Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stories from an evening walk

The Catholic church closest to my house has a bright neon crucifix and display of Mary & Jesus. I don't know quite what to make of that, so I won't even try. It is pretty great, though. I live fairly close to what you might term one of Bangalore's Muslim Quarters. This mosque is no more than a three minute walk from my apartment, but the only time I can hear the muezzin is at five in the morning, as the city gets pretty loud after that. Every time I hear the call to prayer I feel like I'm eavesdropping on another century. It is a hauntingly beautiful sound.
As I was walking along tonight, I heard a commotion and looked over to see about six men crouched down and peering under a bus that was stopped in traffic, pointing and talking excitedly in Kannada. They were all riled up about something, but I couldn't tell what. One of them ran up to the front of the bus and told the driver not to move and another started inching his way under the bus. When I crouched down I could see some sort of trapped animal running in scared circles between the wheels. After crawling under the bus and catching what turned out to be a pigeon, he then posed for a picture with his conquest, laughing the whole time. (The whole time I was taking this picture I was scared to death that he was going to release the pigeon in my face, but he didn't.)
Construction sites like this are common around here. I can't ever tell what is being constructed, but there's no shortage of kinetic energy. During the day a site like this will be full of men pounding with primitive tools and dancing between ladders that should have been retired fifty years ago, and women scratching at the dirt with their hands or with trowels, and removing pans of soil that they balance on their heads. Sometimes they curtain the site with blue tarps, but I don't know why.
In an autorickshaw on my way home from a meeting today, I saw these two street kids (the boy in yellow and girl in red in the picture below) darting between vehicles stopped in a traffic jam. They were performing acrobatic tricks and contortions with the metal rings that are draped around their necks in the hopes of earning a rupee here and there from sympathetic observers. I was a sucker, and they got ten from me (a quarter's worth). I can't believe they didn't get killed when traffic started up again, but they're probably used to it. Later on my walk I stopped to talk to them and they got a big kick out of having their picture taken.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

hey anna!

ok, so three things:
One, what's your dad's e-mail? I have a ton of mail I thought you might want them to have.
two, I was planning on writing them a check for the ramainder of the deposits, and they could get it to you? does that sound good?
Three, I LOVE your travel stories so far. the mint mischief potato chips are more than a little bit of a crackup. :)
sending you tons of love babe