Of the scheduled 24 months in India, I have just completed my second month on 29th of September 2011. With each passing day, I feel I am getting more settled (so to say). Now I know which direction is North-West and how many miles I am away from my motherland. I am also getting used to sweating in the heat and getting burned in the heat too. The high temperatures of 36o- 37o are not Himalayan-man friendly but thanks to the attributes of humanness, nothing seems unbearable. The loud and distracting noise of a peacock right next to my window is just as fine as my noisy class mates and Nau-rathri Puja drums.
Waiting in traffic of not only automobiles, but of cows and bulls, either in auto or on foot has become my norm in a city called Vastrapur. At times, getting lost in so many ‘G’ roads (like MG road, and CG road etc) has also become an acceptable thing not by choice but by default for me.
I am here on a Government scholarship, but it took me nearly 2 weeks to complete my admission formalities. “Welcome to India!” says some of my Indian friends. On this note I assume that Indians are the most patient and most tolerant people on this earth. When I am finally done with my admission to the University and College respectively, I had to walk to my class alone on my own. Believe me it didn’t require any introduction and familiarization before I could start attending lectures. It was as simple as that.
With admission headache over, it was time for me and my friends to look for an apartment that was going to become our home-away-from-home for next 24 odd months. I think we were given the best of the best rooms available in the university campus. As it stands, it is near university library, secured 24 hours with full time security guard.
But true to the common Shakespearean adage “all that glitters is not gold”, we were given a flat at second floor that required massive cleaning and maintenance. In our initial days, we shared the flat with Lizards, Pigeons, ants and mosquitoes. The worse was that our room did not have a fan! But however our patience paid off. We finally got fans, bed, mattress, table and toasters after waiting for more than a month. For now I am anticipating when the fridge and window curtains might make to our flat. Not only that we are also waiting for our long overdue welcome dinner from the office of the dean of students affairs.
Thanks to few of my English speaking friends, I feel am not a stranger anymore in my class. I know most of my classmates by name now. Even though some are elusive, they are by far the most admirable set of friends I met in my life. They are noisy by nature, but that doesn’t, in any way make them distressing buddies. I like the culture of talking on top of my voice with them.
Most of my Gujarati Buddies are vegetarian by birth and hence compassionate in nature. This really puts me in an uncomfortable position, because being Buddhist, (more so by eating meat) I find myself less compassionate compared to them. With this I am now thinking of inclining more towards veg food in my coming days. (By the way, I gave up pork last year and this year I gave up fish, Success?)
To talk more about compassion in place like Gujarat, creatures like lizard, Mosquitoes, ants, and pigeons can really take one to the limits. I have a pigeon that lays egg on my door (without any nest) that only fall and break in my room. The most disgusting thing is a Lizard in my room that prefers taking shelter in my coffee mug than feeding on ants that crawls on my table. For his inefficiency, I had to force him out from my room last Wednesday. The last thing, I want to see are the mosquitoes in my room. They are by far the most irritating and….. and…… far creepier creatures I would want to see in my room. Unlike in Bhutan, Mosquitoes here come in tens and hundreds and thousands. I do not kill them but I use ‘all out’ to chase them. Some die but it’s their fate.
Anyways ‘INFLIBNET, near readers’ flat, room No. 5’ is my home-away-from-home. I share a flat with 3 friends from Bhutan; - a Historian, Political Science and a senior teacher who is pursuing MA in Psychology. They are all unique in their own ways, starting from cooking to talking, dressing to walking and laughing to sleeping.
Jurmi is a Historian by profession and he is from Lhuntse. But his look says he is more of native man from Punakha and Wangdi. His dark skin is a blessing because he doesn’t get jeered in the streets of Vastrapur like I and Tashi do (they call us Chingkas). He is a very emotional person but talks very practical things.
Tashi is a silent lover but, in presence of person like Jurmi and me, he has other features to display too. He is a fun loving man and he likes collecting peacock feathers like me. His vulture like eye-sight is something that makes me envious here. There is one common thing that Jurmi and Tashi have is; -that they are competing to reduce their calorie intake but to no avail.
Finally our senior friend is Drukpa. He is rather very quiet and private person. As a person, I find him enigmatic. That is because he prefers confining himself in his room all the time than joining our lively senseless sessions. But thanks to his indigenous way of cooking; potato eggplant and cabbage are soon going off our menu list.
For now I will stop here.....because I have a presentation tomorrow in English for people who studied in Gujarati medium all their life (except few)