Jaipur, India, 2006
The Dali Lama said something to the extent of this: small problems, hardships, or inconveniences should be but mere ripples in the sea, floating just over the surface. If you were to let the small things turn into waves, you’d only be knocked down more often than not. This notion is the key to survival, especially in India. India’s relentless. Just when you think it’s as hot as it could possibly get, it gets hotter. Just when you thought you couldn’t be any dirtier, you get pushed to the side of the road by a rickshaw, or cow, and step into a puddle of water (insert question mark) and look up in frustration just in time for the rickshaw’s exhaust to blow right in your face. The streets alone are relentless. Walking through them requires the same strategy as a video game and produces the same quantity of outcomes. It’s a wonder to me how my toes have escaped being rolled over. They’ve curled themselves under in deep fear of their lives. Horns are honked so often, I’ve come to believe the horn itself must be India’s native musical instrument. The people are also relentless.
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You have to be very selective of the stores you chose to enter, because once they lure you into their doom, the lose all
understanding of “no thank you” or the more blunt response of “I don’t like it, I don’t want it” and “please, it’s not expensive, it’s very inexpensive” is suddenly the only english they know. Some will even follow you down the street, dropping the price of the one thing they think you have have glanced at, and the price drops with every step you take until a cow slowly intervenes and passes between you – or it doesn’t – and you have to turn around with attitude and say, “LOOK, I will NEVER come back to India EVER again if you don’t stop following us”. The latter of course being the less desirable of the two.