Well India is interesting and unique for so many different reasons. Its a 4 dimensional experience: the relentless Honking of horns , the noise associated with cohabiting with a billion other people, cows strutting down streets, dogs having turf wars and barking constantly in the middle of the night, white people with dreads, hippy clothes and unshaven arm pits and the inability to pronounce ‘namaste’ properly roam in the search of nirvana, bottled drinking water, ganga, and subsequently snacks for when the raging munchies take hold. Here, men without mustaches are… well women I guess and Pepsi states clearly on their bottles that they ‘contain no fruit’. The national anthem begins with the words ‘better than all others, is our country India’. It kinda reminds me of the Borat Khazky national anthem ‘khazakstan is the greater country in the world, all other countries are run by little girls, khazaktan no.1 exporter of Potassium…etc’ you get my drift. How about a little humility people!
Slightly nervous. It’s been 12 years since I last went to India for my sister’s big fat Indian wedding. Thoughts of India make my stomach rumble in disapproval, as a large percentage of my time there has been spent in the toilet.
Now don’t be fooled by the glorious image of one sitting back and relaxing with their favourite read on the toilet – because who doesn’t love the feeling of achievement of getting through a chapter whilst taking a poop? (It totally counts as multitasking).
I’m talking about the ol’ squat stylers! You know, the ones that require the balance of a tight rope walker over a precariously smelly and sometimes deep hole. Then your legs start to cramp and try to give way, and if the smell doesn’t start to compete with the valuable oxygen that was being carried to your brain, you might stay upright without passing out into the freshly laid contents of the squat.
But really, that heart sinking feeling when you really need to go, and you walk into that squat toilet, and you look around and see no toilet paper – just a tap and a small jug waiting to make your acquaintance.
Okay, I digress. The purpose of this trip is less about my G.I tract (though with no doubt will become the highlight once again) and more about carrying through with a life long ambition to work in a grass roots hospital in India as a Doctor. The vision of being able to assist the less fortunate population in a perhaps less fortunate country in a medical capacity seems intuitive. It remains my firm conviction that no one on this planet should have to pay for basic health care.
I’ll be mentored alongside Christian Doctor missionaries from the USA. Whilst I feel taking multiple copies of the God Delusion to replace the many bed side bibles would be momentarily amusing, I have alot of respect for the dedication these people show towards their cause.
I arrive in Delhi and will stay with the ‘relos’ for one night. I’m slightly nervous that I won’t know which cousins are actually part of my family and which ones are kids who just happen to be walking behind us on the street. Twelve years is a long time for a baby to ..not look like a baby any more!
However, the feeling of walking off a plane and seeing a sea of brown faces will be a unique experience for me. In my head the song ‘we are family’ plays in the background as I stand in line in the immigration queue. I SO cannot wait to pick my nose freely and scratch my crotch with pride.
On the upside, my tolerance for Indian food has increased enormously, which is greatly reassuring to my mother, as she’ll sleep well knowing I’m not going to bed hungry.
I’m looking forward to eating Amruths with Kala Namak (Guavas with black salt), Imli (tamarind) and any and everything else. I’ve even developed a tolerance..nay..a passion for chilli. With it has come an ego that has seen me rarely back down from trying the hottest dish on a menu; ofcourse with dire consequences the next day, which I will spare you a descriptor of (refer back to the toilet segment of this).
The part I’m probably most excited about is the delectable salad bar of photo opportunities I’ll be exposed to. From black and whites of the Taj mahal to children on the street to …well Holy Heffers!
On a seperate note, I thought I might have a more excited and motivated mind set considering I’d recently just finished a 2 day intensive weekend Success seminar. In fact it’s left me feeling frustrated and emotionally boggy. It’s actually left me feeling lethargic like you do on a summer 40 degree melbourne afternoon. I’m not sure what that says about me, except that it’s likely the content delivered didn’t entirely resonate with my own thoughts and belief system. Also, I’d heard much of it before. Thankyou Tony Robbins!
So, I’m going to get back to packing my suit case.
I’ve given Elmo’s chewable rawhide birthday card to my Dad with strict instructions to give it to him on his birthday in my absence. I’ve taken plenty of oral rehydration solution, my hair straightner and Mr.Sheepy, my travel companion.However, I have also prepped myself mentally, that if it all gets too much, I am to close my eyes and tell myself I’m actually just in Dandenong, Melbourne and there is a sexy Pilot on an emirates plane somewhere who is waiting to take me home.
But for now, onward India!! Jai ho!
Just what every fine connosieur needs: a luxury fire place, a trendy couch and a shag rug.
You’re not in the holiday spirit, until you’re wrapped in tinsel.
