Friday, January 28, 2011


A few days have passed since my last post and I'm happy to say I'm writing this today in much better spirits and that says a lot I think when taking into consideration that I woke up this morning thanks to a full blatter only to find out tht someone outside my room locked my door from the outside so I couldn't get out.  My first guess as to why this may have happened would be that my "celebrity" status was beginning to wear off at the Salvation Army, but my experience at the Victoria Memorial yesterday where some Indian tourists were more eager to get pictures with me then they were the actual memorial makes me think I still got the "Hollywood" touch.  Wth about 30 minutes of knocking on my own door here and there, I was kindly released from an Asian resident that seemed just as confused with my situation as I was. 

Despite me feeling much better now, thanks to a day of American indulgence on Wednesday that consisted of 3 relaxing hours at my new favorite spot in the Oxford Bookstore, a delicious grilled cheese and ham sandwich, a visit to KFC, a double scoop ice cream cone of rocky road and mint chocolate chip, and last but not least, a King Fisher lager to wash everything down, I'd have to say I'm quite ashamed for feeling so sorry for myself a couple days ago.  Here I Kolkata, the home of the "poorest of the poor" and I was feeling sorry for Tyson.  There are too many people!  It's too loud!  I'm tired!  No doubt I could pick any person on the street that I walk by every day and they'd trade their "I'm starving" and "I'm dying" for my discomfort in a heartbeat.  Going forward, don't plan on seeing any more "pity party" posts on my behalf. 

Thursday was our free day from volunteering and we used it as an opportunity to do a little more sightseeing and it was the Victoria Memorial and the Kalighat Temple that were selected as our places of interest.  The Victoria Memorial was pretty remarkable, but more for the craftmanship of architecture than the actual purpose for the memorial getting built, which in my opinion, was Queen Victoria's way of saying "look at us" (us being Britain) and how great we are.  Not that I disagree with the Queen in thinking her and Britain were great...because they had much to hold their head high about just as everyone does, but I got a feeling that the Queen's sense of greatness came by making other people feel like they were smaller and I don't like that. 

With respect to the Kalighat Temple, this was one of the Hindu temples nearby where we were told many locals in the area make daily offerings to Krishna.  Although I could have said I was disappointed by the temple visit because I didn't see a live sacrifice of a goat, which I was told happens from time to time (don't tell P.I.T.A.), that's not what I found so disappointing.  Instead, my disappointment was in trying to go inside the temple when I was told it was closed but that I could bypass this by paying what they called "VIP" admission for 200 rupees.  It's not like I've never seen this kind of "payoff" before and it's quite common at nightclubs even back home, but to see this at an actual Hindu temple, something I would have considered much more sacred and uncompromising, just kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I'm not even Hindu.  As my Dutch friend explained to me later, "everything is for sale in India" and I found that statement to be quite depressing because I was hoping India might be different, my beacon of hope, in a world where it seems like the only thing people CARE MORE about these days is money.

In walking around town a bit more, it hasn't been the excessive spitting or sandals and sock combo everyone seems to wear around here that has caught me by most surprise; rather, it's the fact that you can walk alone at midnight and not feel threatened on streets we'd consider back home to be the "street you stay away from." Put the poor of America in some of the same streets and circumstances as the people in Kolkata and it would become an area with one of the highest crime rates in the world I think.  The poor of Kolkata might wear rags, but in a way they wear them with a crown...with a sense of dignity and I can respect that.  They might beg or hustle you for money from time to time, but at least they aren't killing and robbing people for money like we do back home. 

In other news, I've made a new friend by the name of Ron from Bangladesh and we've hung out over the last couple days.  Ron's the type of guy that has a sense of humor anyone would die to have since it seems like he gets a good gut wrenching laugh from just about anything.  Case in point, when Ron told me 98% of life is about work and making money and 2% is reserved for having fun and I responded by telling him that his theory would pose a problem since we'd need him to use about 5% in the next 15 minutes and that he might want to reconsider his theory, he couldn't stop laughing.  Really not a laughing matters as far as his philosophy goes, but I won't hold it agaist him just like I wouldn't with him not being a doctor or lawyer, which he was ashamed to admit since according to him, it's those professions that receive the highest amount of respect.  As peace of mind, I told Ron that I was unemployed, had no idea what I'd be doing when I got home from India and that the only criteria I'd jude him on with respect to his work was whether or not he was happy doing it since it is that we should CARE MORE about.  Ron said he was happy and so that's that. 

P.S.  Zags have now lost 3 WCC games in a row with their last one coming at home on Thursday in the last seconds of regulation to our rival St. Mary's.  I think it is now safe to say unless the Zags win the WCC tournament, they wont' make the BIG DANCE and that would be the 1st time in the last 12 yrs I think.  Ouch!

1 comment:

  1. I guess we have to go back to rooting for the Sags...