Monday, February 09, 2004


After breakfast of dosas and chai with Miss Y, Bindi and Lino (the latter two had iddly) I took a wrong turn and was pulled over by The Man. They were motioning tons of people on two-wheelers over to the side of the road. The Man asked for my D.L. (driver's license) and I said, It is not here with me. "DL," He kept saying. It is coming, I said. Sent from US. Mail is late. Of course I was picturing every foreign-prison movie I've ever seen. I thought for sure we'd end up there (Bindi was on back). But then I remembered I was in India. Instead -- of course -- there was a fine of Rs 300 for no DL, and they did not impound the bike (Thank Durga). They wrote me a "Check Report-cum-Receipt," which will look nice in my diary/scrapbook. All for the low-low price of $3.

Someone just let out a loud burp. No excuse me, no thing. Actually it's also OK to spit here, too. So is honking.....I'm at the ghetto internet place w/ the no-lights and the shitty keyboards, chickens, porn pop-ups, pee smell, etc

So it looks like I *will* be moving to the burbs, esp. after last night . The question is whether Bindi or I will be moving first, to the place across the street from the shala (one room is open now; another in a couple of weeks. Miss Y is already there). The rent is less and there's less driving, which can be scary, and less exhaust inhalation (my throat is killing me). Also it's less likely that what happened last night will be repeated. I was*starving* after not really eating all day (usually I have a big breakfast and lunch and eat cereal for dinner) due to feeling icky, going to the movie, conference, etc. So when 7PM rolled around I was starving. This is usually dinnertime here. It was dark and I was coming back from Gokulam via scooter and I stopped at a kind of fancy restaurant, King's Court. I sat and they brought water and I started to order and they're like, that's not ready, we don't have this, either, nor that. It all it will take a long time, etc. and I had nothing to read and was not in the mood so I left. Then I stashed my scooter, got a book and walked to the downscale, fly-friendy Iyengar's near the Kaveri Lodge, dodging mean dogs and creepy guys and curious children and motorcycles and cow pies to get there.

I sat down and pointed to the table next to me, where the men were eating thali or "meals" (many courses on one plate, like at Desparakash). "Meals!" They brought the bottled water and nothing else. I asked another guy for "meals" and he kind of shrugged. I read and waited and nothing came, despite the "meals ready" sign in the middle of the sidewalk. I pointed at the sign and said "Meals Ready!". Shrug. I looked at the kitchen; no one was moving. Then a group of about 15 women walked in. I got up and left and did not pay for the two ounces of water I'd drank. I guess I can't go back THERE again.....On the way home there was another dog chasing me (they have a thing for westerners), plus folks staring, pointing, making comments (I'm in a very nice Indian dress, btw). I get to the Kaveri and I'm ready to lose it (PMS + hunger + exhaustion + loneliness = crying jag) and I tell the desk guy, Send someone to get me two masala dosas, and handed him some money (the daily assertiveness training seems to be working). He talked to an underling and after some conversation did that marvelous little South Indian head wiggle that said, OK.

I went to my room, took off my dress, put on the special t-shirt and a Sigur Ros CD and breathed deeply and recalled how easy everything seemed a short time ago in Gokulam, where people stroll down the street without being chased, the Internet works and you don't have to play a real-life game of Frogger to get to the shala. I thought, why am I stressing myself out when I don't have to? I lived in this part of town for four months, I don't *really* need to do so again. Ten minutes later the dosas came. They went down fast; then I cleaned up and went to bed. It was 8 AM.

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