Help Yourself

It's not often I get to post tales from travels in my life these days, but here I am in India having a welcome solo break from the grinding routine of domestic life to attend an oral history conference next week.  The joy of joys of being able to eat when I'm hungry, linger where I want and generally please myself, heaven.   I got off a plane in Bangalore, cranked up my phone and absorbed the Brexit news.  Thankfully I have no TV in my yoga-centre AirBnB (Yogi-stahn) so don't have to suffer the pain of watching the Barmy Army and their generals celebrating the victory of their nationaistic ignorance.

India, for those who have not been here is a shock to the senses: pollution, traffic, poverty etc.  But the colour, food and culture are incredible; which on balance makes it a worthwhile travel experience.  I love the everyday clothes that women wear here, leggings and a tunic; so flattering, so practical, so stylish.   You can get delicious cheap food everywhere, I could get seriously fat in India.  Here is some pretty instragram-ready pictures from Russel Market where I went to yesterday:

What you can't see here are the piles of rubbish and rubble that make walking anywhere a tactical challenge.  Or the people, most of whom are trying, in some way or another to earn a living.  There is no welfare here; if you are unemployed, disabled or old with no family, tough titties.  For the first group that means putting any shred of time or energy they have into earning a rupee. Most of them are travelling around on the road trying to earn those few rupee so the roads are solid, all the time.

I feel like I'm surrounded by people working - in one way or another everyone is on the job.  That might mean pushing a mop around the shop floor, if that's all you can do, that's what you do.  Otherwise you and your children starve.


Got no legs?  Got no money for a wheelchair/minibus with lift/home with ramps?  No problem!  Make a DIY transport device with roadside salvage... or if you are lucky, another disabled person's family might pass on their hand-operated bicycle.

Anyway, trying to draw comparisons with our privileged lives in Australia or England is a predictable and pointless pursuit.  You know where I'm coming from.    But in a week like this, it's a sage reminder of how much we have to be grateful for.  Ultimately our life experience is largely predetermined by the nation in which we are born; a life determinator in which we have no control.  All we can do as global citizen is aim to level that experience; something migration, welfare and good governments aim to achieve.  Namaste. 

1 comment:

  1. Last night's butter chicken is as close as I've got to India Patsy!
    Don't judge me - it was home-made, from scratch. No Patak's in our pantry ;)


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