Bye Bye Bangalore, Bangalore Goodbye…

I’m leaving early. I’m leaving early, after one session instead of two, and it’s so bittersweet, because there are things I love about this country — the food, the constant respect I receive, the way everything lights up and twinkles at night — and things I truly despise — the sheer number of people and cars, the heat and dust, the fact that I can’t even drink the purified water without feeling sick. I’m leaving in 4 days, because it’s hard to exist far from home when your intestines are screaming and E. coli seems to have taken over your body. I’m leaving because it’s time to leave.

I’m leaving the wonderful friends I’ve made through my program, leaving the office aide Saraswati who has become my surrogate mother during this trip, leaving the temples and villages and mango carts. I’m leaving aloo gobi from my favorite “fast food” restaurant, the market on the corner that sells ice cream. The nights when we stay in and watch Bollywood music videos and laugh until we feel sick. The trips out of the city to feed elephants and see Tibetan monks and buy spices. Leaving rickshaw rides in monsoons, calls to prayer, sari fabric that must’ve come straight from god, and the most handsome boys at the cake shop down the street.


But I’m returning, too. Returning home, where I’ll hopefully rid myself of E. coli and get to hug my mother, breathe in her scent, sleep with my cat, take care of my father after his knee replacement, and drink tap water. With ice. Home, where I can actually eat fresh vegetables without worrying. Home, where people move too fast and worry too much and live with so much fear even when there’s no danger around the corner. There are downsides to every place you go.

Sometimes we forget that India isn’t some mystical land of wisdom and perfection. It’s seriously flawed; overpopulated, often undereducated, and still developing. That’s not a criticism. It’s a fact. And if I stayed here simply because I thought India was somehow going to heal me from within, to thoroughly cleanse me spiritually so I would come home a different person…well that would just be a dangerous illusion. To stay because I’m afraid to quit, because I’m “supposed” to stay, because I’m afraid of judgment…I won’t do that. I need to take care of myself, just as I would at home, and right now that means I need to be home. India has a spirit and mind of it’s own, that’s for sure, and right now our spirits are at odds.

I’ll miss this beautiful, terrible place. Truly I will. But I’ll be back, India. Tujh mein rab dikhtah hai. I see my god in you.


I’m Not Dead…

…I just have E. Coli. So that’s been fun. Almost better though! 

I know you were all worried (pff) so I thought I’d post here quickly. We went to a village yesterday and I wanted to stay forever. And I had aloo gobi for the first time yesterday and again today, and…India is much better when you can actually eat the food. 

I’ll write more soon since I haven’t in several days, but we have to leave early to tour temples tomorrow so I should sleeeeeep.


Tummy Trouble

Warning: Diarrhea talk below.

It’s hard to love this place when it’s essentially eating your stomach. I’ve been having a pretty rough time for the last 36 hours, mostly sleeping and laying in my room, running to the bathroom every couple hours. But today is the first day of classes, so we walked 3 kilometers (about 45 minutes) to school this morning and I basically wanted to pass out on the side of the road. Diarrhea tummy and heat don’t really mix too well.

I don’t know how people here deal with the stomach flu or other things that make your stomach unsettled, because the food here isn’t really soothing for my nausea. I’m sure they have soups of some kind, but I had a hard time even venturing out of my apartment yesterday for fear of needing a bathroom and not being able to find one.

Lipton boxed chicken noodle soup has definitely saved me, so I’m not about to keel over from lack of nourishment, and I brought some Gatorade so at least I won’t die here! (It’s not really that bad, I just like being dramatic.)

Anyway, today should be exciting to say the least. Wish me luck!

If I Die…I Loved You

I’m sick. Not sick enough to be legitimately concerned for my life, but sick enough that I’ve gone completely melodramatic (not that I wasn’t before). Sick enough, anyway, to compose my eulogy. I would like it to be read by Louise Rennison while a backing track of “Body Beautiful” by Salt-n-Pepa plays softly:

Cappy. What a beautiful girl she was. More beautiful than all the rest. She had a passion for passion, a knowledge of knowledge, and a life too short to fit her. Because she was tall.

Cappy. She liked British things too much. She liked stand-up comedy and listening to books on tape. Sometimes her love of water aerobics caused her to be mistaken for an old lady, but that was to be expected, because she was pretty wrinkly.

Cappy. She had a name that rhymed with happy, and happy she was. Cappy. Sometimes people mistook her boyfriend for her brother, and that was awkward. Cappy. People tried to tell her she was too smart to work at McDonalds, but she wouldn’t listen because she loved sausage biscuits too much. Cappy. She craved Thai food in the middle of the night. Cappy. She craved every other food at every other time of the day. Cappy.

CAPPY! She had beeeeen to the mountaintop! Granted, it was more of a hill, but this is her eulogy, so deal with it. She had beeeeen to the mountaintop and got stuck there and never came down. She was forced to live a simple life from then on, herding goats and such, married to a man named Marcus Terhunk who treated her well, but not as well as Elvis could have, but Elvis was dead and there was nothing changing about that. Unless the conspiracy theories were true, in which case Elvis totally stood Cappy up at the altar of the mountaintop and forced her to marry this Terhunk fellow and carry his strange last name with her for the rest of her days.

And then Cappy died. She died a terrible death of snottus on the brainus. Terhunk was by her side during her last hours, though in her last hours she thought he was a sheep and kept trying to get him back to the stables. That was how hard she worked herding sheep and goats and other slightly fuzzy animals. Really hard. That is how hard.

So mourn her. Mourn her from the bottom of your heart. Mourn her from the depths of your soul! Mourn her from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Mourn her from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire! Mourn her from the mighty mountains of New York! MOURN HER! Mourn her from the Wendy’s on the corner to the Edo in the foodcourt. Mourn her from the bus stop to the greyhound station.Mourn her from the beginning of this sentence to the end of it. Mourn her as she mourned the loss of her husband-to-be Elvis. Mourn her.

And that, my friends, is my eulogy. Please note that all of this is completely true, so be amazed and wish you’d known me better. Because I will die now.