!