there’s a weird phenomenon occurring during monsoon season. the rivers are not very full. as in, you see more of the actual ground at the bottom of the bed then actual water. and apparently during the dry season, there’s absolutely no water in the river beds. so people just walk across them to get to the other side. but drive 50 km down the road & you see water on both sides of the road all the way to the horizon line. so after asking what’s the name of the lake, the response comes back with “uh, those are fields.” fields upon fields that are completely flooded with rain water. and the weirdest thing, the water isn’t still. but has tiny little waves like it wants to be the ocean. so you’re driving down this straight road that leads to infinity, completely surrounded by moving water. and if the world was flat, i swear i would have driven right off it. just like the pre-galileo people insisted i would.
my mother spent one exceptionally long car drive explaining to our driver the differences between the roads of india vs the US. chiefly how american highways are paved with lane markers. there are no cows, dogs, goats, camels, ox, or people roaming around on them. the grassy sides are not used as public toilets. the asphalt is not one big spittoon. and of all these mindboggling declarations, the one that boggled the driver’s mind the most was “no cows??? there are no cows on the streets of america?” uh no. the only way americans know cows exist is by the picture of one on their milk carton.
oh & one of the aforementioned indian cows butt-butted my mother. butt-butted. as opposed to the more commonly witnessed head-butt. and yes, i laughed. really loudly. for a long time.
indians are fearless. while sitting in my idle car at the train tracks waiting for the train to pass, people just walked willy nilly across the tracks. some pulled their goats. others carried their babies. all while the train was coming. not in the distance. but eminently. as in the headlight was a bright spotlight featuring the jay walkers. at first, i thought it was sheer lunacy. but then i realized, i cross in front of speeding NYC cabs. indians cross in front of speeding trains. and really, what’s the difference? other than the sound of impact of an ill-timed jay walk?
oh & ps, turns out, peeing in a hole in the ground while on a moving train not such a good idea.