You don’t know the meaning of confusion, until you’ve met a human dressed up as a dog.
A warm jacket, that also shows your philanthropic support for the organisations you’re passionate about. In Diesel’s case – it’s the RSPCA.
A doggy sized yacht! The discerning canine will take to sailing as easily as he takes to doggy paddling.
My partner in crime is fixing a bmx a backpacker once left at his house. He’s agreed to have it spray painted bright yellow in the spirit of one of my favourite cult classics Kill Bill. I can only assume this means I’ll need a full body spandex yellow outfit complete with a Haturi Hanzo?
Anyway, I’ve requested streamers on the handles and a playing card to be fitted in the spokes, you know just for the cool factor. I’ve also asked for a basket, or wagon to be attached to the back of it. Yep, once he’s done pimping my ride I’m gonna be the hottest thing out there. Feel free to upgrade your bike in a similar manner, I hear it’s how trends start.
Maybe I’ll be recognised as a city icon – you know like those crazy cat ladies who push around shopping carts and dress up their cats in hideous outfits. Oh oh, also I want a bright orange flag on my bike with a pirates skull and cross bones on it , just to zhuzh it up a bit (nothing says “keep away” like prison jumpsuit orange and the ol’ skull n’ cross bones). I guess one can never be too safe?
Which brings me to my point about bike safety. In anticipation of riding my bike, I’ve decided to become familiar with the road rules as they apply to cyclists. I initially convinced myself not to bother, as I completely intended to ride on the safer side of the road – the foot path! but then uncovered the fact that the foot path is for pedestrians only! Outrage. What damage could a bicyclist do to a pedestrian?! If bicyclists are not allowed on the foot path, then neither are old people on their motorised wheel chairs. For all I care they can take the freeway and merge at 100km/hr like everyone else.
By forcing me, the newbie cyclist onto the road, you’re contending with my ‘vehicle’ travelling at the same velocity as yours, um…only when you’re reversing. And that’s me at my ‘Fred Flinstone full pedal power’ fastest!
Okay, so as a cyclist I am required to ride on the road. Not only am I going to go exceptionally slow (as many bags of cheetos have now assured) and likely to slow down all other motorists (to their sheer delight I’m sure) but I’ll most likely have to contend with abusive comments thrown out at me when motorists whizz by. How do I know this? Well what do you think I do when I see a slow cyclist taking up my lane? I can’t roll down my window fast enough! Sometimes I’m so angry I can’t even articulate words and all I manage is: “blughhhheerrrflugh”, which sort of reminds me of the sound my Grandma in India makes when she clears out her throat in the mornings.
Anyway, the way I see it, the road is for vehicles with some sort of post 1869 technology. So that means motors! Not bicycles, not horses, none of those people in those low rise, reclined, pedal powered, poochie-side carrier type vehicles that are actually bicycles built for those who are too lazy to ride a bike sitting up. You know, the ones that remind you of what all newlyweds did on their honeymoons in the 80’s on lakes in those pedal powered water boats.
Why get funny about this, you ask? Well, as a part of world of medicine, I obviously spend alot of time in hospitals. I get to see things that happen in emergency. I also know what the peeps on my side of the bed call those death traps motorcyclists straddle with all their pride and joy – they call em’ ‘Donor –bikes’. True story.
Some facts for your consideration:
- The average age of motorcyclists in Oz is around 40 (you know…the new..what is it now..20?)
- But those aged between 22-40 are the ones most likely to be involved in an accident
- Motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be involved in a crash compared to other motorists on the road travelling the same distance as a dude on a motorbike!
- It’s a chilling fact, that 188 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2003 in road related accidents.
- Of the aforementioned people killed, 91% were males. (Boys…please take away something from this. I’m looking at you Dean. We shall discuss this again over dinner)
- Road conditions that were hazardous were a factor in nearly 25% of the reported accidents.
(stats taken from http://www.aaa.asn.au/saferroads/bikes.asp )
As the partner of someone who rides a bike, I know the nature of concern, first hand loved ones of bikers feel. So I stand on both sides of the bed – the one in front of the patient in a Medical capacity, and then as the loved one standing beside the bed, waiting to hear the news.
It is for this reason, I urge you to be safer on the road if you ride a bike, or know someone who does. Be kinder to the motorcyclist, bicyclist and those losers in those low riding, pedal powered bicycle mobiles. Please be more careful on the road as a driver and look out for our two wheeled friends more (I dont blame you if you dont look out for the low riding pedal pushers – lets face it, they’re laying down and the only time you’ll notice them is when you see them happily roll out from underneath your car in your rear view mirror).
So please remind your loved ones about road safety all year round and especially over Xmas this year. Take care!