We went for a walk through the backstreets. Very back streets, unpaved, dirt roads, full of smiling people. We hopped on a tuk tuk, gave him the general direction of where we wanted to go, had him drop us off before the final destination, and instead of going straight on the main road, took a left into the unknown. You can easily get sucked into the modernism of Bangalore and forget that ½ mile off the main avenues, there are villages where white people aren’t seen often.
We walk, slowly, since walking in this country requires focus. Two little girls about 11 years old ride by on a pink bicycle. I smile, they smile. And giggle. And ride along. And they come back, stare and giggle some more. The one on the back is a little bit braver and says hi. We respond and wave. We meet them a bit later at the village square and they are still staring at us, smiling. It’s obvious they are following us. That’s cute. We go on. And poof, 50 feet away, here she is again, off the bike, alone. Hello. Hi, what is your name? My name is Shanti. Hi Shanti, my name is A. Hi, what village are you from? I live at the (insert here name of the housing complex where we live). Your English is very good. Thank you. And she runs back to her friend.
The ladies selling flowers decided I needed a string of jasmine in my hair, and I wasn’t going to say no since I had wanted to do that since I first came in the spring. She didn’t even sell it to me, she gave them to me and put them on my hair clip. I wasn’t expecting the flowers to be wet. Every time I moved my head little drops of water fell on my neck. So, jasmine flowers in your hair serve two purposes: it is refreshing, and it covers up sewer smells.
A three year old boy pulls down his pants, grabs this little thingie and starts peeing. Three feet away, facing me. Without any concern about the fact that a human being was right there. So I got sprayed. And yes, if I get urine on my shoes, I get the right to say he has a little thingie!